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Jazz greats: a dying breed?

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51
First and foremost, I would like to wish greetings to all of you. Lately, this question has come to mind.
With the unfortunate deaths of highly regarded jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Clark, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Duke Ellington, Grover Washington, Jr., Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, Charles Mingus, Stanley Turrentine, Louis Armstrong, etc., do you guys think that there's less jazz greats than there were before??

Even though all the above mentioned passed away, at least we still have other current greats such as Maceo Parker, Kenny Garrett, Sonny Rollins, Benny Golson, Vincent Herring, Wilton Felder, Ernie Watts, Jeff Coffin, & Phill Woods, Joshua Redman, and many current other artists playing jazz.

Disclaimer: I hereby do not intend to spark any controversy and I do not have any negative views towards jazz. I wholeheartedly appreciate the genre and all of it's artists who helped shape it, both past and present, dead or alive, because the continuous study of their styles through a combination of private lessons and playing in a jazz band, and a concert band, will benefit me greatly as a future musician. It is their influence that will help me grow more musically in the coming years.
 
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trimmy

One day i will...
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Liverpool ( Pool of Life )
Ben Clatworthy (although he does reside in the states)
Dave Edge, Alan Barnes to name but a few :)
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
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leicester
As far as I can tell, yes there are fewer jazz greats than there used to be - the heyday of jazz is long over and any innovation has been done by now. Culture has moved on and jazz is largely a music of the past.
That's not to say that there aren't any good players out there, but greats like Miles or Duke or Mingus aren't emerging too often, if at all.
The opportunities to play jazz don't exist like they used to and you only get to be really good at jazz by playing it a lot - and who plays 4 sets a night, 5 nights a week and then goes to after hours jam sessions where you'd really better have your act together or you'll get blown away by the competition?
There was a time when people would go and see Dizzy and Bird push the limits of what was possible or dance the night away to Basie, now most of the market for jazz is as polite middle class background music or hipster nostalgia
 

Andy Geiger

Member
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Port Angeles, Washington
Next week, my wife and I are driving into Seattle, going to the dinner show at Jazz Alley, one of several places to hear jazz there. We're going to see/hear the Jeff Hamilton Trio, featuring Israeli pianist Tamir Hendelman on piano, Christoph Luty on bass. Jazz Alley features jazz every night. New York is full of jazz, with the up-and-comers playing long into the morning in places in Brooklyn these days. Colleges and Universities all most all have jazz curricula.

No, they aren't creating new ideas as quickly or as radically as 75 years ago players did. The progression may be more nuanced. But there are really terrific players, and it is now truly international. I have recently seen and heard Kenny Garrett, Antonio Hart, and Jaleel Shaw playing alto saxes with their groups. They were each wonderful, enthusiastic, striving in their art. There are many others.

The uniqueness is gone, the startling jarring avant garde aspect of art has dulled for jazz, for virtually all of art. Stardom is fleeting...instant exposure with our technology means we can here and see without going anywhere, just google You Tube.

The music is as splendid as ever, and there is more of it available. There are fewer iconic stars in every walk of life. I am 75 and have been listening intensely to jazz since I was 13. I still love to seek and listen to new rising players, and there are lots of them, and they can really play! Are they stars ala Coltrane, Mobley, Getz, Rollins, Hayes? Not in the same way. Who cares?
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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There's lots of great players about in local clubs and venues. They're just not world famous is all. The big names of the past weren't the only ones playing. The more you research the more you find unsung heroes. Jazz is alive and well.
 
Messages
51
Next week, my wife and I are driving into Seattle, going to the dinner show at Jazz Alley, one of several places to hear jazz there. We're going to see/hear the Jeff Hamilton Trio, featuring Israeli pianist Tamir Hendelman on piano, Christoph Luty on bass. Jazz Alley features jazz every night. New York is full of jazz, with the up-and-comers playing long into the morning in places in Brooklyn these days. Colleges and Universities all most all have jazz curricula.

No, they aren't creating new ideas as quickly or as radically as 75 years ago players did. The progression may be more nuanced. But there are really terrific players, and it is now truly international. I have recently seen and heard Kenny Garrett, Antonio Hart, and Jaleel Shaw playing alto saxes with their groups. They were each wonderful, enthusiastic, striving in their art. There are many others.

The uniqueness is gone, the startling jarring avant garde aspect of art has dulled for jazz, for virtually all of art. Stardom is fleeting...instant exposure with our technology means we can here and see without going anywhere, just google You Tube.

The music is as splendid as ever, and there is more of it available. There are fewer iconic stars in every walk of life. I am 75 and have been listening intensely to jazz since I was 13. I still love to seek and listen to new rising players, and there are lots of them, and they can really play! Are they stars ala Coltrane, Mobley, Getz, Rollins, Hayes? Not in the same way. Who cares?

Jazz is indeed a fun genre!! good point you made there :)
 
Messages
51
There's lots of great players about in local clubs and venues. They're just not world famous is all. The big names of the past weren't the only ones playing. The more you research the more you find unsung heroes. Jazz is alive and well.

Thanks for your input! I've heard some the music of the unsung heroes. Famous or not, they continue to make it an awesome genre! You should check out Peter King: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MjY1NPUUp9U
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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Berkshire, UK
Gerald Albright? Would you class him as jazz? Excellent player
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
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I think to ask a question like this you need to define more clearly what you mean by a 'jazz great' and what it is that makes them great, and if there's a difference between 'a jazz great' and 'a great jazz musician'
I can think of a lot of great players, but not many of them are jazz greats in the way that Duke or Miles were.
 

Greg Strange

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Hamilton, Waikato, North Island, New Zealand
Nice one Colin...good old Toots - wonderful musician...did some nice stuff on Quincy Jones' albums...

Problem is nowadays we appear to want to label everything, especially music - I take the Sir Duke approach - there is two types of music - good or bad...

I recently read a review of the Pharrell Williams song "Happy" and the 'journalist' calling it Neo-Funk - all I can say is "What the funk is that?"...:rofl:

Greg S.
 
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aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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As far as I can tell, yes there are fewer jazz greats than there used to be - the heyday of jazz is long over and any innovation has been done by now. Culture has moved on and jazz is largely a music of the past.
That's not to say that there aren't any good players out there, but greats like Miles or Duke or Mingus aren't emerging too often, if at all.
The opportunities to play jazz don't exist like they used to and you only get to be really good at jazz by playing it a lot - and who plays 4 sets a night, 5 nights a week and then goes to after hours jam sessions where you'd really better have your act together or you'll get blown away by the competition?
There was a time when people would go and see Dizzy and Bird push the limits of what was possible or dance the night away to Basie, now most of the market for jazz is as polite middle class background music or hipster nostalgia

I sadly agree. We had Coltrane also because hundreds of other players built a cultural background for Coltrane
1- to develop musical ideas
2- to make his living doing so

Making music is a fulltime job, it cannot be a weekend hobby or a protected endangered activity within academies.

My rant about innovation (and resulting greats) goes beyond jazz. In the good old days, record labels were also investing in people like Zappa.
Now they only play safe (reissuing old stuff, if we are lucky)
 
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