04 August 2005

Jazz.

It's like a lettuce salad, and the opposite of Skittles. With a salad I never think I really want it, until I make one and taste it (and then realize I want another). With Skittles, I always think I like them, and then after I've eaten a bag I get that dry, sugar-crusted feeling in my throat, and I realize how bad I feel after eating them. Jazz music is something I never listen to very often, anymore, and I forget about it. I then get desperate on the radio during commercials and switch to the jazz station. Then a great combo jazz tune snares me...complex, almost discordant harmony of the piano...vinuous, effortless guitar lines that are miles above any rock solo outside of Steely Dan...the throbbing, churning rhythm of the bass...the madcap, almost random "anti-beat" of the drums. Most of the popular music of today as well as the majority of what I play in various groups lacks real rhythm. I was listening to Led Zeppelin III last night while preparing a batch of cyser (hopefully for this Christmas) and I was struck by how amazingly good the music is, and how relatively lukewarm most other music is, especially modern stuff.

Here's what has happened, and allow me to quote John Cleese: "I am not a racialist!". Anyway, jazz and Led Zeppelin share a bond. Led Zeppelin is immensely blues-oriented, and blues and jazz are "siblings" so to speak, both derived from the same thing...ethnic black music.

What has happened here is that our music has gotten so white-washed. I mean, the Beatles were inspired by Motown. All of the best white musicians were inspired by black musicians. Now that our white musicians are inspired by white musicians, we have crappy whitebread groove-less music out the ears. I know this all sounds incredibly stereotypical, and I'm as pasty white as they come. I just think that white culture and music may have certain strengths, and black culture and music has its own strengths. The best music of the past 50 years, in my opinion, is when the strengths of both are harnessed (see Beatles, Steely Dan, Led Zeppelin, various jazz artists, etc).

2 comments:

Matt said...

Not to interrupt a new thought, but I must.

I have been reading Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton, which is an amazing book and worthy of comment alone. I won't redo what's been done, if you've never heard of him and become curious you can read about him here:

www.chesterton.org

But I digress. I have recently begun reading another of his works, a collection of essays called What I Saw in America. The reason this would be of interest to you, a self-proclaimed Anglophile, is because Chesterton was a turn of the century Brit, most brilliant in his generation, who did a lecture tour in North America and wrote what I guess would be described as an open-minded, well traveled European comparing and contrasting his native land with ours. It is brilliant.

I happen to know that a certain Mid-Continent Public Library (may Todd's shelves extend forever, and his bookends be as the stars) has a copy.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

Ahh, Chesterton. A fellow Chestertonian (Mr. Talbert) advised me to dig deeply into his material as I would enjoy it. Unfortunately I've never been able to crack open a tome of his...it seems that I never have the time. Someday... Regardless, his books will still be on the shelves (May Todd Manage Forever! May His Carts Run Without Squeaking!) after I'm gone, so I've got time.

And my Anglophilia is one of quiet sadness, as I see the English culture devolving at a freakish pace. Joan Collins, of all people, had a brilliant little column/op-ed that Drudge posted recently on the subject.