Friday, July 06, 2007

Inside Out

Interesting conversation at Settled in Shipping spurred by Dave Douglas and his reflections on Ethan Iverson's '90s post. Interesting to me anyway. I could examine the question of "inside" versus "outside" endlessly, and seem to have been doing just that for many months now.

The whole conversation originates from the wonderful Jazz in the '90s series of posts at Destination: Out. Here's an interesting quote from Ethan Iverson's blog:

"There was very little Branford in D:O!'s final tabulation: in fact, the only mention was Crazy People Music on Nate Chinen's list. This was only to be expected, since the wonderful D:O! site focuses on free jazz, and its readers would probably be generally not interested in the music of the Marsalises and other players who made such a point of bringing back earlier styles of jazz. Further, Branford is a loudmouth who has said dismissive words about Cecil Taylor and 70's jazz. If you love the kind of music that is hosted at D:O!, it is only natural to be skeptical of him, his brother Wynton, and other musicians associated with that circle."

I'd like to write at some length about this so-called "skepticism," eventually offering some other far more appropriate (for me) terms.

I think, for me, I'm actually "skeptical" of the music itself. You know, Miles Davis was a loudmouth who said dismissive things about more than a few of my other heroes, but that hasn't prevented me from holding almost everything he ever did in very high esteem. Musically. If Davis had been unable to make unbelievably compelling and ridiculously innovative music for 50 straight years, then I'd be skeptical. Who cares, really, what who says about Archie Shepp or Ornette or Cecil Taylor or Eric Dolphy? When I get right down to where my resistance comes from, it has absolutely nothing to do with these politics, nor does it have to do with "bringing back earlier styles of jazz." I think Sonny Rollins playing Mack the Knife on Saxophone Colossus is just fine, thank you (for example).

More on this later. Probably more than most people will care to read.............

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