Talk:Jazz/Archive 1

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Deleted the explanation of Bird's nickname. It's just that everyone has a different story about that, and none of them can be proven.

Entry said " it was partly created by formally-trained musicians like Sidney Bechet". The point is valid, but siting Bechet as an example is not; he was an ear player who never learned to read music. I substituted the name of Lorenzo Tio, who was important but not famous. Alas I can't think of anyone very famous in the formative days of jazz who was so formally trained. But many early hot bands often included formally trained musicians-- Professor Manuel Manetta with Bolden, Honore Dutrey with Oliver, Dave Perkins with Bolden and Laine, etc; even Eddie Edwards of the ODJB (trained as a violinist before switching to trombone). -- Infrogmation

  • Note: this category could contain many other musicians, such as John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Roland Kirk, etc.

I took this out of the Multi-instrumentalists list. Why are these guys different from other multi-instrumentalists? Sidney Bechet is listed both under multi-instrumentalists and clarinetists. Couldn't we just do the same for the others? -- Merphant

I don't want to start a flamewar, but I think it's worth suggesting: If we're going to start listing jazz genres (cool, modal, free, etc.), then I think we should include some reference to smooth jazz. I know the usual arguments; but this is an encyclopedia, after all, and the fact that those arguments are "usual" merits their mention, here. My two cents... Cribcage 06:26, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Absolutely... every genre of jazz deserves to be mentioned here, even the dozens of African "jazz" styles with no stylistic or historical connection to the American genre. Go ahead and do what you want. I'm sure someone will let you know if it isn't any good. Tuf-Kat 06:31, Apr 6, 2004 (UTC)
I'm sorry. I should have been more clear about what I was suggesting. Personally, I'm not qualified to provide write anything informative about smooth jazz. It doesn't interest me, and I don't know anything about it (aside from its commercial popularity). Moreover, I'm a relative novice at wiki-editing, and I wouldn't know how to begin editing those neat little tables. I had just noticed the creation of those genre tables (someone posted one at bebop, today) and I found the absence of smooth jazz to be conspicuous. I just wanted to toss out the suggestion, for what it's worth, in hope that someone more qualified might fill the gap. Cribcage 06:39, 6 Apr 2004 (UTC)

I'll probably catch a lot of flack for this, but as an African-American, it galls me when people try to act like black folks aren't the originators of jazz. I've edited this article extensively to reflect that fact. Further, it is a huge mistake to assume that African-American bands that were seminal to the early development of jazz were "marching bands" in the traditional sense. To take these groups out of their AFRICAN American cultural context and out of their mournful, then celebratory (in sending someone "home to Glory") funerary context is to whitewash the truth. James Reese Europe is a perfect example of the kind of composer/musician who changed European/neo-European marching music and contributed mightily to the jazz tradition in the process. His forebears a generation before (as well as his contemporaries) were among the first to jump the blues and swing it to jazz. If you're not familiar with his music, perhaps you should be.

So, moved: "Early jazz also frequently used the structure and beat of marches, which were the standard form of popular concert music at the turn of century."

Further, I changed the definition of jazz, which was rather, I thought, inept/inadequate in that it really didn't explain anything about it other than the repeated and quite misleading, I felt, overemphasis on the influence of European band music on jazz, and the fact that art form is related to the blues.

In light of all this, the fact that this is a "featured article" gives me great pause.... deeceevoice 09:38, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I make no pretentions about being an authority on the subject, so I'd appreciate someone explaining to me the following excerpt from the article.

An important event in the development of jazz was the tightening of the Jim Crow (racial segregation) laws in Louisiana in the 1890s. Accomplished musicians of mixed race were no longer allowed to work with whites, but were easily able to find work in black bands and orchestras, to which they applied conservatory standards.

Would someone please decode this comment for me?

I've also noticed that this article is reproduced in another venue, a "world dictionary" or something or other. Just as this article has been edited to correct what I believe is misleading commentary, I believe that, too, should be changed. Peace. deeceevoice 09:49, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Attempted "decode": I think that comment had something to do with that in New Orleans, anyway, much of the Jim Crow laws either weren't yet on the books or were simply widely ignored until the late 1890s/early 1900s. There were openly integrated brass bands, dance bands, and orchestras in the city in the late 19th century. With the start of the 20th century, the segregationists did their best to stop that, and there were cases of colored musicians who had formerly played in the Opera or symphony orchestras winding up playing in all black bands with musicians who had grown up as field hands and were self-taught on their instruments, who played more hot or bluesy music. Presumably both categories of musicians had something to teach the other. -- Infrogmation 18:03, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I got all that. My comment about "decoding " referred specifically to the comment about how these "mixed-race" musicians "applied conservatory standards" to jazz. To my way of thinking, the matter at hand was how the knowledge of formally trained, black musicians -- regardless of their ethnic mix -- contributed to the development of the music. "Conservatory standards" was ambiguous and could have originated or have been construed in an ethnocentric/racist sense. So, I changed it.deeceevoice 08:07, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

And, yes, I added the Wynton Marsallis quote -- but I did so without logging back in, and somehow the entry has been attributed to someone else. (How does that happen?)deeceevoice 10:22, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Well, I wrote (much/most) of the original, and I prefer your version. I was not, at any point, trying to suggest "black folks aren't the originators of jazz." Early jazz was definitely as deeply rooted in the blues as you say, *but* many of the harmonies in modern jazz, comes from the European school. Miles Davis trained at Juillard, studied Stravinsky at home and recorded works by Rodrigo, Gershwin, Delibes and a bunch of other white guys. "Blue In Green", for instance, is clearly an exercise classical modal harmonic movement..." GWO

Greetings, Gareth :-). No question that there are jazz legends who have been classically trained and that jazz is an amalgam of musical styles. But in defining it, I thought it useful to go back to the basic elements of the form. And let's not forget that Gershwin's music was heavily influenced by African-American music, to begin with. I haven't read the entire article, but it seemed to me the importance of African-American musical genius in the inception, development and innovation of jazz had gotten lost -- or certainly heavily diluted.

