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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I like to savvy what the band is playing...

I went with a mate to the Bridge Hotel on Sunday night.
We thought the 'music' was awful and left after the first set. I hadn't realised that it was billed as improvised music. I don't mind songs that have some improvisation but the stuff last night had no melody, no rhythm, no harmony, and, in my opinion, no individual instrumental skills on display. There is a view that the interest in jazz generally is falling and I feel that this sort of stuff is giving jazz a bad reputation and doing it no favours at all.
We left after the first set.
Peter W.

5 comments :

Lance said...

I see where you are coming from, Peter, in truth I'm, more or less, on the same side of the street myself.
In the July issue of DownBeat a reader refers to the scene in Dowwnton Abbey where the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) upon hearing some jazz of the day makes this wry quip: "Are they all playing the same tune?"
The writer relates this to some contemporary jazz saying it's more a case of "Are they playing any tune at all?"
Still, as opinions soften over the years and both trad and bebop have been assimilated into the jazz mainstream (along with rock and punk and rap and hip-hop as some 'jazz festivals' would have us believe), who's not to say that the music you disliked on Sunday will not also become part of the mainstream?
It's often said that jazz should be challenging but no one as said as to why it should be.

Ron said...

Same street for me Lance!
Ron

Ken Drew said...

I can appreciate that if you go to a Jazz performance and expect something more mainstream than improv then it's likely to be a shock. Some take to it quickly, through its often direct visceral nature, otherwise over time you can at least grow into understanding what's going on. For me, the improv we've seen at the Bridge in many recent months has been of extremely high quality - the musicianship on display individually and collectively is often outstanding.
Sunday's performance was a fine demonstration of where improv is currently at, in fact bridging the gap between a very much developed (and better supported) scene on Europe's mainland and here in the UK, which thankfully has its fair share of leading exponents who also perform worldwide, and at the Bridge!
For those who can't get something out of it but are intrigued by it, it can help to try to see it as a musical conversation and you'll soon see how the individuals and the ensemble work together, reacting to each other and effectively composing in real-time. They are more sonically focused than just following a set rhythm or a standard tune.
Those who leave a little early often have a bus to catch. But the time when Duke Ellington brought his 'Far East Suite' to the City Hall in the mid 60's left some stunned after leaving at the end of the first set only to discover the very positive reviews which followed for the entire performance. Yes, it broke new ground for Duke's band, or rather, took his audience to new rhythmic and aural destinations. It's not that improv gives Jazz a bad name - it demonstrates there are areas of music that can still be explored and developed.
Ken Drew

Steve H said...

I went on my own to the Bridge Hotel on Sunday night.
I thought the music was fantastic and left after the second set. I had realised that it was billed as improvised music as it was advertised as such. I love songs that have loads of improvisation and some of the stuff I hear has melody, rhythm, harmony, and, in my opinion, great instrumental skills on display. There is a view that the interest in jazz generally is increasing and I feel that this sort of stuff is giving jazz a great reputation and doing it many favours
I stayed till the very end of the second set

Unknown said...

I thought it was great. Absolutely brilliant music.

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