; Tangled Up In Blue: Commercialization and art

Thursday, September 08, 2005

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.

2 Comments:

Blogger Glen Dean said...

When Jimmy Hering joined up with Jam band legend Col. Bruce Hampton, The colonel made Jimmy start playing his guitar out of tune. He said he had to "un-teach" the guitar to Jimmy so that he could learn how to improvise. Improvisational music, whether it be jazz, or jam band rock and roll is full of "mistakes" and experimentation. Thats what makes it so good. Of course some might disagree with that.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Karlo said...

That's a great anecodote. Come to think of it, I think this might be similar to writing. If we start editing our writing too much as we write, the life goes out of it. The best writing--at least of the sort that has a unique voice--is the sort that's almost stream-of-consciousness.

7:55 AM  

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