Re: Is free Jazz the best Jazz?
My experience has often been that guys who can't play bebop or swing, play free jazz. It's like any other form of art: you have to be at least competent, if not incredibly proficient, at the fundamental skills of playing jazz music- know the history, know the styles, learn harmony, etc. Once you know all the rules, it's acceptable and often fun to stretch or break them, and I can appreciate great players who do that (i.e. The Fringe, later Coltrane stuff, etc.). But in my opinion, if you can't play the "real" stuff, then "free jazz" is just a way to stroke your ego while masking your inabilities as a jazz musician.