Jump to content

Did Academia Kill Jazz?

Chris A

Recommended Posts

On ‎2‎/‎8‎/‎2019 at 8:56 AM, Chris A said:

See: http://theconversation.com/did-academia-kill-jazz-110485




I'm not alone in my belief that avant-garde (free) Jazz left just about everyone behind in the 1960s, just when Rock was firmly establishing itself worldwide.  But most Jazz musicians of that time I believe recognized that they were leaving their audiences behind.  "Jazz Fusion" was born--a fusion of Jazz and Rock.  Miles Davis tried it but I believe he notably failed as per the conversions of Donald Fagen of Steely Dan mentioned (and re-quoted here). 


I think Jazz has been with us and has continually influenced our music profoundly.  We just haven't been calling it "Jazz".  I know that I still play my old Steely Dan, Chicago, BS&T, and Mahavishnu Orchestra, Billy Cobham, Return to Forever, much more than other old albums. Newer recordings by The Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny Group, Norah Jones, Esperanza Spalding, Stacy Kent, Diana Krall, Hiromi, Jean-Luc Ponty, and many others--are played in my household disproportionately more often than Blues and its offspring Rock (probably by a factor of 2x-3x).  My music library consists of 25% Jazz, just behind Classical (33%), and then Rock (20%). 


I live in an area where Jazz has had a disproportionate effect on music students in college...the University of North Texas--a.k.a., the "One O'Clock Lab Band" and the other 10-20 lab bands there, and even other Universities in the area including UT Arlington, TCU, and a few others--notably community colleges.  Many of my musician friends from high school (as well as my children's musician friends from high school) went on to these institutions for their professional music education.  If you didn't know, the musicianship level of these institutions is what I'd call "ferocious"--as I believe that many think of the NTU Lab Band scene as a sort of "meat grinder" for good musicians that get pulled in and ground up.  I can see the effect of academia on the ideas of "Jazz" that still exist out of the mainstream of music today, i.e., very few people come home and put on the One O'Clock's recordings to relax to.  KNTU 88.1 broadcasts that sort of Jazz on the FM dial locally for those that can't seem to get enough.  I found that I get sort of filled up fairly quickly by that style of Jazz.  I rather listen to a little less "intense" Jazz of today, and it's usually called "Fusion".  Sometimes you'll also see me put on a little "Light Jazz" from time to time.  I believe that mainstream Jazz isn't really found in colleges nowadays.  Perhaps Berklee graduates in the Northeast are a bit more in tune with the current state of Jazz.  It's all post Bop in this area--which has become insulated and less relevant than the other sorts of Jazz from the late 1960s that I listed above.


To me, Fusion and other associated genres are the testimonial of where real "modern Jazz" has gone.


Your thoughts




I thought you Texas boys only listened to cowboy music?     Love to poke a fellow Texan when I can.     smile  


The jazz I do not like is a cut where they never play the same note twice.  And then there is Dixie Land. 

Liked Chicago when they were Chicago Transit Authority. But that was rock. IMO  After that they were lite top 40 radio cuts to make money. BS&T where somewhat more jazz inspired.

EL&P hit some Jazz licks but had a classical flair as well. Great live! 

Liked Fusion such as very early Jeff Lobber. 

Big band Swing?  In my early 30's a friend and I went to a supper club called Zigfield's;  With hair down our backs and in 3 piece suits we were the only people there under age 70.

Cocktails and Count Basie live?  We were floored!!!  Got to spend some time with him afterword.  Still have his autograph on a cocktail napkin.

Under the radar is Art Pepper.   "Miss Who?" is killer!!

George Duke on keyboards. (Zappa) 

Will listen to the hotter cuts of snooze jazz in background when reading.





  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that's entirely true--but it's largely true for a lot of people.  For most people today, "Jazz" = nostalgia. 


But the quote by Davis on pg. 2 of this thread shows a completely different picture.  Davis wasn't interested in a nostalgic image of a time and place that he said was never really true.  He was a working musician that knew that the moment that he tried on that nostalgia, it was all over.  Instead, he kept going.  Sometimes he made it work, other times, not.  He took a lot of heat for the path he chose.


I think that the subject of this thread is that for the genre to live on, it has to keep changing.  (This applies to audio and loudspeakers, too.) There always seems to be a lot of push back from "new".  Jazz was rejected by many back then and new music is rejected by many now (as we've even seen in this thread). 


Recognizing that Sturgeon's Law applies to everything (and 90% of everything does seem to be crud), many of us keep looking for that 10% that isn't crud and that is new.  The principles of Jazz have basically taken over the function that classical music played for a long time, i.e., an application of music theory--buoyed and anchored by academic support--that has diversified into virtually all music genres.  You can hear it being applied everywhere in music...if you listen.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, IB Slammin said:

I thought you Texas boys only listened to cowboy music?     Love to poke a fellow Texan when I can.     smile  


Oh, those stereotypes....LOL...although she wanted to sing cowboy music, the rednecks railroaded her out with, "we ain't havin none of that!"; in fact I enjoyed two of my KD Lang CDs just last night...and a Blu-ray concert last weekend...  :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

All forms influence each other.  For the reverse of this topic check out the Tom Sawyer cover by The Bad Plus.  What I find interesting is that the piano solos have a distinct Nancarrow effect.

This is the shortened version of the one I heard on local radio, so don't be afraid...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...