Is jazz America's classical music?

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Is jazz America's classical music?

Post  pinhedz on Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:59 am

pinhedz
Tue May 11, 2010 1:50 am

Billie Taylor (and I do mean Doctor Billie Taylor), says jazz is America's classical music, but some days I don't buy it. After all, no matter how much noodling the soloists do, isn't every piece really based on a 32-bar theme, or something close to it?

Does classical music have to be based on a larger structure? Or is that just Virgil Thompson's silly opinion? Is he equating "classical" with sonata form?

The set of CDs I have playing right now--Mingus, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock--makes me think maybe jazz is America's classical music.

I might change my mind later, tho.

Hosni

Do you own a label maker?


pinhedz

Yes Very Happy

Now what? rabbit


pinhedz

pinhedz wrote:Dr. Karl Haas said the main theme has to leave home and experience exciting adventures--perhaps even suffer trials and tribulations--until the tension is resolved and the recapitulation and coda play themselves out (which is to say, figuratively speaking, the fat lady sings).

What the label maker wants to know is--can jazz do the same thing in a 32-bar format?
Exile Muffley wrote:Yes.

Is that your final answer?


pinhedz

I think Lenny Bernstein's comments on Gershwin are apropos. Bear in mind Lenny was almost as spiteful as Virgil Thompson where Gershwin was concerned (tho Lenny hid it better):

"The Rhapsody is not a composition at all. It's a string of separate paragraphs stuck together. The themes are terrific – inspired, God-given. I don't think there has been such an inspired melodist on this earth since Tchaikowsky. But if you want to speak of a composer, that's another matter. Your Rhapsody in Blue is not a real composition in the sense that whatever happens in it must seem inevitable. You can cut parts of it without affecting the whole. You can remove any of these stuck-together sections and the piece still goes on as bravely as before. It can be a five-minute piece or a twelve-minute piece. And in fact, all these things are being done to it every day. And it's still the Rhapsody in Blue."

Lenny's bottom line was that Gershwin wrote great tunes, but that he could not develop the tunes in an original manner, "And the trouble is that a composition lives in it's development."

Putting aside the fact that Lenny stole that last quote from Virgil Thompson without attribution, let's ask ourselves--is the statement true? I mean, he says "A composition lives in it's development" as if it's a self-evident truth--but is it really? Does Ravel's Bolero have development? Does the 1st movement of Caesar Frank's violin sonata have development?

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Re: Is jazz America's classical music?

Post  pinhedz on Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:38 pm

Swiss conductor Ernst Ansermet visited the US in 1918, and heard Sidney Bechet play, then he wrote this:

"There is in the Southern Syncopated Orchestra an extraordinary clarinet virtuoso who is, so it seems, the first of his race to have composed perfectly formed blues on the clarinet. I've heard two of them which he elaborated at great length. They are admirable equally for their richness of invention, their force of accent, and their daring novelty and unexpected turns. These solos already show the germ of a new style. Their form is gripping, abrupt, harsh, with a brusque and pitiless ending like that of Bach's Second Brandenburg Concerto. I wish to set down the name of this artist of genius; as for myself, I shall never forget it it is Sidney Bechet. When one has tried so often to find in the past one of those figures to whom we owe the creation of our art as we know it today those men of the 17th and 18th centuries, for example, who wrote the expressive works of dance airs which cleared the way for Haydn and Mozart what a moving thing it is to meet this black, fat boy with white teeth and narrow forehead, who is very glad one likes what he does, but can say nothing of his art, except that he follows his "own way" and then one considers that perhaps his "own way" is the highway along which the whole world will swing tomorrow."

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Re: Is jazz America's classical music?

Post  pinhedz on Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:56 pm

Darius Milhaud came to America in the early 1920s and heard The Original Memphis 5.

He was never the same again:


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Re: Is jazz America's classical music?

Post  pinhedz on Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:32 am

Is it just me, or does it sound like Gershwin borrowed this theme from Milhaud?

Probably hard to prove, since it's a 12-bar blues, so Milhaud would have stolen it first:



btw--Oscar Levant know how to play Gershwin because he listened to Gershwin play everything first.

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