Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Musical Integrity by the Jazz Guru

Can we start?
JG : your question is on integrity?
Yes, well their are certain musicians in our band questioning the music (the repetoire) that we play.(too commercial)

JG: Are you honest and comfortable with it?
ME: Well mostly, when I'm not, then I look for other music.
JG: The most important thing is to check your intention and then play the music.
Me: I'm not sure I follow?
JG: Musicians don't live in a vacuum, you have an audience. There is a fine line between playing for an audience and just playing for yourself.

Me: That helps, but what about when the audience isn't listening?
JG: then you need to reevaluate what you are doing, is it,(the music) being played as well as it could be? Does it reflect your values and is it a reflection of the social times.

Miles said social music would be a better name for the music than jazz. I like the idea of performing music that reaches people where they live, in their hearts, minds and their emotions. Cause when you reach them in all the ways, then you have done your job, which is to not only entertain but to educate.

Me: There is so much resistance among jazz musicians to play popular material. When we do we are labeled as sell outs and not real jazz players.

JG: Musical Integrity also involves the idea of entertainment as a job, a means of providing income. When the income of the group, individual or artist is threatened by his choices of what is good and what is bad, then he may have to sit at home to make those choices. The line between what the public likes and what the artists wants to play is a thin line. The best indicator is to check with your audience, strike up conversations with people that you don't know, create a simple poll, ten lines asking for they favorite artists. Get a few people to contribute and see what they say.

Me: I'll try that, any more tips
JG: Don't give up on the conversation with your band mates and continue to choose interesting and popular material that is a reflection of your values even it doesn't swing like Duke Ellington or Charlie Parker. Until jazz musicians can figure out how to bring the social aspect back to the music, it will be relegated to the 5% rule.
If you play a place dedicated to jazz them you have a built in audience.
but if its a audience that doesn't know the music, then only 5% of the people would care. the rest would rather hear something else, or at least something that sounds familiar.

Me: Thanks
JG: I Am Always Here for you.