Musicians, like writers, get blocked as well.  My assignment here is pretty clear cut, but so dull and unrewarding that I am easily and constantly distracted.  That the  Starbucks I am working in is playing some “Best of Jazz” type CD isn’t helping. Funny how some of the jazz classics haven’t stood my test of time, while others still excite. I’m talking about Mingus Black Saint and the Sinner Lady still exciting;  Maiden Voyage, not so much.  I’ve always found it peculiar how certain recordings become so well known especially outside the realm of jazz musicians and aficionados. Wondering what are the forces that determine this. Was there some great lobbying effort by some music industry big-wig at some point?  Jazz musicians themselves are guilty of prejudice to certain artists as more legitimate than others and also can be swayed by what critics and cultural trends would dictate. Sometimes this is prejudice is motivated by race, a feeling that jazz should only be an African American art form. Other times its a prejudice that favors an artist selling himself as someone engaged in more artistic rather than commercial pursuits. I must confess being guilty of such prejudices when younger (no thanks, Wynton) to the point that I turned my back on a lot of great music going on. (Mike Brecker and others in the 80s!)  There is definitely prejudice against Latin-jazz partly attributed to much of it being simply instrumental salsa music without that spontaneous spark that really defines jazz, but also an unconscious feeling that Hispanic culture is inferior to United Statesian culture, whatever than may be.  Contrary what most people assume about me, I am not much into performing in a Latin-jazz vein unless it is with US-style jazz musicians well-versed in Caribbean and Brazilian grooves. A good example of someone like this is this guy. Melvin Macias

I should mention that I hate speaking of this humongous body of work created in the United States by all different types of musicians by the one name, jazz.  There is a book containing essays and interviews by leading jazz figures lamenting the use of this term for their music, that I read years ago. If I can find out the name of this book I will link to it here later.  Mostly, their issues were that the term was applied to music being created by African Americans in houses of ill repute, and having moved far beyond those humble beginnings, they felt it was time to be speaking of their music in more dignified terms.

I am watching a funky white girl dancing to Lee Morgan’s solo on Dat Dere.  If I were not so introverted, I would dance with her, it’s swinging pretty hard.

As you can see I am not getting any work done ruminating on topics that don’t apply to my life on this fine Saturday morning.


One response to “Blocked

  1. I think some of the best thoughts are those we share when we are being asked to focus our attentions elsewhere. I love this piece.

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