Platonism and pork pie hats

Sunday, 18 January 2009 — 10:37pm | Jazz, Music

Ben Ratliff of The New York Times has written an eight-page Q&A about jazz and its criticism that shouldn’t be missed. He dips into many of the issues on the minds of jazz listeners—the sustainability of the respective cultures of recordings and live performances, the effect of college educations in music performance, the anxiety over whether there has been an emergent “canon” to speak of since the post-bop masters of the fifties and sixties—but my favourite part is this elegant response to that age-old question of Genre, viz. what belongs and what doesn’t:

Q. If I just listened to Mingus pluck an open string that he let resonate for a while, would I be hearing jazz?
— Elias Falcon, Brooklyn

A. No. You would be hearing Charles Mingus.


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