I'm still interested in a further elucidation of the above-referenced quote about how the tightening of segregation laws and the segregation of "mixed" black folks was so critically important to the development of jazz. I don't at all like the snooty sound of it -- but I haven't got my back up, ready to pounce. I'm interested in this line of thought and would like it further explained. Did you write it? If so, what's your thinking? And what do you mean by "conservatory standards"? (By the way, my congratulations on tackling such a complex subject. Don't think I would've had the patience. There's a stub on "cool" that desperately needs help, in case you're interested. I simply haven't had the time.) deeceevoice 16:13, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Sorry, but I had to move this, it bugged me so. So, until I read something that gives this some weight, moved:

"An important event in the development of jazz was the tightening of the Jim Crow (racial segregation) laws in Louisiana in the 1890s. Accomplished musicians of mixed race were no longer allowed to work with whites, but were easily able to find work in black bands and orchestras, to which they applied conservatory standards."

I'm from Louisiana. And, hell, what black person from there (or anywhere else in this nation, for that matter) ISN'T of "mixed race"? Black folks are black folks. This comment makes it seem otherwise. The one-drop rule meant if you were "mixed," you were black. You were raised black, grew up black; you were black -- and were ALWAYS accepted as such. Unless you tried to pass -- and then that's a whole 'nother thing altogether. And the contention that these "mixed race" folks somehow made a seminal contribution to jazz by applying "conservatory standards"? If this is, indeed, from another "source," it HAD to have been someone who wasn't black, 'cause it sounds ... uh ... "wrong-headed." But, hey, if someone has an explanation, I'm willing to read/listen. Peace.deeceevoice 09:50, 9 Jul 2004 (UTC)

HELP! My links are screwy. When I go into "edit" and cut and paste the links to my web browser, they're fine. But if accessed through the article, they don't work. What'd I do wrong? :-( deeceevoice 08:54, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

It may not seem like it, but I'm trying to see others' viewpoints in this. I even edited the passage below to make it flow a little better after changing other elements in the same paragraph. But it kept bothering me. So, moved:

" That Joplin later supported himself as an intinerant musician, playing ragtime piano in a brothel while writing an opera, is an indication of the disparate and dynamic musical influences at work in the period."

I have to disagree with the fact that Joplin wrote an opera is an example of "disparate" musical influences. The thing that nagged at me is this leads the reader to believe Joplin's opera was in the style of classical opera -- which it, indeed, was not. Joplin's "Treemonisha" was strictly ragtime. A ragtime opera from a ragtime pianist is not "disparate." The music itself was not different; just the theatrical backdrop. Peace. deeceevoice 14:49, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Have you heard it? Treemonisha only uses ragtime in some sections; other sections are more conventionally European style opera. Joplin was the king of classic ragtime compostion, but was never just ragtime, occasionally writing a waltz or tunes in the pop style of the day. Anyway, IMO it's a bit peripheral to jazz. We could use a decent article on Tremonisha. -- Infrogmation 18:03, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yep, but only portions of it -- which is, perhaps, why I may remember it as ragtime. Presumably, the reason the portions I heard were ragtime is because, in later years, it was presumed these were the strongest pieces, composition-wise. Don't know.

Also moved is the "European band music" under "stylistic influences." I deliberated over this change, too. Didn't like it from the beginning -- but not because I want to strip jazz of any contributions made by non black folks. The fact of the matter is the African/African-American DNA of ragtime was inserted into the dead bones of European band music -- the instruments, really -- and it came to life as another being. After listening to some of the early black band music, what I hear is straight-up ragtime. It sounds nothing like a traditional "march" at all. They may have started with a European melody and European instruments but what black musicians extracted from them was not European music. Also, keep in mind that drums, side-blown horns, flutes are instruments indigenous to areas of Africa heavily depopulated by the trans-Atlantic slave trade. And if you read Sterling Stuckey's "Slave Culture," it becomes readily apparent that hundreds, if not thousands, of accomplished guitarists and fiddlers made that trip across the Atlantic, too.

Permit me an analogy: if you come into a Victorian home, strip it of all the gingerbread, peel away the darkness and open it up into a Frank Lloyd Wright-style structure with grand vistas, do you say its sylistical influence was Victorian? Nope. It's not where you start, but where you end up that's the deal here.

If someone else has another train of thought, I'm listening/watching. Peace. deeceevoice 15:20, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Hm, some valid points, but I think it would be inaccurate to be totally dismissive of the influence. In the early 20th century, brass band music was far from "dead bones", it was a vibrant popular music of the era. Jazz seems to me to have always been an inclusive music, freely taking influences from whatever good is around. -- Infrogmation 18:03, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yeah, I know. "dead bones" was just my reaction to traditional band music --which leaves me cold. See my later comments. I'm cool with the language now that the article has been fleshed out better.deeceevoice 08:00, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The band thing needed a little more, so I added it. Unless there're any objections, since I've already mentioned him here, I'll go on to include James Reese Europe in the "Early 20th Century" section -- when I have a little more time. Peace.deeceevoice 16:45, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

