Nu jazz and the future of jazz

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I always thought jazz came about because it added swinging / groovy syncopation - it jazzed things up, using the word "jazz" in its generic sense.

jazz up, Informal.
a. to add liveliness, vigor, or excitement to.
b. to add ornamentation, color, or extra features to, in order to increase appeal or interest; embellish.
c. to accelerate.​

So the music becomes more informal, playful and danceable. Cooler and goovier - more fun. To that effect we get swinging and funky syncopations, blue notes and improv.

Nu jazz seems to incorporate some aspects of that jazz spirit - the harmonies and the rhythms and feel in at least some of the instruments / vocals. I enjoy a lot of it, but much of the music with programmed drums would interest me more if they had a drummer adding subtle variations.

Dairyman, you ask about where samples and programmed drum tracks leaves drummers. As long as there's live music there will be drummers because we're fun to watch.

How many of us will be in demand in the future is another matter. Recordings are yet another matter again.

Young listeners have become so used to hearing programmed drums that the absence of the organic feel of real drummers is not missed by the vast majority. They are accustomed to the beat being explicitly stated rather than claves implied by polyrhythms; so rhythmic tension and release in programmed drum tracks is largely a matter of the beat (or elements of the beat) dropping out for a period or being augmented.

It's hard to know to what degree this aesthetic change is cyclical or trending. Will some future generation find the organic feel of a real drummer a cool novelty?

I've seen precious little public outcry over the decimation of the live music scene in Sydney by machines (techno/dance music and gaming machines) and by obstructive busking licensing laws. So my guess is that a future demand for the flexibility of organic drumming may be some time away, apart from specialist enclaves like blues, jazz and metal bars.

You are expected to fit in a box - blues, jazz, metal, soul/RnB or pop and if you don't then it's very hard for eclectic or original bands to find small bars to play in Sydney nowadays.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
That was fun listening, Polly, but I'm not sure if Nu Jazz is with reference to 'jazz' or 'old jazz'.

This music is from a different tree ( as Stan puts it..), IMO. Its coming from Hip-hop, Trip-hop, which is coming from R&B roots, samples etc.

St. Germain, I know uses a lot of jazz riff samples and layers them onto to r& B grooves. They even did a tune using Tony's Sister Cheryl groove.. sort of reversing the process in a way.

cut/pasting jazz riffs doesn't make it jazz in my book if it doesnt have jazz's intrinsic requisite of spontaneous improvisation.

Jazz cant be everything. Otherwise it would be anything, and anything isn't something.

; )
 
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Steamer

Platinum Member
That was fun listening, Polly, but I'm not sure if Nu Jazz is with reference to 'jazz' or 'old jazz'.

This music is from a different tree ( as Stan puts it..), IMO. Its coming from Hip-hop, Trip-hop, which is coming from R&B roots, samples etc.

St. Germain, I know uses a lot of jazz riff samples and layers them onto to r& B grooves. They even did a tune using Tony's Sister Cheryl groove.. sort of reversing the process in a way.

cut/pasting jazz riffs doesn't make it jazz in my book if it doesnt have jazz's intrinsic requisite of spontaneous improvisation.

Jazz cant be everything. Otherwise it would be anything, and anything isnt something.

; )
All I know Abe is when the days comes that some electronic boxes and computers can create something like this on the spot my days as a working improvisational based jazz musician will be over... till then all bets are off :}

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c_Rea--Gv8
 

Michael McDanial

Senior Member
cut/pasting jazz riffs doesn't make it jazz in my book if it doesnt have jazz's intrinsic requisite of spontaneous improvisation.

Jazz cant be everything. Otherwise it would be anything, and anything isnt something.

; )
You took the words right out of my mouth. Jazz cannot be everything. Our society nowadays has this obsession with wanting to have clear definitions of everything so that we can put it in it's own little box. It just doesn't work that way. Just because we can't write down a clear, irrefutable definition of jazz doesn't mean that we cannot say that something is not jazz.

There's nothing wrong with cutting and pasting jazz riffs, but like you said aydee, it doesn't make something jazz.

BTW Pollyanna, thanks for starting this thread and posting these clips. It's been a very interesting discussion.
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
You took the words right out of my mouth. Jazz cannot be everything. Our society nowadays has this obsession with wanting to have clear definitions of everything so that we can put it in it's own little box. It just doesn't work that way. Just because we can't write down a clear, irrefutable definition of jazz doesn't mean that we cannot say that something is not jazz.

There's nothing wrong with cutting and pasting jazz riffs, but like you said aydee, it doesn't make something jazz.

