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by Eric Nisenson

  • ISBN: 0312167857
  • Category: Photo and Art
  • Author: Eric Nisenson
  • Subcategory: Music
  • Other formats: lrf doc azw mbr
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st edition (November 1, 1997)
  • Pages: 262 pages
  • FB2 size: 1194 kb
  • EPUB size: 1761 kb
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Votes: 742
Download Blue: The Murder of Jazz fb2

Eric Nisenson is the author of several jazz books, including The Making of Kind of Blue.

Eric Nisenson is the author of several jazz books, including The Making of Kind of Blue. He lives in Malden, Massachusetts. Nisenson takes a detailed inventory of the narrow parameters by which the neo-classicists appraise the value of an individual's work and then spends the majority of the book applying these standards to each generation in jazz's genealogy. The revelation of this is that when this dogma is applied, too many musicians central to the jazz tradition are discounted. One other issue addressed is the overall politics surrounding the situation at Lincoln Center.

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The blurb on the cover of Eric Nisenson's Blue. The Murder of Jazz very aptly describes the book: "A road map to the current jazz wars," a quote from the Wall Street Journal. And what a great road map it is!

Serious jazz listeners will love it or hate it depending on their point of view, but I found it to be a quick read and highly informative.

Nisenson (Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest, 1993, et. adds another voice to the increasingly shrill debate on the future of jazz and the role of Wynton Marsalis and his friends in that future

Nisenson (Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest, 1993, et. adds another voice to the increasingly shrill debate on the future of jazz and the role of Wynton Marsalis and his friends in that future. Nisenson (Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest, 1993, et. adds another voice to the increasingly shrill debate on the future of jazz and the role of Wynton Marsalis and his friends in that future

Blue Murder is the debut album by the hard rock band Blue Murder, released in 1989. It reached on the Billboard 200 in June 1989. The back of the album states that it is dedicated to Phil Lynott.

Blue Murder is the debut album by the hard rock band Blue Murder, released in 1989. Many of the lyrical themes contained in the album echo those of Thin Lizzy as well. All songs written by John Sykes, except where indicated.

Eric Nisenson sees the contemporary jazz scene in an entirely different light. In Blue: The Murder of Jazz, Nisenson argues that jazz has grown increasingly stagnant since the early 1980s, owing to a myopic adherence to tradition over innovation. Nisenson places much of the blame for this on Wynton Marsalis, writing, "There is a strong didactic nature to virtually everything Marsalis does; his love of and commitment to the supposed jazz tradition is not unlike a fundamentalist's view of the Gospels

Eric Nisenson is the author of 'Round About Midnight: Portrait of Miles Davis, Ascension: John Coltrane and his Quest, Blue: The Murder of Jazz, and Open Sky, a biography of Sonny Rollins. He lives in Massachusetts.

Eric Nisenson is the author of 'Round About Midnight: Portrait of Miles Davis, Ascension: John Coltrane and his Quest, Blue: The Murder of Jazz, and Open Sky, a biography of Sonny Rollins. Библиографические данные. The Making of Kind of Blue: Miles Davis and His Masterpiece.

Eric Nisenson (February 12, 1946 – August 15, 2003) was an American author and jazz historian. The son of inventor Jules Nisenson, he was born in New York City and raised in Rye, New York. He attended New York University (NYU), where he studied English, and then moved to San Francisco where he worked on the staffs of alternative publications including The Berkeley Barb and Heliotrope.

The second failing of the book is Nisenson's adoption of the very rhetorical techniques he criticizes in Murray and Crouch

The second failing of the book is Nisenson's adoption of the very rhetorical techniques he criticizes in Murray and Crouch ���isn't "authentic. One finishes this book with the sense that jazz would hold its own if only critics would let the musicians play in peace.

