The New Battles Over the Direction of Jazz
One to the New York Times podcasts year shaman on you street of music news and criticism. I'm your host, John Kerry, Monica. To clarify. I have been on u street. I'm not totally appropriating you St.. St. has just been appropriated. It's for years nowhere. If anything I'm late to that. We're we're on you street today because we're talking about jazz, and we're talking about jazz in twenty eighteen this is the first podcast twenty nineteen. But we are looking back for our final year interview to talk about everything that happened the world of jazz. And because we're talking about jazz, we're talking with GO GO what's up John geo covers jazz on the New York Times on the phone from DC, maybe near you street. I can't speculate. John Murphy's here is a journalist and DJ he writes for jazz times, jazz wise, downbeat NPR music of variety of places. John. Hi, how are you? Good, man. And we're gonna look back. We have some big themes to talk about we lost some very important people this year, we're gonna start with where we just did with Wayne shorter. That was a song called Pegasus off of. Mun which was Wayne's most recent album, not on Spotify just f y fair buyers rushing Spotify geo this was your number one album the more jazz album. Yes, that's twenty eighteen talked us about the God Wayne shorter there. It is. You said it Wayne shorter was just honored at the Kennedy Center honors kind of a capstone moment for somebody who's gone through many phases and many iterations in terms of his career, but his always sort of been a constant and steady force of integrity and vision, and like men, whatever Wayne is gonna do is going to be on a certain level like, and I don't just mean of quality. I mean of kind of expansiveness and generosity of spirit and cosmic, you know, that's the word everyone always says around with win order because he's he's a dreamer. And he's he's a tuned to the Cosmo's the the album is called on and it was three discs triple dis whether on L P or CD, but like. You said not available digitally came with a lengthy graphic novel that he created with Monica sly in Randy Burke, a couple of collaborators he was drawing as a kid before he was playing the saxophone. He was always fascinated with science fiction, and this is kind of of really rare venue into the creative mind of this tireless endlessly ambitious and idealistic thinker somebody who represents in big grandiose kind of ephemeral ways, what jazz is all about as well as creating some of the most rigorous and grounded and powerful music, just from a pure virtuosity standpoint. So this this record is his coretec which held together for almost two decades now done you'll Perez jump attitude chief Brian blade joined by a chamber orchestra doing really I would say stuff that sounds very much within the Wayne shorter tradition. Sonically, but approaches horizons that he hasn't before at least not with this quartet, John. What was your vibe on this Wayne record? Well for me it was. Have a rich personally history with Wayne's music. He's my favorite composer. And what about this record was it was so an testicle it was like black fantastical music and a lot of those melodies. I remember from college my freshman year in college, Mississippi State, university a land of with one my favorite records, and it will book for I really kinda dwelled into becoming a music journalist. I just dug the record. And while I listened to that record of also really reading all the coming books. X men ventures and all that, and it was interesting 'cause I had parallels to gather like Wang evocative, very sentimental type music and coming books before I knew that that was something that he did. I kinda got into him. Pairing that with the album came after Lantis, which was phantom navigator and be get the L P in the inner sleep. He actually drew some comics. And I didn't understand what I had no idea what was going on with it. But it was fascinating. I was I was in thrall by his willingness to do that even though the plot was very lucid. And then the third album that he did in the eighties. It was jor writer one with tear cares. Jerry Allen and Patricia rush back cover Wayne shorter did the artwork. So I knew there was something very cinematic and very graphic novel about him, and we'll see years later, and I was happy to hear him state his love for graphic novels and coming book heroes and all that there's so many things to dwell into that record and considering. That that album came out later this year, if this makes sense, I love us all of them. But I not sure I know how much I love it every time. I listen to it. I'm enthrall like I can't do. Hardly any other thing sub. Listen to this. Come right? It's tact. Can I ask a question about the comic book or graphic now? Because I haven't seen is it a conventional isn't a hero narrative is it a is it in biblical about here narratives like how does it relate to the broader universe of comics? And and then John to pick up on what you were saying you sort of identify Wayne and kind of this black fantastical tradition. I wonder about those intersections because obviously we're seeing a lot of we're seeing a lot of that pop up in the actual comic book and comic book extended universe this year, especially so I'd like to hear about those things in dialogue. If they are. I have to read the comic book again the rap novel. But it was very mothership connection and very brother from another planet. The matic. Loki classic go watch that if you haven't seen it glow key. Yeah. Know just in whole idea of like someone coming to the earth, and what that's going to do for humanity. I do think it was in touch very much with the heroic ideal. And there's been conversations I know just to invoke her name without without her being here. Unfortunately, Michelle, Mercer who wrote Wayne footers biography posted on Facebook and said, you know, I've got a problem with people saying Wenas heroin because he's so much more than that. He's also, nuanced and communal and all that. And I love that point. So I wish maybe in the future she'll be here, and we can have that conversation. I do think there is a role for the heroic narrative around way in shorter, which is an easy one to go to but Emon the name of the record is the name of the superhero figure in the comic book, he's sort of an anti hero because he's an everyday citizen who discovers that he together with others has the power counted sort of right? This broken world. We're in like dystopia in future in this comic book. But I do think that like when John Murph you talk about listening to the record. And being so transfixed by it. There's something who roic about Wayne Shorter's