The north-eastern hot style of Jim Europe, Eubie Blake, Tim Brymn, etc is certainly an area were we need more. -- Infrogmation 18:03, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Cool. Let's put our heads together and see what we can come up with. I know I keep promising to do Europe, Gershwin and Blake; but I'm still really busy. Don't know when I can get 'round to it. deeceevoice 08:00, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I replaced a good deal of the text that Deeceevoice cut while claiming to have "moved" it. (I believe "remove" was meant). I have rephrased some but the essential idea that jazz is a fusion style needs to be stated. I returned the European marching band because all the sources I looked at included it. We need to report the standard thinking on the matter and that appears to be that marching bands were an influence. I returned the Jim Crow section although I didn't research it and am not sure why it should have been limited to Louisiana. Rmhermen 18:16, Jul 10, 2004 (UTC)

In the context of what I've added, I don't have a problem with the restoration of much of the text. It doesn't seem as unbalanced now, and it's actually a GOOD thing. I used the term "moved," because it is what I had seen used by more experienced wikipedians in similar contexts. (My bad. I'm still learning.) And thanks for the additional info regarding the nationality of Joplin's music instructor. It wasn't in the sources I consulted, but I wondered about it. I would, however, still like to read some authoritative source on the line referring to "conservatory standards" and how that was a seminal contribution worthy of mention in the development of the art form. I'll give it a week or so and see what develops. If there's no substantiation of this contention, then out it goes. Again. And WAS this phenomenon limited only to Louisiana?

Also, Rmhermen, what advice can you offer on links? Mine need help! deeceevoice 21:58, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Rmhermen, just read your rewrite of the conservatory business. And it's fine, I think. I'd say "perfect," actually, but I'm still uncertain about what "conservatory standards" means. I'm still waiting for someone to decode that phrase for me. You restored the line. Do you know? I thought earlier to add something about how the ability of musicians to write music (if that's what is meant, why not just SAY it?) contributed to the preservation and spread of the music, as well as did radio and Pullman porters helped deliver jazz to millions of listers. But I've got other work to do and decided to lay back and see how my initial efforts were received. (I'm new, but I've been on Wikipedia long enough to read of "editing wars" and such -- which seem contrary to the spirit of this enterprise.)

Again, any editing assistance you or others can offer w/regard to the, I think, valuable links I've added would be greatly appreciated. Peace.deeceevoice 22:28, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Had to return for the very minor adjustment on that wonderful "conservatory standards" thing. I wasn't gonna touch it, but there's no reason it can't be "pretty" while under discussion.deeceevoice 23:39, 10 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Removed: "Musicians have been improvising since at least the time of Bach (who was a very accomplished improviser), BUT IMPROVISATION IN A GROUP SETTING WAS RARE BEFORE JAZZ [emphasis added]."

This is true in a European/neo-European context, but not so in the context of African music, certainly not African-American music -- or even in folk musical expression, generally. And why the allusion to Bach at all? Under discussion here is a fundamental characteristic of this African-American musical form. Such commentary about Bach could be useful in a general discussion of the phenomenon of improvisation, but not here; it is superfluous. And the "rarity" of improvisation before jazz is simply factually incorrect.deeceevoice 08:23, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

A Little Help?

I'm still hoping for someone to edit the links I provided. I suppose it's a simple enough thing -- if you know what you're doing. And I obviously don't. Something's not working.

Also, I notice there's nothing in the body of the main article about jazz vocalists. It'd be nice to see something on that -- if anyone's interested. Will get around to adding the stuff about James Reese Europe, radio and Pullman porters when I have more time. Peace. deeceevoice 07:19, 14 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks to Infrogmation for finally fixing the links I added to the article. I've been asking, begging for someone, anyone to do it since July 10. deeceevoice 23:01, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Additional Text

As promised, I added info in Pullman porters -- and radio. Still haven't done James Reese Europe's influence on marching band music, but I'll get to it. I'm still hoping for someone genuinely concerned about the quality of the article to fix my ailing links. deeceevoice 04:35, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

A further note to myself: James Reese Europe, W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues (etc.)," Europe's profound impact on Gershwin, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." Perhaps, a nod to Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle (Europe connection) in connection with ragtime/early jazz. deeceevoice 09:53, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC) ---


I'm reading this thing, and once again I'm tripped up by "conservatory standards to black music." I'm still waiting for someone -- anyone -- to clarify/decode that phrase. If no one volunteers anything in the next week, it's gone. I will substitute something about "formally trained" musicians and their ability to read and write music. As it reads now, it could seem that conservatory standards -- whatever they are -- are somehow inherently higher (or better) than the standards of black musicians (formally trained, or otherwise), and that smells suspiciously of racism. And that is the same objection I had with the earlier comment about "mixed-race" musicians. We must keep in mind here that just because someone wrote it in some source doesn't necessarily make it valid. Individuals with racial bias can pick up a pen just as easily as someone who doesn't. That's why I've been pressing for clarification of the phrase. If no one volunteers anything, I'll simply rewrite it to say what I think its intent MAY, or should, have been -- just so there's no racism implied or inferred. deeceevoice 11:21, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Absent explanation, as promised, "Conservatory standards" is outta here! :-p deeceevoice 05:29, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Gershwin and Handy, and Fleshing out the '40s and '50s (and possibly The Jazz Age)

It seems the section on the early 20th century needs more fleshing out. As earlier noted, I intend to add commentary on Handy and Gershwin here (the reference to the "jazzy writing" of Irving Berlin without mention of these two important figures seems a bit weak). Note to self: Don't forget to mention James Reese Europe's considerable influence on Gershwin.

The Jazz Age needs some treatment -- but probably not here. There's no article on it -- just a redirect to "Jazz." Anyone want to tackle the era of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Al Capone, et al., in a separate article?

