Monday, July 19, 2010

Xgau's Consumer Guide & Molde Jazz '10

The more observant of you may have noticed that I've put up a section on the right hand bar of this blog called "Subject to Change". The idea was (and is ) to post links to things that I find worth reading, but don't feel the need (or the time) to comment on myself.

At the top of that section as of now, is a link to Tom Hull's comments regarding the demise of Robert Christgau's Consumer Guide, which I do feel the need to say something about myself.

The influence of Christgau's CG can be felt on several planes. His great writing - joyful celebrations of the art form as well as acerbic put downs and the in-betweens - has inspired me and others to try to reach for a higher level of how to write and think about music, especially in how to convey those thoughts to others. And Christgau could unfold the essence of a record using fewer, but more telling, words than most. His immense appetite for music has meant that he has discovered more gems than most other critics, which has certainly also meant sifting through hours of crap. With the CG, he had an opportunity to cover more of that music in writing per month than any other critic.

Much of the above has been said by many commentators allready. But what has perhaps been his biggest influence on me has only been mentioned in passing or by extention by others.

Christgau crystalized the idea that music communicates - implicitly and/or explicitly - attitudes, values, ideas and emotions, and the question becomes not only what those qualities are, and if or how they resonate, but also how they are communicated. No one "genre" has the monopoly on the attitudes and ideas I find valuable (even if, at first glance, some may seem better equipped to convay them more than others, or certain "genres" seem to have more of one attitude or value than the next). That is the reason I more often than not have tended to agree with Christgau's accessments: because our world views are similar. Sure there have been disagreements, as there should be if you're an autonomous being, but these disagreements have just as often as not tended to regard how well or not I've thought the above mentioned qualities have been communicated more than what was valuable in the first place.


On a different note, Molde Jazz 2010 kicks off today, and for the first time since setting up this blog I won't be in attendance. This is partly because of practical reasons, but also that barring Sonny Rollins and the Brötzmann/Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love project Hairy Bones, there really wasn't much that tickled my fancy. Instead, I hope to bring extended coverage of Oslo Jazz Festival in August, which has a great line up this year with Ornette Coleman, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Charles Gayle and Archie Shepp among the highlights.

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