ability to write melodies that are so strong that okay? Maybe we're dealing with whatever twenty thirty musicians on stage together these enormous string parts these sort of flights of improvisation going every way the cut open underbelly of the rhythm section in insurers quartet. But the melody catches you in holds you. And that is almost there soaring in there, so powerful it is almost heroic to me and it relates to that comic book narrative covering very weeping about it. And I think another thing I really like about this record air it shows how the word malleable, I wanna use. Because I remember, you know, looking bad, you know, Lantis atom, navigator and joy Reid. Thank you know, a lot of critics hated those. And a lotta times people listening to the instrumentation and sometimes listening to instrumentation and listen to the melody can be totally different. I was a bit agnostic about the instrumentation, Mike. I'm in you know, I come from the sound. I didn't grow up hating synthesizers. You know, right. But it's interesting listen to that record. And it's like I can listen to like, I think the three Marie of and like in like in my mind, hav out how I heard it on the record and some most melodies so intact. And I think that's shows you how great his writing then into two now, it's like this is you know, she has his philosophy like, no composition is never finished. But it was rated the power that music back from back, then it's so many people kinda discarded. It's kinda like the way people doing with Harvey handcocks from light album like oh from lie there. One hate the Reverend like this old lesion of people now who best they're like Lowe's star for like, I think this is a perfect sort of segue into what's going on these days because so much of the. The jazz that's being made by or the music. Let's say that's being made by jazz trained musicians who are in their twenties, thirties and forties careful distinction. There you go is deeply inspired by those records. You're talking about the Herbie Hancock records from the seventies. And even the eighties records that interest Muhammed was making our Lonnie liston Smith is making the crusaders, even you know like albums that come out of maybe a Los Angeles jazz tradition that we need to give it to Stoorikhel do so who are some of the younger musicians that you're talking about talking about MCI mcraven most obviously a lot of this. Bronze Spalding new record, which she keeps going around the internet saying remember, this isn't jazz. I was funny that was my pivot was going to be. That's bronze. Yes for the ideas. But also because she works with shorter and has worked with shorter. Let's play something off the new Esperanza record. Let's play the song that was in your playlist FANG beautiful. And this is from the new Esperanza Spalding albums called twelve little spells. In this kind of. Space that you'll thank you. Joel. So aspirins has been saying yes, like clarify that and walked people through why that matters because many of the people who are listening to us today. Maybe don't understand the big picture of why that matters. The question of is this Jess or up her in this moment, her career with her training making what she's making saying that I don't know why of the many possible reasons she might feel the need to distance yourself from the word job maybe out of deference to those who are making music that's more closely aligned with whatever sort of the the central spine of the tradition is and saying I'm not trying to step on their toes. I'm doing my thing. I don't wanna be burdened with the expectations that come with being labeled jazz. Maybe it's simply a sonic thing. Maybe she understands jazz to be swinging or to be acoustic or this albums jazz. I've given up on that. Honestly, I mean in my my list was labelled a jazz list. I'm asked to coverage is but it's really impossible to put abounding box around the stuff. So I just go by who's trained in that tradition. And who's come from that community because I think all we are is is, you know, a manifestation of Rennes, we come, you know? So that's really what it comes down to. And we can get into what systems are in play these days furthering, the jazz tradition. That's a big conversation. Like is it local communities is conservatories is it parent to child mentorship. There are a lot of different delivery mechanisms these days for the tradition. But I do think it much more matters. Did you grow up idolizing, the jazz tradition and learning is best you could? And then go shooter thing right away were child of tradition. It's interesting because you talked about MCI you mentioned Kaya mcraven just before aspirins do you and Johnny as well. Do you guys see them as in? Gauged in a similar meadow project or they doing it differently between us bronze Spalding in terms of their relationship with what you just described as like or you termed as the spine of the tradition developing the crowd like in the information age think what those visions have to advantage than musicians crew came before them is just a wealth of information. And, you know, people learn definitely now there's the conservatory there's the learning on the bench stand, then those like crate digging, you know, a whole lot of jazz tradition that you can't absorb that hasn't been yet accepted by the families occasion. Like going back to like Herbie Hancock's. Yes secrets that. Okay. Your professor might say. Say this is a bad example of fusion. But you go to a DJ said, and you can hear it differently. I think like lifting to a DJ play records how the way shaping. How you absorb and learn how you interact with it. I think both of them have grown up in that situation where they're able to access different genres different methods of applying music and playing these and shaping things that we have yet to come up with new terms for and yeah, it's almost like technology. You know, the whole idea of like a lot of technology, and how you how you apply the high you create policy for calm way after the technology out there. So right, of course. Right. So we're doing a lot of retroactive or or we will be. Doing a lot of retroactively a lot. We're going to be doing a lot of retroactive stuff. Like oh. That is. Yes, that's interesting. I'm glad you actually talked about DJ's 'cause something that came up for me when I was listening to some of these younger musicians geo that were on your list and have been for the last few years. I think it's come up in a couple of the pieces that you've written this year, also, including the big band piece, which will get to was the idea of jazz as dance music, and and sort of not recentering it, but kind of embracing its history as dance