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Old 03-29-2010, 01:01 PM
aydee aydee is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,309
Default Re: Pat Metheny on Kenny G and other Jazz greats

Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
Dumb ass rock drummer here again. I asked the question many posts ago, "what is real jazz". Considering all the jazz expertise here, not one reply, yet still plenty of reference to real jazz or KG not being a jazz muso. I'm starting to see why jazz has an accessibility issue. Non secular fans & musos staunchly defend their perception of the pure form whilst simultaneously rubbishing KG style stuff. This portrays an almost gentlemans club click that implies elitism and brands smooth jazz as worthless. Am I the only one who perceives smooth jazz as having significant genre gateway benefits?

All music genres have a section that appeals greatly to the musos and informed fans. A part of the genre that innovates, inspires & displays musical or compositional prowess. That's great, but doesn't mean that the wider appeal stuff is without value. Ok, it might be less wholesome, but it does draw people into the genre that would otherwise find the "pure" stuff too taxing to appreciate on first listening.

I get the pure jazz argument, I really do, I just don't think it's such a good idea for the promotion of jazz to a wider audience. Like all sales tactics, pull them in with the tag line then sell them on the detail. KG isn't a threat to anyone who wishes to pursue a deeper jazz career, but he is potentially a useful sales tool. Just like gateway drugs & art, pull people in with the easy to appreciate material. The ones who's inquisitive flame is offered oxygen will look further, others will pass onto something else.

Life is full of choices and musical direction is no different. Anyone who wishes to pursue a "pure", individual, innovative, etc, section of a genre must appreciate that their chances of commercial success are very limited. I don't like it, but that's the reality, and maligning someone who's taken the perceived technically easy route won't change that. It will, however, give the wider impression that you're bitter & precious. Offering an opinion on a forum such as this is one thing. Going public & getting personal is entirely another. I respect opinions offered on this forum, especially those with passion as their foundation, but the total dismissal of anothers work is counter productive IMO.

Wasn't Louis Armstrong the Kenny G of his day?

I dont have the answers to the questions you raise in this post, Andy.. but the guy who came closest ( to my mind ) to answering the "what is Jazz" poser, was a member called Jazzgregg who seems quite a rarity here lately, after he moved from Toronto to the UK. He said Jazz isn't about the music, its a lifestyle, an attitude, an ethic . An approach to life..

On the gateway thing, I think you are right, wider acceptance is a huge issue with jazz, but someone ( I think it was Steamer or Ken ) questioned that very premise itself. Why should everything be so easily accessible? and does anything that is that accessible ever be that special?

On Duke, I thought his dream was to have his music viewed and percieved as modern Classical music. This was also about an acceptance of sorts and needing to be on the same mantle as Bach and Mozart. Ken can expand on this, I'm sure.

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