Not that shit that puts your grandfather to sleep, that shit your grandfather fucked his stripper girlfriend to in 1928, both of em messed up on reckless amounts of moonshine, weed, and who knows what else! I want jazz that threatens to kill people. I want jazz that has killed a few people. I want jazz that’s vicious and breathes fire, I want chainsaw jazz that wants to fuck your grandmother. (See photo above)
Now, you might be thinking, “Ah, StrangeFlow, what are you doing? Talking about jazz, now? This is an electronic blog, isn’t it? Come on, make with the step!; either dub-, 2-, or future-; but don’t kill us with this shit. Why now? Why here?
Because I think jazz might be beyond genre; I think jazz is an aesthetic, and I’ll tell you how that relates to electronic music.
Let me explain what I mean… Jazz is not just a specific chord progression, but a mood. It’s not what notes you play, but with what attitude you play them with. To put it in context with modern electronic music, I have often thought that really good breakcore should sound just like jazz. Not the musical genre of jazz, but jazz as a kind of musical verb.
For breakcore specifically, it would mean jazzing out the breaks and samples in such a complex and seemingly chaotic (yet precisely controlled and meticulously formed) way so as to create a tangled string of beautiful and colorful knots; making a mess while simultaneously cleaning it up – a contradictory sound – a jarring language of intersecting sounds and noises, all fitting together like jagged little pieces to a mind-blowing puzzle. Good breakcore should have jazz in its DNA.
So, what I’m getting at, basically, is that jazz needn’t act like the boring old senior citizen most people take it for. And, to be fair, there have been some interesting trends for jazz in the last twenty years. Well, more or less… And, I’ll point out that even though I personally see it as an aesthetic, it’s not unusual to see it acting as merely a genre. Most people see it as one more passing trend, and nothing more. Sure – an interesting, and perhaps an epic trend – but an older one at that, and one that’s mostly dead, at this point.
But I think it’s bigger than that. I think that if “jazz-as-a-genre” dies (or if it already is dead) the spirit it encapsulates will still be with us, showing up in other forms. Jazz is what happens when musicians play, when they have an articulate conversation purely through the realm of musical devices and instruments, within the mode of uninhibited improvisation. It’s a mental wave length, a language. It can be fast, slow; straight, crooked; happy, blue; and in addition, it can also be maniacal, sinister, evil, and potentially quite perverted.
It’s really a very vivid bastard.
So, although I do think jazz music could (and should) reincarnate itself as a voodoo cannibal from hell, and even if the genre as we think of it isn’t coming back (with that same specific combination of conventional jazz instruments and formulas from the 20th century) the gene of jazz will probably stay inside us, as a species, for another million years. If we dig deep, we can get to it, as it’s always there.
Perhaps this is the way we should evaluate some forms of artistic expression, from now on – as being, potentially, more than just a genre. Not necessarily based soley on popularity or uniqueness, but on whether or not it’s BEYOND all those things, and if it can change you, mentally, to a specific degree, when you hear it, and entice you into performing or creating something creative with a certain type of energy. On that note, I also think punk is an aesthetic, as well. And, on that token, I think it might be arguable that funk is also an aesthetic, when it’s done right – meaning, when you’re not ‘faking the funk,’ – it’s a mix of confidence, sexual energy and experimentalism. Notice how I didn’t define it at all with musical concept? I’ll also point out that funk was once used as a description of jazz music, before it turned into it’s own genre, decades later. There’s lots of cross-pollination. In fact, I see no reason why you couldn’t punk out some funk with a jazz outlook, as well…
Well, I think I’ll finish this article here. If there’s any interest, maybe I could elaborate and go on to talk about punk or funk later, but for now, I think I’ll wrap it up. I don’t want to go off on any more tangents, like the one where I explain how melody is all just color, American dubstep is actually heavy metal, or, on a lighter note, how it’s impossible for anyone to look sexy while eating Taco Bell… no, I’ll save those for another day. Ha.
So, yes, to say that jazz is not a genre it’s simplistic. It can act as a genre, but really, it’s more than that, too. I’m not against the specific genres that jazz has formed, in fact, there are lots of different forms of jazz music that I love; espeially bop, dixieland, and electro swing… But, various other forms of music beyond jazz (that are now seen as genres) can also fit the description of going ‘beyond genre,’ as well. As I said, more on that later. I need to go work on some more sample packs… Leave a comment, tell me what you think! :-)
i didnt know there was this much to think about with jazz. i never listened to it.
