What is Jazz?

Jazz is Black music. The vibration of the swing feeling comes from Black people. Any attempt to remove it from the music and still claim it to be Jazz is sacrilege (and somewhat racist) because Jazz inherently swings. The systematic eradicating of swing (the Negro’s dance) and blues (the Negro’s call) from Jazz is tantamount to an artistic holocaust. No one can deny an artist’s freedom to combine whatever elements he chooses to create whatever he wants. However, Jazz does not move forward by substituting a less complex rhythm or some crude element into the mix. The idea that art “moves forward” is misleading anyway; art doesn’t move, art is. Is there a living soul in Jazz more advanced than John Coltrane? Who is beyond Duke Ellington? Modernity is merely an extension of tradition; it’s not better or greater because it exists in a more contemporary time and people have gotten dumber and truthfully, less sophisticated. Just because we live in a time tainted with telltale tats and tits, doesn’t mean a music as soulful, noble and distinctive as Jazz should deify a depraved and decadent departure from decency.

Jazz does not need hip-hop, pop, rock of any other styles of that ilk to enhance, improve or “develop” it. The music was already soaring on a high plane piloted by the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, James P. Johnson et al.; these men set standards by which real men of Jazz still measure their worth. Unfortunately, these standards are being largely ignored by lazy, arrogant and dumb performers and wannabe stars who simply refuse to put in the time and effort to study, learn and excel. Instead, they want to claim music that they can’t play to be “old” and “out-of-step with the times.” If “the times” are marked by collective lack of discretion, discernment, respect or knowledge, then that right there is proof-positive that Jazz music is fine right where it abides – resisting the temptation to be prostituted by the worst types of musician, agent, promoter or presenter willing to sell the soul of the music to the devil (the greatest pimp there is.)

(Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 12:39am)

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