What’s Next For Jazz?
Gary Giddins is an award-winning American jazz and film critic. His column "Weather Bird" appeared in The Village Voice from 1973 through 2003 and won six ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for Excellence in Music Criticism. He has also won a Peabody Award for writing (for the PBS documentary "John Hammond: From Bessie Smith to Bruce Springsteen") and a Grammy Award (for his liner notes to "Sinatra: The Voice"). He currently writes a music column for Jazz Times. His latest book, "Jazz," was published by W. W. Norton in 2009.
Gary Giddins: Well, nobody knows where jazz is going, because nobody has ever known where jazz was going. I mean, you couldn't possibly predict the Swing Era from the '20's or bebop from the Swing Era or Avant-garde from Bebop, or Fusion, or on and on and on. So, we don't really know where it's going.
But I would say this. I don't think we're going to be seeing those kinds of distinct and discrete movements like Swing, Bop, and Fusion. I think now, it's a question of individuals—one thing that is important to remember is that in the early years of jazz, a lot of major musicians, like Fletcher Henderson and Don Redman, had college educations and degrees and all of that.
But a lot of the great figures, like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, did not. I mean, Armstrong didn't even go through high school. Hundreds, if not thousands, of major figures learned on the bandstand, that was their apprenticeship.
Today, the apprenticeship of musicians is in the college orchestra. I mean, you're just not going to meet a musician who hasn't got a least a BA and probably an MA, and hasn’t been to a music school and hasn't had “Giant Steps” and a homework assignment. So, it's very different.
So, because they have this historical perspective, they aren't necessarily just coming out of whatever their generation is into, and also because they are growing up and they don't have the same prejudices against pop music that certain generations had, they can use that.
So, today's musicians, who maybe grew up with hip-hop, may use hip-hop beats in a way that if you're not looking for them, then you won't even hear it. But it's there, it's informing the way they think of rhythm.
And they may use things that they picked up from Ellington or Dizzy Gillespie that isn't particularly obvious, it's not a homage, it's not a matter of playing “Conna Homa” or “Sophisticated Lady,” it's just voicings or it's some idea that they picked up.
So all of this becomes part of the brew, and what we're really looking for in the future of jazz is the individual who is saying something that expresses him or herself. That's what I look for. I look for some spark of originality or individuality that sets this musician apart from the pack. The general level of musicianship in jazz is probably higher now than it's ever been.
I can't get very excited about a musician who can do Art Tatum because I've got the Art Tatum records. I want to hear him take that and do something that hasn't been done. And there's enough of that going around that keeps the music very exciting. There's so many great young players coming out. I think we're in some kind of renaissance, especially in the rhythm section. I mean the musicians on drums and bass and guitar are really trying to figure out different ways to bring a rhythm section together.
So, the crossover is a constant thing. One of the things we do in the book [“Jazz”], which I think is fairly novel, I don't think anyone's done it before, but we have two chapters on fusion instead of one. Everybody when they talk about fusion, they are usually talking about the jazz/rock thing that happens in the late '60's and '70's when Miles Davis recorded “Bitches Brew” and you know, Chick Corea and John McLaughlin and all these guys came along and had fusion bands using elements of rock.
But we make an argument that fusion has always been part of jazz and that you can actually create a sort of fusion history of jazz if you go back even into the '30's, where did Louie Jordan, the Father of Rhythm and Blues, come out of? The Chick Web Orchestra. Where did the Salsa Movement come out of? Macheto and Mari Obasu[ph] who played with Dizzy Gillespie, who played with all the Big Bands.
There's always been—you know, Jelly Roll Morton said, "You can't make jazz without using certain elements of Latin music." So, there's always been this, let me say it this way, I'll quote Dexter Gordon's famous line, he said, "Jazz is an octopus. It will take whatever it can use and it will work with it."
So, I think that distinctions aren't as clear as we'd like to think. Jason Rand, who is the subject of the last chapter in our book because we decided to use—instead of trying to cover the whole scene, we'd decided to use a representative Jazz musician at the age of 30, which he was at the time we wrote it. And the two tracks we analyzed by him, one is his version of a 1930 James P. Johnson stride piece called “You've Got to be Modernistic,” which he takes completely into the realm of thoroughly modern semi-avant-garde jazz, and the other is Afrika Bambaataa's “Planet Rock,” which he does the same.
Now, anybody who knows the James P. number will recognize it and anybody who knows the Bambaataa number will recognize it, but they will also see that he has done something completely different. And it's not a question of doing something clever, or cute. This is what he grew up with; it's his right to use it. We're going to see a lot more of that.
Recorded on November 13, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen
Is jazz dead? Hardly, says critic Gary Giddins, who believes we’re seeing "some kind of renaissance."
What would happen if you tripled the US population? Join Matthew Yglesias and Charles Duhigg at 1pm ET on Monday, September 28.
Controversial physics theory says reality around us behaves like a computer neural network.
- Physicist proposes that the universe behaves like an artificial neural network.
- The scientist's new paper seeks to reconcile classical physics and quantum mechanics.
