Gimme That Jazz

Jazz radio WNCU Durham 90.7 has a tag-line for their radio identification. It's "90.7, WNCU. Jazz...America's indigenous music."

Indigenous music, to my mind, belies a traditional music, of a reasonably homogeneous ethnicity or culture. See Wikipedia's take.

Jazz as it's currently known certainly has formative roots in the U.S. South. But jazz has gone through many many developments and has been fervently and skillfully adopted by many ethnicities, cultures, and locales.

I'm not trying to split definitional hairs here.

My point is that if there is something about jazz that is uniquely "American", it's that jazz, like the U.S., is eternally re-making its own image. Jazz, like the U.S., is not homogeneous. To me, the U.S. is a nation that was built initially on invention, and has never stopped re-inventing itself. As such, it is eternally Modern in the artistic or literary usage of the word. Jazz deconstructs sound, if only to rebuild itself. One need only listen to the music of Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, or Sun Ra to get a flavor of this. Some say jazz in 2010 is static. Innovation has stalled, its rhythms have been incorporated into rock and roll, hip hop, electronic music, and so forth. There is no need to re-invent bop, or cool, swing. It's all been done. Who was the last jazz musician that was a household name? To this end, jazz, as it becomes more static and reiified in its form and content, is becoming more indigenous all the time. So maybe WNCU is onto something. Let's just hope that the U.S., similarly, has also not lost its ability to be modern.

T.S. Eliot Twittered

Eructation of unhealthy souls
Into the faded air, the torpid
Driven on the wind that sweeps the gloomy hills of London,
Hampstead and Clerkenwell, Campden and Putney,
Highgate, Primrose and Ludgate. Not here
Not here the darkness, in this twittering world.

-- from "Burnt Norton", Four Quartets


Vincent Kartheiser

"Money doesn't mind if we say it's evil, it goes from strength to strength. It's a fiction, an addiction and a tacit conspiracy."

"The second before you film something," he says, "you want to get in your body. I might scream something to wake up the nerves in my nose and my lips and my eyes, you know. That's where I do my work."

"I go on the bus, I walk. A friend left his car recently at my house and I took it out one day just for 15 minutes and it was terrible. You know why? I felt like I was back in LA again. Four or five years ago, when I had a car and I had been out of the city I wouldn't feel I was back until I got in the car, you know. But now I feel off the grid. I feel that I am not part of the culture. And because I don't have a car I don't really go anywhere to buy things. In fact, I have been in a slow process of selling and giving away everything I own."

via yoyo -- link