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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hateater, Dec 6, 2005.
Were there more strung out jazz musicians in the 50's than there are now?
I wanna say no... but i'm not really sure why.
I shouldn't have asked in the plank player's forum... there aren't very many people who know jazz history here
come on now... this thread is much more important than clapping vs. cowbell
I think there's more stigma about it now than there was in the 50's. But I seriously doubt if there's less strung out musicians now. Maybe they're not strung out on heroin, but there's a lot of meth and crackheads.
Crackheads playing jazz? Hmm... maybe there are.
Oh shoot...didn't notice you said "jazz."
While I'm sure there's a few on heroin (or even crack), I'd say their numbers aren't near what they used to be.
Less,for a few different reasons.one is because the idea of being a strung out heroin addict because it makes you play jazz better is no longer in fashion,people can see the results; early death(charlie parker,fat's navaro,paul chambers ect)short life span(john coltrane,bill evans,billie holiday ect)and diminished skills(bud powell,chet baker)all of the people at one time were heavy into drugs at one time in their lifes.another reason IMO is the backround of the muscians is very different than it was in the 50's,most of the younger guy's who are known jazz players these days went to college and studied music at least for some time.they go through school playing in jazz fest and compitions as opposed to learning to play in clubs and dealing with everything that goes with that scene,not to say that there are no drug's around in college also although i know a few,crack addicts have a hard time being musicans or anything else for that matter.
My guess would be a resounding yes. Heroin was very much the thing to do for lots of jazz musicians in the 50s and the help in getting off of it that exists now was not there.
The drug of choice these days seems to be cocaine, at least from my experiences around a lot of jazz cats my age.
huh.... I think that will hit it with his answer. I think that half of it is the fact that the jazz players coming out these days are college students who never had to hustle to get rent money in, or feed their children. Also, it's true that players have seen what the effects of drugs have on your life and playing ability- but that doesn't mean that rockstars don't pull the Janis Joplin, Jimmi H etc... thing anymore. Drugs suck.
Dude, I don't know that "lessons" from famous people are that much of a deterrent. Maybe when you're younger, but when you're looking for a high, you're looking for a high... Yeah, drugs suck...
Well... why is it that jazz musicians aren't all H junkies anymore? I think it is because they saw what it did to their heros, and realised that maybe PCP is the way to go.
I'm not sure about the US , but this topic has actually come up with UK Jazz musicians I have had classes with and some who even were addicts in eth 60s, but are now 'straight'!
I think the main point for them is that in the 50s and 60s - they were part of a "scene" playing seedy night clubs, where most of the clientele were hooked on something and it was part of everyday life...
But nowadays those clubs have all closed down and Jazz is treated as "Art Music" and is played in respectable venues and concert halls - the musicians don't mix with the same strata of society that takes drugs as a matter of course and most of them are educators working steady jobs in University or College music facilities - whereas this was not an option in the 50s and 60s when Jazz was not on the syllabus - only classical!
Simple answer - Now Jazz is "respectable" - then it wasn't!!
Beautiful answer, Bruce. I have such a respect for jazz musicians... and I think that a lot of people tend to look towards Miles, Coltrane... etc, as strung out dopers. I guess it was just part of the lifestyle. However, there are also eople like Bill Evans who turned to drugs as part of his depression. However, he- like Miles and some other lucky guys, was able to kick his addiction.
In the interview that Ed Fuqua linked to in a New York Magazine - Ron Carter mentions how the clubs that he played in when growing as a Jazz musician are simply not there now and he worries how his students will get experience outside of a Jazz education programme - well I suppose they might be worse off as musicians - but at least there might be less chance to be tempted into drugs/drink etc....
I go to Berklee. Almost all the jazz players here (and everyone else for that matter) is an alcoholic to one degree or another. Alcohol is waaay more popular than crack or heroin. But pot is right up there with the alcohol.
Yeah but neither pot nor alcohol ruin the lives of 90% of users. They ruin their fair share of lives (particularly booze), but they don't destroy people the way heroin destroyed Bird.
But i have to make the point that they ALL were not H junkies,and that several of the inovative artist of the '50's were clean.as stated in another post hard drugs were a part of the scene at that time just like they were in the grunge music scene in the '90's.