Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Enjoy Music, Even If You Don't 'Get It'

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Enjoy Music, Even If You Don't 'Get It'

Article excerpt

Byline: Nick Marino, Times-Union staff writer

While many in the traditional jazz community fret about the seeming lack of outlets for or interest in their music, a prominent niche of modern jazz troubadours has discovered an enthusiastic and unexpected audience: college kids with a neo-hippie bent.

These new fans don't necessarily know the music's history. They couldn't identify Verve Records founder Norman Granz. They don't even call the improv-heavy, largely instrumental music they like "jazz."

They just call it what Duke Ellington called it: music.

"The kids that come and hear my band that are Karl Denson and Phish fans, I think a lot of them don't know me as a jazz musician," said guitarist John Scofield, who will play the Florida Theatre tomorrow. "They know me from this scene. And so they buy my record on Verve [but] that doesn't mean that they like Diana Krall at all. I think the cool thing is that these are young kids that are listening to instrumental music."

Scofield is far from dismissive of jazz's tradition. He knows the music's history.

But he also knows that he's been hearing musicians play bebop for several decades now, which has led to jazz's crippling reputation as an outmoded genre.

"I don't know if those kids that like me and like that kind of music and are big Medeski Martin & Wood fans, if they would go for Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk. I'm not sure. I know I do. So I think that there's got to be some kind of crossover," Scofield said.

"But I think that you've had a number of years away from the bebop movement . . . and I think it's just not new anymore. I think that Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk are always new because they're geniuses. That music lives on forever on those records. But jazz itself has gotten kind of a stodgy [image] in the public."

Like Denson and MMW, Scofield plays decidedly unstodgy music. His guitar has a heavy tone (as opposed to the fluid sound of George Benson's, for example), and his band is deeply interested in rhythm. …

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