Archive for March, 2011

Jazz Before And After

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

I FINALLY REALIZED how I could demonstrate the difference between the kind jazz (and orchestral music) I usually prefer and the other kinds. I chose a random photo I had taken and modified it.

Here is the original photo.

crw_0051

Here is the modified photo.

crw_0051-on-bebop

They are identical except for one thing: The color balance. The original photo shows the colors as we see them in nature. The modified photo exaggerates certain colors in the orginal photo much as a musician might modify the chords of a tune to stress extended harmonies.

I like both photos but prefer the original because it is what I saw when I was at the waterfall. The second photo conveys an impression of the scene some might consider more interesting. Even though I like it, I perceive the second photo’s exaggerated coloration as sophomoric: It is as though a photographer learned some new tricks and insists on showing them off.

If the photos were jazz, a vast majority of musicians and listeners might think the modified photo’s “artistry”, and the education necessary to create it, would set it far above the original photo. They might dismiss the original photo as uninteresting, lacking in creativity, and even primitive.

So “natural” becomes primitive while “unnatural” and surreal become “art”.

Taste, or lack of it, is very subjective and personal. One man’s treasure might be another’s garbage. But the inability to appreciate substance over form demonstrates intolerance and even stupidity. Good music is good music regardless of style. And a child remains a child no matter how elegantly you dress him.

The point of my visual analogy, then, is to encourage the cliquish, political, exclusive, snobbish, and pretentious among us to recognize and appreciate substance regardless of its form. But, of course, that is impossible because nobody can be all those things and also open minded.

We can stop the entropy affecting culture by taking a stand. Folks, it’s time to get jazz back on track. Don’t just sit there; do something.