Lost Highway

Many responses to the recent posts about creating an overview of music and jazz post 1975 with a view to understanding the conservative backlash that followed. I will be putting up responses over the next few days. Here’s the original post.

But in fairness to Fergus from New Zealand, I think I read his original statement wrong, and here’s what he wrote back:

My attempt at a joke feels very flat to me too. What I meant is that the question “Is this jazz?” should surely have been buried around about 1975. I think that — for all the arguments about details and emphases — there’s a reasonably broadly agreed teleological history of jazz up to about 1975, but that after that, as you say, everything’s different.

It seems to me that “anything goes” ought to be the most rigorous discipline, if it means that nothing gets any automatic points just for being what it is — “jazz” or not, “out” or “in” — and that every piece of work has to be judged on its particular artistic decisions and execution.

I’d love to read the history, or histories, you’re asking for. Although I’m not sure I’d require them all to be unbiased; there is real pleasure and instruction to be got from the kind of critic who proceeds from brilliant noticing to outrageously wrong conclusions. As a non-musician, I find technical discussion doesn’t do all that much for me. What I look for even more than definition are description and contextualising narrative.

I like the way Peter Guralnick did it in Lost Highway.

And I’m looking forward to hearing Reut Regev this evening at The Stone.