Destroying Jazz?


Esperanza Spalding

Today, I was on my daily blog scroll and came across this article that Mark Anthony Neal put on his blog, New Black Man. The article is from the music magazine, Wax Poetics and reflects on the genre of Jazz Fusion from Miles Davis to Esperanza Spalding:

“Yet, from fusion’s early days as a noisy musical contender, many narrow-minded jazz aficionados and critics were unable to appreciate the sonic change when acoustic became suddenly antiquated. Appalled by upstarts infiltrating their music with electric guitars, Moogs, wild percussion instruments, tape loops, and synthesizers, purists referred to the new musical movement as anti-jazz. In Considering Genius (2006), jazz traditionalist and essayist Stanley Crouch stated that fusion was “the aesthetic death valley” of jazz.

Yet, while the genre became quite popular, not many women instrumentalists ventured into fusion. With the exception of Alice Coltrane, Bobbi Humphrey, Joni Mitchell, Patrice Rushen, Meshell Ndegeocello, and a few others, fusion has long remained a male-dominated field.

‘Jazz has always been a melting pot of influences and that fusion is what I want to capture in my own music,” says bassist, vocalist, and composer Esperanza Spalding, who won the Best New Artist Grammy earlier this year.'”

Check out the rest of the article and the rest of Wax Poetics; it’s a great magazine!

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