The state of Jazz in L.A.

2 thoughts on “The state of Jazz in L.A.”

  1. I listen to jazz for the same reason I eat oysters: to develop a taste for something that’s supposed to be great. My sister’s Miles Davis CD has helped matters slightly, but it is good to know there are so many places in Los Angeles where I can sample good live jazz.

  2. The music of some jazz performers is more accessible than others. The more you know the repertoire (if it’s standards) or are aurally familiar with the language of jazz, the more you will be able to enjoy it. It’s the same as with any other music. Since popular music is on TV and radio all the time, we have an ingrained familiarity with it and its language (notice the repeated use of the word “language” — it’s helpful to think of music as having a vocabulary and grammar that changes in accordance with the kind of music and how closely those kinds hew to the established conventions of the genres they’re from).There is a large group of jazz performers whose music is most accessible (and to some degree, only accessible) to those who are very familiar with the genre — i.e. other musicians. That limits your audience to a great degree.Miles Davis is unique in many ways, one being that the kind of music he played changed significantly just about every three to five years between 1949 and his death in 1991. From bebop to “cool,” to modal to hard bop to fusion to funk — there are many Miles Davises to choose from. Miles was one of the few jazz musicians who was actually a musical leader in the black community, with a sizable audience and reputation in both the black and white music worlds.Most people start listening to jazz in general, and not just Miles, with the “Kind of Blue” album, which is from the modal period, and which features John Coltrane in the band. Traditional jazz fans go for the ’50s Miles, with the Gil Evans arrangements for both jazz and classical instruments, still pretty much in a bop style. Hard-core jazz players gravitate to Miles “second classic quartet” of the mid-to-late ’60s, with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter — a melding of traditional hard bop and chord-less free playing that was meant to counteract what Coltrane and Ornette Coleman were doing at the time.Well, enough of that. Jazz is hard music to make a living with. Always has been. These days there are more CDs than ever — it’s easier to make one, if not easier to sell it.

Comments are closed.