Monday, 14 November 2016

Is jazz shite?

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I've got a friend who loathes and detests jazz. He doesn't mean any harm. It's just that he likes a tune with a beginning, middle and end. Whereas I spent much of my childhood with jazz on in the background. Not only did my dad have records by the likes of Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis and the Dave Brubeck Quartet; but one of my parents' friends even used to play the trumpet. Nice. 
The Fast Show, gently mocking jazz
Their generation, who were in their twenties in the 1950s, lived with jazz as their thing. And it's quite attractive. They were cool cats that went to jazz festivals and really bummed out their uncool, square parents. And there's no doubt that jazz, from that time and from those artists I mention, has bequeathed much of the music that my friend and I listen to. It's just that we prefer to listen to our music. And I've tried. I've tried so hard to listen to jazz. 

The good news is that there are some artists out there that can hold a tune without going off on a huge distractive jazzy ride. Try The Bonzo Dog Band, music from TV show Boardwalk Empire and Abdullah Ibrahim. For all the influences of British and American jazz, this South African artist is actually listenable. It's just that I find credible artists like Ornette Coleman a real struggle. 

But back to my friend. I'm more of an open-minded kind of cat and do try. I do. But it can be a challenge can't it? Despite it's legacy, is jazz shite?

Listen to a mini podcast version of this blog (Dur 2 Min) 

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