Nu jazz and the future of jazz

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
A friend recently sent me links to some nu jazz numbers. I'd heard the term but didn't know much about it so I checked out Wikipedia. It said:

According to critic Tony Brewer,

Nu Jazz is to (traditional) Jazz what punk or grunge was to Rock, of course. [...] The songs are the focus, not the individual prowess of the musicians. Nu Jazz instrumentation ranges from the traditional to the experimental, the melodies are fresh, and the rhythms new and alive. It makes Jazz fun again.

I listened to the links and I enjoyed them.

Club des Belugas - Some Like It Hot (seemingly based on the old movie)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDqCxXmSRJo

St Germain - Sure Thing
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhOfC4FOaeE

Some time ago I bought Zen CD after hearing some great music in a cafe and asking the staff about it. Turns out that it's also classified as nu jazz, such as:
Cinematic Orchestra - All that you give
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0F1RVXfiWEE

Cold Cut - Atomic Moog (drum programming from around 1:00 is great)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUq2bKmMkug

Mr Scruff - Shrimp
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QN73R3zgk2g

I don't think it will replace "old" jazz entirely because musicians with an organic feel are irreplaceable. Tony Brewer's comments are spiced with a bit of hyperbole but I can see the appeal of nu jazz.

Any thoughts on nu jazz and how it may influence the future of jazz music?
 

Funky Crêpe

Silver Member
i don't know will it influence jazz (traditional) at all, but it will certainly inspire others to make new and innovative music, and jazz is an exploration, constantly changing. Perhaps this is the "nu" type of jazz...but then again in my opinion atomic moog is too surrounded by drum programming and the likes, a bit like NERVE's music. i quite liked "sure thing" thats more instrumental, a nice mix between old hip hop RnB and even jazz(guitar).

Listening to thiss music and hearing that it is the "new jazz" may inspire people to look into jazz, so i think this can only be a positive for traditional jazz music.
and nice finds Pollyanna
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I liked the "some like it hot" clip. I suppose anything that isn't old jazz must be new jazz, but maybe my ignorance is showing because I'm more old rock than new anything!
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
some of that was pretty cool. i like the "mr. scruff" track a lot. that's the kind of music you hear in those ultra hip downtown martini lounges and sushi bars. it's like modern electronic dance tracks with a jazz feel. it sounds like all of them use sampled loops of jazz drumming and percussion with some other instruments jamming over them. i think it's cool sounding, but with all that sampled percussion where does it leave us?
 

justjim

Senior Member
I enjoy it (I've got a few St Germain CDs), I'm not super fully versed in it, but I think it has something to offer.

I think dairy has an nteresting take - elctro(nica) jazz hybrid - at least some of it (and sometimes it does feel like electro using jazz textures - which I don't mean pejoratively)


and, yeah, I did find the critic's description a little weighted with hyperbole



. it sounds like all of them use sampled loops of jazz drumming and percussion with some other instruments jamming over them. i think it's cool sounding, but with all that sampled percussion where does it leave us?
St Germain does live stuff - so they might be worth looking into more in depth

but it offers some interesting opportunities -
yeah, I suppose from the electro stuff there is some looping or looped feel
but this doesn't always have to be in the percussion (so at times, you may want variable percussion over a looped phrase of, say, a horn)

and even for "looped" sounds there are a few ways to approach it
-you can think about it as just really strict ostinato and play it "real straight" (when the piece calls for it)
-"live looping" is also an option (loopers-delight is a loop music specific community on the interwebs, there's more info there)...which could have some very interesting ground for a drummer (esp if the drummer is used to axillary percussion)
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
yeah, that "live looping" thing can be cool. my drum teacher is in a jazz band that does that. they play electronic loops and then jam over them.
 

jordanz

Senior Member
Let's step back a moment and define the term "jazz". I recall watching a video of Freddie Hubbard making a recording with a full orchestra. Freddie was discussing things with the producer and the producer said something to the effect of "after that play jazz for 4 choruses". Playing jazz has always meant improvising. The above clips are _not_ jazz. They've imported some of the characteristics of the jazz world. I'm not making a qualitative statement about them (they're kind of cool actually) but let's be clear about what type of music they represent.
 

justjim

Senior Member
I've got one of those EH 2880s and have a lot of fun with it - though I never tried it with drums

(Natively, I'm a classic[al] guitarist ) man back in they day liked to use delays for "canon in a box" - but, at the time, it was somewhat limited b/c you basically were a slave to a statically defined loop-length (so you had to get in really tight synch) and the diigtals were topping out at around a second - so sometimes you had to shoehorn things in there pretty tight

they've gotten A TON more usable

I think it's something (that and effects in general) that has a lot of room for popular exploration
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Let's step back a moment and define the term "jazz". I recall watching a video of Freddie Hubbard making a recording with a full orchestra. Freddie was discussing things with the producer and the producer said something to the effect of "after that play jazz for 4 choruses". Playing jazz has always meant improvising. The above clips are _not_ jazz. They've imported some of the characteristics of the jazz world. I'm not making a qualitative statement about them (they're kind of cool actually) but let's be clear about what type of music they represent.