About the '40s and '50s -- there was so much going on, esp. in Greenwich Village, with the bohemian set, in Harlem and elsewhere during this period, so much innovation, that it seems to me the period deserves more than the fairly superficial treatment afforded the times here. It seems to me at least as important as the Jazz Age in terms of the development of the music and its influence on American popular culture.

And the links I provided still need help. Hey, am I talkin' to myself? Has everyone but me lost interest in this "featured article"? deeceevoice 11:39, 27 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Armstrong wasn't even born until 1900. A research of his discography reveals his earliest known recordings were in 1923. I'm moving the last two paragraphs under the previous subheading to the 1920's-'50s section.deeceevoice 11:23, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Was doing a simple, minor edit. I even previewed it. And damned if I have any idea what happened. (If anyone has a clue what I might have done, please let me know -- so I don't do it again.) I believe everything is back to where it should be -- except for the elimination of the sidebar at the top of the page [I have no idea how to format it back in. Go back to: (cur) (last) 08:15, 30 Jul 2004 Maveric149 m (removed self-ref) for that info.] and some of the formatting at the end of the page. And then there's that photo that I DO know I definitely did something wrong and managed to excise. 'S enough to make me leave this thing alone for a while -- seriously -- which, no doubt, will please some of you to no end.

I still want to get around to doing some mention of James Reese Europe. And I still think the period of the '40s and '50s needs fleshing out. And there's a big gap that doesn't treat the '60s and '70s at all, when jazz enjoyed a resurgence as part of the black nationalist movement, and the Newport Jazz festival was still going strong. (Someone should mention Newport!) Artists like Ornette Coleman, Wes Montgomery, Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Cecil McBee, Elvin Jones, Ron Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Pharaoh Sanders, and groups like Weather Report, the Cannonball Adderly Quintet, MJQ, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, et al., were hot, hot, hot. Also, please visit the links to musicians and vocalists and add people (and dates). I went there to check out the vocalists, and there were some amazingly glaring omissions: Alberta Hunter, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Cassandra Wilson, Phyllis Hyman, etc. I'm sure there are more. Think outside the box of straight-ahead jazz and add your own favorite, prominent artists.

Sincere apologies for the mess. deeceevoice

Thank you, Andros!deeceevoice

Replacing the Armstrong photo

Yeah, I accidentally deleted it, so I'm trying to rectify that. How does Wikipedia handle such stuff? I've searched an Armstrong Foundation site and figured it'll probably cost about $30 for an image. (I suppose we could resurrect the old one somehow, but it was dark and not very good.) I'm willing to foot the bill for the cost -- to make a donation to Wikipedia to cover it. Info? Ideas? Suggested images? Or, alternatively, are there any good ones in the public domain?deeceevoice

Gee, thanks, Ydorb, for that great photo! Far better than the original one, I think. deeceevoice

Latin Jazz?

And someone please do something about the Latin jazz portion! It's clearly just thrown in there for mention -- which is a good thing -- but it's the weakest part of the article. IMO, this still isn't "featured article" material yet.deeceevoice

Thanks,, for the words on Latin jazz. Perhaps you (or someone else) would like to edit your contribution to make it a bit more formal in tone, in keeping with the rest of the article? Peace. deeceevoice

Notes to self: Include drum cultures flourished in LA/African polyrhythms; drums forbidden in the U.S., Chano Pozo, Paquito d' Rivera, Mongo Santamaria, Babatunde Olatunji, Gato Barbieri, Ray Barreto, Airto Moreira, Ignacio Berroa, et al. Samba; mambo; spoken-word, call-and-response Cuban form (can't remember the name!). Film on Cuban jazz masters and on Dizz's trip to Cuba (what was it?!!)deeceevoice

No Time! My notes aren't proprietary (obviously). Anyone want to jump in?

I haven't had any time to do James Reese Europe, Gershwin, Blake and Sissle, or to focus on Latin jazz. If anyone has an interest, please, please use my notes or strike out on your own and add stuff. This article still isn't complete by any means. Peace.deeceevoice 17:54, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"I say 'tow-may-tow.' You say 'tow-mah-tow'..."

Before making grammatical "corrections," Austin, it's always best to check the dictionary. The word can be spelled either way (without the hyphen), though "straitlaced" is preferred. I was unaware of its origin, having to do with the torturous women's bodices of the 15th century. Thanks for the education. I'll leave it. Peace. deeceevoice 08:41, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'm aware that many dictionaries include the alternate spelling of this word, just as they record "supercede" and the pronunciation of "febuary." As a rule, English dictionaries are descriptive, not prescriptive; this fact does not make substandard usage—no matter how widespread—any more suitable for encyclopedic content. (Incidentally, spelling corrections are not "grammatical.") Austin Hair 01:01, Sep 1, 2004 (UTC)
My point is alternate spellings are not misspellings and, therefore, are not errors in need of "correction."deeceevoice 03:28, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Featured article

Lots of good work has been going on with this article, mostly much improving it. However it has been listed for featuring on the front page tomorrow; I have objected, as I think it needs some cleaning up first. One of my fields is early New Orleans and up through the 1920s; I will work on the article but don't have sufficent time today. There are a few unfortunate statements, like "most notably, the Storyville district of New Orleans" that need correcting. (While the 1939 book "Jazzmen" does have sections that are better than a number of works that followed, modern scholarship can do much better.) Cheers, -- Infrogmation 18:12, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I agree that, while the article is shaping up and is probably on par with (or better than) some other featured Wikipedia articles, it needs further work -- particularly the sections devoted to later permutations of jazz. I'd still like to make mention of James Reese Europe, fix that "jazzy writing" section and flesh out the later decades. But no time right now. Peace. deeceevoice 19:13, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yikes! I just reread that business about Storyville -- for which I'm responsible. An goofed edit, trying to shorten a disjointed sentence, produced something that reads that black folks migrated to a red-light district. Thanks for the lookout. I'm crunching a deadline, though, and won't get to any of this before the week is out. I hope they're not still going to feature this thing tomorrow. deeceevoice

