21 July 2008

Post-war Jazz

Talented composer and raggamuffin Darcy James Argue has a great piece over at the New Music Box: "Dispatches From the End of the Jazz Wars." I recommend it to anyone concerned about the future of this thing called jazz.

A few excerpts:

You remember the Jazz Wars? One side—the traditionalist faction—was spearheaded by Wynton Marsalis and his consiglieri, writer, and critic Stanley Crouch—both tireless defenders of the essential virtues of swing, blues, and standards, both deeply suspicious of outside influences, especially those they saw as coming from popular culture or "modern European concert music." The other side, a ragtag coalition of those left excluded by this narrow view,

The truth is that while a lot of critical ink was spilled on both sides of the Jazz Wars, few musicians actually took up arms themselves.

Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I happen to think the outlook is good. Jazz musicians of all stripes have spent the post-Jazz Wars era forging ahead with smart, visceral music that is reaching a new audience—our grounding in jazz fundamentals actually makes it easier for us to reach across genre barriers and engage with the wider musical culture, as jazz musicians have been doing throughout the music's history.

Read it, already.

Update: And don't miss the comment badinage on DJA's blog (aw, all right some of it is worth missing...)

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