Friday, September 25, 2009

Now's the Time: Tortoise


Question: Why do some people dismiss the assertion that Tortoise is a jazz band? Answer: Because Tortoise is popular.

The Chicago-based instrumental act may not swing in the conventional sense, but for better or worse, their complex approach represents the sound that may likely be most closely associated with the word "jazz" 25 years from now.

Doubters in the Kansas City area can start getting used to the concept Wednesday when the group performs at the Beaumont Club. Prefuse 73 is also on the bill.

Welcome to the future.

9 comments:

Cb said...

I like their music and their website. Sorry, but both remind me of the 1960s and progressive groups from that time like the Ventures - very retro, rather than cutting edge jazz.

Contemporary Modern Instrumental Jazz never was and never will be a "popular" music with the masses because it is too hard for the average person to process. Similar to the way that not everyone gets Classical music.

That's cool though, not everybody has to get it for the music to prosper and provide a decent economy for its denizens. The RIAA stat .pdf has an "Other" category that actually contains many of the subgenres of Jazz within it. Adding those sales to the Jazz category would show a different picture.

Any person doing anything "artistic" is rarely going to get "rich" or be "popular". I don't think that is why most of us do it. We can't help being Jazz artists. Most of us are intelligent and bright enough that if our goal in life had been to be rich or popular, we could have pursued a path successfully to either or both of those ends.

I don't think that Jazz is in need of drastic change, beyond the normal progression of the art that is happening now. Someone of that generation who is doing work like Logan Richardson or Mike Moreno are doing, seem more indicative of the future of Jazz than the group Tortoise, just my opinion - of course...

Peace, Cb

Happy In Bag said...

I laughed out loud at your apt reference to the Ventures, CB. There are, in fact, very real similarities. Good call.

Few things would make me happier than truly believing that the the incredibly promising Logan Richardson is, in fact, jazz's future.

Thanks, as always, for your contribution.

Jeremy said...

That show is going to be killer, I love these guys.

Happy In Bag said...

If this is the Jeremy I think it is, he represents precisely the type of obsessive thirty-something music fan that the jazz mainstream has lost. I don't want to speak for Jeremy, but I know that he goes to several shows a month. And it's the progressive edge of jazz represented by Tortoise, and to a lesser extent, by the likes of Medeski Martin & Wood that resonates with him. Enjoy Tortoise, Jeremy.

Jeremy said...

My God, do I really look thirty? Haha.

Hermon said...

Logan and his generation (including Ambrose Akinmusire, Tommy Crane, Lionel Loueke, Aaron Parks et al) are in my opinion, at the forefront of the jazz tradition right now. All you have to do is look at who is hiring him or playing with Logan for instance: Stefon Harris, Pat Metheny, Jason Moran, Nasheet Waits, Mark Turner, etc. Some people might not dig it, but not everyone dug Bird and Trane back in the day either. The music itself is a testament to where the future of jazz lies.

Anonymous said...

i can't listen to KKFI's jazz programs in their entirety, but none of the names mentioned above ring a bell with me. sadly, a lot of names don't ring a bell with me - including people i know! lol! but why doesn't KKFI's jazz programmers play a little more of the newer stuff? just askin'... mike t.

Happy In Bag said...

I happen to like what I hear when I happen to tune in to KKFI's jazz slot, Mike T. Even so, the real action is online. Today, for instance NPR's jazz blog began streaming the new Vijay Iyer album. Or check out the excellent site that Hermon put together for Diverse. It will lead you to plenty of "newer stuff." Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

i suppose online is where it's at, i just happen to have a hard time listening to tinny little speakers in my office. not where i like to listen to stuff and just haven't the funds to get into a wifi radio, etc. but just the same, i appreciate the tips, happy. i can sample and buy the cds easily enough! - mt