Just want to keep the conversation happening. Lots of folks say to me, "This is boring! There have been so many discussions of whether or not jazz is dead. Get over it." I take that as a good sign. If there have been so many discussions about it, why aren't the results more crystalline? Cogent?
Part of the problem is the yutes of today. They ain't got no respect. The whole idea of tradition is anathema to them. Everything springs full blown and unrooted out of the present moment. There's little if any sense of music history informing their listening or appreciation. Maybe this rant should be saved for my new blog, "Git Offa Mah Yahrd!" (the blog that will pave the way for my inevitable descent into snarling senescence and violent curmudgeonhood).
But really, a lot of what I hear that's being done now just sounds like stuff I've already heard. A lot of my younger friends don't seem to have that baggage. "It's nice," they say and kind of shrug. Why get all lathered up over Branford Marsalis' execrable "version" of A Love Supreme, for example? I mean, if you haven't heard 'Trane's, what difference does it make. And even if you have, so what? It's all good. Shrug. "It's nice."
No, it's not fuckin' nice. It's horrifying.
Well, maybe not. Maybe we're just spoiled in different ways. I'm spoiled by thinking that great artists did great things at various times that are still great and still worth knowing fairly intimately. They're spoiled by the fundamental idea that no one is any more or less great than anyone else and it's all...nice. Shrug.
Culture right now has all the vitality of McMurphy after he's lobotomized in Kesey's "Cuckoo's Nest."
Not sure what this has to do with jazz being dead. Dead as roadkill. Dead as dead can be. If I didn't keep nailing it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies. It's an EX-genre. It's rung up the curtain and joined the choir invisible.