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Old 03-24-2010, 11:26 AM
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Location: Herefordshire, UK.
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Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

I fully understand the passionate defence of something that one believes has been desecrated, yet, it's the degree of venom that surprises me. The automatic assumption seems to be that the cover artist intended insult to the original and surely the only reason for such artistic folly must be financial gain. The flip side of the coin may be that the cover artist really believes they've done a good job, maybe even paid homage in some small way. I think it's highly presumptious of anyone to second guess another's motives when the accused doesn't have a reply on record.

Is it just possible that Louis Armstrong would have been pleased that someone of note, no matter how poorly in his peers opinions, covered his work with a resultant wave of popularity? I have noticed that followers of close to non secular music forms tend to be significantly more precious when it comes to perceived musical "infringement". That's understanderble, as such musicians also tend to be more passionate and single minded than others who have a wider genre appreciation. Jazz & death metal are unusual bed partners in this respect.

The Kenny G thing happens all the time, but it doesn't mean we have to unleash a hornets nest attack on each occasion. I find it perplexing that the jazz community feels someone of Lois Armstrong's stature actually needs defending. Surely his work speaks for itself. I'm left wondering if the same reaction manifests itself in the rock world. Take this iconic rock track as a recent example; Journey's "Don't stop believing". Not only a superb piece of writing, but vocals by arguably one of the greatest rock singers ever (very much so IMO).

Then along comes some very talented but obviously super commercially steered snotty nosed kids with this dream drippy version;
To a rock fan such as me, this ammounts to near heresy. To have the nerve to even think they could top such a vocal performance as Perry's is beyond belief. I note my prejudice and move on.

But hang on just one minute. Is the original artist that bothered? I think not. Has the new release attracted huge attention towards the original? Hell, yes. And let's not forget publishing protocol here. Journey, or the owners of their material had to approve the use of that material including a satisfactory review of the finished product. The owners of Louis Armstrong's material would also have given permission on the same basis. Surely, if some believe the Kenny G cover was purely motivated by commercial gain, it's the owners of Louis Armstrong's material who should be on the receiving end.
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