Doug Ramsey, a seasoned writer of all things jazz, became aware of this blog thanks to Dave Lull, a visitor we have in common -- thanks, Dave! -- and welcomed it to the "the neighborhood" yesterday on his blog. (Every major jazz figure should be lucky enough to get the treatment -- equal parts passion and hard research -- that Mr. Ramsey give his subject's life and work in Take Five: The Public and Private Lives of Paul Desmond.)
Mr. Ramsey chose to hold up the text of my inaugural post for his readers' consideration. Thus began my side of what already threatens to be a battle to focus on Hard Bop rather than on the words we use to pick it out from the rest of the jazz universe. Mr. Ramsey invites us to consider (and links to) his past posts on Hard Bop and the comments they stimulated in his visitors. I read them all with interest--and with more determination than ever to keep to an absolute minimum the space that dialectic will consume on this blog. I can no sooner say something than someone else immediately asks in all sincerity, "Whatever are you talking about?" My inevitably poor answer -- suggesting a unity of gospel plus blues plus virtuosity -- invites only more of the same: "Oh, no, no, no! You've got it all wrong! What about the following counterexamples!" (And "What is 'jazz,' anyway?") And we're off to the races.
The day the fog of contentiousness threatens to descend on this blog -- whether on little cat feet or with seven-league boots -- to obscure its eirenic aim is the day I'll shut it down. For forty years I've lived and breathed the negativity of dialectic (that is, of affirmation and denial, not of "negative vibes, man," of the dynamism of the human mind, not of depressed moods). This is where I take a break from it, not where I force upon my readers the alternative of either tolerating or combatting my "beautiful theories."
Even to say that bare minimum required participation in dialectic, and it leaves a bad taste, the very opposite of Hard Bop.