Take a look at this article from today’s Guardian – basically some guy in the audience at a jazz festival in Spain called the police to complain that a gig by a saxophone player called Larry Ochs wasn’t jazzy enough… And the police agreed! Check out the band’s music below.
This got me thinking about how difficult it is to classify contemporary music nowadays, as musicians bring together influences that are so wide ranging – from classical to rock to world and everything in between. I remember reading articles about the Portico Quartet recently, for example, where the authors and even the quartet themselves were bemoaning the fact that their records were classified as either ‘jazz’ or ‘world’ whereas in reality its somewhere in between.
When I’ve been promoting the Beats & Pieces Big Band, I sometimes find it difficult to describe exactly what the music is – I’d say its definitely jazz (but even then, what is jazz?! A whole other can of worms…) but in places its also rock, electronica, minimalist classical etc etc… And I also play many free improv gigs, at the Noise Upstairs or with Token Otter for instance; how would that music be classified?
To be honest I’m not really sure what the point I’m trying to make is, so I’m not too sure what I’m trying to say – just thought it was an amusing article that also raises lots of questions. So go on, discuss!
(Also for the record, I’d disagree with the Spanish Police and say Larry Ochs’ music was close enough to jazz. Kinda reminds me of Tom Arthurs’ Centripede group, based on this clip at least…)
UPDATE: I read this post by Kit Downes where he talks about the word ‘jazz’ as being a creative process rather than an end product… Kinda answers some of the questions I was posing above, and its a great read in itself.