music and also it's potential future as Dan's music. And certainly when I was listening to is this where it gets talking about theon cross. Yes to oh, man. Sure. So excited. Yeah. Okay. So particularly I was excited to hear a song on a compilation called we out here. Just not on your top twenty list. But I found it anyway, and John Murph did write about it. Okay. Murph. I wanna read that. I didn't even catch that says complex called we out here. You wanna talk John about what this compilation is. And then we're gonna play a song from it. Recklessly day when the first day of recording for that in London. I was in August at the fish factory. The we out here is a couple of Asian and is interesting when it came out because it was like in nineteen eighty seven that was a great compilation of British jazz on his by the Jess warriors is called out many one people and that record came on the eighty seven on Antilles, and even though corny pine was out there. It kinda helped is you do people. I Courtney pine Opie Robison Cleveland why kiss see Williamson to the greater Jess community. And it was it was Desailly black British jazz musician, and you can hear how they were channeling music from various Lithuanian Caribbean islands as well as a lot of west African rhythms and. It was also still have elements of what we call American like straight ahead. And there was something very distinctly British mouth it. We have here kinda mirrors that that era in the UK. That's the era that gives us soul to soul. That's the area. Gives us effectively. What we think of is straight. No, chaser culture, sort of like proto acid, jazz and things like that. So a lot of that sort of Al chemical stuff that's happening in the mid eighties Caribbean traditions, dancefloor traditions, pro-dole electric music, all that stuff kind of coming together. This is all a very fertile thing. That's happening in England nineteen eighty six through nineteen ninety basically and that sort of reflecting on like a reflection of what we just discussed about the United States recovering. It's forgotten electronic and dance oriented music on the divide. Whether it's Patrice Russian or Herbie Hancock on the divide between you know are. N B top forty and jazz in the seventies and eighties. So anyway, yes, so saying now we out here. Sorry, go back in. We out here. You know, a lot of musicians that came out of we out here came out of the tomorrow warriors, which came out of the guest for you. So it was a lot of tomorrow warriors as well as how they kind of develop their own performance space around jazz refresh, and Steve and these are like places that definitely intermingled DJ culture with live jazz and stuff like broken beat L strumming base crying. When you listen to that wreck. It was like a great time capsule. It really felt that way. And it sounds like so specific, and if the song actually wanna play off of it is broccoli, which is, you know, cross place to and let's just play it. Let's just run it from the start. And then I'll talk about it afterwards. So this is brought by the cross. So obviously, I love this records. It's crime. When I first heard it. I was like, oh, I get it. And I'm obviously partial to the to I played trombone in high school shouts out in high school concert band, nineteen ninety one through nineteen Ninety-three. You know, this is a sound too. But this is an ideology that I'm sympathetic to. I was so excited to hear it obviously to a very under served instrument broadly speaking, but one of the real gifts every year when we do this look back jazz. I get to discover things I otherwise wouldn't have on my plate. And this was the thing I was most excited. So this compilation for all the reasons John that you described earlier felt very twenty eighteen to me, it was part of these larger dialogues about jazz in conversation with dancefloor music, and also I think sometimes at least in this country jazz that sort of training gauge with the current moment of hip, hop often feels desiccated and thin this did not feel that. Way to me at all the texture of this was incredibly robust, and I was really pumped up by. Yeah. The cross is also sort of the meat and the bone when we theon cross show. I've been. He but from just to to center in that live experience because that's really what this is all about. He is the kind of the animating force in sons of which is probably the most lauded the most broadly known of the new British jazz groups, and it's got back Hutchings who gets much more attention, partly because he's brilliant musician. He happened to play the tenor saxophone, which is much more protagonistic instrument. Right. He's a great talker integrate thinker and somebody who understands his music as an ideological like, you said sort of an ideological force as well as musical one and they had an album this year, and they released a great album this year, and they did a tour all over the place. I mean, they were here in the states in variety of cities, and they were playing a lot back home in in the UK. It's not on your list GIO is not on my list. I thought it was very good record. I thought the live show was even better. They've got two drummers as well as the cross. And there is no question that it gets people moving and that it's about filling the space with energy sweat movement dance. Then this album in particular again. And we'll I think now, maybe we'll talk about the big band thing. You are you sure about but this album also really reminded me I lived in London in the mid to late nineties. So it was catching the tail end of a lot of the early nineties club culture in which jazz fragments were being filtered through culture, this album, very much took me back and felt very similar a lot of what I was experiencing in that time book a Hutchings. Does this thing with his tenor saxophone where he actually uses it almost like a deejays air horn? He does appear kind of sound. And I'm like, oh, yeah. That's where that comes. You know, that comes from the dance floor as actually I did some research into that sound it started in Jamaica and came came to Britain. And now it's in the saxophone, you know, should we play something off of the sun to come at records. Gable? A taste of it for sure, man. They're also good. I really partial to the to the early parts of the record. I like Mike green is Harriet Tubman. I love that. All right. Let's do my queens Harriet, Tubman this Asunto Kennett. So we mentioned it a couple times ready. We're talking about jazz dance for music. Maybe. Yes, maybe no. Or it's it's sort of constant reckoning with the dance floor and geo. You wrote a piece not that long ago about the resurgence of the big band and big band dance dancefloor