Well, maybe jazz isn’t your thing. It’s all good. But yes, there’s always a lot to think about when it comes to music, if you’re so inclined. I’m a major music nerd, though, so I have fun with it. It’s not always necessary, but it can be fun.
I’m a jazz pianist and about a year ago I started getting into producing some bass rattling music. I must say I agree with you on the aesthetic part. Theres just that cool feel that is jazz. You hear jazz influences in all sorts of EDM. Hip hop is full of it. Jazz never died, it just changed.
DO you have a sound cloud? I want to hear some of this bass rattling music you speak of…
Interesting piece about jazz… I must beg to differ with you as to the statement ‘Most people see jazz as a passing trend which is basically dead,” EXCUSE ME!!!! I would like to let you know that, to millions of people all over the planet, classic jazz music (Miles Davis, John Coltraine, the Giants kind of music) is VERY alive and well, not to mention MIND-BLOWINGly great!! Case in point: Enrico Pieranunzi whom I saw live in Copenhagen just last night in a trio. So Please, Mr. Bassadelic, enlighten and elucidate your young readers who, like the fellow above, do not know anything about some of the very best music on the planet, so that they too can learn what it means to be utterly transported to a whole other realm by this music alone.
Actually, I quite agree that classic jazz is still really good. I’ve been blowing up Giant Steps by Coltrane all week :) its the only jazz I got so far on my new laptop i got a couple weeks ago (except for some awful Weather Report track that I forgot to delete, haha) but yea, of course folks still enjoy jazz. My point was, though, that a lot of people think it’s dead, or at least, not popular. This is the perception among most people, I would still contend. People do think jazz’s heyday is in the past. Sorry that offends you, but that’s what people DO think..
Since this is a bass/edm blog, I try to generally talk about things as they relate to the subject of modern electronic music, which is why writing an entire article about jazz and how it ties in with electronic music is one of the most fitting jazz-themed articles I could post to this site. I also posted about the modern electro swing movement https://bassadelic.com/2012/07/19/top-ten-electroswing-tunes/ and offered electro swing samples, so that some folks might delight in incorporating some of these old classic jazz sounds into their mixes https://bassadelic.com/2012/08/03/big-electro-swing-pack-sample-pack-is-here/ as well as a Miles Davis sample package that I linked to…
So, as far as me telling people about “classic jazz,” I’m really doing more than any other electronic/bass music blog out there is – and dedicating multiple posts and a good number of hours providing jazz samples.. so… not sure what else you’re looking for, realistically…..?
Hi, thanks for your reply to my comment, and for elucidating me as to your purpose with the blog and your efforts to educate the uneducated masses about jazz music…. I appreciate what you are working towards, and although my tastes obviously lie elsewhere than modern electronic music, I am glad that you are doing what you can to help those who are clueless (yes there are far too many). The only thing I would add is to question your idea of ‘people out there really do see jazz as a dying or possibly dead music trend” not sure which people those are, but you obviously must know that there are also many people the world over who would say that jazz is very much alive and well in all of its variations in the year 2012. My own opinion, (well founded) is that we live in parallel universes here on Earth, musically as well as in many other ways…. and the more one universe can overlap and learn from the others, the better for our common humanity. thanks for the reply… SB
Word, I agree that our universes should bend and meet! :) Thanks for the excellent responses, too, man; always appreciated. And yea, you’re probably right, there are folks who think jazz is still kickin it. In my little music world, I still love some Brazillian bossa nova and some nice bop.. (Bird used to be my all-time favorite till I played his tracks out way too often, lol!) But hey, I’ve always wished bossa or bop would have kind of electronic infusion… I would LOVE to see that, to be honest with ya. Don’t know if it would fit in with your personal choice of aesthetics, but I would LOOOVE to see or hear or witness a super-bass’d-out bop movement :)
or “BASSAa-Nova” hahahaha :-D
Hey Bassadelic, thanks for the amusing reply, I laughed out loud…. a super bass’d out bop movement, is that sort of like Funkadelics meet Coltraine, or maybe Billie meets Rick james or something weird like that> anyway, I agree, it is good for universes to meet and bend, as you so eloquently phrased it… I’ll check out your blog again, I liked it and could probably learn something about electronic bass music….
Nah, I hate mashups. But you were close when you mentioned Coltrane… The conversation you started got me inspired to figure out how a bass’d out bop song actually WOULD sound… so I started working on a little experiment. I’ll post it probably this week or next
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