BTW Pollyanna, thanks for starting this thread and posting these clips. It's been a very interesting discussion.
Agreed on all points Michael and Polly for getting the ball rolling on this interesting discussion.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Polly, you're really trying to start up the furnace. :)

I actually have a Cinematic Orchestra album but didn't know that it was considered a type of jazz. It's called Motion a good album. and it has drums on it.


I like this band, don't know if you'd call it nu jazz; but it is in the same vein.

Gotan Project

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qtaFHgL_VI

and this, which was hip-hop jazz. Jazzmatazz

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93eXWyabkg0

Here's another Solsonics

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG7sj_NOQso
 

aydee

Platinum Member
All I know Abe is when the days comes that some electronic boxes and computers can create something like this on the spot my days as a working improvisational based jazz musician will be over... till then all bets are off :}

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c_Rea--Gv8
Yeah Stan, then I'm going to sample your ride cymbal and layer it some James Brown whoops on a bed of electronic arpeggios.. ; )

PS- I cant believe Chick Corea could almost pass off as Jimi Hendrix in that Vid


Great topic, Polly.. where is jazz going?..( and does it have a ticket? ). I hope it stays civil and intellectually ticklish, but alas, the weather channel predicts thunderstorms : )
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
Yeah Stan, then I'm going to sample your ride cymbal and layer it some James Brown whoops on a bed of electronic arpeggios.. ; )

PS- I cant believe Chick Corea could almost pass off as Jimi Hendrix in that Vid
Just remember Abe if you make a stack of money off my ride cymbal samples for your concept recording to send me some royalties buddy... :}

Ya isn't that footage of Chick a hoot from 69
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
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.
Smooth Jazz was purely a marketing term to make some people feel better about listening to lighter music.


Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.patentcoachmike.com
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.facebook.com/mike.mccraw
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
All I know Abe is when the days comes that some electronic boxes and computers can create something like this on the spot my days as a working improvisational based jazz musician will be over... till then all bets are off :}

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c_Rea--Gv8
Aha! Seeing Miles's Agitation I now see where King Crimson got the idea for Moonchild from their first album :)

Deltadrummer said:
I like this band, don't know if you'd call it nu jazz; but it is in the same vein.
Ken, I'm hardly an expert on nu jazz but the Jazzamatazz number used samples in a way that reminds me of Cantaloupe which was based based on Cantaloupe Island (I always liked the Jean Luc Ponty version with John Guerin, personally).

As someone said much earlier, one thing that jazz-sampled hip hop (and it's definitely hip hop) does is introduce man kids to jazz sounds which they'd be unlikely to encounter otherwise, apart from incidental music in film scores. My first impression when these sampled numbers came out was "This is sacrilege!" but I can see some good spinoff results.

The Solsonics link is very cool. Like v much - thanks! I'd call it funky soul music, pretty close to some of Jamiroquai's tasty stuff like Corner of the World (which I love). The end section is really cool fusion.

But dare I say it, Country Jazz Elvin ain't a team player - or will that light a fire? ;-)

Aydee said:
cut/pasting jazz riffs doesn't make it jazz in my book if it doesnt have jazz's intrinsic requisite of spontaneous improvisation.
I agree, but the way the music appears to be classified and marketed doesn't refer to your book, even if your book is no doubt a good read :)

The book we're dealing with is a whole lot bigger and more influential and we can't fight city hall. Yet early jazz didn't seem to have much improvisation, so that aspect of nu jazz could be seen as a throwback to jazz's formative days. Some of the nu jazz I've heard does seem to have improv, though, but then again so did Jimi's Third Stone from the Sun, which had both improv and Mitch's spangalangs - but it wasn't jazz ... in my book, anyway :)
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
But dare I say it, Country Jazz Elvin ain't a team player - or will that light a fire? ;-)
He sure was a "team player" in context with his drum concept{s} as contributed to the amazing ground breaking improvisational based jazz ensemble music he made with Coltrane.. so yes it may start a full on inferno with what I have further to say on that subject...:}

Country Elvin would win in any gunfight you got into with him too...:}
 

aydee

Platinum Member
I agree, but the way the music appears to be classified and marketed doesn't refer to your book, even if your book is no doubt a good read :)

The book we're dealing with is a whole lot bigger and more influential and we can't fight city hall. Yet early jazz didn't seem to have much improvisation, so that aspect of nu jazz could be seen as a throwback to jazz's formative days. Some of the nu jazz I've heard does seem to have improv, though, but then again so did Jimi's Third Stone from the Sun, which had both improv and Mitch's spangalangs - but it wasn't jazz ... in my book, anyway :)
...