A disturbing and provocative examination of the author's conviction that jazz is dying explains how the musical form has lost its edge through the corruption of mass marketing, mainstream appropriation, and the lack of artistry displayed by today's musicians.
Reviews about Blue: The Murder of Jazz (7):
Mallador
Though repetitive towards its conclusion, this is one man's passionate exploration of an opinion; to expect a technical analysis of music or a thorough presentation of the history of jazz is to miss the point of the narrative. Nisenson was accused of not addressing the music he discusses specifically, but in all fairness, he does so on general terms with the clear aim of appealing to both musicians and general listeners. What emerges from his observations is not so much an adequate thesis on the so-called "death of jazz," but rather an attack on pretense, namely that of the neoclassicists who have deemed themselves the torch-bearers of the "jazz tradition." In this respect, Nisenson is correct in his assessment of those who judge the parameters of jazz too narrowly and impose their views as objective historical assessments of the genre. However, stressing "innovation" is in itself a limitation; I share Nisenson's view that jazz throughout its history and via its most notable artists has exhibited a profound vitality that can only come from searching for new directions and nurturing personal styles--but "innovation" is only one factor that may shape an art form. One of the reasons people still enjoy the jazz eras that produced Miles Davis, Coltrane, etc. is because these artists were in an ideal environment to create and shape their visions. We live in an age where music, unfortunately, is no longer about just music. Consider the media baggage: videos, promotions, images, websites, endless recordings in a variety of formats, hybrid genres, gimmicky categories--it's a whirlwind of clutter. Add this to the fact that everything is studied by marketing, advertising, and focus groups, and it becomes impossible to wade through it all; one may lack time, interest, or both. What is actually "new" anyway? Don't we get into philosophical problems here? Coltrane was new to me the first time I heard him; I wasn't alive when he was playing. Then you have bands that "innovate" just to show people that they can; I've heard unclassifiable music (which can be a great thing) that comes across as a chopfest, with musicians trying to stick everything they know into a piece. Though awed on occasions--and certainly respectful and open-minded, I can't say I would want to listen to it repeatedly. Finally, all of these so-called "jazz wars" come down to the ear of the beholder, so to speak. Each listener has unique expectations; for some, all music must be meaningful, profound, and innovative; for others, it doesn't even matter. Nisenson has a point when he emphasizes that no one should have the audacity to declare himself an authority in what is or isn't the "jazz tradition" and who can or can't play it. Marsalis has said that "innovation isn't necessarily art," and I agree with that as well. All in all, there's nothing wrong with personal preferences as long as you withhold judgment. We look at our past and declare certain artists as shapers of the genre's direction (i.e. Miles Davis)--but at the time, I believe they were just being themselves, and we, with the benefit of hindsight, construct these neat histories to make sense of it all. This book poses good questions to think about, so most jazz fans should find this an entertaining read.
Bluecliff
so... i'm a jazz musician who works in progressive forward thinking music as a sideman. my own music is far more rooted in the fundamentally regressive sphere that Nisenson rails against as the central thesis of his work. my views are i think (i hope?) informed by a working knowledge of the tradition and by the spirit of inquisitiveness and joy that should mark new music.
i am overwhelmed at the clarity of Nisenson's arguments. he writes passionately. he also, in my opinion, writes from a place of real concern- that the view of jazz as a progressive idiom that must promote forward movement is debatable, that real issues arise out of the promotion of particular views as amiable to all jazz musicians is less so. for me the issue is less Nisenson's work than a documentary that was released soon after Blue: The Murder Of Jazz's publication. do i need to name it?
if Nisenson is right, then the deletion of late 60s free and 70s fusion movements (from that unnamed doco!) as a result of the filmmaker's advisers takes on a whiff of duplicity. who can define jazz? what is this music? if nothing else, perhaps Nisenson has shown us the censoring spirit of codification, of making the music of 'the academy'. the idea of jazz is perhaps best seen as the collaboration of untold thousands and the special few who shape our understandings of jazz today and in the future. in that sense i admire his work for his inclusiveness.
there are numerous shortcomings in this book- i wrote earlier of his inclusiveness but is there no-one he excludes? it is, however, in my opinion a must-read for the very debate it seeks to open about this music's importance and the riches it can still offer musicians and fans alike.
Zuser
There are some judgements in this book that I agree with. Stanley Crouch is indeed an arrogant,aggressive blowhard. Albert Murray is a barely-veiled Crow Jimmer. Much of Wynton Marsalis' playing is dull, and some of his larger-scale works just don't come off at all.

