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formality in jazz

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coleman  
2 Jun 2010 02:44 | Quote
Joined: 10 May 2009
United States
Karma: 8
(big band) its stupid to me what started out as a free rebellious way of expression has turened into this formal thing. i don't like clapping after every solo its annoying i want to hear the music.
why do they dress up nice?
carlsnow  
2 Jun 2010 09:32 | Quote
Joined: 29 Apr 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 23
--Pardon me if i indirectly quote Miles, Monk, Bird, etc here.. But I’ve obsessively read their Biographies, Autobiographies, on so forth and so on etc-etc. so rather than run from those …well yaKnow ---

The main reason Big Bands do or did this was due to the light being shone on the band-leader. Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway etc were assuring the 1920's/30's audiences that it was "their band".
BUT
I think
you are talking more Jazz ala Bop, Be-Bop, and Hard-Bop here than Big-Band, if not ... oops! lol I read you wrong.

I will, however take a stab at it from that angle, as that (quartet/quintet Jazz) is where the monster you speak of was born.

Back in the day, everyone(well almost) wore suits and ties, it was simply the dress code of the day... BUT "it" and its presently discussed ‘offspring’ turned into yet another way to separate classes and shatter academia. (This may sound silly but think (and read) back to the 1700's, and the day of ‘court composition’)

- Jazz was/is a form of improvisational expression, which began with guys like Goodman and Fats Navarro etc.. Writing the "pop" music of the day and occasionally 'vamping' over the stated melody-line. This gave way to 'Cats' such as Bird(Charlie Parker) pushing further away from the stated melody-line after 16 bars or so, improvising in short and fairly "safe" bursts of 4 to 6 bars(generally). This music was being made far from the public-ear(read: white folks w/ money) that had attended the early pre-Bop big-band shows(which continued) and many of the younger set became curious of what was happening in these dark low-rent bars full of dope, danger, and genius, and so the word spread along the 'hipster'-grapevine: "You gotta see Bird!” (Much like the lesser-known ‘shredders’ of this moment), “man, that cats crazy"-etc
Under the employ of Dizz, Navarro, Bird and most of their peers resided an enormously ‘untapped’ bumper-crop of incendiary talents such as Miles(Davis) Monk(Thelonious), Mingus(Charles), 'Trane(John Coltrane), Cannonball Adderly, Sonny Rollins and so forth. These younger men took the pop standards of the day (big band tunes, and songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein and such) as well as Duke, and Monk’s early masterpieces, Monk’s ‘Round Midnight’ for example, and moved more towards the improvisational side of things, MUCH more, while ‘Round Midnight, was a classic in Monks fingers it was an insane success via Miles. BUT we are still in smoke/dope/danger-filled clubs now(no coincidence most all these cats became junkies).
Something changed (much like the ‘punk’ revolt in “rock” of 1975 and 76), the air was charged with ‘competition’ amongst players, and a new, young ,‘hip’ white audience of college kids and art-school drop-outs began to populate these clubs.

For the sake of the main point (and my aching old fingers lol) lets skip up to say 1955 or so.

The ‘hipsters’ had grown up and all had their jazz heroes, only NOW they had them at home on record!
The critics did what critics do, the labels did what they always did/do and an actual paying audience was there for the ‘jazz cult’
PROBLEM(s)
(Much as I love the guy) Sinatra, The 4-Freshmen, and a host of ‘safe white guy music’
was also being sold and promoted feverishly by ad-men in suits. This was ‘safe’ music to those who needed the safety it offered as ‘Jazz’ had become demonized in the press as dangerous, drug soaked, etc-etc
Jazz drifted a bit (not too far) into the background for awhile, and this is when the ‘problem’ you speak of began.
Al of a sudden the Jazz audience was made up of the NEW hipsters at college as well as their professors(lol) who HAD been the 1st wave of hipsters. These folks rejected the “pop” mainstream and clung to jazz, which WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SO BAD IF THEY DIDN”T CANNONIZE IT.
In Short: “jazz” was now thought of as some elevated form of music, ‘smart music” if you will (much like those guys in white wigs circa 1800), and set apart.

