19 December 2009

The Music, the Iconoclast, the Party Hats

By way of citing a Miles Davis anecdote, mention of Jazz by Gary Giddins and Scott DeVeaux is made herein:

Seth Colter Walls writes:
It’s time, finally, to separate the question of “Is today’s jazz good?” from the question “Is today’s jazz popular?”
If we substitute the broader category music for jazz there, we have a distinction between two questions whose argument has a respectable pedigree, indeed.

He also writes:
At the beginning of the 21st century, the economic status of jazz is more like that of the symphony orchestra, only without the economic safety net of foundation funding that undergirds concerts featuring Beethoven and Brahms.
This strikes me as at least partly ill-advised on Mr Walls’ part; the matter is not black-&-white in the way this remark of his suggests. There are composers today in the “classical” idiom who do not benefit from that “economic safety net” any more than jazzers do. The flaws in the analogy obviously spring from the false “equation” of an entire musical style (jazz) with one type of performing ensemble (the symphony orchestra).

And, by the way, there must be fifty symphony orchestras in the United States who have played either the Rhapsody in Blue or An American in Paris in calendar year 2009; where the volume of music recently composed for orchestra, but which goes begging for performances, must be considerable. Some of us do not have the economic safety net of foundation funding that undergirds concerts featuring the music of Gershwin, either.

And now: the man who once said, Jazz isn’t dead, it just smells funny . . .

The only photos I see of this piece of public art, flatter neither the artist nor the subject depicted:

Another headline for this story reads: Bust of Frank Zappa to grace Baltimore library. Obviously an unusually nuanced use of the verb “grace” . . . .

No comments: