Monday, July 12, 2010

"Stuck in '62"? With qualifications, Yes!

In 2004, Jazz Guitar Life asked free jazz guitarist Dom Minasi (during its interview with him) whether there was a bias against his music.  His answer contains a phrase which I clipped and now use as shorthand by which I indicate, quite lightheartedly, my general orientation in jazz.  After naming notable bias-free exceptions, Minasi bemoaned the fact that "the guitar community in general is stuck somewhere between 1940 and 1962 and they put anyone down who doesn't fit into that mold of what they think jazz guitar should be.  It's a shame too.  There's room for everyone.  We should be supporting one another not criticizing each other." 

Stuck in '62?  Yup, guilty as charged!  The range of years that Minasi referred to covers "Pre-Bop," Bebop, and Hard Bop.  After that, the Flood (no pun intended), otherwise known as the British invasion.  I have no desire to dictate and demand adherence to the One Correct Theory of Art or to put down anyone who does not dig as I do. Neither do I romanticize the world of fifty, sixty, or seventy years ago.  But there were things about it that I wished had "stayed put" until I was old enough to appreciate them.  One of those things was Hard Bop.  I make no apologize for intending to spend the rest of my days honoring it, and if that leaves me less room for free jazz's musical "adventure," I am more than happy to incur that cost.

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