#1
I'm not sure if any previous threads have been made about this, and it's something I've looked into that rubs me the wrong way.

There was generally some controversity in "the jazz community" around the time that Miles Davis went electric and played a big role in the formation of fusion, conflict over what is or isn't jazz. Later on, there was a lot of controversy around Wynton Marsalis and critic Stanley Crouch, who could be construed as neo-classicist or traditionalist in their outlook, to the point of dismissing fusion, free jazz, and most of what happened in the 70's. According to this view, jazz generally has to swing and be blues-based in some way, is pretty exclusively an african-american art form, and Miles Davis "sold out" at the end of the 60's.

I'm wondering what the jazz-heads here make of this. I realize that I might be pushing a bad button by bringing this up, but I'm interested in the topic as someone who appriciates everything from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Mahavishnu Orchestra and Return To Forever, but got into jazz mainly through fusion first. I personally can't help but find the Marsalis line to be absurdly restrictive and biased. It bothers me to see jazz canonized and for about 4 decades of good music to be purged from "jazz". Am I to be forever barred from being a "jazz musician" for playing an electric guitar that sometimes uses overdrive, and incorporating elements of rock and funk?
#2
my take...fusion-evolved slowly..not overnight..it was digested and emulated and influenced..it is present in many of todays compositions..as is "hip hop"

as bop was a major departure from mainstream jazz...and the 60's brought a major change in rock and pop music in general...and now heard as "elevator muzak"..it will be absorbed into the mainstream culture..

the pure art of jazz (which includes the intense study and practice of the form) will continue through all changes and "alterations" of the form due to technological innovations and pure creative explorations..

not to worry...a "fuzz box" wont hurt jazz a bit...
#3
I appriciate your input.

I suppose what I'm struggling with is how fusion is percieved in relation to "jazz". The Marsalis, traditionalist line would have us believe that it's just not jazz anymore. But it seems to me that, in a fundamental sense, jazz always was a kind of fusion - incorporating the popular music of the day and drawing influence from classical, latin, blues, marching music, and other things. What came to be known as "fusion" simply added rock and funk to the mix of influence, and emerged during a time when electrification was happening.

Or we could take the approach of simply saying that the classifications of genre inherently break down with the cross-polination of culture, so that all music, especially modern music, is a fusion in one way or another. It seems to me that the Marsalis family are trying to cling to the purity of a tradition that never was pure in the first place, against the tide of inevitable change and absorption into mass-culture. I think that most of "the jazz community" knows better.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Aug 31, 2011,
#4
It seems to me that the Marsalis family are trying to cling to the purity of a tradition that never was pure in the first place, against the tide of inevitable change and absorption into mass-culture. I think that most of "the jazz community" knows better[/I

wynton marsalis has a sat radio show...he reviews miles..hancock and other contemporary players..he seems to like the players exploration with fusion..

for me the musicians i play with..fusion is just another flavor/color to add to the toolbox..its is not a stand alone mode of playing..as "pure" jazz is the motivating force in its improvisation aspects..thus the attraction of such high caliber players to the form..miles, hancock et al, eventhough they are often credited with the creation of the form..

i'm sure if your jazz foundation has the traditional standards and tribute clichés to the masters..the "jazz community" (whatever that is these days) will invite you to sit in & take a solo

play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at Aug 31, 2011,