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Old 04-11-2013, 07:41 PM
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Garvin Garvin is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Northern USA
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Default Re: Is free Jazz the best Jazz?

Originally Posted by grobinson2 View Post
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.
I partly agree with you here. But I think using the word "jazz" opens a pandoras box in these kinds of discussions. Improvised music or improvised sound etc. seems to alleviate the defensiveness of the "real-jazz" community in these debates. I think when you get into talking about Sun-Ra, or Pharoah Saunders or Coltranes later stuff, you are still talking about "jazz" though.

What I do agree with, and what I am guilty of (not that it was wrong) is having come into jazz as a drummer from the improvised music side of things. I never did learn traditional bop, or swing until a lot later. I don't know that it has hurt me, but what I do think is that I'm way more open to different styles, genres and voices than a lot of the jazz guys I know who came up through the schools being taught how to play jazz correctly. It's all good though. We've chased this discussion around the board for years as I recall, and it's been a while since we had a real "jazz war" here ;)
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