[Dixielandjazz] Hot (?) Jazz
marekboym at gmail.com
Mon Aug 5 13:09:18 PDT 2013
I'm afraid I'll cause a lot of wrath, but, to me, "cool jazz" is a
contradiction in terms. Something like "hot frost."
Don is right - in the old days, "hot" and "jazz" were synonymous. I know,
"gay" meant "happy," too. Still, I don't believe in drastical changes in
meanings of words.
I do not agree with the use of " 'hot jazz' to describe pre-WWII swinging
and stomping music in general." Why pre-WWII? What about jazz played
DURING the war? Or the Town Hall concerts?
Some 20 years ago I presented some of my records on the Israeli radio. The
interviewer asked what period of jazz I liked (she was a "modernist" and
knew that I did not consider her kind of music jazz; I still don't). Pry
as she may, she never got another answer than "jazz is now." She insisted,
but I was adamant. All the records I played were recorded within the last
five or so years. And yes, I like the "hot jazz" as a description (I
prefer just "jazz," though), but is it useful outside the limited milieu of
Many times I heard people say that they disliked jazz, but named Dixieland
among the types of music they liked (that was before Ms. Pasternak had a
regular jazz programme and started broadcastin a lot of hot; I couldn't
stand the music they didn't like, either). Hence, "Dixieland" seems more
useful for general public. Unless we want OKOM to belimited to lod and
dying out public, terms like "hot"or "traditional" seem useless.
On 5 August 2013 22:47, Donald Mopsick <dmopsick at gmail.com> wrote:
> Mike wrote:
> >>Any form of jazz that you can mention has "hot" tunes, as well as laid
> back tunes, ballads, and many more types of arrangements.<<
> True enough, Mike. However I like "hot jazz" to describe pre-WWII swinging
> and stomping music in general because that's the descriptor most often used
> by the musicians of that era, and it's a good way of differentiating from
> the later "cool" jazz of Miles Davis.
> I've been told by those who know that in the 1920s and '30s, jazz players
> of both races, when on the road and in a strange city and looking for a
> local place to sit in after the big band dance or gig, would not ask
> "Where's the jam session?" They would ask, "Where do they play it hot?" or
> "Where are the hot men?' No, they weren't looking for a gay bar, wrong
> Think of the sound of Louis Armstrong's cornet and later trumpet.
> Emotionally, Lois wore it on his sleeve. He was playing directly from his
> heart and soul, and there was no doubt about what he was feeling. That was
> his appeal: a raw, unfiltered, authentic laser beam of a sound that some
> have likened to the sun beaming down from the sky. Also, think of the
> syncopated rhythm that was new to most white people: again, the way people
> described it then was "hot rhythm."
> Now fast forward 20 or 30 years to Miles Davis. Yup, there's still heat in
> there, but it's subdued, sophisticated, in a word, cool. Hip. "In the
> know." Jazz writers of the 50s began to refer to knowledgeable fans as the
> "jazz cognoscenti." The older "hot" style was actually put down by hipsters
> as "corny" or "from the sticks." Gone was the hot Bessie Smith/King
> Oliver/Louis Armstrong bent-blue-note tonality in favor of a much cooler,
> even-toned, eight-note and scale-based bebop. Yeah, I can syncopate, but
> I'm so much cooler and hipper, and I play more interesting harmonies based
> on Impressionism.
> Ted Gioia wrote a book about this, "The Birth (and Death) of the Cool" in
> which he cites Lester Young as the originator of cool in
> Think of Chet Baker's voice. Minimal vibrato like Miles and his own trumpet
> playing. Open up a vein and let the heroin in. So cool as to be almost
> comatose. That was the sensibility of the 50s. Granted the hard boppers
> like Art Blakey, Adderly brothers, Horace Silver, etc. had a lot more blues
> feeling and heat, but the word "hot" to describe a form of jazz was
> definitely not a good choice for them, it belonged to the past and
> So, if kids interested in old jazz want to call it hot, who are we to argue
> with them? It's theirs to inherit anyway. They could have come up with
> something completely misleading, like "smooth jazz" or "acid jazz" which as
> you know ain't no kinda jazz at all.
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