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what does 'straight ahead' mean to you?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by peteroberts, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. I figured this was best answered in this forum... What is your definition of 'straight ahead' (as in 'straight ahead jazz')? I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seems to me that it's acoustic jazz played by a small group and not extremely experimental. I don't know how to describe it better? You can't say it's standards ... I have heard people describe their colleagues' music as 'straight ahead' but it was all original.

    I'm sitting here listening to Jim Hall's 'Concierto' and was wondering 'is this straight ahead'? I say yes.
  2. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    This is a HUGE can o worms
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think it's easier to say what is not "straight ahead" !

    So - Latin or any fusion of Jazz with different rhythms is not straight ahead - so a fusion of Jazz with classical Spanish music is not straight ahead. Also - of course - Jazz/Rock fusion is not straight ahead, same for Jazz Funk.

    Basically "straight ahead" is anything left that is not "something else" fused with Jazz.....

    Unless anybody else wants to give a different definition? ;)
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    ... straight ahead jazz will not scare or repulse the average listener. Almost everyone will not dislike it, though some will be indifferent and others will be downright bored. You won't need to know any theories or any history and you will not have had to "acquire a taste" for it.

    A lot of bebop is now straight ahead.

    Anything atonal, polyrhythmic, "free"-- fuhgeddaboutit, it ain't straightahead. Check back in 50 years.
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I would disagree with this - although I suppose it depends what you mean by "average listener" - a lot of people I know who grew up with rock and pop, absolutely hate bebop and most Jazz, but do really like a lot of Jazz fusion - especially Jazz Rock that is fairly dissonant - they love the shredding and the powerful rock sound of things like Mahavishnu, Return to Forever etc. - but see bebop as old hat and boring! :meh:

    Anyway , I don't think you can take the audience as a determining facor on genre - it has to be an intrinsic thing!
  6. Ask 10 people and you'll get 10 different answers. I think putting everything in a category is not all that useful. Notice how recently the distinctions are becoming blurred between SUVs, minivans, and wagons? Things evolve.

    For me, the term implies acoustic jazz with the swing feel being predominant, IOW with walking bass. Any other characterizations would be too specific.
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    It means what it says - straight ahead...no distractions, no getting lost in the woods, no meanderings.

    Communicating that clearly in a musical way is the fun part.