Am I stupid because I don't "get" jazz?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by AltIII, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. AltIII


    Sep 3, 2002
    Ok, I know alot of the members, esp mods, here are Jazz musicians and get a chub just thinking about it. But from the limited jazz pieces that I've heard on the local radio stations, I must say that I just don't get it. I mean, must I be a major in music theory to truly appreciate this stuff? I've heard the phrase "it's the notes they're not playing", well that's the biggest peice of crap I've heard.
    One of my issues with this music is that is seems to have no direction, the music just sounds completely random. Like "hi I'm a trumpet player. Listen to this string of rapid fast notes that may or may not fit into the key signature that everyone else is playing....ooh did you hear that note I just played, of course you didn't, but your dog did!" and it's like that with a solo for each instrument for 10+ minutes. I'm sorry, but I like my music to have some melody or something to make it catchy. I don't want to have to look deep inside myself, interpret the notes on a astral level, and take notes just to enjoy a song.
    So far there has been one Jazz song that I really really like, if you can identify the genre and maybe suggest some others I may like, great please do.

    The jazz(ish?) song I like: Tank! (Theme song from Anime Cowboy Bebop) by Yoko Kanno

    This song actually has some sort of direction, not so much a verse chorus setup, but some underlying theme or feeling that makes me hum (scat?) along. It's energetic and driving.
  2. No, of course you're not stupid. I don't get jazz either, and I used to be in my high school's jazz band. I just couldn't get into it.
  3. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    If you don't get it I wouldn't say you're "stupid"...perhaps just unfortunate. ;)
  4. AltIII


    Sep 3, 2002
    Kaz, you might either want to elaborate upon your "maybe" or just delete it. Cause that doesn't add anything to the conversation, it doesn't answer my question, it doesn't confirm or deny my opinion, you're not moving the thread, and hell, it's not even funny. If you don't have anything meaningful to contribute, just don't.

    I'm sorry to go off on a tangent like that, but it just peeves me when people just reply to a post with just a "yes", "no", "maybe", "lol" or some silly looking roll-eyes smiley. Are you afraid that if you don't say something at all that we'll forget about you and lock you in the basement? What's the thought process behind that?
  5. I wouldn't exactly say unfortunate, either. There are just some styles of music that aren't appealing to some people, though they may have really good qualities about them. There's nothing unfortunate about it.
  6. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001

    ..that is what I'm afraid of....\ :bag:

    -anyway... your not stupid. Music is, in the end, subjectively enjoyed in different forms by different people. I like it, you don't, no big deal at all.
  7. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Not stupid, just unwashed.
  8. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    It was a joke bro.
  9. AltIII


    Sep 3, 2002
    Oooh, you sure told me. Question the validity of my complaints with a rhetorical question. I like the irony, nice one.
    How bout, because since I don't want to spend money on buying music that I'm not even sure that I'll like. And since I don't know any good composers or bands or groups to search for. So my only exposure to the genre is through the local radio stations, and the only time I listen to the radio is in the car whenever I'm bored with my extensive cd collection. Do you actually expect me to play russian roulette at a CD store? or perhaps you'd like to recommend some jazz worth listening to that isn't random notes and "the notes they're not playing"

    I'm sorry if I sound a bit annoyed, I'm just not having a good week. Ranting like this helps me get the bad energy out before I go to sleep.

    and who the **** cares how I spell raisens? It's dried out grapes; that shouldn't even count as a seperate food.
  10. well... i would say no... you're not stupid.
    Perhaps you just havent heard the right kind of jazz yet...
    and as far as a recommendation for some good jazz that isnt just "random notes" i would say Bela Fleck and the Flecktones...
    (does that count as jazz anymore?)
    I really oughtta listen to more myself, i cant suggest any more bands.
  11. SciFiGuy


    Dec 27, 2003
    Madison, IN
    The whole reason there is more than one type of music is because different people like different stuff (the beat of a different drummer...literally). I don't "get" Hemingway, but I don't lose any sleep over it.

