Re: Pretentious snobs1

by A Person With No Taste

When I first began listening to early jazz and wanted to learn more about it, I read music critics (many of them musicians themselves) who explained that Louis Armstrong barely made any good records after nineteen-twenty-something, that Bix Beiderbecke never played with musicians who were as good as him, that the post-Adrian Rollini California Ramblers was not as good as the band before Rollini's departure, that the only good parts of Red Nichols's records were his sidemen i.e. not Nichols, that Charlie Johnson did not make that many good records, that the ODJB did not play good jazz, that Buster Bailey wasn't a good improviser, etc. You get the picture. "Good" meant anything from innovative to serious through technically impressive to simply making music that touched the writer on an emotional level. Yet the definitions were implied, never stated, and the underlying assumptions behind the use of the "term" were rarely treated as well-stated but ultimately subjective judgments. As an impressionable kid looking to authorities to refine my taste, it took me years to have the confidence to like what I like. Like many labels, "good" loses as much as it captures when applied to human experience. Louis Armstrong was in touch with that idea.

I've got some Boyd Senter sides to check out...

Posted on Jul 8, 2017, 5:37 PM

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