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Tonal Gravity

By cribcage in Culture
Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:39:43 AM EST
Tags: Music (all tags)
Music

George Russell is probably the foremost American composer. He was jazz's first theoretician, and remains its most important innovator. His ideas led directly to the conception of three seminal jazz albums in 1959: Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, John Coltrane's Giant Steps, and Russell's own New York, New York.

For the first time in nearly a decade, Russell has released a new recording. Today he turns 82.


The future of big bands looks bleak. Last year, Toshiko Akiyoshi announced the disbanding of her orchestra. She explained that maintaining a big band had kept her away from the piano, and she looked forward to being able to concentrate on her instrument. But she was also frustrated. After more than 30 years of leading one of the most highly regarded bands in the world, she still couldn't turn a profit. Opportunities to record in the United States were rare. When she finally arranged to record and produce her albums in Japan, she couldn't even get them distributed in the States. Finally, she gave up.

Fellow bandleaders have suffered similar fates. Carla Bley tours Europe regularly with her big band, but she can't afford to bring them onto US soil. Maria Schneider, who won a Grammy this year for her fan-funded Concert in the Garden, tours sporadically after losing a weekly gig at Visiones when the club closed. Bob Brookmeyer leads several small groups domestically, but maintains his big band in Europe. He is currently following in Schneider's footsteps with Spirit Music.

So it's little surprise that George Russell hasn't released a CD since 1996's It's About Time. His last two releases suffered from limited distribution by a small French label. His most recent is available exclusively through CDBaby, hopefully pending wider release. It was recorded during a tour of Europe in 2003 to commemorate his 80th birthday.

More than any other composer, Russell considers his craft to be a genuine science. In his own words:

I feel that music is not simply an art; but is on the highest level of physics; it is philosophical. ... Music is a part of the language of physics. ... So when I work, music for me is an expression of laws. These laws are evidenced in many areas of human endeavor and efforts. It is no coincidence that they are also at the basis of music.

The fact that music is an objective science and is based on objective laws has influenced me into leading the kind of life I have lived. I have pursued this effort and made it first above having a band in New York or anything else. Nothing on earth would have made me pursue the direction I have pursued other than that I think music is man's highest language. That's why it's understood the world over.

If I felt subjective about music, I would simply write music and not books. If I had a subjective feeling about music and about being able to interest people in my soul through music why should I write a book about it? I should only write music. But there's another urge present in me which forces me to consider the laws of music having an innate beauty of their own and underlying all music. So music is simply the medium through which these laws are channeled. You should be able to feel music and learn how to live your life or solve problems.

Russell's discovery, the Lydian Chromatic Concept, is groundbreaking. Modern jazz offers only two perspectives on relating chords with scales: the application of Greek modes, pioneered at Berklee by John LaPorta and Jack Peterson -- and the Concept. In simple terms, the Concept is the application of science to music. The Principle of Tonal Gravity (or "tonal magnetism") analyzes the forces which act on music, and establishes the Lydian scale as the primary source for musical function. This series of ascending fifths becomes "the center of a self-organized tonal gravity field in which all tonal phenomena are graded on the basis of their close to distant relationship to it."

Newcomers to the Concept are warned: First, this is not a quick read. What began as a pamphlet in 1953 has been developed and revised into the current fourth (and final) edition, a full-sized, 252-page textbook complete with illustrations, examples, and charts. It's strictly for serious study. Second: It will change your life. Whether or not you embrace the Concept, learning about it will yield insights that change the way you hear and play music, forever.

The compositions of George Russell speak for themselves. Craftsmen ripen with age and experience; and although Russell's 1960s sextet work was profound, his later compositions have no peer. He confronts subjects, like the beginnings of life with 1985's Grammy-winning The African Game, which resound across borders of race and nationality. He meticulously crafts each movement and cadence, insisting on equal perfection from both his pen and his orchestra. And more than any other composer, Russell sidesteps the major pitfall of jazz orchestration: He never plans a piece around a solo, but uses them only when they serve a larger purpose. His arrangements are never vehicles for blowing over changes. In Russell's music, a solo doesn't happen unless it complements the symphony.

It is remarkable that Russell has gone unrecognized by much of the world. Kind of Blue has become the best-selling jazz album ever. It has earned mention in every discussion of modern musical landmarks. Yet Russell is the man who planted the seed. When Miles remarked that he "wanted to learn all the changes," Russell set about to discover a way to do just that -- and he taught Miles. Less than a decade later, Miles had incorporated Russell's discoveries into what became modal jazz.

After his early impact on jazz, Russell has remained a tidal force underneath the music, refining his Concept for future generations. The only regret is that his dedication to an idea may have codified his reputation as an educator before his significance as a composer. Fortunately, we have his albums to celebrate the latter.

Happy Birthday, George.

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Poll
Favorite Composer?
o Bach 62%
o Mozart 27%
o Ligeti 6%
o Maria Schneider 0%
o Jim McNeely 0%
o Toshiko Akiyoshi 0%
o Bob Florence 0%
o Bob Brookmeyer 3%
o George Russell 0%

Votes: 29
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o George Russell
o theoretici an
o Kind of Blue
o Giant Steps
o New York, New York
o new recording
o Toshiko Akiyoshi
o disbanding
o Carla Bley
o Maria Schneider
o Concert in the Garden
o Bob Brookmeyer
o Spirit Music
o It's About Time
o small French label
o CDBaby
o words
o Lydian Chromatic Concept
o Berklee
o textbook
o The African Game
o Kind of Blue [2]
o Also by cribcage


Display: Sort:
Tonal Gravity | 164 comments (143 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
I'm disappointed (3.00 / 3) (#6)
by army of phred on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:52:58 AM EST

that I'm immediately interested in buying the book, only to find out that it costs $125. Thats not really a huge investment, but I'd hate to spend $125 to find out that I'm not interested in the books contents (or more likely, not knowlegeable enough to benefit).

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
big deal (1.66 / 3) (#7)
by scatbubba on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:59:29 AM EST

"After more than 30 years of leading one of the most highly regarded bands in the world, she still couldn't turn a profit. Opportunities to record in the United States were rare. When she finally arranged to record and produce her albums in Japan, she couldn't even get them distributed in the States. Finally, she gave up."

So she tried to start a business and it didn't work out. It happens to lots of people who try to start a business. She should have done more market research, maybe she would have known there is no money in big band.

-100, Astounding insight. (2.33 / 3) (#10)
by spasticfraggle on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 02:11:42 PM EST

Artist fails in marketplace, Suits laugh. God shivers.

--
I'm the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]
YHBT? (none / 0) (#25)
by MMcP on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:22:25 PM EST

(N)ervous (T)rembling

[ Parent ]
Hyperbole (3.00 / 4) (#33)
by cribcage on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:33:32 PM EST

So she tried to start a business and it didn't work out.
Well, she attracted top players and maintained one of the world's most celebrated big bands for more than three decades. She earned 14 Grammy nominations, including both 1985 categories won by The African Game. Her autobiography has sold out three printings. She currently lives on the Upper West Side.

So it seems to have worked out OK.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

Ugh, you sound like my ex-girlfriend (none / 1) (#8)
by LilDebbie on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 12:41:32 PM EST

The analysis of the aesthetic destroys the aesthetic.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

eh? (none / 0) (#11)
by pHatidic on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 02:19:11 PM EST

The word aesthetic means the judgement of the judgement of pleasures. It is meta analysis by definition.

[ Parent ]
Forgive my semantics (none / 0) (#13)
by LilDebbie on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 02:57:16 PM EST

I do not know a better word to describe the indescribable.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
And just how much (none / 0) (#45)
by rpresser on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:03:17 AM EST

pleasure did you get out of judging his use of the word to be mistaken?

An aesthete is someone who is too busy understanding beauty to enjoy it.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

Why is there such an absence (none / 1) (#12)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 02:24:34 PM EST

of Viking Metal related articles around here?

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

It is too intense for they're frail psyches. (3.00 / 2) (#14)
by LilDebbie on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:12:13 PM EST

Show them pity by bringing them swift, merciful death.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
If only they would allow Immortal (none / 1) (#15)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:13:04 PM EST

and Amon Amarth to write the national anthems for all the cool countries of the world....

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

US already has one... (3.00 / 2) (#16)
by LilDebbie on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:14:29 PM EST

Vs. the World!

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Yeah, but some douchebag (none / 0) (#17)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:15:54 PM EST

wrote it, instaed of some wickid cool guy with black and white face paint and a battle-axe.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Durr (none / 1) (#18)
by LilDebbie on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:24:32 PM EST

I was suggesting that the US use teh song by Amon Amarth of the title Vs. the World as teh new national anthem cuz we act all unilaterally and stuff lol.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Ohh.....uhhhh....yeah, totally (none / 0) (#24)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 04:00:23 PM EST

That would be a more logical solution.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

Because (none / 0) (#36)
by destroy all monsters on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 09:41:21 PM EST

you're too busy writing about Naked Lunch to write them. It's not that a well-written piece on Nordic (or scandanavian for that matter) metal would tank.

Yes, yes I know this is a troll but I happen to like Amon Amarth, Immortal and many others as much as I do jazz and many other forms of music.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

This, my friend, is no troll. (none / 1) (#47)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:25:19 AM EST

This is a legit concern.  I just turned off Sons of Northern Darkness as I responded.  i am also lamenting the Amon Amarth website being down for so long now.

And, to top it all, I am moving to a town called Mount albert in a few weeks, but I will be calling it Amon albert to anyone that asks.  Maybe I can get Amon Amarth to come there when the visit Canada next....

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

If you will fight for the cause (none / 1) (#49)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:12:24 AM EST

I too will raise my battleaxe against teh ignorant masses (translation - I will keep you honest and with an assist in editorial comments).

Hail Asgard!

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

It seems our paths must cross (none / 1) (#50)
by Egil Skallagrimson on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:15:25 AM EST

to fight these impudent dogs for all time.

Only he who battle Wins!!!!!

Let us stay at the heart of winter.

