MUSINGS IN Cb: Jazz Doesn’t Need to be “Saved”
Since I have lived long enough now to have succeeding generations following mine, I have come to the conclusions that “Jazz" does not need to be; nor, has it ever needed to be, "saved" by the youngest among us.
Arguably, “Jazz” music, as a musical art form, has not seen anything new in the mainstream since the innovations of John Coltrane (1959), and Charlie Parker (1939) before him. Giving consideration to this fact, one could easily conclude that “Jazz” music is stagnant or dying. Nothing could be further from the truth.
During the contemporary times of Coltrane and Parker, both were easily considered non-traditional by the musical standards of popular society in each of their day. And, contrary to most information, “swing" and "dance" music was not what these two innovators created. They were not "pop" musicians like "Nat Cole" (Coltrane) or "Glenn Miller" (Parker) who played swing "music that people could dance to”.
Both, Cole and Miller were wealthy and likely millionaires. It is reported that Miller was making $20,000 a week when he voluntarily joined the Army Air Corps to serve our country during World War II. I have never found evidence of Parker and/or Coltrane having been well off financially in context. But, this is not anything shocking because “pop” music that appeals to the masses is generally always more financially prolific than the musical art that requires a different level of engagement by listeners.
Not good or bad, just how it is …
Some “Jazz” musical artists (including the great, Miles Davis) borrowed from the “pop” music of the 1950s and 1960s to usher in the electronic instrumental contributions of the 1970s and beyond.
Just because some “Jazz” today (like Robert Glasper) borrows from “Hip Hop" (a "pop" music development started in NYC during the 1970s), which is likely the most influential music among the youngest generations today, does not necessarily point to a major paradigm shift in the music.
To portend that “Jazz” needs to be saved because it doesn’t sell as many records as Jay-Z, sell out concerts like Lady Gaga, or otherwise resemble “pop” music for the masses; is, well, ridiculous hyperbole …
In recent decades there has been a misplaced infatuation with youth that some writers engage in with respect to each generation performing the music we call, “Jazz” - The young artists will “save” jazz, blah blah blah … it was the “young lions" moniker during my generation … it’s all just blah blah blah to “sell” their publications at worst, or perhaps even lame attempts to “hype” the music at best. I say stop because it is more harmful than good.
What we might learn from each generation is that there are those among us who are not following the beaten path that may be popular with everybody else. They are extending the traditions of the music gorgeously, rather than putting a dress on a cute pig and trying to pass it off as the belle of the ball.
Too many “Jazz” people missed innovators like, Andrew Hill.
And, too many “Jazz” people overlook today’s true innovators because their music is often too difficult for the masses to digest in 3 minutes and 20 seconds … Same thing that Parker and Coltrane faced in their respective lives and times.
"Jazz" doesn’t need to be "saved" … "fans" simply need to pay attention!
MUSINGS IN Cb:
"(At this point in life, it is) Amusing To Be Underestimated …"
When we finished our active duty service career in the Regular Army Music Program, we opened a music store in a small town just outside of the main gate of the last Army band post we were assigned.
The Burnett Music Company, Inc. music store did not remain viable for several unanticipated reasons that terminally impacted our business plan.
However, there were several positive developments and lessons that came out of that 5-year experience of literally working 16-hour-days, 7-days-a-week - for no pay. The primary positives included:
The above list is likely very familiar to anyone who has engaged in entrepreneurism on most any retail sales level. This relates to the subject of this particular “musing” because several of the skills I developed have been very vital toward any subsequent success I have enjoyed since this seemingly failed first attempt at retail business in the capitalist economic system of our great country. I have learned that we learn greatest from endeavors that don’t always go as planned. And, this is one of mine…
I developed a limitlessly valuable new skill during the course of managing and operating this “brick and mortar” retail music store business. That skill was writing HTML code along with other IT developer languages … and, this skill still serves me well in everything I do in the music industry to this very day!
The reason I learned to write HTML code was to simply update our music store company website and not pay $25 to the Host Company each time to do it. That was almost twenty years ago, but you can see how prohibitively expensive it becomes (even back then) to pay someone $25 “Tech Support" fee each time they added a comma or changed a link on your site. Ridiculous. So, I learned how to do it myself…
Most people with company websites do not understand how the entire dynamic works, much less do they actually do anything technical on their website’s back-end. They generally leave all of that to the IT Department (“our Geeks”) or contract it out (to a company of “Geeks”).
