Originally Posted by bobdadruma
There are purest followers for other forms of music that are angered when their fav band does a pop recording.
I spent about a year during the mid seventies following the Dead.
The purist members of that cult will not own a studio recorded Dead album.
I never understood them either.
Many of them have never listened to any other music that didn't have a member from the Dead playing on it.
Bob, I could have been more readily persuaded to the other end of the argument if I didn't have to read post like this. Jazz does have at its core many a trifle of pop ditties that have become the fodder of its its infernal musical transformation machine. But to read a post like this baffles me.
How could one be a fan of the Grateful Dead and not come to understand that , like most jazz music, The Dead is a part of the counter-culture? The 1960s counter-culture was based on a radical imperative to change the social fabric of American society. Its was anti-war, anti-imperialist, anti-commercialism and anti-what have you got. To not agree with the opinions of those who complain about the over commercialization of our lives is one thing. But to say that one cannot understand why a Dead head would not want to be a part of it is something else.
It frustrates me because in these discussions it is always necessary to take out the big guns and totally try to annihilate the opponent. Thus, Kenny G is crap and if you listen to it you ought to have your head examined becomes the core of the counter argument. If you or anybody enjoys Kenny G if it gets your wife in the mood, helps you relax with dinner or when friends come over for poker that is fine. Far be it from anyone to complain about anyone's musical taste. That is not, as I have stated several times, NOT at the core of what Metheny is saying. And this again is Pat Metheny saying it, a leading figure in contemporary jazz.
What this discussion has only made me see more thoroughly is the accuracy of Pat Metheny's insight because we seem to be dealing with the repercussions here. Kenny G is not a respected jazz artists who then dabbles in a pop format. He is a pop artist who is trying to validate the quality of his art by giving it an aire of jazz sophistication. This is what pop does. The Beatles used a string quartet and symphonic band. The Moody Blues used a full blown orchestra as even Metallica did. Am I supposed to now have the same level of respect and admiration for Lars that I have for Beethoven? I don't even have the same level of respect for his playing that I do for many of my students. So there is nothing wrong or bad about Metallica. If one wants to listen to Metallica, that is certainly ones prerogative.
The tradition of jazz, and yes it is a tradition, and that is an argument that was settles twenty odd years ago has at its core a series of practices, a rhythmic and harmonic language, traditions of phrasing, and improvisation, a group a standard recordings and compositions. Today, I think what you see is a new generation of artists trying to get away from the canonization of jazz, and see it as fresh and undefined, which could be a reaction against traditionalism. These artists are not doing that in the mainstream of American musical culture, and no matter how many hit records Kenny G had or has, he is not going to change that.