This is why it's so important to listen to music from the whole history of jazz - because familiarity with the roots of the music allows us to hear the notes that aren't being played in later forms. Without knowledge of the earlier idioms, the brain is unable to 'fill in the gaps' when a modern musician implies certain material instead of stating it explicitly.
My reaction is that he kind of got it backwards. Jazz has evolved to fill up all the holes. Listening to the old stuff is imperative, but ironically, because jazz history has moved in a certain direction (more notes), it's natural for aspiring jazz players to want to jump on the continuum.
|Lots of notes|
This does not necessarily constitute "progress." In fact, it seems to me to be Art's version of the Progress juggernaut. Namely, the truism that an artist needs to be of and reflecting his or her time. This has never struck me as anything but a Romantic cliche. Or, often, a way to move the merchandise.
I would argue that accepting this change in jazz vocabulary ipso facto as Progress is simply capitulation to a social construction and not rooted in any demonstrable aesthetic advancement (Whew; quite a sentence).
I remember trying to pull the same kind of socio-musical sleight-of-hand in a report I did on Hector Berlioz. It went something like: "His repeated use of semi-quavers represents the repressed feeling of nationalism that the exiled Berlioz could not otherwise express..." Right.
There seems to be more people with great chops than ever before (although Herbert Clarke could double and triple tongue as well as Wynton). But, whether or not you buy into the advancement of technique, does it lead inexorably to better music? Or, can permission to use more notes in an improvisation merely mean more places for the soloist to hide? (the same when-is-less-more-vector I was following on the Art Tatum post below).
|You know who|
I attempted to fashion a playing style that was appropriately verbose and chromatic and my ratio of good to bad solos was not enviable. I always listened to older styles of jazz, but to go in that direction was to lose street cred.
I remember somehow ending up in a trad situation and playing the Saints. The audience reaction was like none I'd ever had, but instead of trying to probe for musical reasons for this great response, I just assumed they were squares and could never dig the likes of hip me.
My jaundiced perception of that music definitively changed when I began playing in a band in which I solo on many trad songs-Just A Little While, Bye and Bye, Riverside...This kind of soloing forces you to make direct statements. Ideas need to be formed, clarified and expressed with emotion. Succeeding in such an approach constitutes an artistic achievement on the level of anything created later in the history of jazz.