tradition. And I wonder if you could talk about jazz and dance through the years will so this is going to be interesting because we're going to take if we go down this route we're gonna take a format that was invented by dance bands. Yes. And has not been a dance format for sixty years and is not really coming back to it. But is a nice interesting foil with an interesting historical thread, right? The jazz. Big band was the was America's first pop music, basically in the era of early radio in the twenties and thirties jazz was the first youth craze. It was the first. Thing that kids were going out and smoking marijuana and scaring there, right? It was like now what you have now refer us. It was Reefer madness music and may believe rag. Yeah. Exactly. That was the beginning of this big band, which is kind of insane. The durability of this of this format. This unwieldy thing with four trombones for saxophone tenor baritone Alto, four trumpets rhythm section hard to get that kind of band together. And it went pretty much swiftly out of style. In the nineteen nineteen forties for a variety of reasons. Among them that it was cheaper and easier to get small group, jazz became a more intellectual cafe music. It became less of a pop music rock and roll and Rb stepped in to make things briefing deductive, but the jazz big band didn't go away, and instead sort of became this playground for brilliant, composers and arrangers Gil Evans, STAN Kenton. And the later years of Duke Ellington were were Thad Jones. These were people who use the big band for its sonic potential. You know? For its textures for its ability to enter we've rhythms through different horn sections. It was no longer playing dance music. And that continues today what's interesting to me to make it current. And the reason that I wrote the piece is that it was always going on that people like Jones Mel Lewis were having their Bob Brooke Meyer, where we're we're composing for these bands and doing what it took to put those bands on stage. But there hasn't been a surfeit of big band activity. Like there is now in decades. And the reason you can almost say without a shadow of a doubt is that a lot of very brilliant. Young composers are coming out of conservatory programs that fostered that kind of thinking in that kind of musical ambition on the page really, which is where these positions often begin. And now they gotta put it somewhere. Why are conservatory programs still even though this is not sort of the Kerr the center of what's happening in jazz for the last fifty? Two years explained to me as a novice. Why is that still a big part of the conservatory training? Ooh. That's a really good question to answer. Glibly? I think just because it's they're focused on the history and the past and making sure people know their fundamentals, and there's a certain system that works that you can teach. But what do you think John, Murph? Were you teach formal color music? There is the ridden ridden note celebration of written note, and I think just the amount of students coming in. It's like they have to learn how to play together nothing is. It's like a right of passage for a lot of musicians. Good magin. Yeah. Even as a section musician like not as a composer. But to be able to play the parts cleanly and with feeling and in a way, that's not going to disrupt. The the whole is definitely something that you're right. I think a lot of musicians can can tell has has she played in a big band because he played big band. Oh, I can tell they can really get their parts like that. Do you guys? Find the music that's coming out of this new wave of big band music. Is it historically Reverend? Is it forward looking is it programmatic is not programmatic. Where's the fault on the on this sort of spectrum because I think when you try to go what's current? I don't think there's one particular. Thomas current. 'cause you're gonna you have someone like Esperon you have someone likes to seal. And you know, it's assume Lawrence. Yeah. And one level you can say that they're like like decades apart, but they're both very very Reverend. I think so many different bosses and so many different eras right now can exist on the whole platform and feel the contemporary. I think to answer your question, John, I think that that's almost a good definition of what makes a jazz musician the jazz musician somebody who can be both reverent to the tradition and hungry for the future. I think Brian crock is somebody who released a really promising debut with sort of standard, relatively standard form epic band. He has some some funky stuff thrown in there. But in terms of just recapping twenty eighteen I'd say, he's one of the people who put out fabulous big band. I wanna listen to his album. Let's throw something in there. I mean, the other names that I'd like to to get off my tongue. Here are me ho his alma who's really great composer. She did not release an album at least not that. I can think of with her group in twenty eighteen she's got something coming soon though in the next few months also. G Lee is a great composer, Anna Weber, and Shannon, pinger have a big band. That's been doing very interesting things here in New York and are going to release an album soon, the Toronto big band. So those are just just a just a quick sample of the many great big bands. That are coming out of a tradition. That's been honed for them in the last few decades descending really from Thad Jones by Bob Brooke Meyer, by Darcy. James argue John holiday. Yes. Totally Holland back who have one of my favorite albums of this year. He's not in that that like twenties and thirties generation, he's a little old, but but his album this year, I think sets a high standard with his John Hall and Belk large ensemble. It's called all can win. That's worth hearing too. But yeah, sure, let's let's listen to the Brian Krakow him what he want to hear. So he had this week called tyrel pace, which was at the heart of his record the album is named for the big band. It's called big heart machine. And I really like the very first introductory piece in the sweet time on piece. One print sees Stratus. This is Sam sympton food editor of the New York Times. Whether you're just starting out in the kitchen or looking to up your game. And why t cooking is here with more than nineteen thousand times tested recipes and all the help you need to cook them. Well subscribed today at NY cooking dot com slash podcast. Okay. So we've been talking a little bit about conservatory training, which is kind of a cousin to another thing that came up a little bit this year, which is talking about sort of institutions the stone moved into an academic setting. The stone of not been in New York