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Jazz Today....what will we call it in 20 years?

MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
edited June 2007 in History Posts: 5,920
I was giving a lesson the other day, explaining the different periods of jazz and how they would interpret a song.

Swing: Simpler harmony, more "inside" playing
Bebop: Lots of ii-Vs, chordal extensions, more sophisticated lines
60s: Modal jazz

etc.

But then it occurred to me, what is going on in jazz today? Are their artists, stylistic innovations, and compositions that will be "classic" 20 years from now? Or, is jazz really dead? Has nothing really changed since the late 50s?

This discussion is more geared towards jazz in general, because Gypsy jazz is by nature a revivalist genre. But it has taken it's own path and may lead to something new.
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Comments

  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    Of course I don't think anyone here would say Jazz is dead, but as far as mainstream marketability it is very small. Although that wasn't really want you asked huh? I think there is a lot of inovative stuff happening these days you kind of have to look for it I guess. When I hear guys like Andreas or Bireli or guys like Johnathan Kriesberg or Peter Bernstien it gives me hope. I know Pat Metheny's compositions are becoming popular in the sense that people are playing them more at Jams and on gigs. Maybe I am insulated though. I am in a jazz program at a university so I am always surrounded by it. Marcus Roberts teaches here and I think his compositions are amazing. I go to school with guys who I think are gonna make waves in the future whether it is just playing or compossing. I go to school with a guitar player who is also from Tallahassee and this kid is amazing . Kind of frustrating to be 25 and see a 20 year old kid that can smoke you in his sleep :lol:(his name is Rick Lollar keep your eyes and ears open for this guy) I think Jazz is as viable as anything else really. Is the Violin Sonata dead? what about Motets are cats still writing those? I recently saw a performance of a piece a cat I went to school with wrote for Viol consort tell me thats not a dead genre. Jazz won't die as long as we keep playing it. Same with Gypsy Jazz really. As long as there are guys playing it and writing tunes in the style I don't think it is going anywhere.
    just my two cents.
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • Posts: 597
    I think it'll still be around in the same manner that rock is still around. The subgenres of jazz or rock tend to make it difficult to see the bigger genres--like the old saw, can't see the forest for the trees.
  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    I don't know about Jazz, but this thread sure did die :lol:
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    Is Jazz dead? Academically, yes, spiritually, no.

    Once Jazz was no longer danceable it was the beginning of the end.

    And Rock, like Hip-hop, is artificially kept alive by accountant types eager to put out consistent product and no longer reflects the culture. I'd call that dead as well.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,920
    I guess I'm less interested in the business side. I'm wondering who is doing the most innovative and cutting edge stuff in jazz today. Will those innovations be accepted by other listeners and players? Is there a new musical movement in the works somewhere? I can't think of one...but I spend most of my tile listening and playing music that is over 50 years old!
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    One thing I find interesting is how many jazz musicians today also compose-and record those compositions. It seems that this stuff is most often much more idiosyncratic than the (often) onetime pop tunes we've come to call standards. Granted, there have always been great jazz composers, but for a long time even their albums would include material written by others, whereas now it feels to me that many jazz players don't feel the need or desire to add to that history. I remember some quarters being a bit aghast when Keith Jarrett put together his Standards combo.

    In a way it's quite comparable to what happened in the rock world when Dylan and the Beatles hit: with the writer(s) and performer(s) being one and the same, audiences attached more meaning to the resulting music, as, I'd argue, did many of the musicians. So it's not surprising now to see that many of the younger musicians seem much more willing to go their own way with what Jazz means to them. And not just the youngest of the young-I can't help but think of guys like Bill Frisell and Charlie Haden. I wonder what their early listening habits were like?

