I am not a jazzer. No way. Expose me to pure jazz, and I will run a mile. It just doesn’t work for me, and I have tried (as have friends). It really came home to me when I went to see Bill Bruford some years ago. There I was looking forward to this alumnus of three of my favourite bands but, No! This wasn’t right at all. It was all clarinets and marimbas.
Yet, when the music in my comfort zone gets exposed to jazz, that’s when it really gets exciting. Joni when she gets Jaco. Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major. My favourite folk dance thrives when Andy Cutting’s melodeon, the hurdy gurdy and the bagpipes, get cut with multiple saxes and it swings. Above all, at the recent live reincarnations of King Crimson, what has got me on the edge of my seat with delight, what has enthralled me and kept me guessing, has been the syncopations, the flights of fancy, the vaulting instrumentals setting off at tangents. I have to concede; it’s the jazz which makes it.
Given the recent expose from the Daily Mail that a love of jazz renders suspect the credibility of Scottish judges, and in these pages @Mike_H’s declaration that ‘It’s Jazz and Therefore of Limited Appeal Here’, it’s time to stand up even for those genres which hold no personal appeal. They are still a force for good.
Do other Afterworders have genres that leave them cold, yet from a distance bring light and beauty to the styles they love? I could imagine rap or prog being contenders.
In the meantime, here’s the aforementioned Ravel. Bridgewater Hall have programmed it not once but twice this season, starting next Thursday. I shall see it both times and I will be having to sit on my hands at the end of the first movement. (Scroll to the end and you too will ask yourself how you’re supposed not to clap at the end of this.) But it’s not jazz. Oh no. You see, I don’t like jazz.