1) Jazz Musicians. You know me, I’m not one for blatant prejudice, or horribly sweeping statements (evidence backing this is currently unavailable), but Jazz Musicians as a whole really get under my skin. All such people I have EVER encountered have all turned out to be pretentious idiots, who seem to be living under the impression that they are God’s gift to music. They’re really not. “oooh look at us, we can improvise and play our quavers with a dotted rhythm”. Sweet. I hate you.
2) “The ability to play good Jazz is the only true measure of character”. A musician told me that, but not just any musician a JAZZ pianist, would you believe. How on EARTH could you back this up? For a start, where’s the line between “good” and “bad” jazz? I could spend weeks arguing the point that there is no such thing as GOOD jazz, but suppose for a minute there is, you’re not necessarily a better person for being able to play it. In fact, if you turn into a Jazz musician, there’s the destruction of your character right there. Besides, I bet Charlie Mason played some sick Jazz.
3) Being directed to swing my quavers. Arrrrrrrrgh! I DO NOT appreciate being told this. What’s wrong with straight quavers? I happen to be rather fond of straight quavers. I do NOT dig this swingin’ rhythm it creates. If you’re going to play a dotted rhythm, at least play it properly; as our favourite Baroque forefathers would have intended.
4) 12 bar blues. I once had a music teacher who raved about 12 bar blues, about what a notion of musical genius the structure was. ARE YOU KIDDING? Effectively, the basic 12 bar blue structure is based on the chords : I I I I IV IV I I V IV I I. That’s 8 bars of chord I, how can you be excited about 8 bars of the tonic chord?! Simple things I suppose, but still, what a bangin’ party. I wouldn’t blame you for thinking you CD player was stuck on repeat. Sometimes (if they’re feeling really wild) musicians can substitute the last chord for chord V, or even, wait for it IV, what CRAZY kids. Occasionally, they’ll replace the third I chord for any other chord of the scale! WOW! They really live on the edge, that DOES make for exciting listening.
5) Pitch bending on the clarinet. It sounds horrible enough on the sax, but really, was there any need to drag the clarinet into the “off the wall jazz techniques” it’s been exposed too. It has such a beautiful tone! BEAUTIFUL. Why do it? WHY?
6) The pieces have stupid names. One of stage band’s favourites to whip out when we let our guards down was entitled “Green Onions”. There’s a big difference between quirky, and shit. Somebody needs to tell them.
I think that alone establishes my point.
7) Jazz arrangements for non-jazz instruments, for example recorder. My teacher used to make me play these ear-sores in concerts, announcing to the audience it was to “prove recorders can do jazz too”. Why prove that?! I’m happy NOT to be associated with such things. I love recorders, but there’s no way they can compete with saxophones, you’ll look like a joke. Like all the other “jazz musicians” in town.
8 ) Blues scales. Never has a genre been less deserving of its own scale. Apparently diminution of intervals is pretty exciting, off the wall even. Since when has flattening a couple of notes been the signal of a revolution?
9) Improvisation. Woop woop, how flashy. How hard can it be? Really? Swing some quavers from the notes of their precious blues scale, over a chord like to be I IV or V (especially if you’re in 12 bar blues, my absolute favourite). Musicians have to improvise across the genres, so why is it considered so very new and exciting when in jazz?! I HATE it.
10) Jazz fusion. Jazz should not be allowed to “fuse” with anything. Containing it quickly and safely is the ONLY way we can stamp it out completely.
In the next episode of reasons why jazz ruined my life, more bitching’ on the topics of trumpets, stop time and Miles Davis.
I hope Malcolm doesn’t read this, I love a bit of Knapp.
In other news, I’m watching JFK with Kevin Costner in at the moment. I’d forgotten how fucking good this is, Lee Harvey Oswald was such a dish!