was a scrappy little room in the lower size where I've had almost passed out one night many years ago. Because of the sound because of the it was a combination of the two the only ever had very bad experiences. A concert have been combinations of heat slash humidity and free jazz. Yes, basically, and like, hence throbbing music. Actually, there are two other one was with God's beady black. Trying to make you sick a little bit and cigarettes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. It was at the stone. I can't remember what it was the only time that's happened to you. And you haven't been until I've been telling me. It's twenty nine. Clean Clinton twenty nine. Clearly, we're at so. But it definitely happened in the stone which was now well-ventilated when I went, no, maybe later, your note was better ventilated. But I went early I really enjoyed seeing music there the few times that I went, and I was in a weird way surprised to learn that it becomes so much a part of the larger jazz that was going to become an institution in in a formal sense in that it was going to move to the in. Sorry. Yes. Yes. Can you talk about what underpins that? And what does that actually mean for does that destabilize what we think of is institution or should that destabilize what we thought of as the stone for thirteen years both? Okay. Okay. It, but maybe not these days is is what we think of as the institute of the jazz academy. Maybe just emboldens and strengthens and makes even more pervasive. The the kind of hegemony of the. The jazz educational landscape, which is to say people who can pay largely to go to conservatories are the ones who get the opportunities to learn from the so-called greats and the ones who are increasingly being invited to determine the music's future. And that's what we see with the big bands that I'm talking about which is not to say that the music creating isn't beautiful, right? But it's to say that the product of a specific the power of opportunity future. The determinative power of young musicians is increasingly being concentrated in the academy. Yen and for the stone to move into the academy is very interesting because it's taking music that has resolutely existed outside of a certain academy at the same time. John's Lauren has always been very clear about the fact that first of all he's not trying to do jazz jazz jazz. He's trying to do what he considers American concert music and that include Acklin freely improvised stuff coming out of a German serious tradition as much as it in. Includes stuff coming out of an Anthony Braxton tradition. There's overlap there and as much as include stuff coming out of William Parker's, you know, New York free jazz revolutionary music scene. And also, maybe with little flickers of art rock. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Right. A weird TV on the radio side project. Yeah. Thurston moore? You know, we'll be at stone here and there, but it's just interesting that he wants to and is now bringing that all of that energy, and all of what has long been a grassroots kind of musical activism embodied onstage, and in the music bring that into the academy, and does it undermine it. Amen. I see the Rick this on Geospace. What do you think? John Maher job Merv. What do you think? Then it's almost like the pros and cons of gentrification. I'm all about like, you know, better working conditions environmentally for musicians. And I don't think the stones being swept up by a music foam music institution is going to take away the independent venues, probably I think both boss, always prop up. So I think that you can enjoy both in both worlds because when I was at the stone. And I was there also the cold Mitchell, you know, it wasn't like, okay, I'm going to phones, and I'm here in boss gays, though, like, you know, that was not the you mean the new one at the new school. Right. No. They haven't just BAAs Skaggs. Retrospective. Twenty twenty one at the stone. Mark Knopfler Bill kind of work. You know? I don't even jazz. Funny. Thanks. No, those so campus is is saying is it's not like, you know, like this jazz and jazz completely disappeared, which we see we've all seen the jazz festival in which the most jazzy it got was made be Joe, Scott. That that did not happen. No. And that's not gonna happen. I think what what what what what it does is it simply kind of doesn't necessarily complete. But it definitely it follows in the cycle or along the trajectory. I should say that Johnson has wanted to follow which is to move this radical outsider music into the space of the concert hall and into the space of general acceptance by the powers that be and there is a victory there. But what it also does is it opens up, the vast terrain, the grass grassroots activism often happens on for other people to step in, and, you know, John's is not in his twenties and thirties anymore, and he's not that generation anymore. So that's great. You know, this in that way, it can be celebrated as a major victory because his there's this sense. A lot of time on the guard that we need to cut it. Resources, but his, you know, being swept up into the academy doesn't necessarily mean that now that's the only place that people are going to go to hear of music. I think there's actually a very for for a lot of reasons related to the spread of information and the opening up of self determination of the listener. And saying, oh, I like this just because I like it not because it's on the radio, not because whatever we're in an era when there's a huge appetite for vanguard aggression, whether it's in Fillmore and music or whatever. So we don't have to get to preoccupied with how one garrison Keeler institution is disposing of itself. Yeah. One fem- that came up, and this is something we talked about a little bit before we started recording. And this has a little bit to do with institutions, but it's maybe a little more adjacent to that. Was this idea you GO, you mentioned the kind of a little bit ideological Malays setting in and you talked about we have come OSCE. Now, we have basically jazz. Has or jazz rooted musical folk heroes who have begun to take on a life outside of jazz communities, and that seems to only be growing year over year. And I wonder if you can talk about the pros and the cons of that. It's a lot. I mean, I think that you've said it. Well, I think the the idea of jazz folk heroes being welcomed by a mainstream media that is interested in young hip wisdom figures. Yes, sure. Politically, attuned artists, right and people who can tap into a long history while also sounding very contemporary, and and and cool and jazz is providing that there have long been those kinds of say clear jazz is always had those figures people have chosen to pay attention or not pay attention. Exactly. And there have always been those who were more accepted in the mainstream than they were within the jazz drive. You know and jazz really is its own meritocratic community. And just I just sense in converse. It candid conversation with musicians who might speak to as friends, or as just, you know, people that I'm hanging with at a show not on the record enemies issues who I'm close enough with the they'll tell me what other musicians are saying to them. You know, that's the kind of place where I start to hear man, there's so much stuff out there. Like, we're really like wondering what when the journalists are going to wake up and see that. So and so is really not hitting as hard as these other people were not getting covered. There's always that. But I think now especially haters just can't right? But like there's this sense of self policing, which always happens, and that's a very that's not particular to. No, that's true hardcore hip hop country. This is anything which is premised upon an internal logic. But occasionally gets external validation, this tradition is long. Has music itself. And it's a good problem to have probably John if I'm Jay. Yeah. What do you think? John. What does it 'cause you tension? When folks like mossy or MCI or whoever start getting more noise outside than inside. I'm always happy for them. You know, we we need stars. But are they the right stars for now? Yes, I guess, you know, before those commodity that was Robin classroom. I loved him before Kamasi that was great reporter that was down across. I think it's a matter of how they are tick late their history and their the music and to let people know that they didn't come bursting like a star from unknown galaxy. You know, make talk about what they came from. You know, Kamasi tells a lot about Joe Wilson and the L A C and his ascension has enabled of people from isg crew LA to get recognition. So no, I think it's a good thing is a good thing. I don't the ones we're talking about. I don't think they are coming on the scene thing. They have rented been into Wheeler like that. Right. So I'm happy for them. Those are the haters. I definitely know people makes not come about Kamasi not coming of New York, and he come through the no, the New York trenches and totally disregard him. What trenches are available in? Yeah. Right. Elian LA. Was like well he played in. Joe Wilson's big band is like doesn't count for something. Yeah. I tend to make optimistic, you know, I'm all about people know being able to get a level of attention where they can take care of themselves like, you know, constantly being on the edge. You know, it's it's hard being on the edge. When you got bills to pay, you know, without people be able to make some level of living and being turn of people on to stop it. Also, it also sort of I don't know I I've seen it happening in in other pop genres where there's the sending that only one person gets the shine. Or there's only room at for one success story or crossover or breakthrough at a time. And I I've always found it to be really short sighted. Because what I think something like that does is it expands a lot of people's perspectives. And then the more people have their. Effectives expanded the more opportunity creates down the line for both number one other people to experience more success working in somewhere frameworks, but also to make entirely new forms and new connections and new ideologies. And that's something that wouldn't happen. If you didn't have people who are breaking free of the kind of spine of tradition as it were. I think I'm pretty receptive to the rising tide dairy feel like the types of dialogues that can happen with folks with folks who are doing that John you mentioned Greg reported, then you said, Diana Krall, which may be a leap, I personally was not prepared to me. But, but, but you know, I'm invents Abba deferred, y'all. If y'all say infants then that had gets worn. But in the big picture, I don't know. I guess I've always seen it as potentially the long the long run benefits outweigh the short term tensions. I'm also not a musician trying to pay my bills things like it's the kiss. To. It's no I've seen cats the jazz will be mall. I don't like the Grammys cost. No, jazz, not, you know, getting perform, and and it's getting nor then you have like a KamAz e or like Greg reporter if they kinda inched away, which they perform at the Grammys, and they get from recognition then compensate look at who they think they are. And stuff. Well, I guess what? I would say to those people is Noah likes like the Grammys. If the Grammy's is a touchtone for anything, it should the Grammys operates the same place in relationship to practically every genre of. So whatever jazz folks are saying the Grammy's country folks are saying about it hypocrisy saying about it hard rock folks are saying about it Latin music like literally like the idea that it's only happening in jazz is just it's so far from the truth. Yeah. So if you're a jazz person, who's listening to this and you're upset about the Grammys, and you think exclusive purview over that? I hate to do this to you. But I'm a take that away from you and not just. People like, Gregory Kamasi amici those names resonate in some Cronin's of like DJ coach. So it's nice being able to go through like hip, hop, set or arm be set in which you can drop some of that. And it doesn't clear the dance for you know. Having those stars break. Those down you need those we need those. We need our stars. Okay. So let's listen to mossy mafia had now this year is called heaven and earth. It was his first album since the big breakthrough album the epic a few years ago. So less lesson to fisa fury off with heaven. Instead. So this is an example of jazz record with vocals jazz record with words and jazz record that makes its intentions clear that way, and I think there's been a number of those albums this year and a number of projects whether recorded or not that use vocals and lyrics and poetry along with jazz instrumentals, and it's part of that conversation about touching the mainstream and speaking in a way that the everyday listener maybe contune into it's an important moment for jazz. Just because it's kind of having this moment of of broader acceptance. And I think we see some projects coming out where musicians are maybe in a direct response to that. Maybe not just taking to speak really clearly indirectly about what they're trying to say Mba's ecm Usery is one of the great trumpeters of our day may be the best. You know, if you ask a lot of musicians he's sort of the pace setter for the younger generation, he's