Is jazz in danger of becoming a caricature of itself?

Just finished reading this article by Michael Lake, and it raises some interesting questions.

I’ve been working through the theory section of Jovino’s class on “Triads: Non-Linear Improvisation,” and he touches on some of the same points with regard to chord-scale relationships and improvisation.

Give it a look and see what you think. There are interesting observations in the comments as well, where a number of educators and established jazz musicians chime in. Enjoy! :musical_keyboard:


Great read and thoughtful comments, too. This struck me from the article: >>Perhaps the antidote, for just a moment, is to forget about how you “should” sound, and instead listen to how you DO sound and more importantly, how you want to sound. Where will you find that music within you?<<

At this SFJazz panel yesterday, I heard the same thing. Traditionally, you found your sound ideals first and then built chops around then. Nowadays, students build chops before finding the sounds their hearts connect with. Wide-ranging conversation here –
Jazz & Race: Online Panel Discussion - YouTube

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Perhaps it depends on your definition of “Jazz.” Most people agree that if you “jazz” up a tune you’re taking a piece that is already written and somehow changing it to spice it up a little. Taking that idea to its conclusion, jazz strips a tune down to its basic structural skeleton and can change the tempo, the time signature, the key, the melody, the harmony and the rhythm - almost anything - to make infinite variations on the structural theme. Certainly it can be written down. Oscar Petersen worked this way, sending complicated parts to the members of his band before performances, although the Holy Grail in jazz is to actually create the music at the time of performance, as Bill Evans and his trio always did. If someone were to take Oscar Petersen’s improvisations and perform them note for note, I’d think of it as a performance or a recreation of a jazz piece, rather than jazz itself.
My 2c anyway.

Thanks to point this conversation :+1:

here you can get a free copy of a nice ebook with audio links
Seems really interesting i will try to get more inside it … well made and seductive method to get more in the ear process for improvising.
combined with @Jovino triads view will be my next step to get better…

Thanks @scott1 for sharing this. I am amazed at how many instructional jazz videos, online course offerings come through my FB and Instagram feeds, and the one thing they all share is marketing, it’s all about selling something that will presumably make you a better player than before, including books / PDF’s with heaps of licks, and ways to sound like Your Favourite Jazz Musician. In my experience, apart from the obvious need to know scales and chord voicings, I have had to work very slowly, with a high level of engagement with my emotional responses, and with curiosity. Maybe the marketing approach to jazz is about instant results ? But even Duke Ellington is quoted as saying that it took him 20 years to become an overnight success. And let’s not forget Frank Zappa who said : " Jazz isn’t dead, it just smells funny" :grin: