Re: [acid-jazz] jazztronica

From: Gordon DeVillers (
Date: 2003-03-08 20:28:06

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    I agree that the idea of and sounds of jazz are often taken out of context
    when discussing and describing the music represented by "acid-jazz". Using
    some nice horn samples in your track dosen't constitute jazz, but this list
    covers elements that have nothing to do with jazz. A frame of reference is
    required when considering the question. what is my working definition of
    jazz? Melhdau offers group interaction as a starting point. Reading the
    notes to the Compost Future Sound of Jazz vol 1 comp a distinction is made
    between "classical jazz" and "electro-jazz", and interesting points are
    raised about the legacy of computers and electronics in jazz. It seems the
    definiton of jazz needs to continually expand to fit the new fomrs in which
    jazz is played. I think Mehldau is saying the language/content of jazz isn't
    changing significantly to meet the new forms offered by technology. New
    productionn techniques deemphasize virtuosity but stress groove-argueably
    the best part of jazz, but definitely not restricted to it. But seeing Luke
    Vibert dj at the Montreal Jazz festival strikes me as nothing more than the
    mutual appeal of his choices to headz and jazz fans. I think it's the fact
    that he is influenced by jazz which makes him appropriate for the bill. As
    far as new sounds go, I like Carl Craig's Detroit and Philly Experiments for
    the top of jazz meets the producer genre, as well as Nu spirit Helsinki.


