Thread: Wynton Marsalis
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:57 PM
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Frost Frost is offline
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Default Re: Wynton Marsalis

I don't think we are completely at odds on this point, we are not exactly debating known facts here, I'm not saying you're wrong, the difference is, you care quite intensely over it, jazz is a secondary interest for me musically, it was part of my education but I don't live and breathe it.

While you really dislike the guy, I am merely ambivalent, but I know that I enjoy listening to a lot of what he makes, original or not, I enjoy it. I'm not sticking up for him as an educator, I'm not debating any of the issues you've brought forward in this thread, frankly I'm out of my depths trying to argue this even if I wanted to as I am not versed enough in jazz society. If we were debating Bathory's importance in early 90's extreme metal it would be another matter, but we are not.

Thank you for the compliments, I respect your opinion and viewpoint, this is obviously one can of worms I never should have opened.

Originally Posted by mattsmith View Post
Ok Listen to Blood on the Fields /the Pulitzer winner/
then listen to Ellington's Black Brown and Beige. I'll show you entire liftings of Ellington that go on uninterrupted and undisguised for 5 minutes or more. Yes, I agree that much of Blood on the Fields is really good. Ellington was a great composer.

1. I hear Who Can I Turn To? I hear the Miles solo often note for note. When he plays Armstrong's DinahI hear the Armstrong solo note for note from the famous 1931 film. Close to entire solos from his second album were lifted Freddie Hubbard solos from Blues and the Abstract Truth. No I am absolutely without a shadow of a doubt not wrong to say that he doesn't innovate. He doesn't...that's it. These things are beyond debate.

2. No one said that paying homage was not important. In fact it is part of the historical referencing issue. I said that you don't get to claim the savior gimmick when you're not an innovator because in jazz individual innovation reigns supreme. And on that score maybe I was not clear enough. Genres are a different ballgame seeing as how there are many ways to individually innovate within a chosen genre. But no, talented mockingbirds don't get to be head dog. In fact this is the very first time anyone was even arrogant enough to pull this one. Your homage to the music reference is also a tough defense to sell. Are you aware that he sends minions to educational organizations to strong arm guys into altering textbooks and teaching strategies? You actually have a guy trying to force feed the jazz historical canon on the next 1000 years of history, while Stanley Crouch and Albert Murray hand him talking points. It's sheer nonsense.

3. You can't ignore the controversy when he's the guy bringing it to the table. But he loves it when intelligent well meaning guys like yourself say I leave the controversy out of it. It makes his job a lot easier.

Re: your last question...No but at least one to handful have to be. Re: your first question see above. And avant garde was never brought into this discussion, nor does playing such music make one a trend setter or an innovator.

I never said his classical work was bad. In fact I think his playing of the Hummel from that first album is excellent. But what music are you saying was created there? I thought the Hummel Trumpet Concerto was composed by Hummel. Now if you're saying his improvisations tell a story, then yes I will agree with you. Freddie Hubbard was a great trumpeter, making him an excellent person to copy. but again those ideas belong to Hubbard, not the guy copying him. And it's too bad he no longer plays classical music. But when he walked away from that Bach Strad and started using those goofy French trumpets with the mouthpiece already built in, even most of his most diehard disciples will admit that a lot of that celebrated tone of his went with it.

Man this Marsalis thing is the most polarizing thing that's probably hit music since Beethoven brought the extra notes back. You're either on one side or the other. And yes I know that in this bizarre historical period when all opinions are equal and there is no good/bad or right /wrong people don't like to take a stand. But when it comes to this guy, when you stand in the middle of the road, the only thing that happens is you get hit by a truck. He punks the real educators and historians while his goofy yes men try to run you off any jazz forum where you dare offer this very popular perspective. I watched Jazz at Lincoln Center employees pretend to be unafilated objective Marsalis enthusiasts on jazzcorner forum for years. This is really an issue much deeper than you imagine.

Before I finish Frost, let me say one thing. I just stated a philosophical viewpoint close to universally shared by a huge number of the greatest jazz musicians. And for the record, I often view the intransigence of jazz criticism and the musician culture harsh. For this reason I also try to embrace a number of genres outside of jazz because to be honest with you I often need a break from the tension of it all. but when it comes to this Wynton M. thing I do see the issue, and I hope I succeeded in explaining myself fully.

I think you're a very intelligent guy and an interesting read. But on this one thing we're going to have to stand in another place. Some things are beyond consensus and this is one of them.
A disquiet mind at therapy with the music.
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