Jazz and Pop, Youth and Middle Age like Young

By Francis Davis | Go to book overview

Like Young

Youth has become the most frequent topic of conversation in jazz. The talk concerns a crop of instrumentalists in their twenties and very early thirties, including the tenor saxophonists Joshua Redman and James Carter, the trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Nicholas Payton, the pianists Cyrus Chestnut and Jacky Terrasson, and the bassist Christian McBride, who are supposedly luring audiences their own age and younger to jazz.

This accent on youth could be interpreted as an effort to shake the blues of just a few years ago, when all anybody seemed to talk about was death. Sarah Vaughan died early in 1990, followed in less than three years by Art Blakey, Stan Getz, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie. Along with grief, these deaths triggered panic that time might also be running out on jazz as a commercially viable form of music. It didn't matter that there were still plenty of great musicians in or near their prime, because only a relative handful of people knew who they were. The core audience for jazz (let's define it, only somewhat facetiously, as those people able to name their second favorite bass player) is small in number, disputatious, and scattered over several continents. The sort of casual fan on whom the jazz box office ultimately depends might recognize Vaughan or Davis by name, but is unlikely to be familiar with Abbey Lincoln or Joe Henderson. Jazz was already short of marquee names when the 1990s began; the loss of five more left what threatened to become a permanent void at the top of the bill.

-156-

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Jazz and Pop, Youth and Middle Age like Young
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Also by Francis Davis *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Advertisements for Myself xi
  • Part One - Voices *
  • Swin G and Sensibility 3
  • The Great Hoagy 19
  • Not Singing Too Much 27
  • Billie Holiday, Cover Artist 39
  • Betty Carter, for Example 49
  • Part Two - Change of the Century *
  • Bud's Bubble 57
  • The Sound of One Finger Snapping 66
  • Aftershocks 77
  • Taken: the True Story of an Alien Abduction - (A Conversation with Sun Ra) 83
  • Rashaan, Rashaan 94
  • Inward 99
  • A to Z 106
  • Charlie Haden, Bass 116
  • ornette 134
  • The 1970s, Religious and Circus 141
  • Like Young 156
  • In His Father's House 169
  • Leaving behind a Trail 176
  • Some Recordings 186
  • On Stage and Screen 200
  • Part Three - Here and There *
  • Tourist Point of View 219
  • Time Difference 223
  • Part Four - Undercover *
  • Man Lost. Songs Found 235
  • Country vs. Western 242
  • Elvis Presley's Double Consciousness 246
  • Beached 256
  • Everybody's Composer 263
  • The Best Years of Our Lives 281
  • Infamous 297
  • Victim Kitsch 304
  • The Moral of the Story from the Guy Who Knows 316
  • Index 339
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