‘Jazz washes away the dust of every day life’ ~ Art Blakely

I’ve been watching Ken Burns’ very good ten-part made for Public Television documentary about Jazz. I watched episode nine last evening and it leads into the modern era of musicians. Jazz is complicated, and my opinion is that to be good at playing it, a person must be somewhat of an intellectual, if not genius as many of the greats were and are. With a few arguable exceptions, Jazz is the music of the black man, I believe. It is a celebration of freedom of spirit and of being black in largely racist white America; born in New Orleans early last century, brought into screaming adolescence by Louis Armstrong, nurtured in Chicago, and still maturing in New York City. Unlike most genres of music and ages of old men, Jazz will never be set in its ways. Even at ten episodes of one and one-half to two-hours per program, Burns is able only to scratch the surface of what Jazz really is; actually, I don’t know if anyone has a clue as to what it means, even to themselves, be he lyricist, composer, performer, or listener. Critics damn sure don’t know and all but the self-righteous of them will admit they are in the dark as to its meaning. I am not a great Jazz fan, but I do like much of it, particularly the free jamming variety where the artists just let it all hang out at the same time, and I respect the effort it takes creators of all styles of music to strive to become the best they can be.
“Anyone can learn what Louis Armstrong knows about music in a few weeks. Nobody could learn to play like him in a thousand years.”
~ Benny Green

Thursday is Maunday this week; have a good one.

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 11:54 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This documentary was worth watching!!!
    I don’t know too much about Jazz and I rather don’t listen to such type of music. But I think that Jazz is a lovely music and very, very American. Love this quotation: Jazz washes away the dust of every day life.
    It’s nice that you remember about Paschal Triduum, my friend.

    • I have a lot more respect for Jazz than I did before seeing the series.
      I wonder who told me about Maunday Thursday to begin with …? 😉
      Thanks, Jola.

  2. Some jazz I like quite a bit and some makes absolutely no sense to me at all.
    Not any easy form of music to play by any stretch.

    • I am the same way about jazz; I suppose I need more patience with the esoteric music.
      Thanks, Mark.

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