Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Punk Jazz

James Chance: a case in point

Been reading a good few post-EMP thoughts (try this or this), 'though not as much as I had wanted since I've had to focus on other things lately. Didn't get to do a run through of what I thought looked like the most interresting panels and abstracts either, but there you go.

Noticed one Rob Wallace was due to present a paper on the similarities between jazz and punk, pointing out how among other things both jazz and punk have been admired for their "political and revolutionary potential", which is something I've thought about a lot myself (Mr. Wallace has played both jazz and punk himself, it seems).

That there are commonalities between punk and jazz has been suggested previously by Robert Christgau and Matthew Shipp, as well as yours truly. Of course, this notion may depend on how you look at it. I remember an article a few years back (no link yet, try Google) by someone trying to do a comparison between heavy metal and jazz, pointing to how some fans of both genres often seemed to pay particular attention to virtuosic playing. On the other hand, many of the jazz artists I admire the most, while being excellent musicians, did not necessarily place viruosity in the front seat: e.g. Ornette Coleman (melody), Charles Mingus (drive, power, attitude), and Thelonious Monk (angularity, "off"-notes, gaps and pauses), all three of whom are very punk to my mind. Just saying.

Btw, if anybody caught the paper on Ornette Coleman and black masculinity by Pete Williams, drop me a line

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