This question has an interesting answer. In a recent episode of his podcast with Kevin Liles, Ira Glass has a conversation with John Coltrane, the legendary jazz musician and poet. On a particular subject, Coltrane’s take on the role of the artist in a society: “The more successful there is the more likely people will become bored, because if you’re really successful, if you’re one of the super-successful people, your job becomes a burden – and you have to make your job your life so that your life is more important. You have to make it your life and everything else is secondary.”
He concludes: “A lot of the jazz bands in San Francisco, because they didn’t have that money that we have, that’s why they played at the club. It was fun for us to go to the club. The big players didn’t want to come and play there because their income was so much higher. This is how it is with a lot of artists in a lot of genres in our music. It always goes the other way round.”
The idea of free-style jazz can be seen both as a liberating force for both solo and group improvisers – and an anti-authoritarian act, challenging music’s status quo (which has, as of the latest album “I Am One”, been “in the hands of white men”) – or as a counter-cultural movement. With its focus on a free-form approach to improvisation, Free Swing was the early progenitor of the scene.
What do you see going forward?
In his 2013 interview with the British music magazine Mojo, Dave Brubeck stated that his next step was “to release a jazz album. The thing about jazz is you just never know when you’re gonna get called on. And it was a little bit like this; you know, you’re playing so many gigs, and you want to keep playing the same thing forever, you know? So I did that, and that was the end of it. It’s like, well that’s fine, it’s just a great time. But, oh, I’ll take another crack.”
In 2012, his guitarist and co-founder John Scofield stated that, in an ideal world, the band intended to release a jazz album in 2013.
As for today, I do think we are moving more into a more free-form environment. You see bands playing at their best – and most experimental – when
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