Monday, April 19, 2010

Gary Giddins on the Future of Jazz

another great interview clip from

What's Next for jazz?

Gary Giddins: Well, nobody knows where jazz is going, because nobody has ever known where jazz was going. I mean, you couldn't possibly predict the Swing Era from the '20's or bebop from the Swing Era or Avant-garde from Bebop, or Fusion, or on and on and on. So, we don't really know where it's going.

But I would say this. I don't think we're going to be seeing those kinds of distinct and discrete movements like Swing, Bop, and Fusion. I think now, it's a question of individuals—one thing that is important to remember is that in the early years of jazz, a lot of major musicians, like Fletcher Henderson and Don Redman, had college educations and degrees and all of that.

But a lot of the great figures, like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, did not. I mean, Armstrong didn't even go through high school. Hundreds, if not thousands, of major figures learned on the bandstand, that was their apprenticeship.

Today, the apprenticeship of musicians is in the college orchestra. I mean, you're just not going to meet a musician who hasn't got a least a BA and probably an MA, and hasn’t been to a music school and hasn't had “Giant Steps” and a homework assignment. So, it's very different.

So, because they have this historical perspective, they aren't necessarily just coming out of whatever their generation is into, and also because they are growing up and they don't have the same prejudices against pop music that certain generations had, they can use that.

So, today's musicians, who maybe grew up with hip-hop, may use hip-hop beats in a way that if you're not looking for them, then you won't even hear it. But it's there, it's informing the way they think of rhythm.

And they may use things that they picked up from Ellington or Dizzy Gillespie that isn't particularly obvious, it's not a homage, it's not a matter of playing “Conna Homa” or “Sophisticated Lady,” it's just voicings or it's some idea that they picked up.

Read the full transcript or watch the video HERE at Bigthink.

No comments: