The Expanding Circle

Posted by: Dave Douglas on August 4, 2006 @ 4:28 pm
Filed under: Culture, Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts), Music

As promised, more. I wanted to get this one up today, and I will continue over the weekend. This conversation has perhaps a limited life span, but it has certainly brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings about where we are. As a musician I feel it’s key to understanding where music comes from so it can keep moving forward.

Again, the idea is that there ought to be an unbiased (not necessarily un-opinionated, and not merely technical) overview of American music post-sixties. My notion is that said overview re-writes the “bad sixties” conservative backlash that followed. I have also tried to avoid only thinking in terms of jazz because my sense is that musics not only started to blend unavoidably at that time, but also that within genres the struggles have been similar.

Author of Future Jazz, Howard Mandel writes:

Dear Dave,

Interesting analysis, with which I agree. Fear and loathing of freedoms discovered/explored/assumed in the ’60s and ’70s has certainly generated a powerful backlash by the most conservative elements of American society. And I think as the ’60s-’70s generation has aged and become somewhat more entrenched in conservative society, not least of all by the blandishments of corporate capitalism, that fear and loathing has infected people who were on the cusp of being “free” back in their youth, but now think that was all a chimera.

There have been a couple of stabs — Alyn Shipton, Ted Gioia, Frank Tirro and Mark Gridley all consider jazz in the past three decades in the course of their overviews. However, they do not use the specific lens you and I are interested in to consider ’70s-2005 jazz. Unfortunately, book publishers are as much affected by the conservative trends as record companies are, and no company I’m aware of is very interested in supporting an ambitious work of jazz history or criticism.

Perhaps with the new technologies we are no longer as dependent on the big publishing companies…

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