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Jazz vs Jazzrock/Fusion

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Vorago, Sep 19, 2005.


  1. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    What is it with this Jazz vs Jazzrock thing? If you read about Jazz you come across stuff like
    "the old school and the new school only had one thing in common; their hate towards jazzrock"
    and
    "to the left where the electrical instruments, to the right the more classical ones. Since the electrical ones would bring us to jazzrock, the choice was easy, to the right!"

    etc.

    What's the deal? Are jazzpurists so conservative towards their genre? Are they pissed at jazzrock/fusion stuff because it brought Jazz to the bigger public?

    Discuss.
     
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Yes. People who started out playing Dixieland call it jazz (if they're still alive). People who started when bebop was popular call that jazz. People who started playing jazz at the time free jazz call it jazz. People who started when fusion was big call it jazz. People who started at the time of smooth jazz call that jazz. And the older players think the younger people are wrong because the only thing jazz players seem to have in common is that they're snobs toward music that came after they started.
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think there is a lot to be said for "all acoustic" Jazz - a quality of sound that can't be obtained with electric instruments - a richness of sounds mixing together in 3 dimensions - rather than coming out of a speaker over there...?
     
  4. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    So, what happens if you amplify your DB? Are you still talking about 3 dimensions? If you cut off all amplification you're very limited in avenue size etc.
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I go to acoustic Jazz gigs virtually every week and generally the DB is amplified; but is mostly used as "reinforcement" for the acoustic sound....

    I also think with Jazz it's about hearing each other and reacting - Jazz is all about improvising collectively. It is much more likely that a group can do this if they have quiet onstage volume, where they can all hear each other at acoustic levels....?

    Of course there's more to it and I think that over many years, Jazz players discovered how to balance a group with horns DB and acoustic Piano - there is a great natural sound that happens, based solely on the players hearing each other - without any outside intervention - i.e. mixing desks, soundmen etc.

    With fusion - there was a whole lot more there "in the way" of just making great music - that many Jazz musicians and fans felt was unnecessary.


    I see them as two different things and like both in different ways - but the more I get into Jazz, the more I feel that the best of it is done as simply as possible and with the least to go wrong in terms of gear!! ;)
     
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    No more so than fans of any genre are conservative. Go check the archives for threads on what is or isn't punk, emo, etc.

    Jazz was quite popular in the days before the Beatles came along. During WWII jazz WAS popular music and artists like Goodman, Ellington, Armstrong, etc. were well known stars. Most "pop" singers like Frank Sinatra had come up as big band vocalists and had a strong jazz influence in their sound.

    Fusion just introduced jazz to young audiences who had been weaned on rock and roll.
     
  7. I may not be the best person to respond since I tend to prefer older styles in most music: Jazz, Blues and Rock before 1960, Country before 1970, Classical before 1940. I try to be open to new styles, for instance I enjoy reggae. Having said that, I really dislike the jazz/rock fusion music that I have heard. I find it musically uninteresing and it does not evoke a pleasant response. Maybe I haven't heard the right artists?
     
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Nah, you probably have. I'm not big on it either. But I'll defend their right to play it and I'll defend their right to call it anything they want.

    And Brian, you are absolutely right about there being snobs in all genres. But it's even worse in jazz because jazz artists usually look down on anything that doesn't fit their idea of what jazz is, whereas punk players can at least look at jazz and see that there's art and high degrees of talent involved.
     
  9. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    When I first got online-
    I used to 'argue' with a lotta purists at a certain Jazz site...the most vocal were those that loved '60s Free Jazz/New Thing + the Euro-ECM/Black Saint Free-bos.
    (BTW, I love all that stuff, too; those guys are probably responsible for that).

    Anyway, one of their biggest gripes was that '70s Fusion spawned '80s & beyond Smooth Jazz. OK, if that's so...then it can be argued that '60s New Thing spawned Fusion (which spawned Smooth). Hence, Free Jazz spawned Smooth.
    They didn't want to hear that...at all.

    Another point was how "Jazz-Rock" or "Rock-Jazz" only waters down the best that each of the genres can offer. I think most 'Jazz purists'(i.e. those into Big Band/Swing/ & maybe even Bebop/Hard Bop) would believe a solo over a static/Funk/Rock rhythm section is not "Jazz".
    Then again, is walking bass that's been done a go-zillion times before...is that "Jazz"?
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think the point is that a walking bass line has huge possibilities for improvisation - you literally need never play the same line twice!! :eek:

    When you think about passing notes, rhythmic embellishments, substitutions etc. etc. there are vast amounts to alter and think about.

    Whereas a funk groove tends to rely on repetition from the bass player and drummer.

    The drumming is another huge difference - so with a walking bass line going on - Jazz drummers are free to comment on the soloist's playing rather than keeping time as such - whereas with rock/funk grooves you're pretty much tied to a backbeat...?
     
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    To be clear I think there's room for both - in fact I don't think there's enough Weather Report type material around and I know a few local UK Jazz composers who are into investigating a WR type of area and developing this.
     
  12. Yep. LOL
     
  13. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    Hmm, I love smooth jazz and fusion . . .
     
  14. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    LMAO, it's like the Cosmological Argument, only dealing with Jazz instead of God. :D

    I really don't know why so many people get caught up on genre labels. Unless you're a program director for a radio station, what label a genre of music has been given should be irrelevant. The only thing that matters is if you dig the music. If you don't like it, don't listen to it: That's always been my philosophy on the matter.

    Is Fusion really Jazz? I don't know. It's definatley harmonically different from more traditional Jazz, but I do hear a lot of Bop-influenced melodic ideas being played in many of the solos. A lot of Fusion and "Jazzrock" can just be as harmonically and melodically "out there" as more classical Jazz. I still remember the day that I heard Mahavishnu Orchestra for the first time. Holy crap, that was made for some challenging listening.

    The history of Jazz is based on reactions towards the previous styles of the genre. Bop was a reaction towards Swing, Cool was a reactions towards Bop, and so on and so on. I'm surprised that many of the elitists don't realize that.
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    But if you really like a type of music - there's no reason you should like a reaction against it - i.e. trying to do something exactly the opposite or at least completely different!! ;)
     
  16. I love Jazz Fusion and tend to listen a bit more "traditionnal"....
    But my choice and tastes for instruments go into modern sounding ones and same for music....Just my mood of the moment....

    Vince
     
  17. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I like the Fusion work of Miles Davis, but that is about it. Modern fusion sounds like music that gets played on the Weather Channel.

    I actually prefer his fusion period to any of his other periods.
     
  18. Snarf

    Snarf

    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    That's more smooth jazz than anything else. And I love the weather channel, mainly for the music. :p
     
  19. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Tomato. Tomato.
     
  20. JimK

    JimK

    Dec 12, 1999
    Really? I'm there for the Weather-bunnies...with the sound turned down.
    ;)