Friday, April 07, 2006

Will you Please be Quiet, Please!

In my humble opinion, Kenny Drew has never made a good album. Not truly good, anyway. Of course that doesn't exclude him from the right to have an opinion. After all, I've yet to make my mark musically (or in any other way, to be honest), yet here I am spewing my guts left and right for your (dis-) pleasure. But his recent column for All About Jazz, titled "What the F**k Happened to Black Popular Music?", just plain smacks of jealousy and ignorance, and his arguments are not far from what Classical musicians said of Jazz in its early days. Arguments that were bollocks then, and are bollocks now. Learn your history, mate!

In the article, he attacks current Afro-Am. Pop music, meaning Rap, for the "the stupidity and negativity in the lyrics and the video images that accompany this so-called 'music'". Well honestly, dumb lyrics have existed for a long long time, and I'm not sure Earth, Wind & Fire is the best example of the contrary. Secondly, the style of rap you attack has existed since the 80's, and if your taste in music was really that varied you'd have known that your arguments fall some ten years short of being relevant. Also, not all rap is gangsta rap.

Now I want to argue that although I for various reasons have problems with much of what is labeled "gangsta" myself, is the imagery and style really all that different from movies such as Scarface and The Godfather, both of which are considered classics? I think people have to start to realize that music can be, and often is, fiction too.

Another argument Mr. Drew drops, is that rap can not be called music at all, 'cause when he started playing he learned that music should consist of such-n-such. I myself am sick and tired of hearing arguments about what music should be. I'm not saying he's not entitled to say this and that is bad music, but to say it's not music for the reasons he lists, is close to saying that unless you have a plate of fruit in a painting, its not art. Grow up!

The last thing he argues, is the lack of instrumental skill of today's pop musicians. It's a common argument from older musicians, and it's been around for as long as potatoes. My view is that as long as a musician is able to use their instrument sufficiently in order to get a given song to work, they've done their job. Sometimes they don't have enough of what it takes, sometimes they do. Skill as such does not equal a good musician to me. Yngwie Malmsten has got skills in buckets, but he's a terrible musician.

Stop being a jealous old twat, Drew. Unless you have some valid arguments the next time, I suggest you play your music instead. It's much more admirable than the sobbing you've produced here.

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