John McLaughlin on the State of Musical Arts

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by $tratcat, Jul 20, 2014.

  1. MilesMitchell

    MilesMitchell Member

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    Jazz has never been supported in the US compared to Europe or other places. Look at Miles Davis and other jazz musicians who went overseas in the 50s and found audiences who loved them more than their American counterparts. To the point where some of the musicians ended up not going back to America.
     
  2. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

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    Good point. It's not dying... just evolving. Maybe it's just moving from the bars and nightclubs and into the laptops and home studios.
     
  3. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Senior Member

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    What Jazz are we talking about? Certain styles connect better than others. The ones that do get ripped a new asshole by the "real jazz" guys. Yet those bebop dudes fail to realize that standards are not standard anymore. People do not know those tunes and have no appreciation of the improv over them. Actually many players do not know the original tunes well but play "changes" without a sense of the song's intent. Creative yet masturabatory. Anyhow, cultural movements come and go.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  4. stratovarius

    stratovarius Supporting Member

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    It has occurred to me that maybe popular music has finally come full circle, from the parlor back to the parlor. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.
     
  5. phil_m

    phil_m Supporting Member

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    A few years ago I saw Wynton Marsalis while he was on tour with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. He often gets criticized for being too much of a purist or traditionalist when it comes to jazz and being stuck in his ways, but I've got to say it was one of the more entertaining shows I've ever been to. It was a packed house (this was at a large auditorium on a college campus), and he kept the audience's attention all night. He really made a point to be very interactive. I'd say there was a large mix of age groups there, but the audience was probably older overall. Anyway, I think that there is still hope for jazz, but I do think musicians have to respect their audience.

    To hear some jazz guys talk, you get the idea that they think the masses are simply idiots who will never understand them. If that's the way you treat people, it will probably be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think musicians can take their audience into uncharted territory, but there has to be connection there to do that.
     
  6. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

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    Exactly. Maybe music as a performance thing is suffering right now. However, the creation of music is still alive and well. And the business of it all has always sucked for but just a fortunate few.
     
  7. Occam

    Occam Member

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    You can say that jazz or rock is dead or evolving or even just molting but either way the general public just isn't interested in either. Most of what I hear people listening to in the rock and jazz formats is at least 20 years old and quite often older than that. It's not that that was the only time great music was made but it was highly relevant to the person listening then. I'm 40 and jazz has never been a massive force in popular music in my lifetime. The great fusion bands like Mahavishnu Orchestra were already waning by the time I was born in '74. I work with teenagers and except for the diminishing metal heads and punks, they just don't listen to rock music. EDM and pop rule their day. The kids I know are far more likely to listen to J-pop or K-pop or a DJ from France so if nothing else the world of pop music has broken the the America/England paradigms and that at least seems like a good thing.

    When I was 17 I was resigned to give up on popular rock music. 80's hair metal did nothing for me and I was getting more and more into underground metal, punk and hip-hop and that was just fine with me. Nirvana hit out of nowhere and for a lot of people it resparked their interest in rock music. Even the local rap radio stations played Smells Like Teen Spirit because Nirvana had resonated with a sense of frustration and apathy in the youth and was damn catchy with how they did it. I'm confident that rock or jazz will come back as a force once someone finds a way to make it vital. Right now shiny happy dance music seems to be what most kids want but when their's a cultural need for something more guttural and "blood on the floor" then I'm sure some great musician also feeling that will tap into that another great musical cycle will start again and then all the EDM kids will be wondering where all of their fans went and why nobody wants to just dance and have a "good" time.

    I'm constantly digging around for new music. I buy (really, with actual money) 30-50 records a month looking for new musical stimulation and inspiration and there is a lot of great new stuff out there. Are these guys going to make much money at it? No, most would make more money at McDonald's but it's also never been easier to make an album in your bedroom and have it online so that someone around the world can download it that night without having to worry about the gatekeepers of record labels. That's very empowering and you can make a few bucks. I've made more on Bandcamp than I ever would have with the traditional record label route (15 minute instrumentals don't exactly scream next pop sensation). So I've got a decent day job and I've got a medium through which a handful of people listen to my music and while I'd like to grow those numbers, it's not so bad.

    I think the death of live music venues for non-dance music and non-classic cover bands is much more important than the death of the record labels. Jazz and rock can have great power in the recorded format but often taken on much deeper meaning and emotion when performed live and the loss of that is huge and will be slow to regain. I'm personally trying to find ways to do it like Black Flag and just rent spaces and put on my own shows. This way I get the artistic freedom to present music how I see it and break certain standards that don't work for me (like removing a stage and having the audience move amongst the musicians) and playing long format sets but this is expensive, time consuming and hard to find which is exactly the kind of thing that makes it cool and special and while other forms of music are just getting more traditional and stale hopefully this concept will see some traction or at least appreciation by those that are there.
     
