Just learned about this drummer named Jim Black via Mark Guiliana--very cool player with a variety of musical projects. There is an interesting interview with him in JazzTimes
) where he comments on tracks JT staff play for him blind, to see if he knows the players, what his thoughts are, etc. The first track they play for him is Ari Hoenig's arrangement of Monk's
“Rhythm/Rhythm-a-Ning” (from Lines of Oppression
, 2010), and Jim's response opens up a line of argument that Branford Marsalis has also raised about today's younger generation of jazz players (italics added below for emphasis):
"I don’t know who it is. Obviously these are killing younger players; I’m guessing late 20s, early 30s. I’m sure I know who they are, although I don’t recognize their sounds offhand—actually, [I don’t recognize] anybody’s. That was a blur—a nice blur, but I don’t understand why this generation can’t write their own music, or players don’t choose to play their own music more. Why must they do that to a Monk tune? The idea’s nice, but there were so many things going on. I have to say, my heart doesn’t respond much to that way of playing. I know it’s a very popular way of playing now, and a lot of guys are doing it in different ways and the conservatory students are impressed by it. But this obsession with complexity, I just don’t get it. The idea of making endless variations—I don’t know. My question is, how many ideas do you need to rearrange somebody’s music with? I don’t know what else to say about this, exactly."
Exactly. Couldn't agree more, having dealt with younger students in jazz combos. Make the music swing and feel good, first and foremost.