Friday, April 07, 2006

guerilla smoothness

Tantilising article on the resurrection (exhumation?) of Horace Tapscott's music. [via erg]

Nate pointed me to this article on smooth jazz. I loved one reader comment in particular:

"It's exactly like calling the average prints-which-match-the-carpet one enjoys in a motel 'contemporary art' to try to pass off smooth jazz as contemporary jazz. Yes, they may be both recent and colourful, but is it art?"

Zoilus adds very interesting commentary on the issue:

"[Smooth jazz] doesn't take jazz back to being the social music in which it had its roots. Rather it is an extension of the way jazz has been used by upper-middle-class people since the 1950s - but with the excision of all the intellectual content that was the justification for the move away from social dance music in the first place... it hasn't got either the musical experimentalism or the social populism that are arguably the two legs on which the tradition stands."

For all that, I can't help but have the same reaction to this debate as I did to k-punk's great Basic Instinct 2 review: the discussion seems more interesting than the music (or film). That said, I do find myself singing along to the music Euronews plays under its weather reports, which adheres totally Considine's portrait: "Usually meant to describe soulful, melodically accessible jazz that relies on electric instruments and funk-derived rhythms... It includes all sorts of ensembles, but tends to prefer guitar, soprano sax, synthesizer... and invariably emphasizes lush and pretty over brash and abrasive." The first sentence's key word being "describe."