[Dixielandjazz] "Revivalism"

Rob McCallum rakmccallum at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 29 20:11:58 PDT 2003

Hello all,

Just finished reading Blue, The Murder of Jazz, which is a reaction against
Marsalis, Crouch and others who are attempting to impose their version of a
"jazz tradition" on the younger generation of jazz musicians and the
listening public.  Though it's far from a convincing book, is often self
contradictory, and buys into a type of categorization that isn't much
different from what it's attacking, it does raise many questions regarding
change and innovation (that they are not new questions is beside the point).
The key argument (which the author is certainly not unique in arguing), is
that this current generation of "hard bop" players that dominate new jazz
c.d.s is not really "authentic" because it is only a revival of a style that
is 40 years old.  Therefore, he argues, this "new generation" of musicians
is reactionary.  He makes several comparisons to the Dixieland revival at
midcentury and states that Marsalis and others (the young lions) are just
doing their version of the same thing and that this "movement," stifles
creativity - in addition Crouch and Murray claim that their own taste in
jazz is the only "authentic" jazz..  Of course the flaws in this argument
are obvious in that he generalizes an entire age group of musicians and
doesn't take into account the musicians as individuals.  As well there are
just as many examples of younger musicins who don't play hard bop at all
(recently saw the Bad Plus at the Village Vanguard which doesn't play in
swing time and covers grunge rock tunes in addition to their very unique
(and often humorous) originals - they're a piano, bass, drums trio).

Anyway, my reason for posting this is to get some reaction to what the
so-called Dixieland revival of the 40's 50's and 60's, which represents a
huge chunk of OKOM, means or meant to some of you that experienced it.  My
supposition is that, like today, the visciousness and the whole "revival" vs
"the new" was more hype by the Downbeat critics than it was an actual war on
the streets

All the best,!
Rob McCallum

Quote of the month:

"In both classical music and jazz we have pushed the boundaries to the
absolute limits
and perhaps beyond, harmonically, rhythmically and tonally.  So we must
first ask if 'progress'
is still possible - and then we must ask if it is really necessary any
                         - Don Rose

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