Rakish and Urbane is a forum for my thoughts on style and what inspires me: From the Harlem Renaissance to the streets of Brighton with everything else in between!

One Quote that Inspires Me Day in Day out

"Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."

Martin Luther King

Friday, 30 July 2010

Been getting some feedback

So I've had some feedback so I thought I might continue with the blog. Instead of posting whatever comes into my mind I think I'm going to limit this to one post a week with perhaps a few photos every now and then. Sadly I cannot access Blogger at boarding school so bear with me when there are no posts. Anyways, on to the post.

So while I've been taking a blogger sabbatical (!) I've discovered a few new sites of interest and so I've added them to the blogroll. I've also discovered a few new great artists (musical ones that is) so I thought I might try to get some interviews with them for the blog!

So with that in mind today's post is on music. Jazz music and it's relationship with my generation, the teenagers of today. Check out this article first as it is very much related, though a slightly different take on what I'm about to write about: http://www.jazzloftproject.org/blog/general/the-new-face-of-jazz

Now if I were to say Jazz to almost any of my friends, they would laugh. We've grown up with, at first, Avril and Busted, then James Blunt and nowadays Florence and the Machine. These bands and singers are often talented, but their music is almost always far less intricate than most jazz pieces. Jazz needs to be pondered one as to turn one's full atention to it or else it becomes background music, elevator music! However with pop, one doesn't often listen for the little intricacies, most people just wait for the chorus and sing along. And sadly most songs nowadays seem to be chorus and not much else (K'naan, Waving Flag?). Either that, or they add a rapper to have some lyrical variation. Therefore, my generation have become used to simply turning on pop music and not really concentrating on it. We change songs before they are over and we don't carry on listening to that song for even a month because a new one is out.

Now I'm not saying everyone of my generation listens to pop, far from it. In fact many of my friends hold pop in even greater disdain than I do. But even they don't much like jazz. Perhaps the way we listen to music as a generation has changed. I do like Jazz by the way, but even I don't listen to it in the same way the critics or the real fans do. Any music will serve as background music (provided the location suits it) but jazz was intended to be the location. It created an atmosphere and became what you concentrated on. In the dark clubs of NYC or New Orleans, musical geniuses like Charlie Parker and Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson would play all night long. And you wouldn't go just for the club atmosphere or "to pull" like most nowadays. You would go to listen to the magical music played. You would talk about it, you would listen to each note and think on the song. We as a generation simply don't do that sort of thing very often.

Do Ibiza clubbers do that? Maye some do, those few who appreciate the song as more than just "a great tune". Do people who attend Ellie Goulding concerts do that? Perhaps some do. But you know there will be people attending just waiting for her most well known and most catchy song and not really caring for the rest.

What I'm trying to explain is why my generation don't, generally, listen to jazz. Our concentration span isn't shorter, it isn't because we simply don't have the ability to understand its various forms and the finer details of music theory. It is because we have become so used to hearing a song, but not truly listening. That is, most of our generation.

It's not all doom and gloom, as the article on Jazz Loft suggestedm why not expose the indie/alternative crowd to it. Why not put it to them as it was meant to be, in dark clubs and with some soul, not just in concert halls with precision. I certainly consider myself to be one of the alternative crowd rather than the pop crowd. It's worked with me, I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I long for that age where people took pride in everything they did, less than a third of the country was obese and the whole world seemed to be full of life and soul. And as people who listen to Britain's popular indie group Mumford and Sons often say, "We like it because it has soul, not just a catchy tune but some sort of emotion in it". Prove to them that jazz has so much soul and so much emotion it can be overwhelming (As Jazz Loft's article pointed out) and maybe we'll see a resurgence.

So for you out there reading, thiking, what does this kid know about jazz? What does he know about sociology? Let me tell you this. I like Jazz, and I'm part of and exposed to the generation I'm talking to always. I know their musical tastes and I know what they think.

If this has got your jazz interests going temporarily, check out "JazzWax.com", an amazing blog with some fascinating interviews and memories of the old world and indeed the present world of jazz. Check out Jazz Loft, a really great project dedicated to preserving some brilliant memories and records and the whole vibe of that loft. Finally, check out "Jazz Ain't Dead", an inniative deicated to keeping jazz alive but also innovating and incorporating more recent genres.

Thanks again folks.

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