29 July 2013

Jazz - Paying Attention to Race

"Guess my main beef is the tremendous status that is accorded to Jarrett's trio — with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, they've been together for 30 years now — by middle-aged white jazz critics. I just fail to see what makes his trio playing standards any more ''state of the art'' or dynamic than any number of African-American pianists I can think of." ~ Matthew Shipp
When I was in college I liked Keith Jarrett. Then I discovered various musicians and ensembles affiliated with the AACM (Air; Anthony Braxton; the Art Ensemble of Chicago; Fred Anderson) and others (David Murray; Arthur Blythe; Gerri Allen; World Saxophone Quartet; Cassandra Wilson; Archie Shepp; Randy Weston, and, yes, Jack DeJohnette). Jarrett fell pretty far down my list of preferred listening; I no longer found his playing as compelling. In any case, I found this review by pianist Matthew Shipp of Jarrett's latest release on point. Shipp's point, on my reading, is about the racially inflected attention cycle among critics, promoters, and audiences as much as it is about Jarrett or his work. It converges with my own comments about music (especially jazz) and race here in the past.

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