Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Larry Ochs Or Wynton Marsalis? Jazz Battle Rages!

The old battle between jazz factions has resurfaced with Ochs' army on one side and Marsalis' followers on the other. There will be blood splattered across forums as those loyal to freedom of expression hurl insults at traditionalists, neither of whom will concede defeat or admit that both forms of music are valid.  

The Guardian, Dec 9
Jazzman Larry Ochs has seen many things during 40 years playing his saxophone around the world but, until this week, nobody had ever called the police on him.
That changed on Monday night however, when's Spain's pistol-carrying Civil Guard police force descended on the Sigüenza Jazz festival to investigate allegations that Ochs's music was not, well, jazz.
Police decided to investigate after an angry jazz buff complained that the Larry Ochs Sax and Drumming Core group was on the wrong side of a line dividing jazz from contemporary music.
The jazz purist claimed his doctor had warned it was "psychologically inadvisable" for him to listen to anything that could be mistaken for mere contemporary music.
According to a report in El País newspaper yesterday, the khaki-clad police officers listened to the saxophone-playing and drumming coming from the festival stage before agreeing that the purist might, indeed, have a case.
His complaint against the organisers, who refused to return his money, was duly registered and will be passed on to a judge.
"The gentleman said this was not jazz and that he wanted his money back," said the festival director, Ricardo Checa.
"He didn't get his money. After all, he knew exactly what group he was going to see, as their names were on the festival programme.
He added: "The question of what constitutes jazz and what does not is obviously a subjective one, but not everything is New Orleans funeral music.
"Larry Ochs plays contemporary, creative jazz. He is a fine musician and very well-renowned."
"I thought I had seen it all," Ochs, who reportedly suffered a momentary identity crisis, told El País. "I was obviously mistaken."
"After this I will at least have a story to tell my grandchildren," the California-based saxophonist added.

The Guardian, Dec 21
The jazz legend (Wynton Marsalis) wanted to send a large part of his 70-plus catalogue of recordings to the anonymous Spaniard who called police to a jazz festival because the music being played was not, he insisted, jazz. Marsalis just needed to find him. Now Rafael Gisbert, a jazz purist from the Madrid dormitory town of Alcorcon, has stepped forward.

Avant-garde music is sort of research music. You're glad someone's done it but you don't necessarily want to listen to it.
- Brian Eno

Even during the major avant-garde period of jazz in the late '60s and early '70s, the songs usually had melodies, some harmonic starting-off point, or something to unify a particular piece in the beginning.
- Herbie Hancock

As far as I'm concerned, the essentials of jazz are: melodic improvisation, melodic invention, swing, and instrumental personality.
- Mose Allison

Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art.
- Charlie Parker

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