Is free Jazz the best Jazz?

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If there's anything I've learned here....no music is better than any other music. There is no best music. There is no best drum kit. There is no best drummer, no best technique. There is no best ride cymbal, crash cymbal, hi hat cymbal. Free jazz isn't best, it just is. It might be your personal favorite, that's legit, but I betcha it's not everyone's personal favorite. Best is a word that really has no use here. OK Pete Best can be called Best, but beyond that, best is a useless term here. This thread is the best! :)
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
The best jazz is what you feel like listening to at the time. For Wynton/Crouch traditionalists the best jazz excludes free and fusion. For some people no jazz at all is best.

Me, sometimes I'm in the mood for Sun Ra, Trane, or Art Ensemble. Sometimes I'd rather Nina, Diana Krall or Duke, or maybe I feel like listening to a hot trio like Bad Plus or Hiromi ... hell, I even feel like listening to Albert Ayler in masochistic moments ;-)

I've seen some great jazz in concert halls that wasn't free ($).
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I like all styles of jazz. I wouldn't call any of them "Best"
The best music is the music that you like.
Music is a personal thing more than anything.
Feed your own head first when it comes to what you like.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I wish more people gave it a chance. There are times when it's the only music that can scratch the itch for me.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
I wish more people gave it a chance. There are times when it's the only music that can scratch the itch for me.
Everybody's talking about rag-ism and swing-ism and bop-ism and fusion-ism
Pop-ism, rock-ism, ho
p-ism
All we are sayyy-ing - is give free a chance
All we are sayyy-ing - is give free a chance

Won't be in our lifetime, Larry!
 

Natewest

Junior Member
Free jazz is the reason good jazz died.I see no point in listening to people soloing on brass instruments.I have no idea why so many jazz artists who improvise are held to such a high regard.The songs lacks structure and melody.Smooth jazz is just like that as well.The music is cliche and boring with absolutely no structure.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Free jazz is the reason good jazz died.I see no point in listening to people soloing on brass instruments.I have no idea why so many jazz artists who improvise are held to such a high regard.The songs lacks structure and melody.
A lot of people don't much like jazz so I get that, but I don't understand why you don't like solos on brass instruments? Is it just brass but reeds and woodwinds? Piano, guitar, synth? Drums?? Or do you just not enjoy solos in general?

Not all music needs structure and melody to be fantastic.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Free jazz is the reason good jazz died.I see no point in listening to people soloing on brass instruments.I have no idea why so many jazz artists who improvise are held to such a high regard.The songs lacks structure and melody.Smooth jazz is just like that as well.The music is cliche and boring with absolutely no structure.
Do you like Wagner? Curious.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Smooth jazz doesn't have structure? I'd like to see that one explained.

I've found that very few people have the ability, whatever you wish to call that ability, to play free and make anything meaningful of it. In the case of free jazz is seems that, for the most part, Marshall McLuhan was right, and once you get the message you're pretty much left with abstract expressionist ear wash.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Free jazz is the reason good jazz died.I see no point in listening to people soloing on brass instruments.I have no idea why so many jazz artists who improvise are held to such a high regard.The songs lacks structure and melody.Smooth jazz is just like that as well.The music is cliche and boring with absolutely no structure.
Lacking in structure and melody?

Crikey. I think you've rather missed the point.

I'm a composer. I'm not a composer of any kind of Jazz but what I compose (Noise) takes the same basic aesthetic framework as Free Jazz. It's about rejection. It's about provocation and it's about asking fundamental questions. What is music? Do we need melody? If it's disorganised, is it still music? All of these are legitimate questions raised from the study of 'Free' musics.

If you want to read more, may I suggest buying 'Audio Culture: The Aesthetics of Modern Music' and giving the articles in there a read? It's really fascinating.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Audio-Culture-Readings-Modern-Music/dp/0826416152/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1351878737&sr=8-1

There. I'll make it easy for you.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Great post, Duncan. It's all about trying to avoid stamping over the same old ground. I vaguely remember a conversation about musical conservatism on DW previously - how music is generally more conservative than art due to the nature of our senses.

People can happily look at some pretty way out art and graphics but are intimidated and disturbed by equally crazy sound. I'm sure Merzbow would be a dealbreaker for 99.999% of the human race ...

Hearing is a less evolved sense than vision and more physically impactful on us. We're even more conservative with artistic experiments using more base senses like taste and smell ... no one is going to tolerate experiments with tuna ice cream or cabbage perfume (one hopes).

There are numerous standard rhythms, melodies, harmonies, timbres and subject areas in music. Many musicians and listeners only seem to acknowledge linear progression in those areas - for music to become ever more dexterous, in command of the instrument, playing with greater perfection and sophistication. The equivalent in art would be to aspire towards greater photo realism.

Free jazz certainly is expressionist, as Jay said - you can see equivalences with expressionist artists like Jackson Pollock.

Having said that, I only like a small amount of free - Sun Ra when he's not being too (aurally) goofy, though free is only a portion of what the Arkestra played. Ornette's Lonely Woman (courtesy of 8Mile). Would the start of Pharaoh's "Creator" qualify as free? It's one of the greatest things I've ever heard.
 
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