Sunday, July 12, 2009
Plastic Sax's Crystal Ball
I don't particularly care for the music made by the likes of Mouth. The Kansas City band has more in common with Phish and Allan Holdsworth than with Charlie Parker and Joe Lovano.
A contentious debate at the Plastic Sax compound about whether or not to include Mouth in Plastic Sax's jazz listings has inspired a great deal of thought about the future of jazz.
Here are a few predictions about major changes that will transform the jazz community over the next ten years.
Definitions. In 2019 it will no longer seem odd to categorize bands like Mouth as "jazz." The word will have lost much of its current connotation. Prog rock, jam bands and ambitious roots-based music? Call it jazz. Need a headliner for a big jazz festival? Book Ben Harper, John Mayer or Wilco. They may not meet the outdated definition of jazz, but they sell tickets to fans who own a copy of Kind of Blue.
Support. Traditional jazz musicians will increasingly rely on support from government agencies and charitable foundations. Organizations like the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra will thrive and multiply. Privately-financed operations like Jardine's will be forced to continue their gradual drift away from mainstream jazz.
Education. The jazz establishment will finally lose their firm grip on music education. The new model will be programs along the lines of Paul Green's School of Rock and Columbia College's music production training.
Underground. A subversive alternative scene will blossom. A rebellious form of jazz- much of it noisy and and anarchic- will become the chosen music of anti-establishment hipsters. Imagine loft jazz redux.
Thanks, Mouth, for inspiring these musings. But I won't be listening to jams like "Gnarly" as I attempt to defend this post. Instead, I'll be hiding behind my enormous collection of Jay McShann memorabilia as abuse is hurled in my direction.
(Original image of Mouth by Plastic Sax.)