----------------

Enterobacteria phage T2 is a virulent bacteriophage of the T4-like viruses genus, in the family Myoviridae. It infects E. coli and is the best known of the T-even phages. Its virion contains linear double-stranded DNA, terminally redundant and circularly permuted.
[ Parent ]

TO ASGARD! [n/t] (none / 0) (#70)
by destroy all monsters on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 08:03:49 PM EST



"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
On Analysis (2.50 / 2) (#48)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:31:34 AM EST

The analysis of the aesthetic destroys the aesthetic.
Music is equal parts art and craft. Art should be challenged, and craftsmanship should be analyzed. It's worth considering that perhaps only through such examination does a work achieve its potential -- to say nothing of the lessons we stand to learn as fellow artists and craftsmen.

Having said that, you missed the larger point. Russell's music is not intended to be subjective. He aims for a larger purpose, and applies what he believes are objective laws. Analysis is essential.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

ugh, god forbid that artists ... (none / 1) (#120)
by pyramid termite on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 01:40:02 PM EST

... actually be able to THINK about what they're doing ... you have no clue ... none whatsoever ... end of subject


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]

Does this guy swing? (2.00 / 2) (#21)
by trane on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 03:33:01 PM EST

Because it don't mean a thing otherwise.

-1, Fuck Jazz (1.00 / 9) (#26)
by eejit on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:47:02 PM EST

One of the most boring nights of my life was spent sat in a jazz club listening to there 'music' and 'jamming'.

If I'd had a knife and fork I would have eaten my own arm to relieve the tedium.

That brand of jazz is only good if you're playing. (none / 0) (#27)
by glor on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:57:02 PM EST

I've been to that club.  The band was called "Sonic Backrub."

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

congrats (none / 1) (#35)
by forgotten on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 08:57:24 PM EST

It took me many years before I realized it was okay to admit that i didnt like jazz.

i sometimes laugh when other people say jazz when asked what music they like; i can just tell that they are saying it because they think that they need to like jazz, or risk not being seen as sophisticated.

--

[ Parent ]

um (none / 0) (#59)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:44:42 PM EST

some of us really do like it. the swing is the thing.

[ Parent ]
You're missing a "z". (1.40 / 5) (#28)
by Pat Chalmers on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:58:59 PM EST

It's jazzz.

The Concept... (3.00 / 6) (#29)
by fremen on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:14:52 PM EST

George Russell is probably the foremost American composer.

I'm sure that John Cage, George Gershwin, Aaron Copland, John Corigliano, Amy Beach, George Crumb, John Adams, Elliott Carter, Charles Ives, Philip Glass, Samuel Barber, and others would agree with you.

The Principle of Tonal Gravity (or "tonal magnetism") analyzes the forces which act on music, and establishes the Lydian scale as the primary source for musical function.

The 50s were a weird time for music and art. Artists were trying to follow in the footsteps of scientists and define art using scientific understandings. For example, the Serialists were trying to expand on Twelve Tone to create a "pure" descriptive musical language. John Cage was working on chance music so that he could better understand how music works with creative rules.

Stuff like The Concept fit the overall mood of the time. Times have changed a little, and now we've embraced stuff like minimialism, neo-classicism, and mysticism (Part, Messiaen, Tavener, etc). I won't say that we've thrown this analytical stuff away, but it's lost a lot of relevance as art has changed and moved on.



The record so far... (none / 1) (#32)
by cribcage on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 06:27:30 PM EST

I'm sure that [litany] would agree with you.
Hence the "probably," in an attempt to dissuade this sort of futile debate. I'll say this: I don't know what Copland or Ives would say. But Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Evans, and a host of other major artists (to say nothing of the faculty of New England Conservatory) have affirmed Russell's significance.

As for the march of time: Russell's ideas remain fresh, as attested by anyone who has studied them -- including those who ultimately discard the work. History, so far, has been quite kind to the music written based on Russell's ideas. We'll see what another 50 years have to say about the LCC.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

I think you're over-selling the influence he had (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by toulouse on Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 10:26:36 PM EST

He jammed with Gil Evans' crew. I find no information to suggest he was as significant as you claim in the development of 'Giant Steps'. Coltrane's steps on that album are more to do with the traditional be-bop hammering through chords, exploring the circle of fifths in a way most people seem to claim was Coltrane's discovery. From what I can gather, he may have had more influence on the later, more modal stuff, as Coltrane acclimatized to newer forms of modality but, even so, contemporaries seem to think that it was mostly Coltrane himself.

Now, there's no doubting that Coltrane was heavily influenced by his time in Miles Davis' band, and that Miles was influenced to a certain extent by Russell, but your introduction implies that Russell's theory was some magic formula from which came all these monumental albums, when nothing backs this up. Miles barely mentions Russell in his autobiography and I can't recall Coltrane mentioning him at all — I recall him talking of others as major influences, but not Russell.

I think some of it is opportunism on the part of Russell's publicists: There's no doubt he knew the men, was in the same circle of musicians and composers, and there was respect there, but the history of the time doesn't seem to cast as major role for him as does the history of today, if that makes sense. I'm not sure we should be so accepting, especially as the dead aren't here to set the record straight.

But still: That Diz `n Bird at Carnegie Hall album kicks ass, and he had the good sense to give up the drums when he heard Max Roach, so there's probably something about him.


--
'My god...it's full of blogs.' - ktakki
--


[ Parent ]
IAWTP (none / 1) (#60)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:59:55 PM EST

I haven't heard of this cat, and I'm a huge jazz fan.

Besides Coltrane was about the swing, at least as much as the harmony or melody. Any purported jazz article that doesn't mention swing is suspicious to me.

I used to frequent (before it was shut down) the branford marsalis online forum, where some of the premier jazz musicians of today (including branford and members of his band and family, nicholas payton, greg keezer, eric lewis, and many other lesser known professional jazz musicians) discussed at great length jazz and its characteristics; I don't recall Russell being mentioned. Some of them used to make fun of the way jazz is taught, particularly the idea that certain modes are more jazz-like or necessary. Of course they pooh-poohed any attempt to reduce jazz. However I think I agree with their point that there are other considerations more important than modes or scales when trying to define jazz. The best jazz at least.

I mean, Coltrane's "Impressions" is a modal tune (basically the same as "So What" by Davis' group). But they don't stick to the modes for very long do they?

[ Parent ]

Exaggeration and Swing (none / 1) (#67)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:06:22 PM EST

Look, I'm a huge Branford fan. In 30 years, Branford will probably be the top of the food chain in jazz. He's a heavyweight.

But you've posted about a dozen replies in this story, each basically saying, "The swing's the thing." I recognize the Marsalis family pitch on blues and swing. I've heard it firsthand. And it's not wrong -- but it's also not all there is.

There isn't any small group jazz that's more intense than Branford's quartet. None. Requiem is a six-star record. Kenny Kirkland was becoming a giant in his own right, and the chemistry between those four players made his loss truly, deeply tragic for the course of jazz history.

But there's a lot more to jazz -- to music -- than small group postbop. Brookmeyer's last quartet disc, Stay Out Of the Sun, is every bit as serious as Branford's recent work. Ditto for Dave Holland's Prime Directive. Or Henry Threadgill's Everybodys Mouth's a Book, or Sam Rivers's Celebration. These guys can dig just as deeply into the small group dynamic. But there's more to be had.

Not that the Marsalis compound needs a lecture on that subject. Wynton won a Pulitzer for Blood On the Fields. Both brothers have performed and recorded classical music. I know Jason has done some production work. Et cetera. They don't need to be told how wide the spectrum is. But sometimes their fans do.

As for over-selling: Yeah, I am, a bit. But y'know, Russell is a guy whose lack of recognition has been downright foolish. He's a giant, and it's ridiculous that someone can say, "I'm a huge jazz fan, and I've never heard of this cat." So if I'm pushing the pendulum a bit too hard in the opposite direction...so be it.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

okay (none / 1) (#69)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:36:49 PM EST

I think it's great actually that jazz is on the front page at k5. Congratulations! Any criticisms I have are to be taken in the spirit of two fans arguing about that which they love.

I recognize the Marsalis family pitch on blues and swing. I've heard it firsthand. And it's not wrong -- but it's also not all there is.

Sure, but it's one of the most important things, and that's often overlooked. An article on jazz should mention swing somewhere, imo. Coltrane, Parker, Armstrong, they could all reach down and pull up that deep swing. There's a quotation by Jimmy Garrison in Ashley Kahn's "A Love Supreme" in which he talks about players who concentrate on swing as opposed to those who don't. He says he's one of the former. So am I :)

I haven't heard too much Holland or Brookmeyer or Threadgill. I've heard some Sam Rivers, including an interview on NPR a while back; I think he understands the fundamentality of swing to jazz (and to all good music :).

The thing about Russell's theory is, I'd like to find out more about it, but I'm not going to buy his book. One reason is I'm very poor at the moment. If he really has a good theory, a better way to spread it would be to make it freely available.

[ Parent ]

Forest vs. Trees (none / 1) (#75)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:11:51 PM EST

Any criticisms I have are to be taken in the spirit of two fans arguing about that which they love.
Agreed. Glad to have that understood. :-)
An article on jazz should mention swing somewhere...
Nah. I take your point, but consider the parallels. Would you insist that every jazz article discuss melody? Harmonic rhythm? Tempo? It's fine to discuss them -- but it's also fine not to.

Plenty of players, particularly today, profess to focus on swing. That's cool. It's like Viking navigation: You choose a point on the coast and focus on it -- but the ultimate goal is to get from Point A to Point B, neither of which is the inlet you're focused on. It's a means to an end. And while focusing on that inlet (swing) will get you there, so will locking your gaze onto a nearby hill (harmony) or tower (melody). It's just navigation.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

Well we're starting to get to the core here (none / 1) (#77)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:30:01 PM EST

To me, swing is very close to the end goal in jazz. It's the single most important thing, imho. In statistical terms I would say it contributes something like 70-80% to the total "value" of jazz.

I would rather listen to a swinging "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" (tune I'm learning :) than to a straight "Ornithology".

