Wednesday, September 05, 2007

forget the cloned tortoises

Much of what we’ve accepted as jazz repertory over the past eight decades has been forgettable popular songs and dull variations on popular songs, raised to the level of art by intensely creative performances which do not merely interpret but vastly improve upon the original material. And there are a lot of corny, boring, or banal songs and jazz originals out there which resist such treatment because they are simply too corny, boring, or banal.
- Art Lange, "A Fickle Sonance" Point of Departure September 2007 (an excellent and stimulating article overall)
At a time when globalization, stylistic hybridization and post-modernism’s dismissal of dialectical progress has all but atomized the traditional jazz family tree model – with the roots of blues, spirituals and work songs supporting the trunk, limbs and branches – the Italian jazz grapevine model has matured. Though it honors graying trailblazers like trumpeter Enrico Rava and pianist Franco D’Andrea (who performed as a duo mid-way in the Siena Jazz festival that coincides with the seminars), the grapevine model is horizontal, spidering outward in various directions, with shoots entwining about each other. This model has engendered a refreshingly dogma-free pluralism in Italian jazz, which is at the root of the growing international recognition of its vitality.
Both Schiaffini and Battaglia point to the need to let students learn. “If you tell them everything,” Schiaffini suggested, “then there is nothing for them to discover.” Battaglia believes that “you have to leave space for them to fill in,” whether the student is performing or composing... “This is jazz we’re trying to teach,” said Schiaffini with a faint incredulity. “You can’t give them all of the answers. If they all have the same answers, they will be clones,” Schiaffini added, tapping the table with his fist, as if he was cutting cookies.
- Bill Shoemaker, "Page One," Point of Departure September 2007
Anyone Fancy A Chocolate Digestive was predictably Mahler-esque in its intensity, but the best song was about tortoises. There aren't nearly enough songs about tortoises; I bet even bloody Tortoise have never written a song about a tortoise. This is, frankly, pathetic.
- Do You Come Here Often?, Dish Launch