13 November 2006

The Rules of Jazz

I heard a thing on NPR this morning about jazzman Ornette Coleman. Apparently he's quite the avant-garde musician, and a controversial figure in the jazz community. He's got a new album out called Sound Grammar, and it sounds like it's quite good.

One line from the radio piece stuck out to me - enough that I wrote it down in my notebook while barreling along the interstate:

"He was accused of arbitrarily breaking the rules of jazz."

Wow. That accusation alone makes him my new hero. I aspire to be accused of arbitrarily breaking the rules of jazz. Someday, if I manage to live up to the Pirate-y, Rogue-ish, status-quo-defying standards I'm aiming for, I hope someone says the same thing of me. To "arbitrarily break the rules of jazz" is a remarkable feat.


Anonymous said...

Hmm . . . I thought jazzers took pride in breaking "conventional" music rules. Too bad they feel compelled to forget that part of their legacy and to their their own to the wolves.

Dan said...

Yeah, it struck me as an unusual response from the jazz community. I wouldn't expect such an innovation-based art form to be so critical of an innovator, but apparently the Status Quo Defense Bureau has made inroads into even the Jazz scene.

That's a bummer, but what a badge of honor, when even jazz players say "Whoa, that guy's out there!"