    But in the end what I see is that much as rock has grown more and more fragmented over the years, so will jazz, as new artists help redefine its boundaries. I can't imagine we'll be able to sum it up with something as succinct as 'Swing' or 'Bebop'-I think those days are over.

    best,
    Jack.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,125
    what about non functional harmony, like those wayne shorter compositions... a lot of people are really trying to play outside these days with wacky chord progressions... and i also noticed lots of young jazz people experimenting with different grooves, different time signatures...

    from a melodic point of view, there are guys who are developing the outside playing concept... guys like george garzone .. anyone familiar with his triadic approach... it's a melodic/harmonic concept that has nothing to do with a particular song's original chord changes...

    basically you play any triad (major or minor) arpeggio in any inversion or any order, then you move up half a step (or down) then play another triad in a different inversion / order...

    so if you choose a C triad, you can do E up to G down to C , then you go for example up a half step to Db... which opens up numerous triadic possibilites such as Db, Bbm, Gb, Gbm, etc... , let's say we choose Bbm.. so we had E G C db down to Bbm up to F... etc... you repeat this process... and that's an entire language of its own

    the guitarist bryan baker has a similar approach where he harmonizes a mode scale in unrelated triads... so if you have an Fm scale:

    F G Ab Bb C Db Eb

    he'll harmonize the

    F note with for example a Bb

    G note with Em

    Ab with Eaug

    etc.. etc...

    so from an innovation point of view i suppose jazz is still alive...

    some of this stuff should be applied to gypsy jazz hahaha..

    here's a video of bryan baker, i think he was 19 at the time:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=n2Mj9tVy6kE
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,204
    Jazz has been creatively dead for many years but as Elliot says, it is spiritually still alive albeit very much a niche genre when compared to days of former glory.
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I think that Elliot is right and that jazz became a niche music as soon as it quit being dance music it started out as. At that point it became eclectic and eventually the province of a few die hards. I remember going to Jazz festivals in the '70's that would have one jazz group and seven groups I considered to be R&B bacause that's the only way they could get enough people to show up. I think in the American public's mind, jazz is "cool jazz" and has been reduced to elevator music: Kenny G, Grover Washington, and the like...background music that doesn't engage the listener.

    If you think about it, what we call "jazz" has always been an as much an approach to music as a style of music. It has taken popular songs of every generation and used them (or reworked them) as a basis of improvization. A number of the Berklee School grads when I was young were merging rock into jazz. Robin Nolan has even done country tunes as jazz (back to Texas Swing!). The name came from that nexus in the 20's and 30's when jazz was primarily dance music. I think what always drove me towards swing was that driving dance rhythm that's gone from so much jazz. It gives it a primitive power that I think much jazz has lost.

    I think what we think of as jazz will always survive in some form. What it will be called doesn't matter. Bach was playing "jazz", wasn't he? He and Weiss were famous for their jam sessions at Bach's house with harpsichord and guitar. Great musicians will improvise. We call it jazz now. Or jam rock. When jazz becomes dance music again, I suspect it will get a new name. But underneath, it will be the same thing.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,920
    dennis wrote:
    what about non functional harmony, like those wayne shorter compositions

    He did that in the 60s...what about today?


    ... a lot of people are really trying to play outside these days with wacky chord progressions... and i also noticed lots of young jazz people experimenting with different grooves, different time signatures...

    No doubt there's a lot of experimentation going on. But is any of this really providing the basis for a real stylistic era in jazz? You can experiment all you want, but if it's not accepted by a larger group of players/listeners, then it doesn't really qualify as an advancement of the genre.


    from a melodic point of view, there are guys who are developing the outside playing concept... guys like george garzone .. anyone familiar with his triadic approach... it's a melodic/harmonic concept that has nothing to do with a particular song's original chord changes...


    the guitarist bryan baker has a similar approach where he harmonizes a mode scale in unrelated triads... so if you have an Fm scale:

    Do you think in 20 years people will say 2007 was the era of "outside triad" jazz? Is there someone really doing something that lots of other people are influenced by. Or is it all just idiosyncratic dead ends?
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