I guess that's why they are called Nu Jazz and not New Jazz. I listen to a lot of Smooth Jazz and I'm not sure most of it has any Jazz roots other than a lot of Saxophone. But I guess it's OK to call it anything you want.. Maybe I can start a Nu Folk or Nu Symphonic group and basically play what I want. In my mind most of Punk Rock is not played by characters I would call punks. They have probably never picked on anyone in their lives.
And you never did define Jazz for us.
 

justjim

Senior Member
In my mind most of Punk Rock is not played by characters I would call punks. They have probably never picked on anyone in their lives.
I can dig that take on the name thing

ya know - I always found that a funny one.."punk"

in a lot of ways, I find Joey Ramone quintessential "punk" --
pasty guy with a "bad attitude" (not really an "attitude of badness" ) whom even Riff Randall could pound into submission.

the word "punk" to me doesn't say "neo-anarchist subversive " - it says "If I catch you punks stealing beer out of my garage again..."

(well, or at least stealing ALL my beer - a certain amt is just rite of passage I suppose)
I guess, to me, punk IS somewhat poseur and "hardcore punk" seems a bit of an oxymoron - I mean you're a punk
 

jordanz

Senior Member
And you never did define Jazz for us.
Sorry if I wasn't clear. "jazz" means to improvise. I don't have good references for this. But, I know that that's what the old-timers thought. They would take popular tunes of the day and play jazz over them (i.e. improvise).
 

justjim

Senior Member
Sorry if I wasn't clear. "jazz" means to improvise. I don't have good references for this.
Wynton brought up an interesting point in the Tanglewood video series "Marsalis on music"

where (in the "Sousa to Satchmo" episode) he mentioned that, while many musics (like classical and baroque) have improvisation, Jazz is abt GROUP improvisation - "A musical conversation" as he calls it

[Note : If one agrees with wynton or not and not everyone does - I mean look at the complaints about the Ken Burns thing
- OR if you feel "nu Jazz" is accurate or not -- I'll leave that to the individual. Just thought I'd pass along the reference]
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
where (in the "Sousa to Satchmo" episode) he mentioned that, while many musics (like classical and baroque) have improvisation, Jazz is abt GROUP improvisation - "A musical conversation" as he calls it
what about jam band music, like the grateful dead or phish or the allman brothers, there's a ton of improvisation in those bands. is that jazz?
 

jordanz

Senior Member
what about jam band music, like the grateful dead or phish or the allman brothers, there's a ton of improvisation in those bands. is that jazz?
Technically, I think it is. It certainly has it's roots in the blues which is the root of jazz.
 

jordanz

Senior Member
what about jam band music, like the grateful dead or phish or the allman brothers, there's a ton of improvisation in those bands. is that jazz?
The question I'd ask is this: is improvising the principle concept in the music. For the jam bands I don't think this is true.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th century American popular music.[1] Its West African pedigree is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note[2] but one of jazz's iconic figures Art Blakey has been quoted as saying, "No America, no jazz. I’ve seen people try to connect it to other countries, for instance to Africa, but it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with Africa".[3]

The word "jazz" began as a West Coast slang term of uncertain derivation and was first used to refer to music in Chicago in about 1915.

Jazz has, from its early 20th century inception, spawned a variety of subgenres, from New Orleans Dixieland dating from the early 1910s, big band-style swing from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, a variety of Latin jazz fusions such as Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz from the 1950s and 1960s, jazz-rock fusion from the 1970s and late 1980s developments such as acid jazz, which blended jazz influences into funk and hip-hop.


From what I found on Wiki, and the part in Bold, is that Jazz has used other music for its inception and now that other genres are straying from that is not being called Jazz. If you can use other music to form Jazz, then what is wrong with calling Jazz rooted music Nu Jazz.
 

justjim

Senior Member
what about jam band music, like the grateful dead or phish or the allman brothers, there's a ton of improvisation in those bands. is that jazz?
dunno that'd be one to run by Wynton (again, I'm just passing on the reference b/c there was call for one - I dig that a lot of times that's seen an implicit endorsement, but I'm an engineer married to a scientist/attorney - so we dig info as info)

I guess there's the question of if that element (in this case "group improvisation" ) is a sole defining factor and if we can imply it inductively ( "everything that is group improvisation is jazz") or if we can only imply it deductively ("jazz has group improvisation")

I mean early (like baroque) music also was also improvisational (the idea that the music is statically composed/contrived is fairly new compared to the history of that style of music - maybe b/c the stuff that got transcribed was the stuff that has survived. But we still see it even therei n "variations on themes" which is, essentially transcribed explorations).
It was even said (though probably apocryphally) that old man Bach could extemp. 6 part canons (probably more like 3-4, but it does point to how extemporaneous playing was part of the norm)

and ICM is pretty much all improvised

-- I think that may be why Wynton brought the group part up (I mean he is, after all, a baroque player too) -- improvisation shows up all over the place
[of course, that does beg the question - can solo jazz be performed?]


I have heard jam bands called some species of jazz -- but, again, I leave that up to the individual to decide on that
I think there may not be (to borrow legalese) a "brightline"
 
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Steamer

Platinum Member
Improvised music within the framework of a understood jazz harmonic and rhythmic foundation and the related developments within them in the history of that music in question in an ensemble setting would be a good and better place to start to get a solid defintion of what is jazz in my view.

Improvisation or improvised music alone {important element though in the mix} doesn't tell the complete story when it cames to defining the essential key elements of a recorded or live performance of "jazz" music within the framework of the ever evolving traditions and history of the music still happening today based on a firm root {in} to the traditions of the jazz music that came before.
 

justjim

Senior Member
Improvised music within the framework of a understood jazz harmonic and rhythmic foundation and the related developments within them in the history of that music in question would be a good and better place to start to get a solid defintion of what is jazz in my view.
.
does seem like a useful narrowing of scope

though I do have the concern that with "understood jazz...foundation" we've created a self-referential loop in the definition
 
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