Jazz and game development
This weekend as I was driving home from getting my car an oil change, I was listening to jazz on the radio, and I began to feel sad. Over the radio poured a trombone solo that was basically just a lot of wanking (as they say in “The Commitments”.) It was followed by a male jazz singer who had a vibrato like he’d practiced with a sine wave, and then a female jazz singer who was just, well, boring. Vanilla. And I thought, “wow, why all this lousy jazz?”
It occurred to me that there’s been a huge uptake in the number of school jazz programs over the past decade, as well as this growth of “trad jazz” like what Wynton Marsalis has advocated at the Lincoln Center. Jazz is still enjoyed by a tiny percentage of the American population, admittedly. So when I talk of “growth” it’s all relative. But what I find concerning is that kids are being brought up learning the “right” way to play jazz, and as a result all the stuff that’s coming out of them is this vanilla boring crap. Cuz when it comes to jazz, the real right way is to explore your own ear, not reiterate someone else’s licks.
What happened to the creative energies which inspired bebop? Or fusion? When creative people from multiple disciplines collided head on, and created something new and compelling, and perhaps at first it seemed a little crazy? We only see that a tiny bit these days, and it