Now, I wont get into BeBop or Hard Bop-etc, but lets just say that the music evolved further from this point. Jazz stretched its reach almost as much in protest to those who were beginning to hail it as “high art” as in a search for deeper expression through longer solo’s , modal writing, and various forms of new expression. THIS crop of ‘Jazz’ would be the ‘high art” of those early 60’s hipsters.
Point being: Once a music is labeled as “better” or “smarter” etc the process continues (those guys in white wigs from 1700? …yup them too) to cycle year after year after year until its ‘accepted as fact”

So my answer is scattered above this sentence.

Was Mozart a genius (for HIS time)? SURE, but like most of his eers most of his work was commissioned by Duke so and so or King whats his name…Does that make his music better? No. Does it seem silly to wear a tuxedo to what is really a performance(usually inaccurate) of ‘the pop music of the day’ silly ? YES.

Makes ya wonder…. “in 80 years will folks dress in tuxedos to hear a rendition of Stairway To Heaven?”

And Jazz still struggles with this … Miles put it brilliantly when pulverizing a young wuss, Wynton Marsalis for “not moving forward” but the quote is to full , lol, of expletives to post.

In the end, Zappa, an outcast genious, said it best in three words: “Music is the best”
And not so oddly , now that Frank is dead, his orchestral compositions are (mis)played much much more often than when he was alive ... …
Go figure.

We need to look at music AS music. Not as some elevated art.


JAZZ!
Cs


Global Disclaimer :
Carl Snow is an old, jaded & slightly bitter old man who cannot be held accountable for anything, much less his opinionatedly opinionated opinions or those of his imaginary friends. We sincerely apologize if this Carl Snow and/or its behavior have infected you or others with its ugly brain and its juices.

Ozzfan486  
2 Jun 2010 10:15 | Quote
Joined: 01 Oct 2008
United States
Licks: 1
Karma: 18
...whoa. lol. Very good points though Carl.
BTW, I know it's off-topic, but I'm not experienced in this topic anyway, so do you have any recommendations of Frank Zappa's orchestral stuff? I'm usually not into that kind of thing, but I've always liked Frank, but never heard he did any of that.

Ozz
carlsnow  
2 Jun 2010 10:38 | Quote
Joined: 29 Apr 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 23
dont go near the LSO stuff, FZ hated it

IMO (and most other Zappa-philes) his greatest purely orchestra work can be heard (Frank died VERY shortly after th concert) on the brilliant CD
'The Yellow Shark' , Pierre Boulez(cond) also did a fine god with 'Boulez' Conducts - The Perfect Stranger'
'Orchestral Favorites' is good
and i love the all synclaver-composed(off scores from 65-94) what he wanted to find "the right guys for" , his Magnum -Opus , Civilization PT III

of all these
The Yellow Shark
and
Civilization Phase III
are my favs (but Civ III = $80+ used)

If You cant find The Yellow Shark ...i suggest The Perfect Stranger and/or Orchestral Favorites.

hope this helped ..if yer still stuck shoot me a PM and I'll uh see what i can do *-)

RAWK!
Cs


Ozzfan486  
2 Jun 2010 11:01 | Quote
Joined: 01 Oct 2008
United States
Licks: 1
Karma: 18
Okay man. I'll look 'em up. Thanks!

tinyskateboard  
2 Jun 2010 13:22 | Quote
Joined: 28 Apr 2010
United States
Karma: 11
I've enjoyed a bunch of crazy jazz shows where the song/composition/piece is 15 minutes long. The rest of the band drops out for a minute at one point and someone takes a solo. Than the band comes in and people tend to clap for a few seconds. It shows appreciation for the music, and is much more punk then waiting for the end of the song to golf clap polite appreciation. It's part of the tradition. Some compositions don't leave space for this (e.g. Anthony Braxton) and then you don't clap.

Roscoe Mitchell and Art Ensemble of Chicago

carlsnow  
3 Jun 2010 12:13 | Quote
Joined: 29 Apr 2009
United States
Lessons: 2
Karma: 23
Ozzfan486 says:
Okay man. I'll look 'em up. Thanks!

NP, bro..
and FZ put out some amazing Jazz ass well:
Hot Rats
Wakka Jawakka
The Grand Wazoo
Make a Jazz Noise Here (my fav)
and most of the live suff from 72-78 or

RAWK!
Cs


Global Disclaimer :
Carl Snow is an old, jaded & slightly bitter old man who cannot be held accountable for anything, much less his opinionatedly opinionated opinions or those of his imaginary friends. We sincerely apologize if this Carl Snow and/or its behavior have infected you or others with its ugly brain and its juices.


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