Why is Jazz a Four Letter Word?

aydee

Platinum Member
...

Honest question.

Every thread with even a sniff of the word jazz, gets targeted overheated and eventually explodes.Jazz seems to be the most debated genre of music. Or is it ?

Polly does suggest that a lot of the issues are common to other forms of music too, and she might be right, but I do see a lot more friction here than say, a Metal thread.

Any theories on why it is so?

...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Careful using them four-letter words, Abe. DogBreath will be pressing the Delet button :)

Good question, though.

I wonder if, in part, it's because jazz is such a minority interest? The stakes are high for those playing it seriously; the future is uncertain, and anything said about it that appears to be undermining the music is a worry.

On the other hand, metal is huge and growing in the US and Europe so it's bulletproof at the moment.

I wonder if these conversations would yield richer fruit if everyone checked what they are saying in case they are treading on someone's toes before pressing "Submit reply"? Often there's a way of saying something in a gentler way that still gets the point across without the distracting hot button stuff.

Or maybe the flames sharpen people's minds? Those conversations always have really stimulating ideas ... in between all the tanties, anyway.

I'll look at the thread, have some thoughts on the topic, prepare to type something ... and think "Don't do it! It's a hornet's nest in there! Don't be crazy!". But I'm like a moth to a flame. I don't think I'm Robinson Crusoe there either.

Some people get older and wiser. Some just get older lol. That's why we play drums.
 

joeysnare

Silver Member
it also could be that over the years their have been a few forum members who could be labled as "jazz snobs" who have made some pretty harsh comments towards other genres. it usually facilitates quite a backlash. not too say their arent some metalheads who give us a bad name "you can't blast and double kick at at least 260 bmp?!? pffffft loser......". honestly i think props should be given to each and every genre of drummer for their strengths, bagging on anyone for their style of play nether helps with personal growth nor diplomacy within the drumming community, very unprofessional.
 

Thaard

Platinum Member
Because it has most of the letters in pizza which is undoubtedly the most popular food ever!

Jazz backwards is zzaj, cut off the tail on the j and you get an i. Place it in front. Now you just need a P, and voila: PIZZA! Also the zz sound tickles on the tongue, and could be reminiscent of sex... My theories.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
To the younger folks it's not current or pop and played with your shirt on, therefore not cool.
To the rest of the world it is not understood, or too intellectual on a musical theory level.
My Opinion
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
..and anything said about it that appears to be undermining the music is a worry.
Jazz subjects are usually touchy because those that prefer the genre are usually a little peeved that it's not a popular genre. I think this is especially so with older people that like and play jazz. They may remember that jazz was very popular until Rock and Roll came along. It's a little bit like the "sour grapes" feeling that people have for the demise of 80's hair bands and glam rock. If it's your favorite kind of music, then you're more sensitive because most other people don't like it as much as you do.

What's very interesting to me is that although jazz is one of the very few uniquely American art forms, jazz aficionados from all countries can get just as upset if someone puts down the genre. It's improvisational nature and sometimes less than obvious rhythms mean than most people have to try harder to be better at it or understand it than most popular forms of music. That larger emotional investment tends to make people more protective over it.

I have noticed that there a fewer jazz snobs out there lately. Or if not, they are less vocal about it.

Watch now as I make another shameless comparison of jazz to glam rock. Both genres require you to play less conventionally than other popular styles. In jazz, if you need to be able to trade fours, play over the bar line, develop a strong swing beat and learn how to solo to excel in the genre. You have increased demands on you as a performer in Glam Rock. You've got to have the hair, be willing to wear the makeup, tight pants, blazing guitar solos and ridiculous drum tricks and solos; all in a way-over-the-top flamboyant style. You can't just stand there and lay it down like Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Secretly guys like Steamer know this and that the similarities between Modern Jazz Quartet and Poison are numerous. It would make anyone a little testy.

Uh oh! Anticipating thread explosion.

 

Steamer

Platinum Member
Jazz subjects are usually touchy because those that prefer the genre are usually a little peeved that it's not a popular genre. I think this is especially so with older people that like and play jazz. They may remember that jazz was very popular until Rock and Roll came along. It's a little bit like the "sour grapes" feeling that people have for the demise of 80's hair bands and glam rock. If it's your favorite kind of music, then you're more sensitive because most other people don't like it as much as you do.

What's very interesting to me is that although jazz is one of the very few uniquely American art forms, jazz aficionados from all countries can get just as upset if someone puts down the genre. It's improvisational nature and sometimes less than obvious rhythms mean than most people have to try harder to be better at it or understand it than most popular forms of music. That larger emotional investment tends to make people more protective over it.

I have noticed that there a fewer jazz snobs out there lately. Or if not, they are less vocal about it.

Watch now as I make another shameless comparison of jazz to glam rock. Both genres require you to play less conventionally than other popular styles. In jazz, if you need to be able to trade fours, play over the bar line, develop a strong swing beat and learn how to solo to excel in the genre. You have increased demands on you as a performer in Glam Rock. You've got to have the hair, be willing to wear the makeup, tight pants, blazing guitar solos and ridiculous drum tricks and solos; all in a way-over-the-top flamboyant style. You can't just stand there and lay it down like Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Secretly guys like Steamer know this and that the similarities between Modern Jazz Quartet and Poison are numerous. It would make anyone a little testy.

Uh oh! Anticipating thread explosion.


Here's my far from a jazz snob feeling at this point in time from someone playing and loving this very music in question for most of his entire life who's taken more incoming hits than a WW2 vet every time just by offering up some insights and wisdom from my years of pro experience on the subject like seen in a recent attempt to have a deeper discussion on said subject which always turns into a {internet} lost cause do to sneek attacks coming from behind the sight lines into the {jazz} trenches from "unknown" nameless and faceless combatants.

Good luck with the thread Abe!
 

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aydee

Platinum Member
Jazz subjects are usually touchy because those that prefer the genre are usually a little peeved that it's not a popular genre. I think this is especially so with older people that like and play jazz.
That a pretty interesting cut on it, TTNW. What kind of music do you play? Just curious. I think your opening premise might be incorrect from where I stand, though you are right about the touchy part. If I was to play devil's advocate I'd say that think Jazzers would rather have exclusivity than acceptability. Not everyone gets what we get and therefore we are special and a higher life form?

Secretly guys like Steamer know this and that the similarities between Modern Jazz Quartet and Poison are numerous. It would make anyone a little testy.
Steamer takes his music very seriously. For many, and again perhaps across genres, music is deadly serious business. As someone famous said;
"There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music"
MJQ and Poison? Dang, you might be right!
...
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Good luck with the thread Abe!
Testing the waters to see if it is at all possible to have a civilized conversation about jazz, Stan.

I hope my faith is the intrinsic goodness and respect of musicians by other musicians isn't misplaced : )

( my fingers in my ears too )
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
Testing the waters to see if it is at all possible to have a civilized conversation about jazz, Stan.

I hope my faith is the intrinsic goodness and respect of musicians by other musicians isn't misplaced : )

( my fingers in my ears too )
Could be but the agenda driven sneek attacks by the "faceless" showing up at the party without a nice gift to share with the fellow party guests have me out of this one my friend.......
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
..like seen in a recent attempt to have a deeper discussion on said subject which always turns into a {internet} lost cause do to sneek attacks coming from behind the sight lines into the {jazz} trenches from "unknown" nameless and faceless combatants.

Good luck with the thread Abe!
Stan,

I hope you don't think I was taking a pot shot at you. I was having a little fun and you are one of the higher profile jazz players on DW, so I was just putting a little "lighter side" twist to a long post. I do respect your dedication to the genre. Please don't be offended.

That a pretty interesting cut on it, TTNW. What kind of music do you play? Just curious. I think your opening premise might be incorrect from where I stand, though you are right about the touchy part. If I was to play devil's advocate I'd say that think Jazzers would rather have exclusivity than acceptability. Not everyone gets what we get and therefore we are special and a higher life form?

Steamer takes his music very seriously. For many, and again perhaps across genres, music is deadly serious business. As someone famous said;
"There is nothing in the world so much like prayer as music"
MJQ and Poison? Dang, you might be right!
...
I play mostly rock, pop, blues, r&b, funk and soul. I like to groove and play in a "not so busy" style. I'm not into Rush, Yes or Dream Theater. Now that I have reread my post, I think you might be right that my opening premise is probably not very accurate since popularity is not usually a motivating factor in preferring jazz.

I grew up listening to my parents' records and they had quite a few MJQ, Monk and Miles Davis records. Also, Herb Alpert, Pete Fountain, Maynard Ferguson, Doc Severinson and others that were very popular in the 60's and 70's. All this music made a huge impression on me. My mother was a concert pianist and everyone on her side of our family is professional musicians. So I grew up with the mandatory lessons and having to learn the history and traditions. I certainly appreciate the art form.

A higher life form? Perhaps. A different breed, definitely.

Testing the waters to see if it is at all possible to have a civilized conversation about jazz, Stan.

I hope my faith is the intrinsic goodness and respect of musicians by other musicians isn't misplaced : )

( my fingers in my ears too )
Your faith is not misplaced. Sometimes I'm just a smart aleck.

More food for thought relating to music as a deadly serious business.

I can personally relate to being more sensitive to criticism and less than informed opinions regarding an area that you spend a lot of time pursuing.

In the early 90's, my photographic work was heavily weighted in a cross process style that was a bit avant-garde and not very mainstream. Most editors either loved it or hated it. I was very good at producing consistent results with the different colors and composition and because I spent so much time mastering this technique, I was easily offended when others offhandedly dismissed or critiqued it negatively. This feeling is what I was referring to when I stated, jokingly, that comparisons can make you testy.
 

Mr. Pasquini

Gold Member
Well I wouldn't expect a lot of presents. I know some kids from around here that consider themselves Jazzers. I think they look down on me because I listen to jazz, but not only Jazz and I don't have any desire to play it.

