Sunday, July 24, 2005

...And We're Back

Camp is over, and I had my recovery day yesterday, so regular blogging will now resume. I'll post my thoughts on this year's camp over in my "letter to campers" on my other website within a day or so and update this post with a link over there when it's done.

In the meantime, regular reader Gary P. wrote something in the comments to the last post that I thought I'd reproduce here in its entirety for the purpose of starting discussion:
Are the current crop of "living legend" jazz musicians considered so legendary because of their association with the truly innovative players of the 50's and 60's? And once these guys are gone, who are going to be the "living legends" in 2040?

Not to sound dismissive at all toward guys like Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Maynard Ferguson, and the guys in that class... but would we still care about them as much if it weren't because of their association with guys like Basie, Ellington, Coltrane, Dizzy, Kenton, Brownie, etc? And once they're gone, who's going to take their place? Is the public face of jazz in 30 years going to be whomever the last surviving brother of Wynton is just because of his bloodlines?
Here's my take on the above: I think Maynard stands up on his own as an innovator, as well as a tireless crusader in the quest to keep jazz alive among young people (note how often his performance venue is a high school, and how often he hires musicians straight out of college). Having had the pleasure of playing with Clark Terry in a combo setting when he was here in '98, I think he also stands up just fine without his even more famous peers because of the players he's influenced (not to mention the whole "Mumbles" scatting style that he developed), and Golson has made his own mark as a composer ("Along Came Betty," "Whisper Not," etc.).

So how about the "next generation?" There are actually a few generations below the above-mentioned artists now, but Michael Brecker definitely strikes me as one who'll stand the test of time..Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett (yes, OK, I'm biased toward sax players). I think there are some guys (and gals, too; Maria Schneider is quite an innovative writer) out there who will still be in the CD players/iPods/chips implanted in people's brains in the future. Readers....comments?

More blogs 'n' bop: I"m a week late to the party, but ovber at Althouse, there was a discussion about jazz, or, more specifically, if you're ever in a situation where people assume you like jazz. (And indeed, how couldn't you?--Ed.)

Lucky seven: The end of camp also meant that I got to watch the last two stages of the Tour de France. Congrats again to Lance Armstrong for winning seven in a row and setting a record that will probably never be matched. You've done Texas--and America--very proud.

In case you missed it: Some interesting stories from while I was away...
(all of the above courtesy Dave Barry's Blog)


Steven said...

Deferred success? How about "belated success?" What are those intials boys and girls?

It's hard to be young and be a living legend, so of course some musicians will get part of their credit because of guys the worked with...who were years older than them, and had time to innovate. Of course, the guys wouldn't have had those opportunities if there wasn't something there. You give the young guys today that type of time, and there will be legendary music to come.

Anonymous said...

It occurred to me a few days ago that once upon a time, the term "needs improvement" replaced failure on elementary school report cards. While still a step above "unsatisfactory," did anybody out there my age (30) or so really take that as anything but failure? Some things never change.

It does not matter what you call it, young students will always translate non-success to failure if they care about what they are doing. If they are resilient, they will keep trying; if not, they won't. It does not mater what you call it. Let's stop wasting time with nomenclature and just teach the kids. Sheesh.