Music classification is a commercial imperative. Where do you go to find what you need? Aisle 6, row 7. If you dont find there I dont make no money.
The 78 RPM record, and the 2 to 3 minute format of a pop song that fits onto a 45 we all born to address this need. It still happens to be the case in the digital age- so sure life imitates art and vice versa, and sometimes some things lag and some are ahead of the curve.
So the question here is a question of definitions. Your book, my, book, Stan's book Amazon's book, iTunes book..whos book do we go by? Who defines it for us? The market?
Musically speaking, there is no BOOK, but the market has one.
I can argue that DJs improvise. They mix tracks, overlap them, fade them in or out depending on the vibe of the audience/dance floor.

Where does one draw the line between rock and heavy metal? Was Metallica this first heavy metal band? Or were Black Sabbath and Led Zepplin heavy metal, except that no one told them back then?

Someone here said that jam-bands improvise a lot too, as why isn't that jazz?

What do I do with a great 15 minute piece of music? Nobodys going to buy it, so I either cut it up into a bite-sized piece or bury it. So now it doesn't exist, because it is undefined and not on amazon, and therefore dead. : )

Is our understanding of genres solely defined by Steve Jobbs and Jeff Bezos? I think it is Michael McDaniel's post that said there will be exceptions to everything.
I agree with your subtext, that why should jazz not also be seen as happier, more dixie, more dance hall, more fun, more accessible?
Why is it that when we say jazz we actually mean either Coltrane, or Miles, or Elvin etc... or some off the wall free stuff which has no obvious direction..
In my book ( sorry, the only one I have ) ....Jazz is its collective history and a linear, evolving, growing thread with many tentacles reaching out in different directions. Some have commercial salience some not.

And like many things, it cannot be defined. I think Jazzgregg came closest to a definition in another war o' the roses jazz thread where he suggested that jazz was an attitude. Even a lifestyle, maybe.

We all resist things we cannot pigeon- hole and categorize and are left with an uncomfortable feeling if some doesnt fit neatly. Jazz is one of those things I think.

Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists to walk this planet once said that he isn't uncomfortable with not knowing the answer to something but he was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of an answer that might be wrong.

" Why are we here? "... who knows... maybe for no reason at all. And maybe thats all there is to it. I can live with that."

...
 
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Pollyanna

Platinum Member
He sure was a "team player" in context with his drum concept{s} as contributed to the amazing ground breaking improvisational based jazz ensemble music he made with Coltrane.. so yes it may start a full on inferno with what I have further to say on that subject...:}
Yep, Ken passed on the link to Alabama earlier http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8j_TDoOPnIA. THAT Elvin is wonderful ... but that Country Elvin guy he shot down the entire band and made Keith Moon look like Shelley Manne heeheehee

Country Elvin would win in any gunfight you got into with him too...:}
Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail could beat me in a gunfight with three paws tied behind their backs so I wouldn't fancy drawing against the big guy :)

aydee said:
And like many things, it cannot be defined. I think Jazzgregg came closest to a definition in another war o' the roses jazz thread where he suggested that jazz was an attitude. Even a lifestyle.

We all resist things we cannot pigeon- hole and categorize and are left with an uncomfortable feeling if some doesnt fit neatly. Jazz is one of those things I think.

Richard Feynman, one of the greatest physicists to walk this planet once said that he isn't uncomfortable with not knowing the answer to some thing but he was extremely uncomfortable with the idea of an answer that might be wrong.

" Why are we here? "... who knows... maybe for no reason at all. And maybe thats all there is to it. I can live with that."
Yeah, I think the "jazz is an attitude" idea has legs, although it doesn't tell the whole story - and nor should it, which is part of your point. I'm personally comfortable with stuff that doesn't neatly fit categories - be it music or any of the other paradoxes and hyrids you come across. As an old King Crimson freak, being unable to classify music goes with the territory :)

However, as you say, the marketers have to find a label. It ain't me saying that things have to fit, just that I checked out the "nu jazz" classification and wondered about it.

I agree that a lot of people like things to fit, to keep things tidy. I guess that's in part because often there's a scene attached to established genres (jazz, blues, rock'n'roll, punk, metal) and scenes are about shared values. So if you don't fit, then the gatekeepers worry. Personally, I think the search for purity is a sourge on humankind and it's caused untold misery. People have gotta do what they gotta do but some people adopt an "If you're not with us then you're against us" attitude. Change worries them because they wonder if the world they have built will be under threat.

The gatekeepers worried about Miles, they worried about Bob Dylan going electric, about Bill Bruford bringing electric drums to music that smelt kinda like jazz etc etc etc ... but the good news is they seldom win in the end. If a new idea has power, then it finds a way through. The bad news is that before the gatekeepers lose the musos caught in the maelstrom - usually "genre-blind" musoss who just wanna play what they wanna play - have to deal with flak.

This isn't to knock the gatekeepers because trying to preserve things of value is important and we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Whether what is being classified as nu jazz does that or not, I can't say. Some of it does and some of it doesn't - at least in my book :)
 
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justjim

Senior Member
Our society nowadays has this obsession with wanting to have clear definitions of everything so that we can put it in it's own little box.
I see it kind of the other way, like Steamer was saying about '2 minute hamburger culture' - often I find out culture hasn't developed the discipline to take the time to do the legwork in defining (and, importantly - QAing the definitions)
and we are left with half-measures and errors
(not unlike the student musician -- take a look a typical student's Carcassi method -- tremolo picking exercises...dog eared, thumb damping pages - lily friggin white)

interestingly - boxes aren't the only use for definitions - I think that's another area where our culture hasn't really developed a relaxed clarity through discipline -- maybe b/c of half-measure and use of poor tools -- folks can tend to get tight and rigid in their use


It just doesn't work that way.


A definition is a tool, just one, but a valuable very powerful tool
and even the attempt can challenge our own understanding

Just because we can't write down a clear, irrefutable definition of jazz doesn't mean that we cannot say that something is not jazz.


It does mean that we can't say we have a definition

sadly,it also means, yes, we can say something is not jazz - and that someone else can say it is
which is one of the big places where brightlines really help (and where much of litigation turns - pornography and obviousness and "the reasonable man"are current examples)
 
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Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Ken, I'm hardly an expert on nu jazz but the Jazzamatazz number used samples in a way that reminds me of Cantaloupe which was based based on Cantaloupe Island (I always liked the Jean Luc Ponty version with John Guerin, personally).

As someone said much earlier, one thing that jazz-sampled hip hop (and it's definitely hip hop) does is introduce man kids to jazz sounds which they'd be unlikely to encounter otherwise, apart from incidental music in film scores. My first impression when these sampled numbers came out was "This is sacrilege!" but I can see some good spinoff results.

The Solsonics link is very cool. Like v much - thanks! I'd call it funky soul music, pretty close to some of Jamiroquai's tasty stuff like Corner of the World (which I love). The end section is really cool fusion.

But dare I say it, Country Jazz Elvin ain't a team player - or will that light a fire? ;-)
I like Jamiroquai as well. the big thing now is The Roots. ?uestlove shows up with a bass, hh and snare.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPbSg84_rSg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycAjY8nqK_g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAqVHnsLww0


It really goes back to Gil Scott Heron and The Last Poets:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3098rDY9s4A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBSFSFrVlW4



I was part of a short lived duo of drummer Beat Poet in the 80's and we would write poems and drum under them, or should I say drum and recite poetry over it. I hung out with Ginsberg, Robert Bly, Michael Meade and Jim Carroll, who actually just died. In retrospect, he really exemplified the NY punk underground sound of the late '70s.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bOjc70f4p8
Ornette Coleman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JpQQElyASc

Of course Metheny worked with Ornette. For me, this is the future of jazz:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ecz3ykm_TRU
 
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Michael McDanial

Senior Member
I see it kind of the other way, like Steamer was saying about '2 minute hamburger culture' - often I find out culture hasn't developed the discipline to take the time to do the legwork in defining (and, importantly - QAing the definitions)
and we are left with half-measures and errors
(not unlike the student musician -- take a look a typical student's Carcassi method -- tremolo picking exercises...dog eared, thumb damping pages - lily friggin white)

interestingly - boxes aren't the only use for definitions - I think that's another area where our culture hasn't really developed a relaxed clarity through discipline -- maybe b/c of half-measure and use of poor tools -- folks can tend to get tight and rigid in their use


It just doesn't work that way.


A definition is a tool, just one, but a valuable very powerful tool
and even the attempt can challenge our own understanding

Just because we can't write down a clear, irrefutable definition of jazz doesn't mean that we cannot say that something is not jazz.


It does mean that we can't say we have a definition

sadly,it also means, yes, we can say something is not jazz - and that someone else can say it is
which is one of the big places where brightlines really help (and where much of litigation turns - pornography and obviousness and "the reasonable man"are current examples)
Well, the thing is I was agreeing with Steamer's point to begin with. Like he said, even though he can't use words to come up with a clear definition of jazz, he still knows jazz when he hears it from a feel/intuitive listening process and therefore can recognize it in an instant.

I'm a member of several jazz forums (which are made up of not only jazz fans, but jazz musicians as well) and have seen the whole 'what is jazz?' debate come up many times, and always with the same result. Nobody is able to find a clear, precise definition of jazz, and you know what? It's always going to end up that way. It goes back to the whole thing of 'just because you can't put it into words doesn't mean that you don't know it when you hear it'.
 
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