    >From: ZeroGravity Sessions <>
    >To: Lynne d Johnson <>
    >CC: ACIDJAZZ <>
    >Subject: Re: [acid-jazz] jazztronica
    >Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 06:38:50 -0800 (PST)
    >Very interesting article,and,indeed JAZZ from its heydays of bop(be and
    >then hard) has been in close momentuum with society,apart from rare
    >examples such as Mingus or Ornette Coleman who lived in a musical world of
    >their own, becoming overly political with the advent of people like Jill
    >Scott Heroen...or the man who did the "Freedom now suite"(heikki any
    >True as it is,jazz is far from being represented by many of the
    >contemporary acts listed in this mailing list(server),in its definition of
    >a multitonal polyrythmic and syncopated music.(broken beats???)
    >I am happy that pioneers like L.Tristano with its overlapping of Piano
    >takes....,and the scandals it caused among purist with the advent of cool
    >jazz, are listed in the article together with Brad Mehldau(that sounds a
    >lot like Pat Metheny to me).
    >I would have added,people like the Soullive,Eric Truffaz or Medeski Martin
    >and Wood as being the natural descendant of this truly jazz heritance and
    >spirit,representing not a corner of contemporary music but the adoption of
    >new tools in a truly evolving style.
    >Looking at the adaptation of this genre into a context like a
    >dancefloor....well mixed feelings and feed back to say the least,then and
    >most probably i might be missing the connection of people like
    >Moonstarr,Susumu Yokota ,John Kong,Erik Sumo or even Quantic, Paine'
    >,Dominico Ferrari and Mr. Scruff to the word and world of
    >Then again you might infer that this is the really happening thing,where
    >jazz is really at or pointing to!!!
    >"If you understand be-bop then you will understand the meaning of freedom"
    >- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --
    >Cheers ZG2003
    >ps a lot of the information given is taken out of a seminal work by italian
    >jazz critic and founder of the weekly Musica Jazz "Arrigo Polillo" in its
    >fundamental"La storia del Jazz"(Hystory of Jazz,1976)
    > Lynne d Johnson <> wrote:
    >It's happening, it's underway-it's just a question of how far and how
    >With more and more ensembles including a musician dealing with
    >electronics-sequencing, programming, DJing, sampling-the sound of jazz
    >is evolving. Call it jazztronica, nu-jazz or bluescreen jazz, but one
    >thing is certain: It's potentially the most exciting development in the
    >music for decades.
    >"Jazz is definitely changing," says pianist Matthew Shipp."It has to,
    >or it will die."
    >Today's generation of electronic gadgetry allows for far more
    >sophisticated experimentation than the old wickka-wickka sound of
    >turntable scratching or a basic sample loop for musicians to improvise
    >over. Now the improviser's art can be played out against a new sonic
    >backdrop colored by fragments of electronic sounds, rhythms and samples
    >swimming through the music. Amid this world of altered realities and
    >fresh possibilities, digital computer editing-literally cutting and
    >pasting sound-allows for juxtapositions never even dreamed about in
    >Charlie Parker's day.
    >Just as important, this technology's easy availability to the masses
    >and its relative inexpensiveness means the bedroom can now become a
    >recording studio. Jazz musicians have a new set of tools to mold and
    >shape sound, and they are using them to recontextualize jazz within the
    >nervous 21st century.
    >Pianist Brad Mehldau, who included subtle real-time electronics and
    >original overdubs with rock producer Jon Brion on last year's Largo,
    >recalls a conversation with a promoter in London: "I commented on the
    >large amount of DJs on the jazz festival rosters these days. He said
    >that it reflects the fact that turntable technology, sampling and the
    >like has now become part of the 'jazz vocabulary'—for better or worse."
    >And while at present this may be more the case in Europe than America,
    >it's a proposition Mehldau remains cautious about: "To me, that is not
    >a given, not in a music that depends so much on human interaction."
    >Trumpeter Dave Douglas gives the trend a guarded welcome but
    >nevertheless sees the importance of jazz relating to the plurality of
    >the current times, with electronic sounds and rhythms being a part of
    >this process. "It's really quite simple: wake up every day and try to
    >reflect what's really going on inside you and outside you. In this
    >period, it's reflected in the thousands of ways music is changing and
    >growing. These technologies, like anything else, are an important part
    >of that very human growth."
    >Like Mehldau, Douglas insists the jazz aesthetic should not be blurred
    >by artifice. "I feel that the sounds all around us are affecting even
    >the way acoustic music is heard, recorded and presented. It's
    >inescapable. And it's very exciting to hear the effect electronic
    >players are having on jazz and improvised music. But I feel the
    >artistic, personal statement is the more important goal in creating new
    >music. That this music is an inseparable part of our technological
    >environment seems inevitable. That's a great asset for music makers
    >With much of jazz still under the shadow of 1950s hard bop, Shipp
    >believes these changes toward a broader sound spectrum have come not a
    >moment too soon. "I think jazz has become its
    > own museum-keeper, its own graveyard attendant, and it's buckling
    >under the weight of its own pretensions. I definitely think there is a
    >necessity to broaden it out and try to reflect the times right now."
    >In this dazzling information-technology age, we are bombarded daily by
    >new sights and sounds, so it should come as no surprise that jazz
    >should reflect this. Art does not evolve in a vacuum, and jazz has
    >always adapted to and been shaped by technological as much as cultural
    >and social forces. So the notion of jazz being influenced by
    >technological advances is hardly new. Billie Holiday's art, for
    >example, would have been impossible without the electric microphone.
    >When the LP broke through the three-minute barrier of old 78 r.p.m.
    >discs, a new world opened up for the improviser and composer.
    >Meanwhile, advances in the recording studio itself allowed musicians
    >another way to create new music: Sidney Bechet famously recorded
    >clarinet, soprano, tenor sax, piano, bass and drums on his one-man-band
    >recording "The Sheik of Araby" in April 1941, and Bill Evans'
    >Conversations With Myself and Lennie Tristano's "Requiem" feature
    >multiple overdubbed pianos. Technology has long been a tool at the
    >service of the improviser.
    >Mehldau is quick to underline this distinction. "Innovation in jazz is
    >not determined by technological advances; it is a purely musical
    >matter. What I was trying to get to on Largo was not dictated by
    >technology; rather, certain technological devices were used in the
    >service of a musical vision that focused heavily nonetheless on live
    >group improvisation. If there's something innovative in Largo, it comes
    >first and foremost from the musical decisions that me and the other
    >musicians made, playing together live. Yet I can't deny that those
    >musical decisions were informed by the technology: recording
    >techniques, treatment of piano, etc. The actual sonic environment
    >influenced how we played."
    >Yet jazz is about expressing individuality, which should neither be
    >sacrificed nor submerged in this new electronic world, something
    >Douglas is quick to emphasize. "Many of the musicians I admire are
    >using this sound and technology. The availability of great electronic
    >sounds has been here for a long time-even more importantly, the
    >availability of great electronic players. That's the key to me-people
    >who can personalize the technology and sonic palette. All around the
    >world the impact is being felt. The present, and thus the future, is in
    >the hands of the musicians, and many of us are taken with the
    >possibilities. What's most inspiring about it to me is that everyone
    >has their own take on it and their own sound. That proves the
    >flexibility and value of the medium."
    >Helge Sten provides the electronics in the Norwegian improv group
    >Supersilent, whose 1-3 and 4, 5 and 6 CDs are on the increasingly
    >influential Rune Grammofon label, which is distributed by ECM. He
    >believes in human interaction, where electronics are guided by the
    >improviser's impulse. "Electronics is an extra instrument," he says.
    >"Today it's very popular to use-but you have to apply some rules, as
    >always. You really have to integrate it and make it a great musical
    >experience for yourself and the people who listen to it. I think the
    >meeting [between electronics and jazz] has to be the result of a
    >genuine musical expression and has to be a genuine musical adventure.
    >You are at the point where you can use sound like an instrument. When
    >you have sound as a tool, you can use any pitch in any variation; you
    >can use a lot of color-it's a big, wide spectrum-and it opens up a new
    >universe and it seems very natural to use it inside jazz, because it
    >has been the nature of jazz to experiment and evolve new expressionism.
    >I think jazz really needs to expand anyway, because it's been standing
    >quite still for a long time."
    >:: Lynne d Johnson ::
    >:: ::
    >:: ::
    >"Rap music is a technologically sophisticated and complex urban sound."
    >--Tricia Rose, Black Noise
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