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Friday
Jul092010

Can jazz stand on it's own?

Frank Zappa Jazz from Hell You may or may not know that I am a passionate supporter of jazz - Canadian jazz especially. I host a show on CBC Radio 2 twice a week called Tonic - a show about the jazz family of music. The show cuts a wide swath in the music we play including jazz, blues, funk, R&B, Motown, Hip Hop and remixes just to name a few. I've certainly taken my lumps when it comes to the music we program for the show but it's a discussion I'm willing to have because it's healthy for jazz.

But here's a question that I'd like to hear your opinion on: can jazz stand on it's own?

I LOVE jazz but I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. Ke$ha isn't my cup of tea but I tolerate it because my kids crank it up on their iPods every now and then. But even though I'm passionate about pure jazz I'm also very comfortable giving jazz credit for the music it has grown into.

Nothing in life is static. Nothing about any genre of music is black or white. Like every other form of music jazz has evolved. It was never stranded on an isolated island like Galapagos. It was a gift to the world that became so many other gifts.

So for people like Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Joe Sample, Richard Underhill, Brandi Disterheft and Lori Cullen jazz continues to be a challenge for music and musicians to push in all directions. In fact, if I could think of one word to describe jazz I would probably choose "challenge" because that's what jazz has always done - challenged boundaries. Jazz is a dfrnt.

So can jazz stand on it's own? Yes, I believe it can but it doesn't have to. To the purists I say "stay the course" and to the challengers I say "detour as necessary."

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