Saturday, June 12, 2010

Follow Up: That's not Jazz...

The history of Jazz is a complex and rich story. From founding fathers to people who pushed and pulled the boundaries of what Jazz can be.

Jazz can be a lot of things. Many styles, many forms, many musicians. Most people would not consider Kenny G a Jazz musician or even much of a musician. He's more of a showman than a musician. In the world of music styles approaches are different. There is an amazing amount of tolerance and even respect for musicians that take different approaches to success. More respect is given when the person is technically and musically competent of course. So while many may consider Kenny G's wailings bothersome they don't take too much offense and even begrudgingly be happy for his success.

That is until his wailings and warblings go beyond his own realm of cheesy music and tread on the legacy of one of those founding fathers of Jazz.

Pat Metheny on Kenny G is a good read. At first because it's a valid musical critique of Kenny G's music but later because it shows how vehement people can get when certain lines and boundaries are crossed. Stay in your own world and you can have all the excess success you can claim from popular culture. Mess with things that are close to sacred and watch out. People will no longer congratulate you on your success. People will start telling the world what they think of your actual ability.

Not that the opinion of a really talented musician will change Kenny G's success of course. It will however remind me of why I can't stand Kenny G's version of 'music'.


Lene Andersen said...

Pat Metheny... now, there's a good one.

Just the mention of KG's name makes me cringe.

Lene Andersen said...

I've just read that piece by Metheny and, not surprisingly, have an opinion.

Much to my disappointment, Metheny doesn't come off well in this one. In the first 3rd of the "essay," he comes off like a pretentious arse - anyone who invokes the term "serious listener" also dismisses those who aren't audiophiles and then you're dissing many of the people who might like your music. Not a smart move. In the second 3rd of the piece, he switches from expert opinion to a rant - a lovely, impassionaed rant that I enjoyed hugely (particularly "spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great Louis's tracks" and the term "musical necrophilia"). And then, in the last part of the thing, he disintegrates into a random, petty whinging about "the polish people". WTF??

Sigh. Love his argument - and agree wholeheartedly - but dude. Ever heard of editing?