That being said, I think some melodies and harmonies do contain swing in them. Some tunes seem to lend themselves to a swinging interpretation because of the way the notes are arranged, or something. For example, Ornette Coleman's "Broadway Blues" is a melody I find it hard to believe you could play without swinging it. Or the changes to "Indiana"...

I'm saying swing is an essential characteristic of jazz, and its most important one. It certainly is for me.

[ Parent ]

Bits & Pieces (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:54:07 PM EST

I assume you've got Matthew Shipp's and William Parker's duo of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again." Good stuff.

Yes, certain cadences definitely imply swing. But that works both ways: Certain feels imply particular progressions. As to any aspect being "the most important": Well, those are stages we go through to learn, and I don't think there's any other way. You discover one dimension and spend a lifetime mining its possibilities -- and so it goes, one dimension at a time. By the time you're 80, you've put together a serious palette.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

check your local college library (none / 1) (#101)
by Battle Troll on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 05:10:27 PM EST

Especially if you live in a large city or a city with a decent conservatory.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
yeah good point (none / 0) (#129)
by trane on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:28:27 PM EST

but i'm sure this library would have to do an inter-library loan to get it. And checking it out would require you to either be a student or pay a fee...

Such a hassle, clicking on a link would be so much easier.

[ Parent ]

Giant Steps (3.00 / 2) (#100)
by Battle Troll on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 05:08:41 PM EST

Actually came out of Coltrane's studying Slonimsky's lexicon of scales, according to Bob Wason, who was there.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Copland? (none / 0) (#54)
by ph317 on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:56:08 PM EST


I wouln't even put him in the same list as the others.  I don't know what it is people see in his work - cheap nostalgia and national pride perhaps, in the same sense as they once did about a certain album of Neil Diamond's.

I consider him a hack.  I abhor his work.

[ Parent ]

Glass! (none / 0) (#57)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:44:11 PM EST

I consider him a hack.
Just goes to show how opinions vary. I thought Glass was the black sheep of that list.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]
I like 'em both. (none / 0) (#81)
by ubernostrum on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 06:08:45 AM EST

Can't stand Ives, though.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
What's wrong with Holly Jolly Xmas? [n/t] (none / 0) (#84)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 10:14:59 AM EST



"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
just goes to show (none / 0) (#99)
by Battle Troll on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 05:07:31 PM EST

You only know the Americana. He wrote lots of much meatier music. (Check out the Piano Variations, for instance.)
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
WTF (1.00 / 7) (#40)
by felixrayman on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:25:56 AM EST

The "foremost American composer" was Joey Ramone. And your article is stupid. And I don't wanna read it. And jazz sucks.

Jazz today is to music what Hallmark cards are to literature, nostalgia for something that never fucking was.

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

The key contribution of jazz (none / 0) (#61)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:11:16 PM EST

is swing. And that persists in a lot of modern pop music. Most good music swings. Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Hendrix, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. etc. all try to swing at least some of the time. Rap has swing (in the bass and bass drum). Punk has swing...


[ Parent ]
French baroque opera... (none / 0) (#164)
by Wain on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 04:17:49 PM EST

There is nothing in Jazz that didn't originate in som earlier form somewhere else.


[ Parent ]
Jazz is doomed because there's no innovation (2.45 / 11) (#41)
by D Jade on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 02:39:05 AM EST

Don't take this as an attack on Jazz. I love Jazz... But it's now a part of history, that's all.

The members of Jazz have done nothing but jam for one hundred years now. Nothing has changed. Oh, well not true, they now have schools of jazz and jazz theory; both devices to allow jazzzists to sit around and jam some more.

The bleak future of big bands is inevitable. It's like anything that goes stale, you stop using it. There's only so far you can go with any genre of music, and jazz is far past its used by date. The thing is that nothing new has been done. Sure, there's a new composition here and there. But the variables in the formulae remain the same. If Russell truly is the scientist you say he is, he would acknowledge this fact and do something different with the music.

The biggest problem jazz faces is that it can't do anything different. Its exhausted its array of sounds to the point that anything on a trumpet is a rehashing of something that's been done already. This happened with the symphonic orchestra oh, 200 years ago. Symphonies now play old music for posterity's sake, and new music for motion picture soundtracks.

Now all Jazz can do is go over its roots and trying to perfect its sound. Once it does, it will go back over everything that's been written and try to again to perfect it. Enough already! The thing that made jazz beautiful was its raw emotion. The pain in the notes actually used to mean something. It was the pain of the poor, the pain of the downtrodden - the misfits. Like anything that becomes scientific, it's lost its emotion and mysticism; the romance is dead. You used to hear a horrible, terrible, ghastly note or chord in a jazz piece and think to yourself, "Ouch, that's real life". Now you hear the jazz man in the background explaining that it's a "semitonal fifth chord designed to bring out the rawer sounds of the notes at the base octave" which means absolutely nothing... But that's Jazz science.

This isn't to say that jazz is dead. No, not at all. If you follow the history of Jazz you find rock and roll, rhythm and blues and motown. All evolved from jazz and, in turn, house music and hip hop evolved from these. Both of these new styles of music have solid groundings in jazz and their structure is dominated by the same ideas that allow jazzzists to jam on the same two keys for five hours at a time and call it jazz.

Yet both of these new styles are considered to be lesser music by most jazz heads I know. What's worst about this attitude towards new styles of music is that it hurts the artists creating the new music. A friend produced a track, inspired by a jazz artist's work. Sent the jazz artist a copy of the track and was mortified at his response. Basically he said it was a piece of crap and he'd never heard anything so terrible. The best part in this story though is that the bassline that the jazzzist vilified was his own work sampled. It's this conceited attitude that is prominent moreso in jazz than any other contemporary styles that will sign its doom.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive

Musical elitism (2.60 / 5) (#43)
by xL on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:09:22 AM EST

Jazz, Frank Zappa and Bach: Music that is almost engineered for elitism because there's an element of "I get it, you don't" for trained musicians. The effect strengthens itself because people who don't necessarily get it still get the feeling that they should get it and would be showing off their musical ignorance by being dismissive. In other words, people are afraid of saying they don't like jazz.

For me personally, jazz is just an anti-dote for overexposure to mainstream pop music. I sometimes crave richness and complexity and all those things that make music sell less. It's really not relevant to me that a lot of that music may be more than thirty years old or not wildly popular. In fact, I kind of like the fact that I can go to, say, a Chick Corea concert and it won't be held in a football stadium. Then again, the crowd at North Sea Jazz is still sizable and shows no signs of declining, I think jazz is about as dead as it will get and its market will stay at its current size (where it has been for the last 20 years) selling to the snob segment (sort of like Apple, really).



[ Parent ]

Age is irrelevant (none / 0) (#126)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:26:24 PM EST

I love older music. I don't care if a piece is 100 years old or written yesterday. What gets me though is music that was written yesterday but sounds exactly like something that was written 30 years ago. That's a notion I reject.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Older styles are still relevant (none / 0) (#134)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:28:56 AM EST

as long as people want to see it. I'm not a huge fan of the massive quantity of garage rock currently coming out, but some of it is quite good. Additionally if someone were to produce the type of soul music of the sixties and seventies I venture to guess that it would be wildly popular.

Certainly there needs to be change, but just being an older form doesn't make it pointless.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

True enough (none / 0) (#138)
by D Jade on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:57:37 PM EST

That's why the age of a piece is irrelevant.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Right (none / 0) (#140)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:47:00 PM EST

but what you said previously is that you don't appreciate new works in thirty year old styles. The implication was that they were irrelevant.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
To clarify (none / 0) (#142)
by D Jade on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:52:24 PM EST

What I was saying is that I don't appreciate new music that mimics something that is old. I don't think an older form is pointless, but I do think that such mimicking is.

Now I'm not referring to Jazz in my example here. But a perfect example would be someone like Mylo (please note, I am not a fan). The guy is releasing a whole bunch of music at the moment which is just recycled 80s choonz. Right down to the bassline. The one that gets me the most is called (I think) "In my arms" which is basically the backing music from "Betty Davis Eyes" which was a great choon.

It's this kind of rehashing that I don't appreciate.

However, if I hear a piece that is styled around a previous era, yet has some orginiality, well of course I would love to hear it.

I hope this makes sense :-P

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

Can you explain (none / 0) (#154)
by destroy all monsters on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:04:02 AM EST

the difference between "a piece that is styled around a previous era" and "new music that mimics something that is old"?

I'm afraid I'm unaware of Mylo or his importance (or lack of such).

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

No, I can't (none / 0) (#156)
by D Jade on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:53:16 AM EST

Don't be afraid, Mylo is nothing to write home about... and I advise you to stay away from anything with his name on it.

I lack the words to further explain the point that I tried, albeit failed, to make.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

Right (none / 0) (#157)
by destroy all monsters on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 02:29:07 AM EST

I wasn't trying to shame you, just be clearer on the concept.

Perhaps I'll give it a try: the Datsuns, Jet, and the Hellacopters all work in roughly the same genre (a mix of old school Detroit rock and roll, punk and pop with some other influences from the 70s).

The Hellacopters do so with a great deal of love and apparently no care to whether or not what they do is popular and commercially successful or not. They're also quite creative. The other bands I've mentioned seem to be quite a bit more calculated and seem to be jumping on a train for success. Additionally there doesn't seem to be much in the way of creativity and many of the riffs are clearly recycled (as opposed to an homage for example). Therefore I love the Hellacopters and hate the other acts.

Does this come close to your meaning?

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Yeah I know (none / 0) (#158)
by D Jade on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 08:02:09 PM EST

That's exactly what I was getting at though. You put it better than I managed.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
To further clarify (none / 0) (#143)
by D Jade on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:53:51 PM EST

What I actually said was that the age of a piece is irrelevant, not that an old piece was irrelevant.

I wasn't really clear in my comments though.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

Nonsense = Troll (1.20 / 5) (#52)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 12:18:53 PM EST

Don't take this as an attack on Jazz.
No worries there. You can't attack anything you obviously know so little about.

I see you've already rated a couple of threes. Oh, well. If anyone's curious, this troll's post is utter nonsense -- from the notion that jazz was ever popular because of "pain in the notes" to the prattle about a "semitonal fifth chord."

But congratulations. You faked 500 words about an article you voted down, and trolled a couple of probably well-meaning K5ers to rate you 3s. That's a hell of a way to spend your free time.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

You've overreacted (2.50 / 2) (#87)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 10:47:18 AM EST

He's not trolling. He might be making some specious points but it's apparent that part of what he takes umbrage to is the extreme snobbery of some jazz fans and musicians.

Regardless of whether he's ignorant or not of the subject doesn't mean that he deserves the extremely negative response you've given. He did no ad hominem attacks as you have and ,despite the fact I think he's off base, has written his point of view well and cogently.  

You've been extremely patient with trane, and I commend you for it, however D Jade does not deserve your unbridled wrath.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Nope. (2.00 / 2) (#94)
by cribcage on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 04:37:15 PM EST

He's not trolling. He...has written his point of view well and cogently.
Not only is that incorrect -- I even knelt in the dirt to point out how stupid his post was. Go back and read my reply. This is someone who clearly knows nothing about the nature or history of jazz, who is nevertheless trying to pass himself off as knowledgeable, and who is going a step farther to attempt criticism. If that's not a troll, then I'm on dial-up.

You want to criticize jazz fans for snobbery and elitism? Great. If you read some of my comments above and below, you'll find that I agree. But there's a world of difference between making salient points and simply spouting nonsense in the hope that your audience won't know the difference.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

I understand (2.50 / 2) (#98)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 05:01:13 PM EST

your frustration (and it is clearly palpable). However I think that what you're not taking into account is that some people agree with him that it's just not a relevant art form anymore. For *them*, that's clearly true.

What I'm trying to say to you, and I'm not sure that you're hearing it, is that by responding in this fashion you're playing into the hands of those who would say jazz is for elitists only. Even if it was a troll, you bit, and by doing so did yourself and your point a disservice.

In short,if you wish to disarm his argument you're better off doing it in the same manner that you've fended off trane's single note attacks.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Thankyou! (2.50 / 2) (#125)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:23:16 PM EST

I don't care if he disagrees with what I've said. I expect people to disagree with what I have said. But to just blatantly attack me because I have a different opinion just serves to strengthen my resolve. I welcome any difference of opinion and I thank you for your comments. You presented a different point of view that I hadn't considered and this makes me richer for it. Cribcage has just demonstrated the kind of attitudes that I said that I was opposed to, except it's worse because he has made himself appear to be an ignorant troll.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Oh and (none / 0) (#136)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:45:50 AM EST

no problem. :)

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Yep (2.33 / 3) (#124)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:17:47 PM EST

Not only is that incorrect -- I even knelt in the dirt to point out how stupid his post was. Go back and read my reply. This is someone who clearly knows nothing about the nature or history of jazz, who is nevertheless trying to pass himself off as knowledgeable, and who is going a step farther to attempt criticism. If that's not a troll, then I'm on dial-up.

It must be hard only having a 56K connection to the internet. My sympathies go out to you. Maybe one day you'll get broadband.

Can you please tell me where I make the claim that I am knowledgeable? I can't see any statement to this effect. The one thing that is clear is that you claim to know more than me on the topic. I say claim because you haven't backed this assertion with any factual evidence and so far, you've been unable to refute any of the statements I've made.

If what you meant to say that I don't know what I am talking about then I disagree with you there. I know what my opinion on this topic is and that is what I am talking about.

You want to criticize jazz fans for snobbery and elitism? Great. If you read some of my comments above and below, you'll find that I agree. But there's a world of difference between making salient points and simply spouting nonsense in the hope that your audience won't know the difference.
If you agree, then why do you show the same elitism and snobbery that I was saying I am opposed to, a claim which you also make?. If you're against that kind of attitude, why not demonstrate that I am wrong by giving a constructive response, instead of being a complete bastard about it? The difference between a salient point and a a spout of nonsense you and I. I've made salient points, you've spouted absolute bollocks.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
I think you're the troll in this equation (3.00 / 2) (#123)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:06:54 PM EST

Your comment clearly indicates that you are the troll in this instance.
No worries there. You can't attack anything you obviously know so little about.

Oh, but you can attack someone who you obviously know absolutely nothing about. This seems like a case of the pot (you) calling the kettle (me) black. It's not an attack on Jazz, it's my opinion on the topic. I may not know as much (or as little as it seems) than you of the topic. But I never claimed to.

I see you've already rated a couple of threes.

People don't rate comments as 3 just because they agree with the content of the post. You should rate a comment higher if it's well written, makes valid points that are worthy of further constructive commentary and because you enjoyed reading the post (even if only because the reader's ignorance amused you for five minutes which is why I've rated your's as 3).

Oh, well. If anyone's curious, this troll's post is utter nonsense -- from the notion that jazz was ever popular because of "pain in the notes" to the prattle about a "semitonal fifth chord."

What are you talking about? Are you saying that there is no emotion in jazz? Well, I'm sorry, but I disagree with you there. Jazz was the black music of America (Or am I so ignorant that I'm even wrong in this assumption). A lot of this music was played at dance parties, in bars et cetera, and a lot this music dealt with the issues of the day; the pains of love, violence, oppression, drug use et cetera. You're talking about a school of music here whose early performers were routinely vilified by the white government and its people of the day. Oh, there's nothing painful about that. No, there's no raw emotion in these people's lives... Well, if I'm wrong, why the hell did they play music at all?

But congratulations. You faked 500 words about an article you voted down, and trolled a couple of probably well-meaning K5ers to rate you 3s. That's a hell of a way to spend your free time.

I faked 500 words? Excuse me? I've reread my comment and all of the words I could see were actual English words. They are constructed in a way that communicates my opinion. How is that a troll?

I voted the article down because I didn't think it was very well written and it could have said more on the topic. All it appeared to do was promote an artist's new recording and I felt that an article on Jazz could have been more informative and better written. I took the time to post a comment to express my opinion on the article and on jazz. That's what comments are for. I see a lot of comments on this site from people who have rated the article down. I don't go and lob cheap insults at people because of it though.

I've been participating on K5 for nearly seven years. I've demonstrated ignorance and knowledge on a range of subjects. But I've never been labelled a troll just for having a diffrence of opinion and I have learnt a lot about debate and expression from people who actually provide a constructive critique of my words. However, it appears you are incapable of this.

If you disagree with me, that's perfectly fine. But what you have done is trolled me for no reason whatsoever. If I am so wrong in my comments then tell me why. Set me straight on the issue. Tell me why you disagree with my words. If you can't do this, then you just demonstrate your own ignorance which, judging by this comment, is rife.

Anyway, I suppose you owe me congratulations for faking another 500 words.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

And on comment ratings (2.50 / 2) (#127)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:40:53 PM EST

Firstly, I notice that you haven't taken the time to rate my comments at all. If you feel so strongly opposed to what I have said that you have bothered to reply, you could at least take the time to rate me down (or up).

Secondly, you make the assumption that "well meaning K5'ers" have somehow been tricked into rating me 3. This indicates that you assume that the people rating me up believe that I am right, or agree with me. Personally, I think you assume that other people's rating habits are the same as your's; because it's clear that rate comments up if you agree with them, and down if you disagree. This is a poor way of evaluating comments. I mean, if everyone agreed with everyone else, this site would be boring.

Thirdly, I consistently get 3 and 2 ratings for my comments. Not because I am a know-it-all but because I take time and put some thought into my comments. I don't just blatantly attack someone when I don't agree with them. I tell them why I disagree or the reasons for my own opinion. People don't always agree with what I say and there's plenty of occasions when I am wrong, and if I am wrong, I don't just blindly attack people. Which is exactly what you have done. I get rated up because people obviously want to continue discussing points that I have raised, or points that I have responded to. That's what the rating system is about - encouraging conversation. That's what K5 is about.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

Disagree (2.00 / 3) (#63)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:26:50 PM EST

Like anything that becomes scientific, it's lost its emotion and mysticism; the romance is dead.

The bulk of the emotional content in jazz has always been in the swing (listen to the bassline if you don't know what swing is). As long as jazz swings as hard as it can, it will contain emotion. It might not be immediately accessible emotion - you might have to listen a while before you can tap into it - but it is there.

Yet both of these new styles are considered to be lesser music by most jazz heads I know.

Not sure which styles you're referring to, but rock was a clear simplification of jazz, and so are the others. They are all less rhythmically complex and more repetitive than jazz. They swing less, often have cheesy chord changes, and are not as improvisational.

[ Parent ]

I have to disagree (none / 0) (#155)
by destroy all monsters on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 01:13:19 AM EST

"The bulk of the emotional content in jazz has always been in the swing (listen to the bassline if you don't know what swing is). As long as jazz swings as hard as it can, it will contain emotion."

I wouldn't typify anything particularly to the bulk of the emotional content of jazz. From what I've heard I'd state that much of it comes from the soloing - which can be done on any instument.

There's a lot of free jazz that doesn't swing, but it doesn't have any lack of emotion. In fact some of the complaints about it is that it has too much.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

I generally tend to agree with you, but not (3.00 / 3) (#85)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 10:31:32 AM EST

this time. You write well, and you make your points succinctly (and you made many excellent points in the Music Biz article recently) but you're way off here.

No music is irrelevant until there's no one left that wants to hear it. All types of music have ebbs and flows in terms of popularity.This is also true in terms of creativity and groundbreaking work.

However, just because there's no new Sun Ra, Miles Davis, or other titan seemingly ready to burst out of the woodwork doesn't diminish all the work currently being done. There is a great deal of hybridization particularly amongst the avant-garde that melds such things as ambient, hiphop, dub, and post-punk with jazz that continues to make it a more than viable art form. I have yet to hear something off of Soul Jazz records that hasn't completely blown my socks off.

I can understand that you might be bored with it, but I assure you there's still a great deal of vitality left in the form.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

I agree there is vitality in the form (3.00 / 2) (#122)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:40:07 PM EST

Fusion, hybrid, whatever you want to call it is where it's at. That's where jazz should be going. A friend of mine who runs an Acid Jazz band got me back into the swing because they (his band) always do things differently, incorporate turntables and synthesisers into their performances and everything they play sounds fresh and new. My point is that although all of this is happening, many of the jazz elite don't rate this music as jazz. It's a lesser form to them.

I'm just commenting based on my personal experience during my music schooling. One time, we were required to break off into bands and create a piece for performance. Now, I'm not a player, I am into sound production. So, in terms of performance, what I brought to the band was the electronic component. We had two synthesisers and a turntable, a drummer playing on roland triggers, double bass and a bass guitar, two trumpets and a saxophone. Short of the story is that it was rated by students as the best performance in terms of originality and composition et cetera. However, the tutor disregarded all of this and stated, quite simply, that we had "basically shown disrespect for the artform that was jazz", her words, not mine. We failed and all of the band members were told that if we wanted to advance further, we had to start playing the music on the sheets on "Jazz" instruments. Whatever that means.

So my point is that this attitude is far too prevalent in a style that was supposed to break rules and be innovative.

I completely agree that there is a lot of good jazz out there. I think that jazz is more than a style, it's also a school of thought. But the creativity is stifled by the bigger players who want to hold on to traditions that have only been around since the last century. The point of jazz in the first place was to break away from the traditional and try something new.

Like I said though, I'm not attacking jazz, and I haven't claimed to be an expert or anything. It's just the way that I feel about it. Thanks for the comments :-P

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

well (2.50 / 2) (#130)
by trane on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:48:31 PM EST

I think you should rename all that hybrid shit to something other than "jazz".

The point of jazz in the first place was to break away from the traditional and try something new.

I don't think that's true. Jazz at its inception was folk music, played in churches and brothels and public gatherings. They were just playing what they learned from their elders, from Buddy Bolden and King Oliver, etc. There was no self-conscious "we're doing something new for the sake of doing something new" attitude about it; they were playing what they honestly felt. Listen to some Jelly Roll Morton records, with their introductions spoken in the vernacular of the time, with their train and streetcar whistles incorporated into the tunes...

Parker learned from the tradition. Coltrane too. They both studied it, quoted it, then extended it after they felt they knew it well enough.

If you add turn-tables and shit to the music, it is not jazz anymore, sorry. Well it might be jazz if you show in the music that you've studied the tradition. Otherwise, come up with some new name...

Note: you may argue that Parker and Coltrane both were confronted with a lot of criticism that they were destroying jazz with their innovations. However, these came mostly from reviewers and critics and not so much from the players themselves (think of Ellington recording with Coltrane, or Pops with Dizzy Gillespie...). Jazz musicians have pretty much been able to tell what jazz is. Swing, melody, improvisation, cool chord changes...if you include that and extend it with hip-hop or whatever, it has a chance of being included as "jazz"; but if you just take some elements of jazz without having listened to the whole tradition, it's something else, not jazz.

[ Parent ]

Hmmm... (none / 1) (#131)
by D Jade on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:28:02 AM EST

I was always under the impression that the roots of jazz is in blues, which was the folk music of African slaves in the US. I was taught that this form of music was based on the West African traditions of their [the slaves] ancestors. I also thought that the first generation of contributors to the style were mainly unschooled musicians with no afilliations to any major religious organisation or other such groups. I also recall being told that Jazz was a style of music which broke away from the confines of the traditional european styles of the day.

By my definition, the above description constitutes trying something new. But then, maybe you don't think that breaking musical ground such as these early players did required any experimentation. They just all of a sudden said, "Hey, let's play jazz".

A favorite of mine has always been Thelonious Monk. Some rated him as a genius, some thought he was terrible. He was definitely someone who broke the rules. If you've ever seen any footage of him play, you would know what I am talking about. He beats his piano up. Playing with straight fingers, bashing on the keys. It's almost painful to watch.

Anyway, I'm no expert so can't really say much more about this Jazz shit. I do find it ironic though that a style of music named after semen is full of so many wankers.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

Experimentation, sure (none / 1) (#139)
by trane on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:37:09 PM EST

but not self-conscious experimentation.

Swing allows you to try a lot of shit you might not otherwise, because it is so forgiving of mistakes. I'm thinking of Jimmy Garrison behind Coltrane, trying all kinds of shit...but swinging, always swinging...

Same with Monk. His music is deeply rooted in the blues. Different harmonies, maybe. But the rhythm, the "bent" notes, the swing goes back to the roots of jazz.

I think of jazz almost like a science (as George Russell did, apparently): in science, you "stand on the shoulders of giants", you study and build upon the work of your predecessors. Same with jazz: you study the tradition, and make use of the things that worked.

Swing, improvisation, melody still works for me. Same as it did for Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton...

If you're going to claim to play jazz, you have to deal with the tradition.

[ Parent ]

Self conscious experimentation? (none / 0) (#146)
by D Jade on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:08:16 AM EST

Erm, I'm not sure what you mean by this statement. But by my definition, the most self conscious of all styles of music would be jazz. I've never seen anyone from another school of thought so viciously defend the theory behind their work. I've never seen any other musicians who are so narrow minded in their beliefs about what constitutes music. Seriously, so often I see conversations about jazz where its supporters reject the notion that any other style of music can be considered art, or be as complex and intricate as jazz. But the supporters of Jazz really have no idea of music outside of their tiny little sphere (and it is tiny, it makes up a miniscule amount of the music that is out there)

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Well hrm. (none / 0) (#149)
by trane on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:29:34 AM EST

you are sounding more and more like a non-musician. I think you have some incorrect views of jazz and its fans, based perhaps on insufficient data.

I've never seen any other musicians who are so narrow minded in their beliefs about what constitutes music.

We're not arguing about music, here. Certainly there are forms of music that don't swing, and no one but an idiot would deny that they're music.

What we're arguing about is the definition of jazz.

In the end of course it doesn't really matter what you call it, whatever you play, if it turns you on, cool.

I'm just harping on swing because it makes me feel so damn good that I want everyone to feel that and use it in their music to make me feel even better.

[ Parent ]

so what's your definition of jazz? (nt) (none / 0) (#152)
by D Jade on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 11:22:34 PM EST



You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
my definition of jazz (none / 0) (#159)
by trane on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 02:13:42 PM EST

Swing - 50%
Improv - 20%
Melody - 13%
Harmony - 12%
Other - 5%

[ Parent ]
Nice! (none / 0) (#160)
by D Jade on Thu Jun 30, 2005 at 07:43:51 PM EST

I liked the other 5% part at the bottom. But melody and harmony make up most music. So now I'm interested. If you were to incorporate swing and improv into a piece, could that make it jazz? I mean, I know of a few jazz musicians (whose names I can't recall) that have performed beethoven and mozart and other lesser known classical composers' work. It was actually a really interesting listen. I found it amazing how groovy chopin could be when he got swing.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
well I wouldn't call myself a musician (none / 0) (#153)
by D Jade on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 11:23:46 PM EST

I'm more of a producer than a musician. I can play a whole bunch of instruments, but haven't been seriously practising for over 4 years now. More interested in recording other people who play better than I. So I supposed you're right in that assumption...

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Hybrids are the future (none / 0) (#133)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:11:34 AM EST

"I think you should rename all that hybrid shit to something other than 'jazz'."

I think you'd have a hard time proving that there is a one,true jazz music. Disliking something and demanding that evolutions of form be renamed are different things. As such Jazz is a genre to which there are various sub-genres.

"There was no self-conscious "we're doing something new for the sake of doing something new" attitude about it; they were playing what they honestly felt. Listen to some Jelly Roll Morton records, with their introductions spoken in the vernacular of the time, with their train and streetcar whistles incorporated into the tunes..."

What you imply here is that the changes in music over that time period were organic and that those currently being done are not. Neither is precisely accurate. Every musician wishes to leave a mark with their playing and composition. Part of that is - as you wrote adding things in like streetcar whistles and musical emulations of an industrializing society. Today's musicians add things that are part of our current society as well.What you're firmly failing to grasp is that these musicians are expressing things they feel and the vernacular of the present day.  You can dislike it, but it is not inferior anymore than there ever was a "good old days".

"Well it might be jazz if you show in the music that you've studied the tradition."

Which is precisely the point. In some cases it is other genres borrowing from jazz and in others it is jazz with a melding of other genres. Jazz doesn't by definition preclude the use of any instruments (or in the case of turntables - equpiment).

It's interesting that you go from "rename that shit" to "it might be jazz" in your response. It might be jazz and it certainly would have to be looked at on a case by case basis as everything should. Then again, getting any two critics or musicians or even listeners to agree on what music is what genre/sub-genre etc. can be an exercise in both futility and frustration depending on the mix.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Mostly agree (none / 0) (#141)
by trane on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:56:02 PM EST

I think the music is the key. If it contains enough of the PopsBirdTrane tradition in it, I don't care if you've got a mouse organ (about halfway down the page, or search for the term :) among your instruments...

[ Parent ]
Sounds like you're backpeddling for me (none / 0) (#147)
by D Jade on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:12:24 AM EST

I mean, really, if Jazz was defined by the instruments it is played on, as you alluded to earlier when you rejected the use of decks or fx, then it's not jazz at all. It's classical european music because the instruments jazz uses are not Jazz instruments.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
Nono (none / 0) (#148)
by trane on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:24:44 AM EST

I never meant to imply that jazz is defined by the instruments it's played on (and here I differ from Branford Marsalis and his followers, who will argue for years that an electric bass can't swing as hard as an upright). I guess I was assuming from the rest of your post that you and your bandmates weren't very much acquainted with the tradition of jazz. You certainly don't sound like you are, much. Cribcage picked up on it as well.

The thing of jazz, if you'll look at the rest of my posts in this story's thread, is swing! If your music swung, and if it contained certain things like a walking bass (at least part of the time!), improvisation (not repeating a bass or drum lick over the entire length of the song), and some other things I can't name at the moment, then I would be more inclined to classify it as jazz.

[ Parent ]

Vital it is (none / 0) (#132)
by destroy all monsters on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:53:19 AM EST

"My point is that although all of this is happening, many of the jazz elite don't rate this music as jazz. It's a lesser form to them."

I can't disagree. There are some seriously uptight people there, which is funny because many jazz musicians complained strongly about just this type of thing when classical musicians and fans were pissing on jazz.

"So my point is that this attitude is far too prevalent in a style that was supposed to break rules and be innovative."

My experience that it is one that is more prevalent amongst the fans than those who actually play it.

So, in all I more or less agree with you here. I do think that your friend's experience is coloring your world view a bit more than it should though. Sure some people are massively anal-retentive but jazz musicians in general have tended to move with the times.

That said, I'm sorry your friend got disrespected by someone s/he thought highly of (or thought highly of their work). It is that hybridization that creates new, vital music and anything that exists without change is interesting as a museum piece only.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Definitely due to personal experience (none / 0) (#144)
by D Jade on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:02:36 AM EST

I must point out though, that this incident with my friend is not an isolated one. I have seen this attitude in my previous tutors and professional musicians and, more recently, in some of my friends who have persued Jazz music further. Guys who used to be up for playing and listening to anything now reject everything else because they see it as a lesser style.

What really bothers me about this attitude though is that people who claim that Jazz is the ultimate form of music don't actually listen to anything but Jazz. The only way they can justify their reasons for saying that it's the greatest is to refer to jazz theory, but mostly, they can't make a base comparison against any other school of music theory other than massive sweeping generalisations. Of course, I am making generalisations in my comments here, but I don't claim to be an expert and I don't claim that Jazz (or any other style) is better or worse than any other.

No, if I made such claims, I'd at least seek some evidence and experience in other styles to prove why it's better. To this day, not one Jazzist I know that makes these claims can back it up with anything other than Jazz itself, which doesn't really convince me.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

I can't really argue (none / 0) (#145)
by trane on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 12:02:48 AM EST

with much of that, but I will say this: swing is something that is essential to jazz. Without swing, it's not jazz, simple as that. Not yet at any rate. Swing does something - produces a feeling - that is central, fundamental, to jazz. Nothing has replaced that capability. Certainly not fusion; it was a good thing to try, but the different beat just isn't as effective as swing in producing the feeling that defines jazz. This is not to say that swing will necessarily always be a part of jazz; something could come along tomorrow, and if it can do what swing does and add something to it, it could replace swing and "redefine" jazz.

I think jazz (and other art) can be analyzed in terms of the scientific method: jazz aims to produce a certain feeling in the listener. Swing, improv, certain types of melody, harmony all play a part in producing that feeling. You can experiment by replacing some or all of those elements with other feels, or by using repetition instead of improvisation, or whatever. If it works, if you still get that special, distinctive "jazz feeling", great. So far nothing that's attempted to replace swing has succeeded.

If you take harmony or melody however, those have changed a lot since the start of jazz: Coltrane's tone, Monk's harmonies are quite different from anything  that came before.

[ Parent ]

Also (2.50 / 2) (#86)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 10:41:44 AM EST

check out John Zorn as well as John and Caspar Brotzmann for innovative work as well as nearly anyone in the New York avant garde scene including the much missed Sonny Sharrock.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
You still haven't explained (none / 0) (#44)
by stuaart on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 08:16:55 AM EST

What is The Concept? Can't you at least just describe some basics? Otherwise I simply don't believe you.

Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


Get your mouse off its butt (none / 1) (#46)
by rpresser on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:07:00 AM EST

and Google. Read the FAQ. And after you wake up, listen to some good music.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
Rip-Off (2.50 / 2) (#51)
by gidds on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 12:09:19 PM EST

Any FAQ file which spends most of its time referring you to a costly book, plugging said costly book, explaining how said costly book is better than the previous editions, and has long and ludicrously overenthusiastic quotes about said book from people whose names I feel I ought to recognise but don't, makes it look to me as if the music is taking second place here...

Andy/
[ Parent ]
Common Mistake (2.00 / 3) (#53)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 12:35:51 PM EST

...makes it look to me as if the music is taking second place here...
This is the sort of attitude that makes people laugh. Someone who probably couldn't read the sheet music to "Frere Jacques" feels confident about second-guessing people who have written and conducted symphonies.

(No, you needn't be a quarterback to see that a guy missed a ball. But being a quarterback will help to understand why.)

You're not alone. It's a common attitude. Jazz fans are stereotyped as snobs for good reason. Most believe that listening to Miles Davis over Britney Spears entitles them to certain status -- but unspoken is the companion belief that simply listening to the music elevates them to equal status with the musicians on the bandstand. Before rec.music.bluenote was overrun by trolls, usenet was rife with the amateurish opinions of dentists and lawyers.

Jazz fans often feel terribly insecure, and they see the world in terms of status. If you point out their ignorance, they feel as if you've attacked their intelligence. And for every step they feel removed from Branford Marsalis, they perceive themselves being likened to the crowds at Lollapalooza.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

Still (none / 1) (#65)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:31:59 PM EST

the plugging of that book is annoying. Branford Marsalis (on his now-defunct online forum, which he closed almost a year ago because of trolls heh) came out basically for free music downloading. This Russell dude does seem more interested in making money than in spreading his ideas.

[ Parent ]
I found out enough (none / 0) (#110)
by army of phred on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 09:21:14 PM EST

Mr. Russell wants musicians to have their spirit sucked out of their assholes by some sort of legalistic ritual that begins by sending him $125.

Don't buy into it, or your music will follow the mentioned big bands into obscurity and bankruptcy. If it sounds good play it!

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]

Well that's gone and told me!!!!11111 (2.50 / 2) (#72)
by stuaart on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 08:31:21 PM EST

You wastrel. Clearly you haven't grasped even the most basic essence of my request. The point of the article, if it is to be understood, is championing the cause of this ``new music.'' Now correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that it might be sensible to provide an outsider's view on what The Concept etc. is rather than just blindly and stupidly quoting from the website.

Welcome to the world of writing. Clever, innit?


Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


[ Parent ]
Tony Wilson said it best: (none / 0) (#55)
by cevik on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 03:57:44 PM EST

"Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented. Jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does."

Idiocy (none / 1) (#56)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 04:44:01 PM EST

That's rich. A flaccid quip about "last refuge" coming from someone who's quoting Tony Wilson to validate his musical opinion.

Let's recite more moronic generalizations. "All punk music consists of three chords." "All country music lyrics are about cheating wives, sleeping dogs, or trucks." "Every painting should be colorful."

My, how insightful.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

well you have to admit (none / 0) (#58)
by army of phred on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 05:41:31 PM EST

jazz is especially made for pseudointellectuals. Even the book price says "buy me, I'm too special for the paperback crowd."

I mean c'mon, the book essentially says that this fellow almost has the secret to music, yet britanny spears has aproximately 1000000 times the links to her name in google and she doesn't know enough to wear shoes in a public bathroom.

So whats up with that?

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]

Deliberately Expensive (none / 0) (#64)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:28:00 PM EST

Even the book price says "buy me, I'm too special for the paperback crowd."
Life is filled with reasonable explanations for seemingly irrational circumstances. You just have to ask.

The book is a first-rate quality textbook, with a solid spine and acid-resistant paper. (Yes. I own it.) Unless you've got a major publisher (which would manufacture an inferior product, anyway), it's damn expensive to publish something like that. I haven't seen George's account balance; but as a writer with some experience, I can virtually guarantee: There's no way he's making money on this book.

Why insist on a high-quality format, as opposed to producing thousands of cheap, paperback versions? Well, think about it. The LCC was his discovery, and he genuinely believes in its potential to change the way humans approach music, forever. Yet after more than 50 years, the LCC has not yet gained widespread adoption, and the only editions published have been because he took initiative.

So put yourself in his shoes. You sincerely believe that your idea can have profound impact in the next few hundred years. But you may not have much time left, and you have little reason to expect that anyone will take up your work after you're gone. In addition, maybe you're somewhat of a perfectionist, and you like to control the presentation of your own work.

You've got two choices. (1) Publish a few thousand cheap, paperback copies, and hope that widespread dissemination will preserve your concept. (2) Manufacture a high-quality, durable product which will withstand a century or two, preserving your ideas in the manner you chose to present them.

What would you do?

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

me? (3.00 / 3) (#68)
by urdine on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 07:30:34 PM EST

I'd put it up for free online so people that aren't nodding along with me might actually read it, too.

Hey I have no problem with presenting stuff right, but at the end of the day is he selling a book or the idea in the book?

[ Parent ]

IRL (none / 0) (#74)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 10:58:57 PM EST

I'd put it up for free online...
Dude. I have fun playing on the internet, too. But...come on. The internet is make-believe.

Besides which, how does that address the point? If anything, the internet option is less reliable than even the cheap paperback. What, are you going to rely on the Wayback Machine? ;-)

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

the internet is actually doing better (3.00 / 2) (#102)
by army of phred on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 05:41:49 PM EST

than his book.

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]
If this weren't "real life" (none / 1) (#117)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:03:16 AM EST

why in hell would you bother writing this and then responding to those who would discuss it? It seems a rather circular argument.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
The most efficient way to spread memes (none / 1) (#76)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:15:09 PM EST

is, probably, to get people talking and thinking about them. You know, word of mouth advertising...

Besides if he really wasn't concerned about making money on his book, he could put it up online as well as publishing it.

Just seems suspicious that he's got this paradigm-shifting idea that he invented half a century ago, but none of the professional jazz musicians I know (in an online sense) have ever mentioned it, and he can't explain it except in his book, and the book costs $125...

[ Parent ]

Ornette Online (none / 0) (#78)
by cribcage on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 11:48:23 PM EST

Just seems suspicious that he's got this paradigm-shifting idea that he invented half a century ago, but none of the professional jazz musicians I know (in an online sense) have ever mentioned it, and he can't explain it except in his book, and the book costs $125...
Well, except for the $125 book, you just described harmolodics.

As I said below: Putting myself in his shoes, I'd have printed high-quality, expensive-as-hell books, too. And online...? Never. This stuff is strictly for playtime. On top of which, there's absolutely no guarantee that what's online today will be online tomorrow -- even if it's yours.

Anyway, if we're going to call him out for the high price of his book, we should at least give him credit for the low price of his new album. A double-CD set for $17.95? Indie? Good deal.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

you know whats interesting about this (none / 1) (#91)
by army of phred on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 03:30:26 PM EST

is that for his lust for that $125, he's going to piss away any chance for influence. If he had any real groundbreaking thing to say, he'd want to tell as many folks as possible, yet for him wanting to get his hands on that $125 (probably for alcohol, cocaine and prostitutes, the lifeblood of the jazz lifestyle), he's going to lose any chance to benefit mankind.

Its this typical American attitude of greed and self gratification that keeps us a nation of trailerparks, crack whores and presidential interns with tobacco up their privates. I'm considering buying the book just to publically burn it, except that'd probably put a gram of cocaine up some prostitutes nose. No thanks.

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]

But with harmolodics (3.00 / 2) (#108)
by trane on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 08:59:39 PM EST

I can look it up online, and get an idea what he's talking about...

[ Parent ]
dude: (none / 0) (#88)
by gzt on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 12:55:49 PM EST

Welcome to the real world. Specialist books cost money. Real people don't bat an eyebrow at a slim volume costing $100.

[ Parent ]
theres no proof (none / 0) (#90)
by army of phred on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 03:20:34 PM EST

the guy is a nobody in pop music. Even Beethovan and Mozart are household names, and they didn't write a music theory book or ever have their tunes sung by the spice girls.

I could easily part with $100, but I'm not sending it to some huckster who reads like a scientologist. How can he possibly have any secret to music if he can't cross genres? The text describing the book talk about some groundbreaking music theory, yet you are calling it some marginal specialist academic read.

Not to mention that his actual music is less interseting than any given song by the spice girls. If he has some ground breaking theory, how come he can't make music better than the spice girls? And don't say because its jazz, think of the big bands that have stood the test of time (glen miller for instance).

Now if his music was actually appealing in a genre crossing manner, then I'd understand the hype. It sounds more like "if you can't do, teach." So I'm again asking anybody here, why is he so important if he can't produce appealing music? Am I supposed to smoke some pot to get into it?

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]

"Cross genres"? (none / 1) (#93)
by cribcage on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 04:29:24 PM EST

Who the hell wants to cross genres? Into pop music, no less?

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]
thats power, a measure of success (3.00 / 2) (#95)
by army of phred on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 04:38:39 PM EST

Look at the greats, especially the Classics, they're known outside their sphere of genre.

Especially in jazz, if jazz can't otherwise attract the untrained ear, its nothing other than technical exercize, and you can buy a book of scales for around 20 bucks. Jazz absolutely has to appeal to a wider audience by definition, as it is otherwise inaccessible.

Sure, I'd like to sell a book on groundbreaking theories of himalayian bongo beating for $125 a shot, but thats just marginalized wanking, and from listening to a few russell tracks, I suspect I'm not too far off the mark.

"Republicans are evil." lildebbie
"I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
"my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
[ Parent ]

Miles Davis (none / 0) (#96)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 04:41:52 PM EST

and John Zorn come to mind. Though I wouldn't exactly call what Zorn does in his many crossovers pop.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
Different. (none / 0) (#105)
by cribcage on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 06:45:41 PM EST

That's fusion. The parent was talking about "crossing genres," and claiming that nothing would achieve longevity unless it appealed to a pop audience. That's just dumb. Pop is the antithesis of longevity.

I love what Brookmeyer had to say about pop music (in 1967):

"Pop music, like pop art, is the supreme effort of people who don't know anything, can't do anything, and assert their right to artistic expression.
Call it elitist. It is. That doesn't make it wrong.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]
If something is really important (none / 0) (#106)
by rpresser on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 07:11:41 PM EST

then you don't need to know everything to know how to do it.

Breathing is really important.  Jazz is not.

The joy of elitism is in excluding others.  If that's what you're after, you're well on your way; the easiest way to exclude the most people is to tell nobody what you are talking about.
------------
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

Elitism (none / 1) (#111)
by cribcage on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 09:23:48 PM EST

The joy of elitism is in excluding others.
No. That's just something people say, to cover the fact that they can't keep up.

The value of elitism lies in progression, in elevation, in furtherance of a pursuit. Just like in kindergarten, where the class is only as smart is its dumbest student -- so by grade school, the students are sifted from advanced to remedial sections. Exclusion is necessary.

When Dizzy began developing the bebop language, plenty of musicians accused him of elitism. And it was true: He deliberately excluded those who couldn't keep up. Exclusion wasn't the goal, but it was a necessary step toward the goal. Sure, he could have slowed the tempo, halved the changes, held everybody's hand -- but at that pace, he never would have achieved what he did.

Elitism is about: Sometimes you've got to cut the stragglers.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

You seem to have changed your tune (none / 0) (#119)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:18:33 AM EST

on elitism, what it means, its values and whether it's worthwhile multiple times in these comments.  

This statement: "That's just something people say, to cover the fact that they can't keep up." is derisive and provably untrue. It is good to strive to be the best - and that in itself is an admirable thing. That dedication itself is not elitist however.

Part of the fault in this particular definition of elitism that you're espousing in this comment is that you're using public education examples.

Here's why: classes are not necessarily dragged down to the lowest common denominator - and generally aren't unless the teacher isn't terribly good. That said there are a great many ways to learn which are only recently getting any amount of proper attention. Therefore those being separated are often those that have been disadvantaged in not being taught in the methods that allow them to learn in the most efficient manner. In that sense people should be divided by how they learn, and not where they fit on the scale of how they've been taught.

In regards to Dizzy, he has the choice to pick the sidemen he likes as any bandmember does.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Elitism (none / 1) (#128)
by D Jade on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:10:13 PM EST

No. That's just something people say, to cover the fact that they can't keep up.

No, this is just something elitists say to cover up their contempt for people who aren't as advanced as they are. That's why they're called elitists, because they actually believe that they are better than everyone else.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

I have to disagree (none / 0) (#112)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 10:11:27 PM EST

What Zorn does when he crosses over can hardly be called fusion. It certainly isn't in any traditional sense.

As far as Miles is concerned, his 80's period (which I was for the most part not a fan of) very much was a jazz/pop crossover and not fusion. His late 60s and 70s work certainly was (and quite innovative at that) though.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

To look down upon a medium is to misunderstand it (none / 0) (#116)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:00:59 AM EST

Pop isn't the antithesis of longevity. For one thing there are those that would state that Pop is anything that isn't either classical or opera. There are also many classical elitists who look down their nose at Jazz.

What is referred to as folk music has been around for centuries and was the popular music of its time. Your argument does not play. Whether people will be listening to Abba in 50 years I do not know, but since the jury is out declaring Pop a time-limited medium is premature.

You might like Brookmeyer and what he wrote, but that to my mind makes both of you the elitist types that you yourself disparaged to some degree previously.

Art isn't made solely by those that are the most skilled in their medium. In fact in many cases I'd argue that the greater the skill the further removed from the heart and soul the art (or music) is. The question is with all of Brookmeyer's snobbery will his work be remembered in ten, twenty or fifty years, or will Miles' and others that had the vision to do works in other forms.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Your real people (none / 0) (#115)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 02:05:32 AM EST

aren't in my reality.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
The LCC *will not* gain (none / 1) (#97)
by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 04:45:23 PM EST

widespread adoption at $125. I'm glad he's got a sweet version of his theory to shop around but it's insane to think that by limiting its teaching and having a book that's out of the price range of a great many people that he's going to set the world alight.

I understand perfectionism, but I also understand that it might be his - and by extension his work's - downfall.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]

Not the goal. (none / 0) (#103)
by cribcage on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 06:38:56 PM EST

You're thinking in linear terms. He doesn't want "widespread adoption." He believes it can change the future of music -- not by dissemination across a wide swath, but by carefully planting seeds in the right places. That's why he's so strict about "certifying" select people to teach the Concept.

Sure, he could put it online. He could also dumb it down and publish a "Tonal Gravity" coloring book. Instead, he wants a quality, durable book, that will be available to a handful or prodigies who may change the world in 2045. The theory being, talented people will seek out and find the information. (I've found that to be true.) It's a sound tactic -- and whether or not you'd act differently, his logic is valid.

Maybe it would help to understand that the fourth edition only became available a couple years ago. Until then, it had been a long time since the Concept was in print. Rumors circulated around Boston for years that Russell was about to reissue his Concept. A couple of times, specific dates were mentioned, and people (myself included) would show up at the NEC bookstore looking to buy a copy. No dice. It simply wasn't available. Finally, he brought the website online and released the final edition. He is apparently working on a second volume.

Please don't read my journal.
[ Parent ]

All of which are reasons (none / 1) (#118)
by destroy all monsters on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 08:04:42 AM EST

that the net effect of all his work will be near zero.

"My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
[ Parent ]
pseudointellectuals who like jazz (none / 1) (#66)
by trane on Fri Jun 24, 2005 at 06:33:50 PM EST

rarely understand the concept of swing.

[ Parent ]
um, dude: (none / 0) (#89)
by gzt on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 12:58:20 PM EST

The book isn't for laypeople, it's for specialists. $100 is a common price for that sort of stuff. The book would be nonsense, most likely, to anybody not intimately familiar with modern music theory.

[ Parent ]
The Lydian Concept in Jazz -- it's like... (none / 0) (#80)
by BaldBass on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 01:34:36 AM EST

  • Peano's Axioms in Math

  • Relativity Theory in Physics

  • Microkernel in Computer Science

  • I wish I could explain it...It's really beautiful.

    P.S. And to some commenters here -- I don't give a 1/16@320bpm fuck about what you may think about Jazz. No, I really don't.

    How large? (none / 0) (#165)
    by Wain on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 04:21:20 PM EST

    What value's getting the beat?

