[JPL] Why Americans Don't Like Jazz....

Ron Gordon ron51745 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 20 13:57:14 EDT 2012


Anyone can stay or be as aloof as they want to be about the subject of
Jazz. It never surprises me that whenever the issue of Jazz is discussed
without a correct "cultural frame of reference," vis-a-vis, born out of the
African American experience, and all that takes into the hereditary
existence of the art form, somehow the idiom becomes fair game for anyone
to define it according to their whim or caprice. True paradigms of artistic
greatness who were not necessarily devotees of the Jazz idiom instinctively
knew instantly that they were hearing something extraordinary and
profoundly prodigious in musical scope, integrity and majesty being played
and performed by people whose ancestors on this continent were, at one
time, slaves! For anyone not to take into consideration the connection
between culture and intellect and the key role that each plays in
evaluating how people relate to an art form says, to me anyway, that the
person doing the evaluating either is not listening or has never really
understood the connection between the two ideas to form an unbiased point
of view on the subject of Jazz. Putting lipstick on a pig does not in any
way make the pig less of a pig. The article in question makes many salient
points that I am in total agreement with.

Ron Gordon
ABC News [New York]



On Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM, Jae Sinnett <jaejazz at yahoo.com> wrote:

>
> Mark, the assumption wasn't that singers just turn into instrumentalists.
> The writer's point IMO, was that when you're listening to vocals sung in a
> language you don't speak...it can literally have the same interpretation-al
> effect of say a saxophone solo. Texturally different yes but the same point
> of departure.  An instrumental solo often sounds to many like a foreign
> language. For me that's an interesting co-relation and I've taught from
> that perspective before and it does for me add to the reasoning that some
> non english speaking cultures can embrace instrumental music more easily
> than Americans. The voice becomes the horn or guitar...etc...in that
> context. What other way can you interpret it? He was saying that the
> majority of cultures listen to English speaking music...mainly in the pop
> arena... so considering the inability to discern what is being said the
> voice is literally another instrument...no different in them trying to
> understand a sax
>  solo which becomes for the brain...abstract formulation...particularly
> with improvisation when it's a new listening experience. "Composed"
> music is planned and thought out and not nearly as abstract as spontanenous
> interplay.  It's abstract because no other music is played like jazz...with
> the level of interactive harmonic and rhythmic improvisation. None. So if
> your exposure has been limited to pop culture, yes jazz will be very
> abstract for your flabbers and brain to comprehend.
>
> Jae Sinnett
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Mark Hayes <mark.e.hayes at gmail.com>
> To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 12:18 PM
> Subject: Re: [JPL] Why Americans Don't Like Jazz....
>
>
> Good day, all --
>
> Having read the article in question, I have to fall in with Larry.  The
> article makes a number of assumptions that I would take issue with. There's
> a difference, for example, between taste and aesthetics. There's a huge
> assumption in writing, of non-English speaking listeners, that "Singers
> turn into just another musical instrument."  I also take great issue with
> the notion that "to be able to enjoy instrumental music, you must be able
> to appreciate abstract art."  While there aren't a lot of instrumental
> tunes that become big hits, "Green Onions" is as abstract any one of a
> thousand pop songs.
>
> While I might agree that the mighty mainstream of American culture can be
> lowbrow at times, I would disagree that there's anything exceptional about
> American taste in music -- for better or worse.  The pop charts in many
> countries are filled with "lowbrow" fare.  Whatever is meant by lowbrow, of
> course.  Me, I appreciate a good pop song in any language.  But that's my
> taste -- what I like. Aesthetics, which I understand to more systematic and
> philosophical, relates to how we define what is art -- or not.  But I would
> say that popular music, with lyrics and vocal performances, can have an
> aesthetics applied to it as well.
>
> All in all, I think the article waded into waters too deep.
>
> Best,
>
> Mark
>
>
>
> On Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM, Bobby Jackson <ftapache1 at sbcglobal.net
> >wrote:
>
> >
> > I enjoyed the piece and its perspective.  @ Larry.  It seems the tone of
> > your response to the piece was annoyance and you were very dismissive.
> >  What did you not like about it?  Was there anything about it that you
> felt
> > had value?  Just curious.
> >
> > Bobby Jackson
> > THE JAZZ MIND
> > www.thejazzmind.com
> > ftapache1 at sbcglobal.net
> > phone: 216.288.4422
> > skype: bjackson10106
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Mar 20, 2012, at 9:24 AM, Jae Sinnett wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > I think so too BH. Very interesting piece. Eric posted it and I was
> just
> > commenting.
> > >
> > > Jae
> > >
> > > Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone
> > >
> > > "Hudson, B.H." <bhhudson at NCCU.EDU> wrote:
> > >
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Excellent article, Jae. Thanks for posting that. I think it was
> Stanley
> > Crouch who made the observation that Americans have no interest in the
> > aesthetic. Americans don't get it. And don't want to get it.
> > >>
> > >> Add to that, most college students here at NCCU listen to music/mostly
> > rap on their phones equipped with eency, beency little speakers.  So now,
> > the idea of quality of sound is lost.
> > >> BH
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> -----Original Message-----
> > >> From: jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com [mailto:
> > jazzproglist-bounces at jazzweek.com] On Behalf Of Jae Sinnett
> > >> Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 12:37 AM
> > >> To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> > >> Subject: Re: [JPL] Why Americans Don't Like Jazz....
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Eric...I found this to be a very interesting article. Intriguing
> > points...particularly how non english speaking people interpret english
> > speaking music. It becomes instrumental to them which helps to condition
> > ears to instrumental music. Thanks for sharing this.
> > >>
> > >> Jae Sinnett
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> ________________________________
> > >> From: Eric Gruner <eric at jazz901.org>
> > >> To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
> > >> Sent: Monday, March 19, 2012 9:56 PM
> > >> Subject: [JPL] Why Americans Don't Like Jazz....
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Why Americans Don’t Like Jazz  -    Dyske Suematsu  •  September 17,
> > 2003
> > >>
> > >> The current market share of Jazz in America is mere 3 percent. That
> > >> includes all the great ones like John Coltrane and the terrible ones
> > >> like Kenny G (OK, this is just my own opinion). There are many
> > >> organizations and individuals like Wynton Marsalis who are tirelessly
> > >> trying to revive the genre, but it does not seem to be working. Why is
> > >> this? Is there some sort of bad chemistry between the American culture
> > >> and Jazz? As ironic as it may be, I happen to believe so.
> > >>
> > >> Read the full article at http://dyske.com/paper/778
> > >>
> > >> --
> > >> Eric Gruner
> > >> Jazz Host 9am - 11am
> > >> JAZZ 90.1
> > >> www.jazz901.org
> > >> 585.966.5299
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> --
> > >>
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>
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-- 
Ron Gordon


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