Jazz to some people...

brentcn

Platinum Member
This reminded me of an article that I read about what killed the Big Bands. To quickly paraphrase the article, the musicians did it to themselves because of just what you posted above - they forgot about the audience and started playing for themselves. It's an interesting article for anyone who might want to read it.


As I've posted on here many times before, my first instrument is not drums, it's trumpet. To further add to the discussion, "jazz" covers a lot of ground and within the Jazz genre, there are many sub-genres, and a person can really enjoy some of them and totally hate the others. As an example, I LOVE big band swing tunes - specifically the stuff from the golden age of the big band, the mid 1930s through the early 1950s. I'm down for "Tuxedo Junction," "Take the A Train," "In the Mood," "All of Me," "Orange Colored Sky," "Fly Me to the Moon," etc. I love listening to it as much as I love playing it.

Conversely, many people ask me when they learn I'm a trumpet player, "Oh, you must really be into Miles Davis then, right?"

Nope. Never cared for Miles, and I TRIED. I have tried several times over the years because I know that Miles is highly regarded as a Jazz trumpet player, and either I'm not sophisticated enough to "get it," or it's just not my cup of tea. It isn't that I can't appreciate it, but it's not something I'm going to go out of my way to listen to.

Mayard Ferguson? Oh yeah - all day long. He's probably my favorite jazz trumpet player.

My nephew graduated about a year ago with a degree in jazz guitar performance. To my ears, his senior recital - all written and arranged by him and performed by him and his school mates - was laughably bad. Definitely NOT something I'd say I liked. It was weird and dissonant, and didn't seem to have any structure or direction, but apparently that's what this college is promoting these days. His dad paid $80K for a degree that he can't leverage toward any kind of a job unless he continues on in academia and eventually starts teaching at the collegiate level somewhere. He's currently giving lessons out of a music store and tending bar.

To the OP, you could always see if it's newer jazz I they don't like, or anything, up to and and including Big Band swing. And did you really not know who Taylor Swift is? Like, you've never even heard her name in passing? How is that even possible?
Good read, thanks!

If all of the big band players, Miles Davis included, had remained dance-oriented, and not pursued their art, then Elvis and the Beatles would have maimed them, and Led Zeppelin would have buried them. True, jazz changed itself. But genres that do not evolve, are inevitably crushed by something newer and different.

I think there are some players really are "too good for the dance hall". For the very brilliant, making art that is accessible sometimes becomes a weight that pins down your creativity and genius. And, w.r.t. jazz, we are left with some truly beautiful music. It's not dance music, and that's ok. It's niche music, for those who enjoy it.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I agree about the Big Bands but dancing style changed right along with the music as society changed after the war. Krupa used to tout that his was still a band for dancing into the 1950's.

I'll explain to him that jazz is aquired and learned and broad in scope. So is classsical and so is Rock.
A broad a term if you think about it.
  • Acid Jazz
  • Avant-Garde Jazz
  • Big Band
  • Blue Note
  • Contemporary Jazz
  • Cool
  • Crossover Jazz
  • Dixieland
  • Ethio-jazz
  • Fusion
  • Hard Bop
  • Latin Jazz
  • Mainstream Jazz
  • Ragtime
  • Smooth Jazz
  • Trad Jaz


Re: Miss Swift- I may have heard the name in passing, never really paid attention to be honest, I most likely had her confused with someone else and then Googled the name for clarification.
A lot of pop singers are homogenous and Disneyfyied to my ears but that's fodder for another thread another day.

Have a great weekend everyone.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I agree about the Big Bands but dancing style changed right along with the music as society changed after the war. Krupa used to tout that his was still a band for dancing into the 1950's.

I'll explain to him that jazz is aquired and learned and broad in scope. So is classsical and so is Rock.
A broad a term if you think about it.
  • Acid Jazz
  • Avant-Garde Jazz
  • Big Band
  • Blue Note
  • Contemporary Jazz
  • Cool
  • Crossover Jazz
  • Dixieland
  • Ethio-jazz
  • Fusion
  • Hard Bop
  • Latin Jazz
  • Mainstream Jazz
  • Ragtime
  • Smooth Jazz
  • Trad Jaz


Re: Miss Swift- I may have heard the name in passing, never really paid attention to be honest, I most likely had her confused with someone else and then Googled the name for clarification.
A lot of pop singers are homogenous and Disneyfyied to my ears but that's fodder for another thread another day.

Have a great weekend everyone.
Wow, that's quite the list. I had no idea Dixieland, ragtime, and big band were considered jazz. Apparently there is some jazz I get. I thought swing music was a genre into itself.

So is electro-swing considered jazz? I hope so, I love that stuff.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
No matter what you say about jazz publicly...

It's a surefire lose/lose endeavor if I ever saw one lol.

Just like the other 2 things you shouldn't talk about at a party, Jazz could be the third lol.

Completely fascinating.
 

trickg

Silver Member
If all of the big band players, Miles Davis included, had remained dance-oriented, and not pursued their art, then Elvis and the Beatles would have maimed them, and Led Zeppelin would have buried them. True, jazz changed itself. But genres that do not evolve, are inevitably crushed by something newer and different.
That's a great point - music is an ever changing, always evolving thing. Even my favorite trumpet player, Maynard Ferguson, evolved in his later years, moving to a smaller band, can calling it "Big Bop Nouveau" - a bop band, but with a modern flair. His shows were always exciting to go see because although they did do a lot of bop jazz, it was palatable for almost everyone. He also kept a lot of his standards in the book from his big band days, and his time in the 70s and early 80s when he did a lot of pop tune covers.

Show them that not all jazz is blasting a thousand notes a minute. Start with some of the stuff that's more accessible to ears that are used to back beat orientated music and take baby steps from there.
I have a fusion album from the 1984 - Spyro Gyra, "Access All Areas" that I love listening to - it's jazz, but because of how it's set up, I can listen to it - it's really fun, upbeat and fresh, and the musicianship on that record is off the hook. To my ears, it's almost exactly what you said - it's accessible to my ears, and it's generally backbeat oriented.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
One thing I did figure out for me as it relates to jazz...I need chords. Someone has to be playing chords to catch my ear. I finally figured out this is why hard bop was such a chore for me to try and connect with...no chords really. My ear gravitates to the jazz songs that uses chords. Oscar Peterson for example. I really can't get into the taste of jazz....or any music....with no chords. It's helpful to know this about myself.

That's why I like playing guitar more than bass, all the great sounding chords.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Jazz has a long history and gathered lots of influences. Lots of it is very much accessible-Big Band, Swing, Dixiland, then like lots of jazz fusion like Spyro Gyro, Larry Carlton, Pat Metheny, etc I love all that. Early Miles Davis I get but my brick wall with jazz was as Miles evolved. I think it my ignorance, at the time, cause now I'm starting to dig all of it. Lots of jazz has singing in it but I think some people equate all as "instrumental"-and that becomes some kind of negative. Even if it was I'd still love it. Opening my horizons to jazz was the best drum decision I've ever made. I'm still no where near I want to be but I've improved dramatically I think. Now I've been opening my horizons lately and playing along to some metal (thank you Mr InsanePolack for the inspiration), reggae, and hip hop. Heck yeah! DW will make a drummer of me yet.
 
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Rock Salad

Junior Member
It kind of depends where a candidate for introduction is coming from, where you might start them out at.
I would start Uncle Lary out with Joe Pass, Pat Martino and Antonio Carlos Jobim for beautiful guitar chords. Three different very cool theories there.
I just always loved "Kind of Blue," and "Take Five" because they were in the house growing up.
Who doesn't like Ella, Billie and Nina? Maybe try John Zorn then.
 

Jeremy Bender

Platinum Member
I'll try to start him off with an introduction to jazz. Here's an explanation on how jazz was born that includes a young Louie Bellson.
If that doesn't get him interested, well then it's a lost cause...
 
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danondrums

Well-known member
Someone close to me (who's not a musician) made the statemet to me just recently...
"The reason I can't get into jazz is cause it sounds like they're playing a different song than the other guy up there."

Now It's a safe bet he's not referring to Dixieland, Glenn Miller or Kenny G style of 'jazz'

So the question is: how to respond to a statement like that without sounding condescending, yet knowledgable and also acknowledging that they may be correct to some extent?
"Cool, let's go get beer and not talk about music."
 

nolibos

Active member
Why do we have to "learn" to like something. I heard Sgt. Pepper's, The Doors, Roland Kirk, Mahler, Johnny Cash, Ravi Shankir, etc. and didn't need to learn to like them. You like it or you don't, and that's okay; it doesn't mean anything about your intellect.
I don't like my teenaged daughter's pop music, but I do try to understand what's going on and it's place in music history.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Why do we have to "learn" to like something.
We don't, it's just one of the possible choices concerning music.

I choose to because I believe I am missing something very valuable that was simply not a part of my early life. I had to force jazz into my life. It wasn't an organic thing. I am richer for it. It's not a force thing anymore, I enjoy it now, where prior, it held little appeal. Anytime a human has to struggle with something, the result is usually worthwhile. While I have no trouble finding music that automatically hooks me, I believe it is a good way to exercise the musical muscle....trying to expand horizons in a direction I know in my head is worthwhile. Expanding horizons usually involves discomfort of some sort. Musical discomfort could be the easiest kind of discomfort to endure lol. So I'll expose myself to stuff that I think would be beneficial to me even if it isn't appealing at first.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
Why do we have to "learn" to like something. I heard Sgt. Pepper's, The Doors, Roland Kirk, Mahler, Johnny Cash, Ravi Shankir, etc. and didn't need to learn to like them.
Maybe “learn to like” isn’t quite the right way to look at it. You liked all the ones you mentioned because you were already familiar with similar things. Maybe in some ways it’s like listening to a foreign language you do not understand. Until you learn it it doesn’t make much sense.

So yeah, if all you have been exposed to is Sgt Pepper the. A Love Supreme will be hard to listen to.
 

dboomer

Senior Member
Gee I hope you didn’t think I thought there was anything wrong with it. I was just trying to explain.

They way I look at it is there is enough music I like that I don’t have to listen to anything I don’t like. But that doesn’t mean other people can’t like it. As far as jazz goes, man there's a lot I like and a lot that goes way over my head.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
The cure for this syndrome is to sit down and learn "the jazz" for a while. Pick some songs you like, and dissect them until you understand what's going on and can do it yourself.

You'll gain so much understanding from this. It'll start to click, and then you'll start to get what the fuss is about. You won't hear "noise" and soloing over one another, you'll hear complex interplay, and improvisation, comping starts to make sense, and it all serves to give you some entirely new tools both for listening, and for playing.

LEARN STYLES YOU DO NOT ENJOY LISTENING TO!
(disclaimer: this will make you enjoy those styles a little so be warned)
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I like my jazz electric (guitar, bass, keyboard). Can't stand any type of brass instrument, and don't care for piano, especially jazz piano.
This style tends to be less improvised than traditional jazz though, but regardless, for me it's the instruments that matter more.
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
Why do we have to "learn" to like something. I heard Sgt. Pepper's, The Doors, Roland Kirk, Mahler, Johnny Cash, Ravi Shankir, etc. and didn't need to learn to like them. You like it or you don't, and that's okay; it doesn't mean anything about your intellect.
I don't like my teenaged daughter's pop music, but I do try to understand what's going on and it's place in music history.
Id say because some things are an acquired taste and worth the effort of learning how to appreciate them. Some of the things that are an acquired taste I will eventually enjoy, some not. Some I can appreciate, yet not enjoy. But I find its great to push yourself and find new things to love, even if it takes a bit more effort. my 2 cents
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
I just watched a doc on Frank Zappa. He said at first he didnt get jazz, didnt enjoy it. He felt it was all noodling. Until he learned that there is a common form, AABA, or something like that. They play the head or main melody twice and then have improv sections. He learned that there was good noodling and bad noodling, but "at first it was all noodles," which I found a hilarious comment. I love jazz, but I come from a completely unschooled place and I found his description helpful and enlightening. I should go take a course.
 

TOMANO

Senior Member
Love a lot of Jazz. Can't stand a lot, as well. Big Bands like Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Rob McConnell and Maynard Ferguson led are faves. Most of Miles, Chick, Jarrett, etc. I dig. ECM anyday. Free stuff like Ornette, latter Coltrane, etc. in very small doses...if at all. Then there's fusion...a genre which contains some of the best music and worst.
 
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