- The theory claims that natural selection produces both atoms and "observers".
Vanchurin interview:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="539759cbfd8fcd5b6ebf14a3b597b3f9"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bmyRy2-UhEE?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Vanchurin on “Hidden Phenomena”:<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="18886ffd5e5840bb19d4494212f88d82"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2NDVdNwsHCo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>Vitaly Vanchurin speaking at the 6th International FQXi Conference, "Mind Matters: Intelligence and Agency in the Physical World." The Foundational Questions...
Dominique Crenn, the only female chef in America with three Michelin stars, joins Big Think Live.
Having been exposed to mavericks in the French culinary world at a young age, three-star Michelin chef Dominique Crenn made it her mission to cook in a way that is not only delicious and elegant, but also expressive, memorable, and true to her experience.
43% of people think they can get a sense of someone's personality by their picture.
If you've used a dating app, you'll know the importance of choosing good profile pics.
The idea of 'absolute time' is an illusion. Physics and subjective experience reveal why.
- Since Einstein posited his theory of general relativity, we've understood that gravity has the power to warp space and time.
- This "time dilation" effect occurs even at small levels.
- Outside of physics, we experience distortions in how we perceive time — sometimes to a startling extent.
Physics without time<p>In his book "The Order of Time," Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli suggests that our perception of time — our sense that time is forever flowing forward — could be a highly subjective projection. After all, when you look at reality on the smallest scale (using equations of quantum gravity, at least), time vanishes.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If I observe the microscopic state of things," writes Rovelli, "then the difference between past and future vanishes … in the elementary grammar of things, there is no distinction between 'cause' and 'effect.'"</p><p>So, why do we perceive time as flowing <em>forward</em>? Rovelli notes that, although time disappears on extremely small scales, we still obviously perceive events occur sequentially in reality. In other words, we observe entropy: Order changing into disorder; an egg cracking and getting scrambled.</p><p>Rovelli says key aspects of time are described by the second law of thermodynamics, which states that heat always passes from hot to cold. This is a one-way street. For example, an ice cube melts into a hot cup of tea, never the reverse. Rovelli suggests a similar phenomenon might explain why we're only able to perceive the past and not the future.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Any time the future is definitely distinguishable from the past, there is something like heat involved," Rovelli wrote for the <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/ce6ef7b8-429a-11e8-93cf-67ac3a6482fd" target="_blank"><em>Financial Times</em></a>. "Thermodynamics traces the direction of time to something called the 'low entropy of the past', a still mysterious phenomenon on which discussions rage."</p>
The strange subjectivity of time<p>Time moves differently atop a mountain than it does on a beach. But you don't need to travel any distance at all to experience strange distortions in your perception of time. In moments of life-or-death fear, for example, your brain would release large amounts of adrenaline, which would speed up your internal clock, causing you to perceive the outside world as moving slowly.<br></p><p>Another common distortion occurs when we focus our attention in particular ways.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"If you're thinking about how time is <em>currently</em> passing by, the biggest factor influencing your time perception is attention," Aaron Sackett, associate professor of marketing at the University of St. Thomas, told <em><a href="https://gizmodo.com/why-does-time-slow-down-and-speed-up-1840133782" target="_blank">Gizmodo</a></em>.<em> "</em>The more attention you give to the passage of time, the slower it tends to go. As you become distracted from time's passing—perhaps by something interesting happening nearby, or a good daydreaming session—you're more likely to lose track of time, giving you the feeling that it's slipping by more quickly than before. "Time flies when you're having fun," they say, but really, it's more like "time flies when you're thinking about other things." That's why time will also often fly by when you're definitely <em>not</em> having fun—like when you're having a heated argument or are terrified about an upcoming presentation."</p><p>One of the most mysterious ways people experience time-perception distortions is through psychedelic drugs. In an interview with <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/14/carlo-rovelli-exploding-commonsense-notions-order-of-time-interview" target="_blank"><em>The Guardian</em></a>, Rovelli described a time he experimented with LSD.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was an extraordinarily strong experience that touched me also intellectually," he said. "Among the strange phenomena was the sense of time stopping. Things were happening in my mind but the clock was not going ahead; the flow of time was not passing any more. It was a total subversion of the structure of reality."<br></p><p>It seems few scientists or philosophers believe time is completely an illusion.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"What we call <em>time</em> is a rich, stratified concept; it has many layers," Rovelli told <em><a href="https://physicstoday.scitation.org/do/10.1063/PT.6.4.20190219a/full/" target="_blank">Physics Today</a>.</em> "Some of time's layers apply only at limited scales within limited domains. This does not make them illusions."</p>What <em>is</em> an illusion is the idea that time flows at an absolute rate. The river of time might be flowing forever forward, but it moves at different speeds, between people, and even within your own mind.
Quarantine rule breakers in 17th-century Italy partied all night – and some clergy condemned the feasting
17th-century outbreaks of plague in Italy reveal both tensions between religious and public health authorities.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts between religious freedom and public health regulations have been playing out in courts around the world.