    [ Parent ]
    WIPO (none / 0) (#83)
    by destroy all monsters on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 09:08:40 AM EST

    Shostakovich

    "My opinion: You're gay, a troll, a gay troll, or in serious need of antidepressants." - horny smurf to Lemon Juice
    WIPO (none / 0) (#104)
    by MichaelCrawford on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 06:41:14 PM EST

    One of the main reasons I ever started taking piano lessons was that I hoped to learn to play his Solo Piano someday. The score is available inexpensively online. I'm not sure if the CD is still in print, but it's my favorite album of all time.

    One of my happiest memories of all time was getting to see Glass play it live in a small club in Santa Cruz.

    And yes, someone told me a while back that Steve Reich is better than Philip Glass. I haven't heard his stuff yet, but Sam the CD Man in Halifax has some of his albums that I plan to buy sometime.

    Before I ever heard Glass, Bach was my favorite composer.

    Here are my humble contributions to the world of music.


    --

    Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


    Lydian Chromatic Concept is B.S. (3.00 / 2) (#107)
    by bcrowell on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 08:23:22 PM EST

    I've read The Lydian Chromatic Concept, and IMO it's B.S. Lots of specious reasoning, lots of meaningless talking in circles.

    And as a physicist and a musician, the quotes about music as a science strike me as kind of ridiculous too. "I feel that music is not simply an art; but is on the highest level of physics; it is philosophical. ... Music is a part of the language of physics." Not simply an art!? WTF!? Art is arguably much more complex than science. Sure, a lot of things about why music is the way it is have to do with scientific facts about sound waves, and the ear-brain system. But that's like saying that a lot of painting depends on scientific facts about light waves, and the eye-brain system. So what? It seems like everybody has physics envy --- the psychologists, the economists, and apparently George Russell too. They need to realize that these fields can't be analyzed as well as physics precisely because they're so much more complex than physics.

    The Assayer - book reviews for the free-information renaissance

    excellent summary (none / 0) (#109)
    by army of phred on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 09:15:58 PM EST

    I feel redundant posting now but what the hey!

    I origionally voted this article up with the hope of participating in an exploration of the meaning and joy of musical expression and of course am sorely disappointed in what has become a general all around wankfest of elitism and disdain for us ordinary consumers of music and art.

    And even amongst the wanking, the author describes a decline in the general publics interest in that same wanking seemingly without exploring possible causes but instead segues into a description of some groundbreaking musical theory by one George Russell called some chromatic thing or other, yet the best part of this article either by intention or accidently explains entirely the decline in this sort of music by quoting George Russell himself:

    I feel that music is not simply an art; but is on the highest level of physics; it is philosophical. ... Music is a part of the language of physics. ... So when I work, music for me is an expression of laws. These laws are evidenced in many areas of human endeavor and efforts. It is no coincidence that they are also at the basis of music.

    Really, can it be any more obvious that George wants his simpering flock of wannabe's to be cold legalistic practitioners of formulatic drab meanderings using overcomplicated intellectualistic plodding technobabble that is of course compelled to follow his highness George's rules? Obviously yet again the symptoms of modern man's clinical approach to beating down joy and mandating a dim, dull, ritualistic existance exhibit themselves in this school of thought and subsequently, writers like cribcage are baffled by the inevitable rejection of this crap by the population at large.

    I really hope enough folks buy poor Georges cruft, because after putting two and two together and seeing how the very joy must have been sucked out of poor Georges life, I'm compelled to pity this guy. I tried to like the few tunes I obtained to check out his work, but I'm sorry to say they only reinforced the spiritless march to oblivion this poor sod must be on, and really, this overmechanization of art gets the guilty practitioner what he deserves, ever increasing obscurity and relegation to a sad footnote in the long story of the death of an artform by suicide.

    C'mon folks, dont' buy into this intellectual crap. Pop music is called pop for a reason, because its popular. Nobody likes jazz(1), except for those who deem themselves one of the few special people blessed with the ear qualified to understand it.

    (1) Ok, in all reality, jazz can be great, but did anybody actually listen to some of Mr. Russells work? The guy is honest to goodness tonedeaf, no wonder he wants jazz to be a science, because he fails to provide any art.

    "Republicans are evil." lildebbie
    "I have no fucking clue what I'm talking about." motormachinemercenary
    "my wife is getting a blowjob" ghostoft1ber
    [ Parent ]

    good musician (none / 1) (#137)
    by bcrowell on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:55:09 PM EST

    I listened to samples of some of his music on iTunes, and he seems like a good musician. The songs spanned a range of styles. Some of it was weird space music a la Miles' Bitches Brew, but some of it was mainstream jazz --- blues, bop, and swing.

    Of course, it's not surprising that I liked his stuff and you didn't, since I like jazz and don't like pop, and you like pop and don't like jazz. But when you make remarks like "Nobody likes jazz," or call Russell tone deaf, all you're doing is making yourself sound like you don't have a lot of musical skills and knowledge.

    The original article seemed to take the attitude that the world owed Russell a living, which I think is wrong, but it's equally wrong to assume there's something wrong with a style of music just because it's no longer very popular. (At one time, jazz was the American popular music.)

    The Assayer - book reviews for the free-information renaissance
    [ Parent ]

    the kuro5hin bullshit concept: (none / 1) (#113)
    by the ghost of rmg on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 10:59:38 PM EST

    kuro5hin offers only two perspectives on user participation: submission moderation and direct contribution. let's see how this jives:

    step 1, submission: underqualified author (cribcage) submits gushing yet vacuous review.

    step 2, moderation: the submission is subjected to peer review: other unqualified individuals vote on whether to accept it. -- in this case, they do.

    step 3, submission phase II: users comment at length on topics they don't understand, ranging from music theory and jazz to books costing more than 50 USD. and worse: they argue about the same.

    analysis. the nature of the discussion fails to inspire anyone to say anything of value. rather, the spectacle strikes onlookers with a sense of pity, a desire to do something for the community -- perhaps order a pair of safety scissors for each hapless participant. upon realizing the difficulty of distributing the lifesaving instruments though, these silent watchers retreat to their real lives, hoping never to witness such a pathetic display again.

    dear.rmg@gmail.com


    rmg: comments better than yours.

    I like how the LCC website justifies the LCC (none / 1) (#114)
    by Battle Troll on Sat Jun 25, 2005 at 11:49:27 PM EST

    ... in terms of the Lydian mode being constructed of ascending fifths from the tonic. In fact, any diatonic set can be constructed in ascending fifths; in the case of Ionian (white-key mode on C, eg,) you just have to start with F, the subdominant.

    I haven't read the book, but this explanation rang my bullshit bells. There are all kinds of ways to construct the various possible scales and modes, but picking one and then saying 'nature demands it!!! argle bargle' is the kind of stuff that would get you failed out of my remedial-theory class. That kind of crap has, shockingly enough, been considered and dismissed by just about anyone who's thought seriously about music theory.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]

    i'm not keen to get drawn into this, (none / 0) (#121)
    by the ghost of rmg on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 06:08:44 PM EST

    but i would be inclined to think the theory (or concept) itself has merit, particularly in the context of jazz composition. though i play jazz and i've heard of this stuff in various guises, mostly "modal" jazz, i haven't read anything about it myself  (anything substantive -- i did read the article), so i would hesitate to comment on it.

    it's the lack of that same hesitance amongst participants here that led me to write the parent.



    rmg: comments better than yours.
    [ Parent ]

    got a link? (none / 0) (#151)
    by Battle Troll on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:52:32 PM EST

    I can't find any saying anything other than "LCC is da bomb!!" I mean, they teach it at NEC, so it can't be totally useless, but Mr Russell's website is not very informative.
    --
    Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
    Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
    [ Parent ]
    I suspect (none / 0) (#150)
    by stuaart on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 11:18:02 AM EST

    that Russell was documenting something that was already there and being developed, rather than actually created the concept himself. There is a fine line between being a historian (which is what I'm suggesting he might be) and being a theorist.

    Linkwhore: [Hidden stories.] Baldrtainment: Corporate concubines and Baldrson: An Introspective


    Basic Tests for Music Theories (none / 0) (#161)
    by Philip Dorrell on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:43:21 AM EST

    • Does the theory explain how or why the ability to enjoy music increases long-term reproductive success? (And the explanation must be convincing in proportion to the amount of enjoyment that people get from music.)
    • Does the theory explain why music has the properties that it has?
    • Are there any operational tests of the theory, even in principle?
    • Does the proponent of the theory own a luxury yacht? If not, can they explain why they don't?

    What is Music? Solving a Scientific Mystery
    are you fucking kidding me? (none / 1) (#162)
    by suntzu on Sat Jul 09, 2005 at 09:19:47 PM EST

    music's not a science. it's not objective. if it were a science, you'd have experimental evidence, and you'd probably have algorithms that could classify music mechanically. you have neither, and no, your theories on what makes music good are not algorithms.

    say it with me: "art is subjective." that's all there is to it. that doesn't make it a less noble pursuit than science. it doesn't make me love music any less. but it does mean that you can't come up with some fucking academic theory as to why your personal musical preferences are better than mine. but hey, if that makes you feel better about your choices in life, or lets you sleep easier, than whatever, who am i to burst your bubble.

    i don't think my friends who make music are doing any less important a job than i am just because i write code. but i do think i'd look down on them if they had such a smug fucking attitude and thought that they had music all figured out.

    this is worse (a lot worse, and that's hard) than that article about the guitar solo in "layla".

    insane (none / 0) (#163)
    by guinpen on Mon Jul 25, 2005 at 02:56:07 PM EST

    it's a good article, although it could have explained the lcc a bit more, as it is it seems fairly mysterious

    i am also disappointed in most of the comments in response. they seem to be posted in complete ignorance of jazz in its best forms, only throwing out blind hatred towards stereotypical elitest jammy jazz where everyone just musically masturbates themselves.

    this article can really only be appreciated by people with more than a little bit of experience with jazz and, more importantly, music theory. anyone that's studied music theory in depth realizes that music is a lot more mechanised than it seems- it's basically just as much a science as coding is an art. you can interpret and break it down that way, but at the very base it is not.

    Tonal Gravity | 164 comments (143 topical, 21 editorial, 0 hidden)
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