Thanks, Frogman. It's lookin' much mo' betta. :-p

The whole, though, is still not featured article material, but much improved. You've definitely beefed up the early jazz portion of this piece. I'd still like to see (or do) some stuff on James Reese Europe, Gershwin and Eubie Blake. And the Latin jazz section definitely needs fleshing out -- as well as the decades after. "Jazz fusion" is weak, as well. The later decades could be better organized; right now it just reads like an indefinite mish-mash of stuff. deeceevoice 11:29, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Issues with this article

As a "history of jazz" article, this one's OK (it's not great, because there's too little on fusion). But for an article meant to cover the more general topic "jazz", it is not so good; there is much more to most article subjects than their chronology, this one included.

For a concrete example of how this article fails; an unknowledgeable visitor might want to know what characterizes jazz music. The lead section mentions a few terms, but only one of them (improvisation) is explained in the article. Another example: what jazz ensemble setups exist and are common? A list of links to the instruments used is not good enough. Same for the "styles" section. What about contemporary jazz culture -- festivals, etc?

For balance, I would suggest moving the history to a separate article and summarizing the history in this one.

There are probably many other things. This article just doesn't strike me as being complete. Fredrik | talk 19:50, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I agree much more needs to be added. A good part of the improvements recently have been in the history section. This is very important, but it is getting a bit long. Eventually perhaps some of it could be summarized here and most split into a seperate article. What do people think: one "History of jazz" article, or perhaps a small series of seperate ones, along the lines of "Roots of jazz" "Jazz to 1930" (or some such early year) "Jazz 1930s-19yada" etc? -- Infrogmation 20:14, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
One "History of jazz" would be just fine. Fredrik | talk 20:21, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Glad to read that others agree with me regarding the need to beef up certain sections of the article -- especially the later years and the subject dealing with "fusion." It's been my experience that a lot of black folks don't refer to it as "fusion," simply referring to the "real deal" as straight-ahead jazz and a lot of the hybrid, R&B-based jazz as "jazz extensions." (Perhaps it's a regional thing?) Anyway, as I said earlier, particularly during the late sixties and seventies, there was a resurgent interest in jazz -- as a result of the black power/African nationalist movements -- which carried through to the popular music of the day.

Thanks to person (I forget his/her tag) who contributed the photo of Pharaoh Sanders. He's among the musicians I noted who were immensely popular during this time. And, again, the earlier period, too, needs attention -- Newport, the Village, etc.

It might be useful to simply manage the article differently, rather than divide it. It would entail some extensive editing/reordering, though. We could deal with purely the dynamics/development of the music separately from its sociological and historical context. It's a suggestion that I'm not sure has merit. I, myself, tend to look at things as a gestalt. And I'm not sure such an approach would well serve such a subject as this, the fortunes of which seem to rise and fall with the times -- indeed, that is in great part an ever-evolving product of its times.

Was checking around to see how the subject has been treated elsewhere. Verve's website does an excellent -- and better -- job, I think, of defining the periods of the music (only), especially in the modern era.

I don't necessarily think the article is "too long." It's in keeping with the nature of the subject. After all, this is an encyclopedia -- right? :-p I think the subheads do a fairly good job managing the flow of the article. If readers don't want to read all of it, they simply can skip to subheads of interest.

Or not. I don't think I feel strongly about it one way or the other, but I'd just simply like to see the subject done justice. As I said earlier, it's amazing this article was considered a "featured" article even before my attention to it -- and I say that not because my stuff is so great, but because it was just too SHORT and clearly needed more information to be anywhere near complete. Infrogmation's contributions have been great, but those notwithstanding, I still think it's got a ways to go.

Peace.deeceevoice 07:51, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Still beggin'. The links I added to this article, which I think are extremely useful/interesting, STILL need help. Anyone? deeceevoice 08:09, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

--- Samba *is not jazz*, but has a totally different story, and quite different characteristics. And while Bossa Nova has been influenced by Jazz, it has also seen perhaps even more influence by Debussy on one side and Frank Sinatra (and other US singers) from the other.


I removed the below paragraph just added by an anon editor. Whatever point about "soliders" it is trying to make is unfamiliar to me; if you think it belongs in the article, could you please try to explain, thanks. -- Infrogmation 00:46, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Others may argue that jazz originated in New York or Chicago, however, many of New Orleans men were soldiers. Furthermore, they were musicans. In thiere spare time they would make music. They combined their hometown sounds and mixes with that of other soldiers and civilians to make great music. These great sounds eventually traveled home with them.
Willie the Lion Smith said jazz originated in the brickyards of Haverstraw, New York, but I'm not aware of anyone arguing that jazz originated in New York or Chicago. As for the soldier business, the contributor may have been alluding to the supposed glut of military band instruments in the south following the civil war that purportedly led to brass bands in New Orleans, and thus, on to jazz. Or, he may have been referring to the famous black military bandleader James Reese Europe and his 369th U.S. Infantry "Hell Fighters" Band. See Jim Europe's Hell Fighters. I see we don't have anything on him, which is a shame. Mentioned frequently on this page, but not anywhere in the wikipedia. Otherwise, as for soldiers, I dunno. Ortolan88 03:55, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Whatever the contributor meant, IMO, Infrogmation was correct to delete it. It simply wasn't very well written and contributed absolutely nothing of substance to the article. And, yes, I've mentioned Europe frequently -- because I'd like to see him included in the article. I just haven't yet had time. I keep reminding myself -- and also others, if they have time -- that he definitely should be included (including his influence on the music of George Gershwin, who should be included in that really clumsy reference to "jazzy writing." deeceevoice 16:14, 10 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Still Not Ready for Prime Time

Wow. This piece is much improved. But the decades after the '50s still have yet to be dealt with. And the fusion article treats primarily the fusion of jazz and rock. What about jazz and R&B? Black folks normally don't refer to it as "fusion," but that's what musicologists call it. So...? And certainly no article about jazz that fails to mention John Coltrane is worth a damn. I'm thinking of all those artists I mentioned earlier who came to prominence during the -60s through the '80s -- but especially during the '60s and '70s, when jazz experienced a resurgence in popularity. There's a really, really, REALLY big hole. And the links I added still have to be fixed. deeceevoice 00:10, 15 Sep 2004 (UTC)


Infrogmation, you don't seem to have a talk page, so I haven't had an opportunity to thank you for the welcome. So, thanks. But I also notice you're from New Orleans -- which may account, in part, for your absence over the last few days. I hope you and yours are safe. deeceevoice 12:20, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thanks. I have a user talk page in the usual place User_talk:Infrogmation. -- Infrogmation 14:06, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Torch Songs as Jazz?

I just created a Julie London page. During the 1950s (and even today), many people call this type of music "jazz", but I just can't think of it as existing in the same namespace as say, Mingus, Brubeck, or Parker.

The "torch songs/torch singing" page has yet to be written, so I ask this group, are Standards, Torch Songs, Female Singers Sitting Next to a Guy on the Piano in a Slinky Dress while Breathily Belting Out Cole Porter Songs really "jazz"? If not, I am stumped as to what we should call it. Jimhutchins 12:10, 24 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'd say it was Jazz, but I'm inclusive that way. Sure, its not John Coltrane, but if Kenny G gets marketed as jazz, I've no problem putting Julie London in there. GWO

Great Day Photo

Why there's no reference to "The Great Day In Harlem" Photograph ? see..

The usualy reason why something isn't in an article: Because none of us has put it there. You are one of the "us" which includes all contributors; if you think it's important, add it. Cheers, -- Infrogmation 12:55, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)


In this sentence: The ability of these musically literate, black jazz men to transpose and then read what was in great part an improvisational art form ...

Should transpose be transcribe?


Maybe one of the images should be at the top? I'd just do it, but I don't want to mess up the table. Filiocht 12:41, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)

Marsalis quote

I strongly object to the Marsalis quote. "The musical expression of the nobility of the race" -- what race?? The human race? The African-American race? Paul Robeson was an African-American who sang a lot of opera; which nobility of which race was he expressing? When Miles Davis collaborated with Gil Evans, which nobility of which race were they expressing? Which race are we talking about in the case of Afro-Cuban jazz? Besides that, Marsalis is a windbag and a second-rate musician who happens to have a talent for promoting himself and building really good bands to lead. And where did his claim to being a jazz historian come from? His wikipedia page doesn't show any books or articles on the history of jazz, just a mention of how he helped Ken Burns with a TV documentary. Will anybody object if I delete the quote? I honestly don't think it's informative. --Bcrowell 02:08, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I recommend deleting the quote until you can find contrasting POVs and readd the Marsalis when you add those. Hyacinth 02:40, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Wynton Marsalis is a respected musician and musicologist. It is quite clear who he is speaking of. The quote should stay put. deeceevoice 04:33, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

If the article is going to claim he is a jazz historian (or a musicologist), I think there should be some documentation for that claim. The wikipedia article on Marsalis doesn't say that he is. His brag sheet on his site at says he's a composer and performer, that he educates children about jazz, and that he's written a memoir of his life on the road; nothing about being a jazz historian or musicologist. If it's quite clear who he's speaking of, who do you think he's speaking of? If it refers to African-Americans, then it's inaccurate (people of every skin color play jazz), and it's an instance of reverse racism. If it refers to the human race, then it fails to tell us anything about jazz as opposed to any other form of music. The main text of the article has a factual, clear, accurate, non-racist discussion of jazz's relationship to the African diaspora, slavery, and race relations in the U.S. The Marsalis quote simply prefaces that accurate discussion with an inaccurate one. The idea that jazz is exclusively an expression of the African-American experience is simply a myth. If the article is going to start off in the first section by promulgating a lot of myths about jazz, then it might as well also state that jazz musicians have to get high so they can play, that they all play by instinct and have no formal training, and that they make everything up from scratch on the bandstand. --Bcrowell 06:01, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I find it amusing to hear someone say that Marsalis doesn't know what he's talking about when he speaks about jazz. A "windbag" and "second-rate musician"? "Reverse racism?" ROFLMAO The man won a Pulitzer prize -- and has eight Grammys under his belt -- in jazz and classical music. Your comments sound petty. The man has appeared as the primary speaker at workshops and symposia treating jazz theory and history. He's been the Musical Director of Jazz at the Lincoln Center for ages. He's regularly consulted for his encyclopedic knowledge about jazz by documentarians and writers. Though he's not written scholarly tomes on the subject, Marsalis is exceedingly well-versed in jazz history; he is a historian. If you want to drop that as a descriptor and substitute "educator," fine. His credentials speak for themselves. Further, Marsalis always has readily acknowledged the contributions of and given props to jazz musicians who are not African-American or black. It is not a "myth" to say jazz sprang from African-American genius; that is simple fact. Marsalis clearly is speaking about the origins and the vast preponderance of chief innovators of the music -- in much the same way Edison is touted as a genius for his numerous inventions, even though he perfected only a few of them: e.g., Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb -- but he didn't invent the long-burning filament that made it a viable commodity. (An African-American did that.)

