Thanks for all the comments about post-sixties music and culture. I’m more firmly convinced now than I was before that an UNBIASED history needs to be written (or, these days, blogged or even videoblogged…).
It’s not about likes and dislikes. It’s not about the “mean conservatives” or the “crazy hippies.” What’s remarkable about the post-Nixon period is that it is where the multiplicity begins to kick in. And again I think that’s how we’ll need to understand this whole period, and why there is currently such a challenge to engaging and personal artistic expression.
A few things, with more extended comment to come:
Aaron Cohen from Chicago reminded me that trombonist/composer/theorist Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM) out of Chicago. His book will no doubt fill in some crucial gaps in the story. I can’t wait.
Another palliative will be the August appearance of Music and the Creative Spirit: Innovators in Jazz, Improvisation and the Avant Garde. It’s a collection of in-depth interviews with about forty artists conducted by Lloyd Peterson (full disclosure: I was also interviewed and contributed a preface).
Plus Fergus from New Zealand writes:
It seems to me jazz died in 1975, and everything else is a glorious
afterlife, in which all music is equally available and there’s no point in
policing the boundaries.
I’d argue against the jazz-is-dead theory, but mainly because I’m against the death penalty (and no, it doesn’t just smell funny either…). But seriously, I just don’t think anything dies. That’s why I’m always a little mystified by the what-is/what-isn’t brigade. I have no problem with definitions and boundaries as long as they’re not negative boundaries, built to keep things out. I think this history is necessary because it will help put music in focus and figure out what’s what without fear and possessiveness.
I’m wondering if this complete overview ought to be written by a musician (like, maybe, Ralph Alessi? or Ethan Iverson? George Lewis?) or an articulate insider/fan (and now, it seems, New York Times critic, go Steve!) like Steve Smith.