in his mid thirties and his album this. There was one of my absolute favorites. It was called origami harvest. And it featured an MC L A D who's been in the news for a lot of reasons. Yes. So just as quick side thing a D was accused of sexual assault. Recently. I mentioned in my review of this album that it was great. But that he had a history of being accused of super uncool issue the initial allegations. Go back many months, he has actually years. There's some recent ones as well. Yeah. He was the worst moments in the album are when he talks about like sex, then where it feels like what's going on. Why does this resonate wrong because you kind of creep? That said the album itself was incredibly well arranged by embers zaken music has ambers has he been asked about this? As he talked about it. He has not to my knowledge. And that's not my knowledge a problem. Ambrosi mullah's. We're here for that conversation. If you only jazz musician who's been working with cool eighty and that's been interesting to me like why is this? Why is our community open to that? Right. And not speaking about right and not pushing back really really monumental album sullied by the involvement of this guy who spits some really serious poetry. And also misses the Mark in a lotta ways as human beings, certainly seems that way I was sitting there saying to myself man, why did he do this? Why did he bring this guy in you know, I'd also like to hear from other people with more nuanced or their own kinds of nuance thinking about this. Because maybe he's anti canceling culture. Maybe he wants to say, you know, let's hear from this person. Anyway, maybe he's saying. Saying maybe thinks no one will notice maybe maybe thought that the statute of limitations had passed. I just think sometimes people think that the that transparency is a real cloak, and it's not right. If this is a choice, you're gonna make it's a static choice political choice. Exactly. So he's throwing his weight behind right? So we person and to we have to ask people to stand up to their political and aesthetic choices. So again at the DM's at the Email and some degree the virtuosity of some of the poetry redeems. I mean, at least explain not redeems, but explains why he made that choice. They obviously have a creative connection. But then there are moments where you sit there and you say, oh, like, no, this is not the right collaborator right for this amazingly ambitious otherwise pretty success a record as musically effective could have been made with a different collaborator. I can only assume so. Yeah. But there's never a what if right? No, no. Sure. But there is and yeah, I would've liked that. Sure. Earl would have sounded great on this. Go a perfect. Early on that. Yeah. But let's listen to something less distasteful. God let's play a track on which Mba's ecm Usery does the talking Greg called free white and twenty one and like previous pieces that he's put on other albums. It involves a roll call of those killed by the police. Tyree. What's? Room. Esperance's Spalding album was fabulous and super-ambitious read like a full treatise. It was trying to as a palliative as well. As a piece of music each of the twelve tracks is devoted to a different part of the body. It was informed by her study of Ricky and other forms of nontraditional non western medicine or very traditional but non western medicine Cecile mclorin salvant both released an ambitious album called the window and also put out or began to perform a new piece that she'd worked out with Darcy James argue, the big band leader, the performances called ogress. But it's just interesting to me that that there's a lot of the jazz is not missing the boat on the opportunity to speak about issues to to help us. Imagine a better future not just with abstract expression in the form of instrumentals. But in terms of poetry and lyrics, John what? Do you think about that particular movement happening in in current jazz? And maybe how it connects historically to previous eras where that was a factor. Well history to it definitely it like from going to divide metros. You have been about the history of his use of poetry like Jane Cortez. I think one of the recurring elements of this whole concessions like this whole idea of building on an existing tradition. And like, I think some of those traditions kind of fade in the background and they rise back up. And I think you're seeing more that I think you seeing a lot of jazz artists using poetry and lyrics to take late a lot of frustrations. A lot of ambitions. You know, coming out only the metoo movement. But the black lives matter movement, you're saying it post Katrina post nine eleven you know, that. They are Mike Ladd was doing like almost nineteen years ago. Wow. Yeah. Forgot about that stuff. Just to Mike Ladd living in Paris have great life. So that things are like Ursula Rucker was going with four heroes. We gotta sub look at the scenes as something new and just kinda like this connect the dots. So like, okay. This is something this, bingo and all have viable as we know how they speaking to these going on today. So not no see particularly new of a feel that it's been vital. I definitely here has been vital to we listen to something actually that old VJ iron, Mike Ladd record. Just for no reason. Sure. 'cause I haven't heard it isn't time while there's three. In what language is a great. Should we play the title track? Sure, let's play the title track on what language VJ iron, Mike. What? Digital pixelated chips are sick. I find them in their faith celluloid that sift through camera tips relevant for satellites quicken remedies chomping at the bits and pieces of kindergarten. Rock still within the sites. I suppose the news that I am not should not be used in with highs tons of. I have been living with my wings. Now. Turn of the outside. The plastic ovals wondered sorry strategy. Because in this position with the wrists. Cuffed soul Messina sick as colors used on airline seats with flame retarded. Waiting for the cosmic too. Mazdas. Scranton light this earth bovines in fertilize. Confusing times it should come as surprise. Handcuffed and Fessel sheets day speeding west. Catch one more. I casting suspicion turn turnaround line my stomach for just one. There's no language to explain it. Disdains facing innocence is madness. There's no word to explain this for if there were that could capture truth screed seems to behaviors. Seek speak. Okay. We are coming to the end of this episode. And we want to we wanna go out remembering some of the folks that we lost jazz this year and their contribution really celebrating their contributions. Those of you who listen to podcast regularly know that we