If the purists had their way… (the rest of us would be dead) (By Kenny Love)
“It is ironic to discover ‘artsy’ people, be they actors, musicians or artists, and who are supposed to be the most liberal minded, free thinkers of our society, making a Ku Klux Klan rally look like a 3-year-old birthday party.”
Probably everyone has a particular element of his generation that he holds dear to the point of never wanting to see it affected by change. It might be a favorite television program, a certain music style or a popular phase of art. Mine is 1970’s music, whether R&B, Jazz, Rock, Blues, Country or whatever.
But, equally, probably everyone also realizes that, given the ever changing state of the world, society and other determinants, it is unrealistic to believe that nothing will ever be affected by change, regardless of what it is, and to any degree.
This past week, while promoting one of my clients to radio stations, I received a response that sort of set me off. I had contacted a certain Jazz radio station without bothering to learn just what part of “Jazz” it aired. For instance, Acid Jazz, Traditional Jazz, Jazz Fusion, Contemporary Jazz, Modern Jazz, Pop Jazz, Gospel Jazz, or whatever.
In any event, the response to my innocent query was rather biting, per the below:
“Thanks for your email and your interest in ?????-FM. Please listen to us at www.????????.com, and you will realize that we only play mainstream, straight-ahead jazz.
In a word: realjazz is our format. No “smooth” stuff (our definition of real jazz is STAN GETZ, COLEMAN HAWKINS, JOHNNY HODGES, CLIFFORD BROWN, MILT JACKSON, SARAH VAUGHN, BARBARA MORRISON, CYRUS CHESTNUT, DAVID (FATHEAD) NEWMAN, CLARK TERRY, ROY HARGROVE, TERENCE BLANCHARD and others who use the word “jazz” with reverence, dignity, and commitment to excellence.”
Well! Excuse me!
After reviewing this response, I immediately thought of the 10-10-220 television commercial, whereby, Hulk Hogan is making a feeble attempt to quote original literary prose, with ALF responding, “Pee Yew! Me thinketh, that stinketh!”
And, those were my sentiments exactly, in response to the “holier than thou” response I received from the “real” radio station. In fact, my exact comments to the station person were…
“Ouch! Wynton! You remind me of some friends I know who are Jehovah’s Witnesses! There is, indeed, room for all at the cross. And, it’s truly unfortunate that, in the worlds of Art and Entertainment and, particularly, Music, anyone believes in the theory of ‘1 World/1 Music’. That’s eerily like ‘1 World, 1 Government’, ain’t it?
To me, it’s the social equivalent of yelling at the top of one’s lungs,
HEY! NO RACE MIXING ALLOWED! KEEP THE LINEAGE PURE!
Now, placing this proverbial shoe on your own foot, and in hope for only a world that listens to what you deem “real” jazz, what if, through enslavement, you were forced to listen to Electronica music (sorry, Electrons) for the rest of your life, lest ye be beheaded?
I can assure you that being beheaded, is a lot closer cut than a simple head shave.
Please respond in kind…and I, literally, mean ‘in kindness’. :-)”
Anyway, I guess this person takes purity to heart and far more serious, for I failed to receive a follow-up response, of which I was so eagerly looking forward to.
Also, if you noticed in my response, I used the name, “Wynton.” I used it because of world famous, recognized and purist Jazz trumpeter, Wynton Marsalis. Marsalis is probably the most famous, recognized and vocal purist championing a cause against any form of Jazz, other than what he deems to be appropriate.
And, it is, indeed and practically, elementary in thinking that music itself, because of itself, and in spite of itself, should produce as many genres or sub-genres, if for no other reason than it being emotionally based for most musicians. That is, unless an artist is one that happens to be created in a studio. Even so, this genre (and no other) should have restrictions placed upon it, in the interest of censorship “style.”
Music is an aspect of ‘freedom of speech’, and should be fully explored to its fullest extents and utmost boundaries, regardless of the explorer. I have watched this “purism” over the last several years begin to infiltrate several genres of music. It has occurred in the Rock world, i.e., Classic, Modern and Progressive, as well as in the Country world, i.e., Country, Country Rock.
If Mr. Marsalis does, indeed, spend his days (and nights) whiling away at ways to destroy any Jazz music that isn’t ‘pure of heart’, God forbid he ever discover a banjo-donning Jazz musician who goes by the name of Bela Fleck.
Editor’s Note: Kenny Love has an extensive background in both the Music and Writing industries. Learn about the new services that he is providing to unsigned and independent recording artists in response to today’s shaken and fractionalized Music industry by sending an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org