That said I don't care, lumping EVERYONE who listens to jazz together is absurd. The only real problem is Ignorance. There are Ignorant Jazzeers just as there are ignorant metalheads. take it or leave it, people are people and people say hurtful things sometimes. I don't hate jazz players. My step dad is a jazz pianist and he's a really great guy, his hole band is full of great guys. Almost every jazz player I meet is a great person as long as their head isn't stuck up their a**. I feel like that about everyone in general. I hate ignorant people, not jazz players.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
Could be but the agenda driven sneek attacks by the "faceless" showing up at the party without a nice gift to share with the fellow party guests have me out of this one my friend.......
My long winded post went in after yours..

..are you referring to me in your post? I hope not.

I have no anti-jazz agenda and I am certainly not faceless here at DW. My name, photos, links to my websites are all there for all to see in my profile. Also, before my poorly received attempt at humor, I did offer up a thoughtful opinion.

Stan,

Do people really "attack" jazz as much as you allude to in your WW2 vet analogy?

Maybe that is the answer to Aydee's OP.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Great post TTNW, thanks for clearing it all up. As a 'sorta' jazzer, I truly understand and appreciate the value of Stan's contributions on this forum. There's a lot of meat in his posts, obvious and not so obvious. I hope others get as much from them as I do.

You are right, in that so much art is created by sheer blood, sweat and tears, ( not the band, the phrase.. ) and it is real easy for people to knock it, slight it, and conversely for also people to all get very prickly & sensitive about it.

By higher life forms, I did mean that jazz sees itself as a more rigorous pursuit of beauty comparatively and therefore judges itself by a higher standard, perhaps? The marine corps of music? Is that why hardcore jazzers are called jazz snobs?

Just wondering.. : )
...
 

rootheart

Senior Member
If jazz musicians would just play a little bit louder, grow long blonde hair, get tatooed, start headbanging, wear some outfit that offends their parents, start spreading their legs at least twice shoulder wide, instead of standing there like shy guys pretending to be most sophisticated..
then jazz would not longer be a 4 letter word
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
It's all good. Maybe I hit a nerve..

..we'll see. Maybe Stan will revisit this thread and offer some more insight.

That higher standard in the pursuit of beauty in music is probably where it stems from. I don't think that makes people that keep that standard a snob. It's only snobby when they look down at others and elevate themselves.

I would think that most Jazzers and serious musicians of all genres don't do this.
 

donv

Silver Member
People share their knowledge and experiences here, and unfortunately some apply right and wrong to what's been shared or they view differences as a challange or attack to what they think or wrote. Too often an opportunity for discussion turns into a literary game with perceived winners and losers. It's too bad.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
.. unfortunately some apply right and wrong to what's been shared or they view differences as a challange or attack to what they think or wrote. Too often an opportunity for discussion turns into a literary game with perceived winners and losers..
Well said, but why do you think it happens so much more on the jazz threads? Is it a harder handle to grasp than other genres? More open to misinterpretation?

. I hate ignorant people, not jazz players.
good one, Ian.

...
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Do people really "attack" jazz as much as you allude to in your WW2 vet analogy?
This forum used to house a large jazz contingent responsible for an in depth jazz thread that for a year or so was as good as anything I had ever read on the Internet. That thread also explained the Wynton Marsalis debate in a remarkable manner. I learned a lot from those guys.

Personally over the past year or so, I've found the anti jazz vibe here stronger than on any other drum forum. I feel I can actually talk about jazz with less foolishness on the Roddy forum than I currently can here. And that's a shame because I've always considered this my Internet home.

My slant is similar to Joeysnare but with a perverse twist. I actually think some of the more aggressive behavior from the jazz guys came after a small but unending clique appeared almost jealous of the respect jazz was getting here at the expense of what they felt was a lack of appreciation for their genres. Now when you read an anti jazz thread, it starts with a personal or don't get it attack, which is then followed by the threadstarter doing the who me? game, while the last couple of full time jazz musicians left here carry the banner until they lose their voices.

It's why I don't try to bother anymore with that topic. Now I lurk here mostly, while thinking twice about a jazz debate, because you know that somebody is usually only out there to throw a piece of red meat, in an attempt to see if someone gnaws on it.

I continue to hope that all changes.
 

TTNW

Pioneer Member
It's why I don't try to bother anymore with that topic. Now I lurk here mostly, while thinking twice about a jazz debate, because you know that somebody is usually only out there to throw a piece of red meat, in an attempt to see if someone gnaws on it.

I continue to hope that all changes.
Hi Matt,

It's good to see you post again.

What do you mean by the "Jazz Debate"? What is there to debate?

I do understand what you mean by people baiting an argument. I guess in a way I did that with my "MJQ/Poison joke. Not so much to start an argument but to peak some interest or just have fun.

I do notice that people do prefer their Jazz Threads to be more serious rather than lighthearted. Maybe that's where the increased sensitivity comes from.
 
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