I realized years ago that I wasn't a "genius" musician and decided that one could be a mature sounding musician and be comfortable aiming for excellence. Musicians that sound mature and do the job can work all week long. It was Jackie Kelso who helped show me that, but maybe everyone wants to be a musical genius now. Geniuses are far and few between. For educational purposes only: Let's listen to the player below…….
This is a post-coltrane player. I'm sure some will know the time period and the player. I posted this because it might be surprising to people. This is borrowed from the Perla Archive of Loft Sessions. I don't own this material, yet I wanted to use it as a demonstration of what was happening after John Coltrane passed away. This is 1971 and the player is Dave Liebman. They didn't have a system of approach notes, chromatic cells, and triadic devices, what they did was listen to Trane and absorb the material and each player found his own way to understand it, yet at the center of it all, HEARING AND LISTENING, were centric to what they accomplished. If jazz is going to succeed we need an audience to listen to it, and I fear that the current direction that the music is headed will not keep it's 1% of the listeners.
Music should not be a combat sport where MORE MEANS BETTER, these musicians in the late 60's ended up playing like John Coltrane because they LIVED THAT EXPERIENCE, in the exact same way that Jackie Mac and Phil Woods etc lived the experience of Charlie Parker, and in every alto player at the time you heard a piece of Bird. Social Media has turned American Classical Music into a competitive sport, and that makes me sad and I would still rather listen to Trane and Grossman. We all need to speak from our heart and tell our story, I can always tell Jerry Bergonzi in a few moments from his own style developed in the post-Coltrane era.
There was a scene in NYC, which I knew nothing of, I was a kid in the 60s, the loft scene and the music that Coltrane created changed not just the saxophone, but the piano, the bass, and the drummers and all the horn players. It was by playing together with each other that helped grow the music. It seems that jazz in 100 years has accomplished what took Classical music several centuries, I believe Jazz has been completely explored in all directions, we had our Classical, Baroque and 12 tone Row periods, and like Classical Music we've lost the audience because music is DANCE and FOLK music primarily for the masses. If a person works all week for some little money, they want to take their partner out on a date and have some fun, not be yelled at musically.
That's the reason Beyonce and others are so popular. Jazz was very popular once when it was pop music, the songs they played were hits from movies. Bird took it into the Concert Halls, and changed it's direction, and he knew what he had done, but now we have to decide, where is the joy for the audience? What do we do next to get people to have some fun. Jackie Kelso told me that I had more than enough technique to play and have a long career, but I needed to learn to dance and put the dance in my music. There's no dance in much of jazz today, and many players are not realistic about their playing level. EVERY PLAYER SHOULD KNOW how they play, how well they play compared to the standards already established and how much they have achieved. We don't rely on accolades we should understand our level by our own judge and jury. There are levels in all music, and then there is the top tier. We should know where we are.
I hope the music, and at this point the WORLD survives, for as many on social media who are succeeding, the reality is, the middle class is under attack, and the wealth has been divided and music is always is a reflection of what is happening in Society. You can take that to the bank. Boomer out. (My pop's nick name for me.....) Let me know your thoughts below…..