Furthermore, if the quote were a stand-alone item in an article that treated only African-Americans in jazz, I'd say the concern was valid. As it is, however, this piece does, I think, a decent job of mentioning the various influences on jazz, who played it and how. The quote has integrity and should stand. deeceevoice 07:59, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

You don't like that quote? Well, here's another:

"Jazz is something Negroes invented, and it said the most profound things -- not only about us and the way we look at things, but about what modern democratic life is really about. It is the nobility of the race put into sound ... jazz has all the elements, from the spare and penetrating to the complex and enveloping. It is the hardest music to play that I know of, and it is the highest rendition of individual emotion in the history of Western music." -- Wynton Marsalis Fuh true. :-p deeceevoice 08:36, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I decided to remove the "historian," add some incontestable adjectives and substitute the above quote for the previous, related one. It puts the attribution of "the race" in historical context (one of "invention"). As the attribution and intent are now in clearer context, that should be acceptable. deeceevoice 15:20, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I like Marsalis's playing (have no complaints about "virtuoso"), but thats a pretty pompous thing to say. If Ralph Vaughn Williams had said
Classical music is the purest expression of the nobility of the Caucasian soul
we'd laugh at him, and rightly so. That jazz was invented by African-Americans is indisputable, but the idea that to play it requires an understanding of "the way (African Americans) look at things" is nonsense. That might be how Marsalis plays, but it's not how Beiderbecke or John McLaughlin plays (or, at least, not to my ears). There is no correct way to play jazz, which probably is its greatest joy.
Having said that, I like the quote, and think it should stay exactly where it is in the article. It's an interesting and valid perspective, properly and clearly cited and adds to the article. -- GWO
I don't think it's pompous at all. Besides, it seems you're bending over backwards to twist Marsalis' words. What he is saying is not that one has to be African-American to play jazz (Marsalis has tremendous respect for certain white musicians) but that jazz -- its spontaneity; its ethos of highly personal, but also communal, in-the-moment creativity -- springs from the African American experience (and, IMO, could have sprung from no other people but African-Americans). And that, too, is fact. But at least we agree that the quote should stay. I like this one better than the first one I contributed, anyway. The criticism has produced a better quote, and a better article. deeceevoice 19:14, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)
It undeniably springs from the African American experience. But, Django Reinhardt's playing brought a gypsy influence to his playing as strong as the African American influence (in syncopation, its pure jazz, melodically its pure gypsy, and the harmony is what you get when you play modal melodies on guitar and violin over rhytmic 9th chords). It's still jazz, but the spirit is gypsy. (Of course, it may not be coincidence that the European gypsy experience is not widely removed from the African American). No one race has a unique claim spontaneous, personal-yet-communal, improvisatory style; those qualities existed, albeit in radically different forms, in European folk music for centuries, as they did in African music -- GWO

Yes, I'm familiar with Django's music. But the fact remains that jazz was/is something sui generis -- which is why it has been designated a distinct (American) art form -- and distinctly African/African-American in origin. Wynton Marsalis' quote is completely valid as is -- despite your seemingly purposeful mischaracterization of his message. Now, as far as the "gypsy experience [not being] widely removed from the African American" one -- I'm not even going to comment on that one. deeceevoice 20:52, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, that's your opinion, and you're entitled to it, but I really don't agree with you. -- GWO

Coming from someone who can read the Marsalis quote and come to the conclusion he's saying nonblacks can't play jazz, hey, I'll take that for what it's worth!  :-p deeceevoice 10:57, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, I never said that. You can read my quote above -- what I said was a direct reference to Marsalis's belief -- jazz players must understand "the way (African Americans) look at things". Does Marsalis believe the white players he admires possess this understanding, I wonder. Did Django? It's doubtful he'd ever met a black man when he started to play jazz.
So I'll take that for what thats worth too. :-p right back at you. :) -- GWO

LOL. I noted the discrepancy before I closed out my comments, but left it -- just to see. But, you see, Marsalis didn't say that, either. Marsalis said that the nature of jazz, as a creation of African Americans, says a great deal about us and who we are. Period.

...and it said the most profound things -- not only about us and the way we look at things, but about what modern democratic life is really about."

Kind of like the way the creation of blackface minstrelsy says a lot about the society that created the phenomenon. Or monster trucks and muscle cars. Or Japanese aesthetics and the art of flower arranging. Or Europeans and ballet. And that's ALL he said. All that other crap is, frankly, just that -- crap -- of the kind I hear from white folks whose sense of entitlement is offended because they feel like they've been left out of some hip, little social "club" they don't just wanna be a member of, but own/claim. Like the guy who on his personal page says he plays jazz and, presumably, appreciates the music -- but can't bring himself to give simple props to an accomplished, highly intelligent/articulate, well-dressed -- and well-paid -- blackman-musician. *smiling* Funny dat. deeceevoice 21:44, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

...and it said the most profound things -- not only about us and the way we look at things, but about what modern democratic life is really about." ... Kind of like the way the creation of blackface minstrelsy says a lot about the society that created the phenomenon. Or monster trucks and muscle cars...
Aha! I see! That makes perfect sense. That being the case, I did misinterpret Marsalis (though not in the way you accused me of). I don't think its clear thats what he means, but once you point it out, its clearly what he means. The nature of jazz speaks about the people who created it, rather than individual pieces of jazz music necessarily being about that. I understand, and concur. (ObDisclaimer : I don't play jazz, it's too damn hard.) -- GWO (PS : love the monster truck analogy)

Well, I'm glad we're finally communicating here. But it's quite clear what Marsalis is saying. I mean the words are there in black and white, and the sentence structure is simple enough. What, I think, you and other white readers are reacting to is the "nobility of the race" business -- which, I think, causes an immediate, almost knee-jerk response. If you're a nonblack bigot or a racist, it rankles. If you're white and sensitive to ethnic chauvinism, it rankles. But if you take Marsalis' comment out of those contexts and simply accept it for what it is, it's fine.

You said you would laugh if Ralph Vaughn Williams had said, "Classical music is the purest expression of the nobility of the Caucasian soul. Well, I wouldn't. I'd immediately be skeptical (do a mental "crakkka check") of where the guy was coming from, given the unfortunate tendency of most (that's another discussion; let's not do it here) whites to hold on to white supremacist notions about the inherent inferiority of black folks (and lots of other nonwhite ethnic groups, as well), but I wouldn't come to any conclusions. I'd just simply think, "Well, that's his opinion, and it may be so." I can see why some might -- and actually do -- think that. After all, there are many who have called it the "highest" musical art form (even though I happen to think jazz is  :-p -- seriously).

But, frankly, when it comes to black folks, I don't have the same suspicions/ expectations in reverse -- that is, that comments like those of Marsalis spring from some deeply held notion of black superiority and, conversely, of inherent white inferiority. Add to this the fact that -- as with most true musicians -- Marsalis' record is one of embracing talent, no matter the ethnicity of the artist. I accept his remark for what it clearly says, without any baggage/presumptions.

Unlike, perhaps, the other Wiki contributor to whom I made reference, who, I suspect, has some ... issues. (My comments about a musician, Gareth, were not about you at all.) deeceevoice 14:30, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

And, of course, all that's taking both sets of comments -- Marsalis' and the hypothetical Williams one -- in the context not of ethnic exclusivity, but along the lines of the idea that the artistic expression/innovations of any people can, perhaps, be the purest -- and often most numinous -- embodiment of that people's collective psyche -- their strengths, frailties, courage and fears -- their ethos; aspirations; inclinations; spirit/motive force/spirituality: what black folks call "soul." deeceevoice 14:39, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

My comments about a musician, Gareth, were not about you at all.
I was aware of that. Incidentally, my misparsing was a straightforward hanging participle. "Jazz is something Negroes invented, and it said the most profound things...". That it means the nature of Jazz, rather than all Jazz music. I still don't think that's immediately clear...
that comments like those of Marsalis spring from some deeply held notion of black superiority and, conversely, of inherent white inferiority
I didn't believe that either. And you're right, context is everything, which is why Marsalis's qualifications as a player, musician and musicoligist are needed to accompany the quote. (Because some black musicians *have* said, in so many words "white guys can't play jazz") -- GWO

"Hanging participle"? Don't think so. It ain't there. If you mean you didn't get the pronoun -- well, uh, alright. *confounded*

Well, if you wanna read it like that. But also "it" as shiny, new invention in its purest form (and, yes, quintessence), sprung straight from the souls of black folk. But, presumably, you already knew that about Wynton (and his qualifications were noted) -- yet, you still reacted as you did. So, all I'm sayin' is folks need to just ease up ... and breathe. Happy Turkey. :-) deeceevoice 16:07, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Changing the subject completely, if you get a chance to see Marsalis's recent documentary "It's A Jazz Thing" [1] made for Channel 4 here in the UK, do so.

Will do.

Speaking of white "understanding," let me direct you to my (somewhat self-indulgent, but I wanted to say it!) comments on Joe Zawinul (and the applicable link, cool) regarding his premiere of "Country Preacher" at Operation Breadbasket. Of course, nonblacks can't completely "get it" -- but they can get parts of it. Besides, the best musicians bring their own "soul" to the music, whatever their ethnicity or personal experience. And jazz not only accommodates, but invites, that individuality, that very personal infusion of energy and perspective and, in the confluence and call and response of rhythm and sound and silences there is a synergy, an energy that is without boundaries; it transcends and soars. And that's what I love about jazz. :-)

So, you're a Brit, huh? Shoulda guessed (the name). Peace 2 u. deeceevoice 17:42, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Of course, nonblacks can't completely "get it" -- but they can get parts of it..
I think Joe Zawinul might be able to make a case for completely "getting it". And he looks pretty white to me. (And I think cool may end up at Cool (aesthetic) to disambiguate from Cool (temperature).) -- GWO

Well, he comes close enough to be one damned good jazz artist. However you wanna do cool is ... well, cool wit' me. deeceevoice 18:24, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I'm not moving cool, but sooner or later one those people who care about such matters will come along... -- GWO

The jazz box

Don't know how to edit it. But the quiet storm link is screwy; there's an article on it, but it doesn't provide access. Anybody wanna fix it? deeceevoice 16:42, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

You can edit it at : Template:Jazzbox. I've fixed that link by making quiet storm a redirect to Quiet Storm, since that article covers both the show and the genre. -- GWO

Cool. :-) Thanks for the tip, Gareth. I'm a relative newbie and couldn't think (figure out how to get) inside the box! deeceevoice 19:16, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I've made a few edits to the jazz box. This mainly involved changing from {{Infobox Music genre}} to a custom one. In my opinion, {{Infobox Music genre}} was designed for genres of popular music, rather than a seperate artform liek jazz, which is arguably on an equal footing with popular and classical music. The popularity section made no real sense, referencing some popular jazz styles and popular music styles on which jazz has borne influence. No one would suggest that more jazz records are sold than popular music records, but jazz should be considered on its own terms. TreveXtalk 19:25, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
I have created a template for smooth jazz. As it is a subgenre of jazz, it uses the pink color. Andros 1337 19:48, 25 September 2005 (UTC)