I qualify the statement with observations, if you want me to link them to some tabloid, I can't, but it is my experience that most of the people that claim to have an opinion on it have borrowed it, a lot of people that criticize him do it because it is the popular thing to do in the jazz community, not that I'm throwing accusations at you over that.
I don't agree with every statement he has ever made, but he is a big advocate of classical and jazz music. As far as the not caring whether or not it is popular, that is bull. There is nothing wrong with something being popular, if a younger audience can truly appreciate something it is nothing but beneficial. Perhaps jazz musicians should care more about making others interested in what they do. I agree that it doesn't matter if they don't as if you love something, you love it, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth trying to introduce others to it, that kind of attitude is why a lot of jazz musicians are considered snobs.
I don't believe he is the greatest jazz "historian" he is very selective in his opinions of what is and isn't jazz, but as for a composer and a musician, too many people take stabs at his person, judging him for his opinion and completely forgetting about the wonderful music he creates. I hate hearing from jazz musicians who pipe up one minute that it is all about the music and the next minute lay hate on Wynton for something he said, then to turn around and saying that the Pulitzer he won was deserved. If it is about the music, it's about the music, and he is doing a lot for that particular style of jazz.
Originally Posted by mattsmith
How do you qualify these statements?
His contribution to Ken Burns' Jazz was was the single most watched jazz commentary of the past 30 years. Almost anyone who cares knows what this guy is all about. The famed Marsalis big mouth is hardly encased in a vacuum seal nor are the larger number of his better known perspectives even within his own intellectual property. In fact for many years his jazz history pontifications were such nonsense that the research wing of the old International Association for Jazz Education used to spend the first half hour of each convention correcting the baloney this guy randomly inserted as fact the year before. The reason I know this is because one of those researchers was my old man.
As for the bickering issue, it's beyond all that. Jazz only survives for the next 1000 years via its correct insertion in history. Since World War II thousands of educators have been documenting the contribution of jazz to 20th century culture as if they were putting aside valuable treasure for eventual burial to be hopefully discovered by future civilizations that would appreciate it. They fought 1000 battles with the classical crowd and education bureaucrats to have the music granted its rightful and equal place. In fact a lot of incredible people lost their jobs fighting those old battles.
So imagine then, one of the most privleged /albeit talented/ people of his generation swooping down from the sky to tell the world he had come to save jazz, while brushing aside the very existence of all those other guys, and simultaneously claiming to have reinvented what was a perfectly good wheel while calling Stanley Crouch's anger laden politically motivated intellectual property his own thoughts.
The whole thing is a joke. And the only reason it's been allowed to perpetuate is because a bunch of clueless self righteous jazz aficiandos parading as journalists and social commentators have convinced thousands of even lazier journalists and social commentators that this guy knows what he's talking about, while punking all the true educators who did the real work that no one now wants to know about. This isn't a stupid difference of opinion. This is a bunch of self important pseudo intellectual hacks diverting a river for reasons that have very little to do with music, and because they think it makes them appear smart and cool.
And before we get too far into it, let me clarify. Yeah the guy can play a trumpet, although he is in no way an important innovator. And rule #1 is when you play jazz you don't get to the top of the pile unless your musical voice is entirely your own. That point is not up for debate nor will it ever be. In fact it is the most uncontestable part of being a jazz musician...period. Therefore, wonderful non innovative jazz musicians don't get first dibs on the crusader gimmick. If such was the criteria then Doc Severinsen would have been called the savior of jazz back in the 1970s. But of course we know that would have been silly. Well this is really no different except that Severinsen probably reached more people in a night playing on Johnny Carson then Marsalis reaches in a month.
Nor is jazz about being popular. Except for the swing era it has never been. Therefore there isn't a serious jazz musician in the known universe who cares if a bunch of Lady Gaga loving music bottom feeders like them or not. Those kinds of people/ and some of them are among the most important in my life/ only care about the elevation of the music itself, and that history records that they did all they could do to insure that elevation.
So instead, much of that almost spiritual journey has been replaced by a series of nonsensical opinions parading as facts, that in the past 25 years have become so much a part of the psyche of this music as to have rewritten one the richest historical legacies of the past 100 years.
And people really ask why so many don't like this guy?