[Dixielandjazz] Lincoln Center Blues?

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Wed Oct 27 10:14:07 PDT 2004

Hi Folks:

Unfortunately it seems like my post of last week about their being more 
tuxedos in the audience than on the stage has already begun:

In my opinion this is exactly what has happened to most of Jazz around the 
world, when the academics and the critics and ethnomusicologist get in positions 
of presentation and promotion of Jazz & Blues.   Always attempting to make 
good simple enjoyable music into a higher level of Elitist ART for their private 
social clubs.

This sounds like a classic case of it right here in Ben Ratliff's review.

Somebody is trying to make more out of the music than what it is "BLUES."

Why the Hell can't they just play it and leave it alone, It ain't Broke, it 
is simple music for general unwashed or greatly musically educated listeners 
and loved all over the world in it's simple earthy form.

They would have served the purpose much better in my opinion if they had just 
called Taj Mahal and told him to Play the Blues.  Taj is a musical Genius in 
his own right and having worked with him over the past twenty years I know he 
could and would have turned that audience upside down if they had just left 
him alone and let him do it his way.

His genius showed through in Ratliff;s review anyway, since apparently he is 
the only artist that knew what he was doing with the instrumentation they 
chose to present with him.

While the Blues no doubt has some roots in Africa, it was Black American 
slaves and their decedents that developed it with the English language as they 
heard it and understood it with very limited education.  They were able to inject 
their innermost feelings into the music itself no matter what the lyrics 
were, (which sometimes did not even make sense) whether it was a cry out for help, 
a cry of loneliness, or a shout of joy and jubilation these early Black 
Americans created a music that put this country on the World Culture Map with a 
music that is uniquely American.

I am afraid that the elitist are again trying to make much aDo about it and 
dress it up for the Tuxedo crowd to come out and see and be seen, with not much 
intent or interest to actually listen to or like the music.  Hence they will 
attempt to distort the music to sound like they think the audience wants it to 
sound "More Sophisticated" and worthy of $100.00 a seat donations to be bored 
with alternative dissonant noise, rather than real music that will move them 
if they but loosen the girdles and bow ties and take off the high heels, let 
their hair down and have a good time.

Just book B.B. King in there or Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Buddy Guy, KoKo Taylor, 
Etta James, Bobby Blue Bland, Bobby Rush, etc. and let em play the Blues, It 
ain't broke, don't fix it and it will sell out too, a lot faster than trying to 
create a new African Blues sound.

If you give those folks enough money to experiment they will soon try to have 
us listening to Blues ont he Sitar, and Kojo, and all sorts of strange 
sounding Eastern instruments which cannot be tuned to western scales for the most 
part.  That ain't the Blues and it Ain't Jazz either and hopefully never will 


Tom Wiggins

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