jazztruth: Much Ado About Nicholas Payton
I’m not sure what Payton really thinks would change if we called what we now refer to as ”jazz”, Black American Music. I suppose it could result in some greater sense of solidarity amongst black musicians. I don’t believe it would change how the black community itself participates in jazz to any great extent though. I recognize that it’s probably a strange and even alienating experience to be a black musician performing for many white faces and so few black faces. It shouldn’t be that way. Knowing the history of the music and all of the great black pioneers who’ve made the music what it is, it ought to be more celebrated in the black community. Unfortunately I don’t think there’s much of a concept of ”art for art’s sake” in the black community. Economic conditions that don’t allow much leisure time make this idea an abstraction. And yes, you can say that this is a Western value anyway— but to ask jazz musicians to play only music you can dance to or music that has some kind of R&B tinge, I say you’re asking too much. Call in some funk musicians for that. People are drawn to playing jazz because it involves both emotive and intellectual capacities, not one or the other but both resting in balance.