2 Answers

  1. Jazz, by and large, ceased to be popular music at the very beginning of the forties, during the “bop revolution” – that is, from the very time from which the modern period in the history of jazz is counted.

    Bop was played by a small group of musicians in several clubs in New York. All these musicians had other sources of income and came, for example, to Minton's Playhouse not for earnings. All of them had a fundamentally different attitude to the public – they did not play for the masses, and even more so not for the “elite”. They played for themselves, and came to the club to talk. They were interested in music as such, and it was impossible to dance to this music. This music was later called bop, although the musicians themselves called it simply “modern”. Or modern, if you like.

    Bop's origins date back to the musicians ' strike of 1942-44, when members of the American Federation of Musicians stopped recording in protest of low fees.

    This means that the mass audience then had almost no opportunity to get acquainted with this music. In part, the same strike killed off jazz big bands, but that's another story.

    The first bop recording was made on February 16, 1944-that is, about four years after its appearance.

    Bop would have remained music for musicians, but one of his fathers, Dizzy Gillespie, had a jovial disposition, a talent for clowning, an excellent taste in clothing and an unusual appearance – even people far from jazz will remember a trumpeter who has funny puffed cheeks when he plays.

    Of the entire first generation of boppers, Gillespie was almost the only one who wasn't in the least a “dark genius” – he wanted to play for people, make them laugh, entertain them.

    In 1946, he and his orchestra appeared in movies with frankly stupid, comic numbers, which was unthinkable for a bopper five years ago. The New Yorker magazine, which by that time was on the table of every self-respecting New Yorker, writes about him, and young people are beginning to imitate his image.

    Almost at the same time, on July 2, 1944, producer Norman Granz organized a “Jazz Concert for the Philharmonic Audience” – and the philharmonic audience came to the concert hall to listen to bop. Then there were many more such concerts.

    In short, music that was originally intended to have no audience at all reaches different listeners very slowly, gradually, in different ways. What is now called the “jazz mainstream” was born out of this music.

    The jazz avant-garde appeared a little later: on May 16, 1949, the great blind pianist Lenny Tristano made the first recordings of free improvisation. And Tristano's music was even more “pure music”than bop.

    Jazz historian Chris Tile writes ,” While the paths of popular music and jazz intersected in the 1920s and ' 30s, bop and its derivative styles appealed to a specific audience and rarely entered the territory of popular music.”

    With the advent of free jazz, as noted by saxophonist and critic Chris Kelsey, jazz is finally breaking with its popular roots.

    In 1952, the same New Yorker, reviewing Barry Ulanov's Jazz History, wrote:

    “The author believes that the future belongs to kul – a style that includes borrowings from Hindemith, Berg, Bartok and other composers. He doesn't say anything about what we should dance to then.”

    That is, jazz became an “almost elite art” eighty years ago. But the former “non-mass” forms of it were eventually assimilated by culture, became familiar and ordinary. A person who puts on ” kul ” today will perceive it more as a pleasant background music, rather than as a successor to the academic avant-garde and neoclassicism.

    And these forms were replaced by even more complex forms that do not take into account the auditory habits of the average listener.

    Or simpler ones. Jazz does not exist in a vacuum, it is not made by musicians who are closed on self-expression, innovation or questions of music theory.

    But those jazzmen who today make music “for everyone “(say, Esperanza Spalding) are forced to compete with a huge, unprecedented amount of all kinds of other music. Because there's just a lot of it. That's all.

  2. Jazz has retained its mass appeal potential. Its audience hasn't changed. It is also democratic and not at all elitist. But the means of delivering it to the audience have changed. If in the twentieth century it was distributed by cinema, now it is broadcast through sites with limited socio-economic access. Why? Fashion is determined by capital, which has long been a cultural factor. And the freedom, improvisational ability, the ability to think brought up by jazz, it ' s capital across.

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