  8. dallasblues

    dallasblues Member

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    I think there's some wisdom here. Music isn't dead. However, music as we know it might be though. We'll just have to think outside the box now. No one likes change. But everything about this business has changed and will likely change a lot more very soon. This can be a very exciting time for those who choose to innovate.
     
  9. babaseen

    babaseen Member

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    That is exactly how I see it, thanks for clearly articulating how it really is "out there". This statement is what hits me as devastating...I think the death of live music venues for non-dance music and non-classic cover bands is much more important than the death of the record labels.
     
  10. GovernorSilver

    GovernorSilver Member

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    Maybe not Billboard Top 40 pop music, but definitely jazz and other less mainstream/heavily corporately supported music has been moving back into the parlor.

    These musicians of today have far lower expectations for income and fame. That said, they tend to report actually making more money playing in the "parlor" (house concerts) than they would in today's clubs/bars, because the parlors don't take money off the top for the doorman or whoever.

    For example in DC, a lot of jazz shows get put on in DIY spaces (artist studios, apartment rec rooms, someone's house, etc.). The commercial venues though aren't dead yet - lots of shows still to be found at Bohemian Caverns (where Duke Ellington played a lot), Blues Alley, etc. The national level acts like Pharaoh Sanders, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, etc. tend to play there, or at Kennedy Center.
     
  11. Defendant

    Defendant Member

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    I think Occam's post is great too.

    But there's a lot of wishful thinking around possible so-called solutions, such as venues staying open. I think venue closures can often be about plain old lack of demand due to people not being interested any more. You could gave artificially kept venues open but people head toward what they feel is fresh and theirs.

    We tend to forget that we have no divine right to somehow mahpgically keep the music we grew up with vital and relevant, especially for younger people. Jazz in particular has been discussed as a candidate for a new form of chamber music since the late 80s.

    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2014
  12. jero

    jero Member

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    I actually don't like this vid. It starts with a statement that there should be a platform for young musicians getting exposure, but gradually it turns into complaining about he himself only selling a fraction of the records he used to and not getting any gigs and how the US govt should support jazz/him...

    Fishy. Maybe I am reading a bit too much between the lines.
     
  13. tribalfusion

    tribalfusion Member

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    I don't know where you got all that; he of course has to draw on personal examples and as one of the most significant jazz musicians of the past few decades it's HIGHLY significant how difficult it is for him today.

    The US government (and other governments) should support the art more generally in his account (and mine too) so of course he'd ALSO get some of that support but McLaughlin is one of the very few who did very well even in places without that support for many years; he's speaking for everyone else a LOT more than he is for himself (his career is in the twilight years).

    Sounds like someone had an axe to grind here but it wasn't McLaughlin.
     
  14. jojo

    jojo Member

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    greatness :bong
     
  15. Defendant

    Defendant Member

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    I agree that governments should support art more.

    Harmless question: if given limited funds and the choice, would you rather your government support newer music forms and genres or shore up jazz so it starts to occupy similar space to what classical music has?

    I know there's no reason why everything can't be funded, but I'm interested in which way people would bend given the choice.

    Personally I'd choose newer genres. That said, it would be nice if jazz got classical-sized support.
     
  16. Rumblefish

    Rumblefish Member

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    If gov supports the music,you'll get what gov thinks is best for you.You want bureaucrats deciding what you listen to?
     
  17. Chrome Dinette

    Chrome Dinette Member

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    I totally agree. I am aware of or know personally many dozens of folks with insane chops who can hold their own in just about any situation and who aren't afraid to "leave blood on the floor."

    I agree with the point that the general public is probably less interested now than at some point in the past. I think it is probably worse in the US than Canada or Europe.
     
  18. Shane Sanders

    Shane Sanders Member

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    Making art for money is a strange situation to begin with and it always will be; now, in a complex world like ours, it has so many permutations that one can hardly even keep up with it. The people who are artists (of any ilk or medium) are going to express themselves no matter what they have to do to feed their bodies. Sometimes the circles of magick and commerce collide and you get a few dollars here and there because you connected with someone. But like all dollars, they don't satisfy--not really.
     
  19. Rumy73

    Rumy73 Senior Member

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    Some good points. However, respect and acceptance have been a challenge in every era.
     

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