Yet the book is rather silly. I use the word "book" out of courtesy and for lack of a better one; this is a collection of columns or articles rather than a real book. What we have here is a long magazine article stretched out to book length by endless repetition of the same arguments, evidence, even the same anecdotes and turns of phrase. A good editor could, by eliminating the sloppy, overblown writing and the numbing repetitions, easily have cut this book by scores of pages without doing any violence to the author's argument.

That argument has some very serious problems. It rests on the following assumptions, never argued for but simply asserted. 1) History--not just jazz history but all history--is divided into discrete "times", epochs, or periods; 2) each of these eras has one and only one spirit or way of thinking which is unique to it; 3) artists, and jazz musicians in particular, must "reflect" or "express" that spirit if they are to make vital, living, valid art, art that "is based on the lives they are living in the here and now". This pop-Hegelianism sometimes takes downright laughable forms--Charlie Parker's music speaks to us about the era of World War II, the Holocaust, the atomic bomb, etc.,etc. But the way in which an abstract, non-representational art such as music relates to the larger world of opinions, emotions,events, and attitudes of its time and place is far more complex and controversial than Nisenson seems to realize. Why, for example, doesn't Charlie Parker's music arise out of his listening to the playing of Lester Young, Chu Berry, and Don Byas? It's much clearer, and more consistent with the testimony of the musicians themselves,that jazz musicians play what comes into their heads as a result of listening to other jazz musicians past and present, than that they are expressing or reflecting some "spirit of the time".

It's abundantly clear what Nisenson doesn't like: Wynton Marsalis,Joshua Redman, Lincoln Center jazz, Crouch, Murray. It's absurd and offensive, however, to speak of these men as "murdering" jazz, i.e., committing on the art form an act of deliberate criminal violence. But more importantly, despite his calls for "innovation" and "creativity", it's not at all clear what jazz the author does like after Coltrane,Coleman, Miles Davis,Cecil Taylor, and fusion. Has nobody done anything good in jazz since then? If yes, then jazz lives. If not, then, as another reviewer says,jazz has problems far deeper than the evil machinations of a handful of stiflers and mummifiers. I'd make the following (not at all original) suggestion. It took jazz about sixty years (1920-1980,more or less) to avail itself of all the resources developed in the Western musical tradition over five centuries--polyphony, harmony/tonality, tonal ambiguity, polytonality, atonality, etc. It has tried to assimilate/utilize various sorts of folk music, Western and non-Western, so far without much success (except for the blues, of course). It might be that jazz is now an improvised music which is at the same resourceless, audienceless dead end as contemporary composed music--"resourceless" in the sense of having nothing available to serve as the basis of some new development comparable in magnitude to, say, bebop. Some presently unforseen and unforseeable person or factor may arise that will change this situation, but we can be pretty certain that strident demands for innovation, creativity, and "music that reflects the actual lives we live in the here and now" won't do so. And, given that situation, it's not clear that the "repertory" (what Nisenson calls the "revivalist" or "neo-classical") response is in principle invalid, let alone murderous. As far back as the 1940s, James P. Johnson, for one, spoke of a jazz future in which all jazz musicians would be able to play,and would play, in the styles of more than one period of jazz, just as classical musicians may play Bach one night, Bartok the next.

In the end, I'm not sure just how interested in jazz as music Nisenson is; as another reviewer notes, there's no discussion of even one specific piece of music in the entire book. Nisenson seems interested not so much in jazz as an art form, but in jazz as an "expression" or "reflection" of other things; in some vague way the music speaks to him of personal growth,self-transformation, creativity,freedom, democracy, equality, giving voice to the spirit of the times, and so forth. But whether jazz does this, ever did it, or will do it in the future, is quite beyond the ability of any polemic to influence in the slightest, particularly one as poorly argued and poorly written as "Blue".

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