Didn't say attracting audiences don't matter - just that they don't for jazz as a whole define the art.Surely there are limits to how far something like free jazz can go? But if we've written off the need for an audience and the money related to having one, maybe not?
Yes, the new stuff has always gotten bad reviews. Sometimes they were wrong, sometimes they weren't. The critics aren't always wrong. The stuff that Ornette Coleman was doing... I don't think you can really say that endured. Maybe you can in some sense that some were influenced by it, but who is still playing like that? To an audience?
But again, if attracting audiences doesn't matter, then the discussion is really meaningless. There is then no objective way to measure success or failure.
Actually classical music is more popular than jazz. Also, quite a few pop songs directly rip off melodies from classical music so classical music is continuing on in contemporary music.Didn't say attracting audiences don't matter - just that they don't for jazz as a whole define the art.
Sorry but you're jumping to absolutes to make a point - just describing the driving force behind so many jazz artists. Every artist would love to share their art with a large audience... but "their art"... not some well worn art created by someone 30 years, rehashed over and over. Which is what a lo of what's being described in this thread amounts to.
Bring back SWING MUSIC??????
That music is 75 years old!!!!! Why don't we bring back She Na Na and Happy Days - which was only a 20 year adventure in nostalgia?
It gets so old hearing the plea "Why can't jazz today sound like "Kind Of Blue"??? Short answer - because it's 50 years old!!
Longer answer - because jazz is not classical music. Or at least many are trying to keep it from becoming that. Why? Because classical music is effectively a dead art form. 99.99% of the orchestral music played by orchestra's today was written by long dead artists. As a living musical art form it is the equivalent of an ancient marble statue.
My apologies to those that strive to write and program current modern classical composers - an endeavor I wholeheartedly support - but hardly any one else does.
Jazz is far along that path - with re-issues far outselling new releases. And it may end up as dead of an art form as is classical music.
I'm just arguing that it would not be a good thing... because while there might be some work for those re-playing "hits" of the past...the journey that has been jazz would be over... basically.
Heck maybe it already is - and those of us trying, are just wrestling with a corpse. I don't know.
(Looking up I kipped something - Of course, critics aren't always wrong. That wasn't my point. My point was that when it comes to new music - new music that turned out to be highly influential - looking back, there were always the "traditionalist" critics that indeed got it wrong. And no to this day, there isn't a single competent "Essential Jazz" listening guide that omits Ornette Coleman
As for there being an "objective way to measure success or failure" - ultimately, of course there isn't. Art is subjective. But... to even be part of any wide, popular discussion (like this) there clearly must some degree of practical success... or the artist and their music would simple be unknown. Do I believe that "free jazz" is the ulimate in jazz expression - personally, no. But none of that changes the fact that Ornette did significantly change and influence the art and is remembered to this day - and will be for some time to come.)
••••••••The jazz scene in London seems to be going through a real resurgence with young artists like Nubya Garcia, the Esra Collective, the great drummer Moses Boyd,etc. They are appealing to a young club going audience, because the music draws influence from a variety of influences including Afro beat, reggae and hip hop.
I grew up in a small Canadian city that has had a University music program for over 100 years. They started a Jazz school in the 60s that placed them as one of the best nation wide and that had guest Jazz great musicians in residence for a term or two. And in the 70s - early 90s we had a Jazz Society with Quarterly Sunday jams at a great venue. The students attendance was very sketchy. Most of them studied Jazz as it was required for a degree to become a Music Teacher. On weekends they played Rock.I love jazz and I listen to it daily. I have been playing jazz drums for nearly 30 years in various combos (and some big bands). But I am inclined to think it's becoming a lost art. Jazz supporters are unfortunately dying off and there aren't enough youngsters to replace them.
I see it at my own jazz gigs, which have decreased over the past 15 or so years. With the decrease in support brings the decrease in venues.
That might be the most educated part of the country outside of Boston. With a lot of great music and jazz education in the schools too. Last time I was in Seattle, I saw that a school jazz band was playing a real club in an early slot, didn't have time to check it out unfortunately.The idea that jazz is only music for intellectuals doesn't hold up when you have thriving jazz radio in your area. In the greater Seattle area, (Western WA) you have 24 hour jazz and blues programming on KNKX. A mix of blues, be bop, avant guard and contemporary funk will have you tapping your toes most of the day.
KNKX is a PUBLIC radio station. Yes, PBS/NPR stations play jazz. Few commercial station do so. KNKX is owned by a non-profit group so it doesn’t pay taxes.The idea that jazz is only music for intellectuals doesn't hold up when you have thriving jazz radio in your area. In the greater Seattle area, (Western WA) you have 24 hour jazz and blues programming on KNKX. A mix of blues, be bop, avant guard and contemporary funk will have you tapping your toes most of the day.
First off - great post.I feel for dcrigger.
Just to add, all but the top 10% of full time musicians have suffered greatly since piracy, streaming and now Covid.
The finances of recording disappeared during piracy and in the transition into streaming (Spotify, Apple Music etc). The only people who have continued to earn significantly from recording are the top 10% of popular artists, the Taylor Swifts, the Drakes. In the early 2000's tech bloggers told us to adapt or die, so we all hit the road. Since then most full time musicians (jazz, pop, indie etc) have been away from home most of the year, playing live. Last March venues started to shut and travel started to become more difficult all due to the pandemic and lockdown. Live music is global. You can't really survive by just performing locally. So most of us were travelling large distances across many different nations. That can't happen in a pandemic.
We're approaching 12 months with virtually no income from performing, in a time where streaming pays $0.0006 per play. It looks highly likely there will be no return to live performance for another 6 months, probably another 12 months.
If people want good music, played by good musicians, they are going to have to get used toping for it again.
Jazz is part of a rich and diverse culture we have all enjoyed. It's difficult to assign lasting value to any culture over the course of one lifetime. For example, a great deal of culture that was more or less ignored in it's time of creation, we now see as highly valuable to civilisation. We don't know what music will be seen as extremely important to humans 100-200 years from now, but based on history, it is probably not going to be the most popular music right now.
"...is that bad for a musical genre as a whole?"Well, this discussion always seems to divide down two paths. First path is that the music will always be there, and it thrives on pushing the boundaries. It's the artist that decides what is art. That is true. The second path is, "If a tree falls in the forrest and there is no one there to hear it..." That is an important question because it gets to the "So what?". But if someone does hear it and it actually repels people, is that bad for a musical genre as a whole? These two things are really only loosely coupled, which makes the discussion more difficult to have.