[JPL] Ornette - the truth can finally be told

Rev. Bob 'Bob' Crispen revbob at crispen.org
Tue May 1 14:01:12 EDT 2007

The voices are telling me Lazaro Vega said on 5/1/2007 9:02 AM:

> Sure, "post modernism" is about ignoring borders,

I do believe you've just come pretty darn close to finding a "place" for 
ignoring borders and labeled that little cubbyhole "postmodernism".


I think the trend toward tags instead of hierarchies goes *way* beyond 
pomo. And obtw, pomo is *so* 20th century. It was fun (also silly, also 
cerebrally squishy), but we've all moved on. Shhhh, don't tell the MLA.

> Yet "place" wasn't the main issue in Teachout's article, for me, but
> the notion that Ornette established himself a long time ago as a jazz
> figurehead. Well, yes and no. What Ornette did made possible the two,
> generally two, worlds of jazz we live in today: those who play in
> form, no matter how far form is stretched, and those who play free
> form. He opened the doors to another means of organizing
> improvisations and the door turned into a floodgate.

Well, see I was always suspicious of that whole "free jazz" thing. I 
went back and played _Free Jazz_ just recently after spending some time 
away from it, and what he was playing sounded really obvious. Took me 
long enough, didn't it? ;-)

Yeah he went farther than that (well, he would, wouldn't he?), but I'm 
not convinced we gain much by calling something "free" when it's more 
accurate to say "I don't get (intellectually and viscerally) the 
organizing principles yet."


> There are almost two generations of jazz
> musicians who've grown up thinking "free jazz" is a pile of crap.

And yet everybody who picks up a horn to play a solo these days has got 
Ornette's playing in his bones. Even in big bands -- actually, maybe 
it's *especially* in big bands.

> So
> the significance of the award is to re-focus attention on the last
> great shake up of jazz methodology and approach by its living master.

You mentioned Cecil Taylor, who's beginning to get recognized for his 
touch. Who'd have figured that?

Do you suppose it's time for people to finally start to hear the 
gentleness and sweetness in Archie Shepp? If y'all would play him more 
-- outside the free jazz ghetto, if you please -- I think you might be 

Well, back to lurking mode, with thanks for what you folks do for the 
music I love so much.
Rev. Bob "Bob" Crispen
revbob at crispen dot org
Ex Cathedra weblog: http://blog.crispen.org/

The things one says are all unsuccessful attempts to say something else. 
- Bertrand Russell

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