Thread: Wynton Marsalis
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Old 12-19-2010, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: Wynton Marsalis

Originally Posted by mattsmith View Post
In fact I strongly believe that a large number of cutting edge young African American hip hop artists would embrace jazz if the current American jazz establishment were more accepting of them. I have no doubt that 50-70 years ago guys like JayZ and Lil Wayne would have been jazz musicians.

With that said I firmly believe that hip hop culture will be responsible for the next significant jazz movement and yes, that one has a chance of actually becoming popular.
This was Max Roach's opinion as well. He drew parallels between hip-hop in today's music (I guess it's been 10 or 15 years since he said it, but the point stands, I think) and jazz 60 years ago.

I think the key element that's missing from jazz today is the political context. Those huge transitions you speak of, the major evolutions the music went through in its heyday, were as much about social politics as music. New schools came in and challenged older schools. I mean, today, it's easy to lump all the jazz greats from years gone by together as if they were all part of the same musical culture. But Louis Armstrong trashed bebop at the time and Miles said he thought Cecil Taylor played like someone with psychological problems, etc. Those seismic shifts in the evolution of jazz were passionate, controversial affairs.

With Wynton, all this music is presented like museum pieces, and I think that's the greatest disservice he does to it. Jazz is a rebellious music at heart, and trying to dress it up and make it all proper misses the point completely. Taking what came before and turning it upside down is what made a jazz musician great. A jazz musician needs to be irreverent if he wants to be a historical figure.

What I wonder is, if jazz evolves, who will listen to it? Will the jazz fans of today get on board, or will it need a brand new audience? I know a lot of jazz fans who claim they want to hear the music advance but when the slightest non-traditional element rears its head, they tune out. They don't want to hear anything electric beyond a guitar or organ. I agree that the Crouch/Wynton movement has influenced this trend, but it's heavily entrenched in the jazz culture now.
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