This gives lots of power to the IT world in my opinion, that otherwise these business people would be more discerning and deliberate toward bestowing such autonomy. A questionable practice that continues to come back to haunt many company owners to this day. Why? Ignorance. Even, borderline stupidity as business decisions and priorities go.
Most IT people will give the most informed among us a “headache” with all of the “tech-speak” during even the most routine matter involving your web development paradigm.
Then, if you have no idea how to turn on a computer, much less how to actually write code - you see the issues in this dynamic, right?
Most IT Professionals and Webmasters realize this is largely the case when they deal with people outside of their professions. I have seen this awareness among them since I started developing my own websites twenty years ago. They “humor” us with polite customer service at best; and, are downright condescending at worst. Revenge of the Nerds.
So, as a lifelong, self-admitted “Band Geek" and late blooming "Computer Geek”, I find it amusing when these clowns underestimate me. Especially when I know a solution before contacting them. It never ceases to amaze me when I am bombarded with “tech-speak” double talk as a filibuster move.
Rather than just saying, “Mr. Burnett, we will take a look at the situation with consideration to your description of the issue; and, we will get on working to resolve your ticket. Thank you for your business.”
In my current positions managing the Websites and Social Media platforms for several companies, I have saved each of those entities at least tens of thousands of hard dollars because of the skills I acquired in this area of business. When most dedicated IT Professionals and Webmasters realize that I am somewhat articulate and knowledgable, they approach me differently.
Some still try to “up-sell”, but I usually “win”…
People of my age group (50+) need to step up our game in this area. More musicians are more literate about web development and social media platforms. More music business leaders included in this number will be great for the entire scene.
Listen to the Remastered Collectors Edition tracks for free on Spotify #jazz #ARC #Spotify #chrisburnett
INPUT ABOUT THE UNMASTERED MIXES I HAVE SENT TO A SELECT GROUP OF INDIVIDUALS HAS BEEN POSITIVE IN TERMS OF REACTION TO THE MUSIC ITSELF AND VERY USEFUL OTHERWISE …
One esteemed individual generously complimented my improvisatory approach and asked if my “deliberate approach to soloing” was on purpose. I answered with the following:
"As far as my approach to soloing, yes. It is deliberately "thoughtful" to my philosophy of trying to avoid playing "licks", "tricks" or anything that "dials in" improvisatory material. That is difficult to do. I am also utilizing some of the things I have learned studying composition that provide resources for content “note-wise” too, in the form of synthetic scales that address certain harmonic cycles. It creates “my own thing”, if you will. Scary territory because even though that is supposed to be the goal, many cats don’t accept your playing if you don’t play “like” someone else - oxymoronic dynamic if there ever was one. Your informed input is valued enormously, my friend!”
Be encouraged. This shows that some people are really LISTENING!
More information: www.ChrisBurnettQuartet.com
STUDIO SESSION #1 JUNE 17, 2014 - Our recording session at C. R. Sound in Kansas City went GREAT today! The rehearsals paid off because the quartet came together really nicely as a musical unit and sounded like a band.
It never gets old hearing your composition come to life. Big thanks to Clarence Smith (drums), Roger Wilder (piano) and Jeff Harshbarger (bass) for brining your talents in full force. Thanks to Stanton Kessler for serving as our Technical Producer and Consultant. Stan’s experience and expertise made for a smooth session from start to finish.
Special thanks to our Guest Artists, Terri Anderson Burnett and Freda Proctor who added their wonderful flute playing to the mix and did a great job on “Firebird" and "One World" … more to follow!
FINALLY - We are going into the studio this morning. We will begin recording my new CD. Tracks today will include my compositions: “Firebird”, “Analog Networking”, “Ballad For An Optimist”, “Perspectives”, and a wonderful work titled, “A Risk I Take” by Mark Taylor! The recordings will be released on the ARC label. What a GREAT catalogue of releases … http://artistsrecordingcollective.biz
“Jazz" is a music driven by improvisation, creativity and individual originality. It was never pop music and is still alive today.
“Swing" is a commercially driven sub-genre of jazz and was the popular music of its day in the United States (and world) circa 1935-1946.
Two different sensibilities …
CbQ UPDATE - Really interesting and productive rehearsals with my new quartet playing my original music. Different. Unique. Ideas and theories documented. Very cool. It is interesting hearing these ideas becoming real. Thanks to Clarence Smith, Roger Wilder, and Jeff Harshbarger for bringing their talent to this project. Thanks to Stanton Kessler for bringing his recording production experience and advice.
Cb - www.BurnettMusic.com