Commercialization and art
A good friend of mine is fanatically into the Greatful Dead with walls full of tapes from every concert. After years of refusing to listen to his poor-quality recordings of the band endlessly singing a similar repertoire of songs, I finally broke down and took some on long drives. To my surprise, I found that the music was much easier to listen to repeatedly than the polished commercial stuff put out by most bands. I've noticed this also when I listen to jazz. I can enjoy John Coultrane for hours at a time, always discovering something new in the music. I wonder why this is. Is there something subconscious in the production of great music that requires that the musician be given some lattitude for making "mistakes"? Bands that do freestyle jamming occasionally come up with brilliant pieces. In their wilder moments when they weren't lost in performing post-modernist Pop, Phish did some brilliant jams that must have been almost completely spontaneous and unplanned.