    I like some Jazz, but hate other Jazz - like the "new" jazz they play on the weather channel. If I didn't hate it, I'd say that is a great way to listen to jazz cheap. Anyway, I like stuff like L. Armstrong or Dave Brubeck. Nina Simone's "Love Me or Leave Me" is a good tune. Have you tried your local library? (I seem to remember there being a HUGE library in B'town.) Look for Brubeck's "Time Out" - it has "Take Five" on it, which I KNOW you've heard. Another suggestion, which would require money, is that Verve has a Jazz Masters series, which has a couple "sample" CDs of various artists in addition to albums by single artists. (I have #20 which has the Nina Simone song on it)

    If you're desperate to figure it out, talk to someone at the University. I know someone in the music dept. maybe he could point you to the right people.
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    There's no problem. You're just too young. You have to be over 40 to "get" jazz.
  13. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Well I don't think anyone has answered his question eithier. I am curious as well. So what do these guys do? I've heard of standards in jazz? Is there like some overall note progression everyone uses as a starting point and just improvs within the note, scale structure, ???? Can someone break it down? I like jazz, I'm finding rock a bit unchallenging and trying to break into different styles like jazz and blues to expand my horrizons.
  14. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Well gald to be your emotional punching bag bro. I'm not giving you a hard time but maybe you come off a little abrasive! I found by asking these guys nicely 99.9% of the time they are more than helpful and go out of your way to point you in the right direction on this board. You got me thinking too, good question now I'm sure one of the jazz gurus will chime in and be more than helpful breaking this down. Jazz is cool look at it this way, it's way more complex than anything we are doing right now. If we just get our feet wet in jazz anything we do with rock, punk, techno(j/K) will make you tremendous with less complicated musical styles...peace
  15. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    AltIII, why do you ask a question and then get belligerent when someone tries to answer you?

    What jazz are you talking about anyway? There are so many people now that apparently fall under that category (I would argue that much of what is labeled "jazz" is quite far from it) that if you listened to someone like Kenny G (God forbid) you would have the wrong idea of it. Go listen to Herbie Hancock, for example, and you might have a different opinion.

    Here is what I would recommend:
    Herbie Hancock
    Jaco Pastorious
    Bela Fleck
    Victor Wooten
    Miles Davis
    Charlie Parker
    Steely Dan
    Matt Garrison
    John Coltrane

    This a really short list that leaves off many many people, but it gives you an idea of some people that I like and that I think are a good place to start. It doesn't mean you will like them, or that you even should, but it's my contribution to your question.

    p.s. Spelling and grammar are pretty important. So you should care.
  16. You sound like you're trying too hard. Jazz is just music. Jazz musicians have the same notes available to them as you do. Like any other "kind" of music it's not so much something you "get" as something you relate to and enjoy or you don't.
    While the bulk of Jazz from the early 1900s thru the 1960s can be described this way to a lesser extent (for Jazz), I agree that some Jazz does give that impression.

    Keep in mind that (among many other things) Jazz resulted from musicians desiring more and more musical freedom. Freedom from the standard form (structure), chords, scales, melodies, etc. Freedom from some of the things (musically) that you do not want to be free from. One aspect is that they develop so much understanding of how music works and so much facility on their chosen instrument that they feel cramped, stifled, and/or bored not playing Jazz.
    And sometimes it comes down to spending enough time with the music. I feel that it can be said that there's just more happening in Jazz music and that more is required of the listener. I find that I can't have Jazz playing if I can't truly focus on listening to it. I can't listen to Coltrane and fill out a 1040 at the same time, for example.

    FWIW, I like Jazz that was recorded in the 40s, 50s, and 60s the most. Miles, Monk, Coltrane and such. I like some later stuff too, but not in the same way.

    Also FWIW, one bonafide Jazz legend/great felt similarly to you. Referring to the players of later "Free Jazz" he asked, "Can any of them play a melody? Any melody?
  17. Scott D

    Scott D

    Apr 21, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Have you ever seen live Jazz? If that doesn't make you get it, who knows what will. I love jazz.
  18. I.'.I.'.Nakoa

    I.'.I.'.Nakoa Guest

    Aug 10, 2000
    Fort Worth.
    Not stupid at all. I can not get into jazz. In fact, i hate jazz. I love the players, but not the music. John pattitucci is great, but not his songs. Sure Bela fleck and the "flecktones" are some of the most talented musicians alive, but i can not dig their music. On the vid. i have, the crowd is "dancing" to the music, there are even guys looking like they are trying to mosh, i do not understand that. Every song is: intro, a melody, banjo solo, melody for a few bars, bass solo, horn section solo trade offs, melody. Some songs have annoying guests too. There is one where they do a song with some oriental man who hits some string instrument and grunts in the mic, and every one applauds. Sure they may be the best musicians in the world(victor is undeniably one of the best) but they cant write a song 1/8th as good as my dying bride. I could never(atleast not now) buy a jazz cd and not feel bad for spending money on it when i could have gotten something else. They seem to spend more time working on the technicality of a song,t han the actual song its self. Jazz. J*zz. Not much difference, both a result of too much wankery.