Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Jazz Is Dead. Long Live Jazz.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 1:27 PM


Art and life co-habitate, informing, imitating, and enriching each other constantly. Each week in Better Living Through Music, RFT Music writer Ryan Wasoba explores this symbiotic relationship

When I read "Vijay Iyer and the Outreachification Of Jazz" by Chris Kornellis on the Seattle Weekly's blog, my immediate response was something like, "Aw, hell no, you don't mess with Vijay." Maybe because Accelerando, the pianist's album released earlier this year, the same one that Kornellis used as a springboard-slash-target, might be my favorite jazz record to come out during my lifetime. If you are reading this and haven't heard the album's immediate title track, I encourage you to do so even if you hate jazz as much as Paul F. Tompkins.

See also: -Vijay Iyer is Excited to Return to St. Louis, Where a Track from The New Album Was Born -Vijay Iyer and the Outreachification of Jazz -The Six Strangest Crossover Attempts By Jazz Musicians

This essay is neither a defense of Vijay Iyer nor a criticism of Chris Kornellis, but the article brings up my own tumultuous relationship with jazz. I went to college for jazz guitar performance for three years, where I realized I did not really love the music as much as I loved being able to major in playing guitar at college. This is a common problem among my peers, many of whom practice Charlie Parker tunes by day and listen to metal or bluegrass or reggae at night hoping that nobody is watching.

Jazz is almost harder to like than it is to love. When you love music, you give it some slack. Just ask yourself, is King Of Limbs actually good or are you just predisposed to like Radiohead? Very few people have a romantic, mind-blowing introduction to John Coltrane in which a single song changed their lives forever. People more often learn to love John Coltrane, like it or not.

Kornellis' article spoke about Vijay Iyer's "Jazz Outreach" workshops, where he teaches kids about jazz. Chances are, these kids will have to learn to love this music, since a twelve year-old whose older sister just introduced him to dubstep is unlikely to have his world turned upside down after hearing "So What" by Miles Davis.

Some bash on jazz because of its relative inaccessibility, but I find this somewhat hypocritical given the tendency for the modern music lover to dig into inaccessible music. I am firm in my belief that people are listening to weirder music more often than ever before. Shit, dubstep is pretty weird.

Tags: ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 13, 2021

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2021 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation