Some comments on the nature of jazz

Here’s an op-ed piece by Mike Lake that’s thought provoking. I won’t say anything else–it speaks for itself. :musical_keyboard:


I dunno…there will always be music that more or less aligns with our own individual constructions of what a given art form is.

Mike’s take seemed particularly ugly and not uplifting to our beloved genre.

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Hi @scott1 I saw this and read the Mike Lake piece when you posted it but wanted to wait and listen to a few things before making a comment or two.

I was vaguely aware of Ethan Iverson but more as an educator than a performer; in particular, I’ve spent some time browsing through his Do the Math blog which I find eclectic and erudite. I listened to a couple of tunes from the new album, “Every Note is True”, that Mike Lake pilloried (and the critics loved), and it wasn’t my cup of tea.

I found it interesting to listen to more of Iverson’s work; I thought his 2016 album, “The Purity of the Turf” was great–it’s also a trio endeavor but is much more traditional. Have a listen to his versions of Darn that Dream and Confirmation–I think they’re terrific, and inspiring.

Back to Mike Lake’s piece–I also dug a little deeper into Kris Davis, the pianist that jazz critics love but Mike Lake doesn’t. I listened to some of her work as well; the tune that Mike Lake refers, “Prairie Eyes”, on the 2016 album Duopoly, seems so avant garde that I can’t really appreciate or understand it. On the other hand, I think the tune, “Diatom Ribbons”, from her 2019 album of the same name, is fascinating. It’s not a tune that I would listen to over and over, but I do appreciate the novelty and creativity.

Have a listen to the track on spotify, Diatom Ribbons - Album by Kris Davis | Spotify,
which has an intro and ending featuring voiceovers drawn from Cecil Taylor (a free jazz pioneer), followed by a complicated free jazz-like section. It’s also worth watching the Diatom Ribbons video on her web page.

Bottom line–I still have a hard time listening to Ornette Coleman (or Cecil Taylor), but can appreciate how Kris Davis (and, to a lesser extent, Ethan Iverson) are expanding the genre. The discussion reminds me of Peter Martin and Adam Maness’ reaction to Domi and JD Beck!