Nov 122010

When did people start to view jazz as safe? Most of the great jazz musicians lived on the edges of society, succumbing to heroin addiction, like Charlie Parker, or dying in other unnatural ways, like Chet Baker’s mysterious plunge from a hotel window. These artists explored the limits of music, at first by using standard, well-known Broadway tunes as platforms for their adventures and later bursting beyond form altogether—think Miles Davis with Bitches Brew or John Coltrane with Interstellar Space. Now jazz is simply something your crazy, half-deaf grandfather rants on about or—worse—elevator music. Personally I blame Kenny G for destroying the reputation of jazz, but I tend to prefer simple explanations for complex societal and cultural changes. Continue reading »