devoted an episode in the fall to ROY Hargrove who died GO or John. You guys wanna say anything else about ROY? Because I do think I do think ROY either has been present in some of the discourse we've been having over the last hour explicitly or implicitly. I do think there's been some ROY in there. We'll Jon Murphy wrote a beautiful tribute slash obituary to ROY Hargrove in downbeat. Yeah. I'll let you take this one. Hit me in the gut the same wage Jerry Allen passing did in the jazz world things. Lot of for me is I knew the person behind the music. I got to see the person. And that was what was painful about writing that? There's so many things I love about ROY. I think boy was pure demise. Like, the jazz towards spirit in full many fascinating ways, you know, he he celebrated the past the history. No. And she was very comfortable hanging in there with a lot of his elders. You know, he was definitely invited his Belder's to record with them. But he was hopeful very contemporary. Without it looking like he was dressing up. Hip hop. Like, I remembered I think it was third album vied in when she was like I are this of bad generation to like not wear. Right. Right. And when it came out, it wasn't like this obvious things. I it wasn't my why does hip hop. He was just the by. And he always knew how to like imbue his music with contemporary on being hip hop without my meeting too. I have turntable scratches. And I think they came out. Is his tenure with Bobby Watson and horizon. No, you listen to those early records, Bobby always had his arm be five going on Neath without it something like a CT our record. And I love CT I'll records and that's hard to do. That's you know, the be funky about coming up with Rex. He had this great. I think it was his third blue note records called pulse Motown, Bob, and I used to use that term for a lot of artists. It was similar to rule heart rose. Well, what ROY you know, a lot of people talking about ROY and hip hop thing. And they started talking about the engine though, you know, doing common I was hearing like really connects more explicit hip. Hop stuff towards the end of the nineteen nineties when he had a band, and they were like, you know, sort of just playing trading fours, you know, one vision quote from like Rolls Royce car wash, and then they're like respond by with a quote from Ohio players skin tight, and there were like band back and forth. And it was like this DJ thing going on without explicitly saying, okay, we're doing kept hop talked to ROY back. Phase we read a name talk about jazz history that much and I've been reading so times like out outside of the interviewing I'm on the stage will oh what are they? We both. We're both fans both out favorite Parman albums when mobility affair, and we talked about that those things on this. You know, talking about like the difference between corn bread in Texas versus Georgia. So we talk on some other folks Randy west and Nancy Wilson Huma Kayla. You wanna talk briefly as we go out about them. I would say all of those that you just mentioned were very painful losses. This year. Randy west in one of the one of the real luminaries in jazz. I mean died in his nineties and had been an advocate for a kind of consciousness around where the music came from well before it was fashionable or even in any way, accepted to say that this is an African music not simply that it was a the jazz is a kind of utopian representation of black and white together. But his his point was more. Well, no, it's wonderful that others want to participate in the community. And can appreciate the music and even sometimes make the music, but this is music comes directly out of an experience of Africa. In America, you know, and his music spoke to that beautifully. Nancy Wilson was a musician who understood jazz fundamentals and also understood jazz ability to transcend, whatever commercial boundaries might be laying around it and became one of the great vocalists of her time in any John RA. As a result, the album of cannonball Adderley is essential for anyone who's trying to go back and rediscover Nancy Wilson and Huma Kayla was also somebody who understood the African identity of jazz, but in a more direct way, perhaps because he was from South Africa and lived a life of activism and brought the music directly into conversation with the experience of of resistance in a way that South African musicians in general in the seventies and eighties especially were better equipped to do because of their circumstance, and because of their tradition than almost anybody else in the in the world, and he was as a leader of the anti-apartheid movement super important both for his his activism and his consciousness. Raising and is music close amount of a library. You know, you'd think about Randy less than you know, Rennie weapon, and she must and Nessie amount of jazz history that they embodied and the stories that they told verbally that never made it on page. Those are the names that you miss. You miss them as people to like Randy might one most most gracious men, you're gonna ever need Kayla. You know, these were like grand men who had all the accolades and all the one for things that they've done they should ban to make anyone feel small in terms of meeting them. And they never did. You know, like you look at you know, from the artist now, they might have one hot people out and. Wants you to cross like a of Everett wrote just get to them. And he. Let them know one MP three to me nothing. Right. That's right. You're like that's why we look at the war not naming names. But we know you are, you know. And you see these people who who really been through it. You know, you, you know, like, he must K not only do I have hot records. But I had I survive part time like, and you meet them, and they're they embrace you. I love to hear some Nancy Wilson at the should we hear something from the cannonball Adderley record. I mean, it's never will I marry. But what do you think John that's on right there? That's that's that's my favorite song. Yes. As dirty never will I marry. This is Nancy Wilson oughta anti walls and Canada. Never will. To wanda. Terry wide mine. Never. God is our show this week. Thank you to our guests GIO russillo. And John Murph you can listen to every podcast ever. NY times dot com slash podcast, Email us, your thoughts on the year in jazz or next year and jazz or maybe two years from now in jazz at podcasts, and why types dot com, and you subscribe to the podcast, which absolutely should do anywhere. Get your audio content. I tunes Google play Stitcher your podcast app. All these places. Our producer back strong between nineteen Pedroso at stepper media. We'll be back next week.