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

Phillip Greenlief pgsaxo at pacbell.net
Tue Mar 20 16:04:29 EDT 2012


lots of interesting comments. 

of course, when you're talking about something as personal and subjective as 
"taste" or aesthetics, it's nearly impossible to make any conclusive statements. 
and yet this article did posit a lot of ideas that i have been mulling over for 
years and have, in conversations with others, heard lots of people say "i just 
don't know how to listen to jazz, or if i understand it". 

that would lead me to believe the author's point on not being familiar with 
being able to follow abstract ideas when listening to jazz. i'm a jazz musician 
(and a practitioner of free improvisation). i understand that that is what is 
going on when someone improvises. you take a theme and develop it - regardless 
of style - bach, mozart and doc watson are engaged in the same process. so there 
is something both incredibly familiar about this process. 

my (high school) students almost always tell me they prefer music with lyrics. 
that doesn't surprise me. we want immediate MEANING from art - even when meaning 
isn't the goal of the artist. we are an impatient culture - we want the goods 
and we want it fast. i am not speaking of my own goals when listening or 
confronting art - but the goals of popular society.

let's be honest for a minute - when was jazz the most popular art form in 
america? when it made people dance. what is the most popular artistic medium 
today? i don't hesitate to say film. why? we are a visual culture. the author's 
comments on the popularity of video is apt, i think. when rock music was married 
with MTV videos in the 80's the music gained a new realm of popularity. where do 
most of my students "listen" to music these days? on YouTube.

so, to restate, while (for some) the article can't offer any solid evidence, i 
think there is a lot to this argument. and at the same time, i think it's more 
complicated than that. does it have to do with race or culture? i don't think so 
- at least as far as any culture that lives in america - that's what we're 
talking about here. we're talking about american audiences and an american art 
form.

cheers,
pg
 


________________________________
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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