[JPL] Barack Obama: Jazz Politician

Dr. Jazz drjazz at drjazz.com
Sun Aug 17 23:05:46 EDT 2008

        August 17, 2008...5:19 am

    Barack Obama: Jazz Politician

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It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally think I know why so 
many White folks are having a hard time getting into Barack Obama.

I think it's because Barack is a jazz politician in a culture used to 
country and soft-ass pop politicians.   America respects jazz.  It just 
doesn't want to listen to it.

Maybe because unlike pop music, jazz demands you not just /listen/, but 
actually /hear/.

Changin up the groove 

Changin' up the groove

When I was a kid I was into soul music, pop music and rock music.  I 
wasn't even slightly into jazz music.  Jazz was "old people's music."

Now that I'm older than I've ever been I love jazz.  I love it more than 
any other type of music even though I still have a soft place in my 
heart for some quality old school soul and every now and then I've got 
to hear some rock n' roll guitar riffs blowing out of my car stereo.

Barack Obama is a jazz politician.  You can see him improvising, 
deviating from the script, and at times he's way ahead of the audience.

Barack is no Miles.  He's not Coltrane.  Miles and 'Trane were not just 
innovators, they were revolutionaries.  He's more like Herbie Hancock or 
George Benson.  Guys who didn't so much blaze a path as they followed it 
and took it into their own direction.  That's Obama.    A brother with 
serious chops and a even more serious education in politics, but aiming 
for a bigger audience; a crossover audience and the success that comes 
with it.

All of which  throughly pisses off the purists.   "He's too brash and he 
hasn't payed his dues," they sneer.  Mediocre minds always throw stones 
at someone who doesn't represent the status quo.

Real improvisers/innovators don't play for critics.  They play for the 
people.   The hardcore few don't give the people what they want.   They 
give them what they want first and make the fans realize they needed it 
The trick of it is to not lose your authenticity  even while you're 
bringing the message to a wider audience.  It's a tricky move and just 
like Herbie and George, Barack has at times wandered a little too far 
from jazz into impure  Kenny G. pop/sludge.

And there's /nothing/ authentic about that.

But play on Barack.  Play on brother.

/"We all have to open our minds, stretch forth, take chances and venture 
out musically to try and arrive at something new and different."   ~ 
Horace Silver/

Change "musically" to "politically."  Otherwise the meaning doesn't change.


Dr. Jazz
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