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Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by dow30, Apr 26, 2006.
Article on Miles by Stanley Crouch
This coming from the same guy who wrote that Miles' music was "the greatest example of self violation in the history of art." (Skins Game by Stanley Crouch, page 166).
I have a lot of respect for Wynton, but Crouch has to go. One minute he's bashing Miles as the antichrist of jazz, the next minute he's talking about how great Miles is. Stanley Crouch used Wynton as a mouthpiece for his anti-Miles feelings until Miles died. Only then did he start trash talking. Now he comes out with this BS. Sure, there's merit to it. Crouch is a smart, educated guy. But you have to look at his entire ouvre, which screams BS.
Sorry for the rant, I did my undergrad thesis on Crouch's manipulation of Wynton and I still get PO'd every time I think about the horrible things that this guy wrote about Miles.
You listen to music critics?
I'm a musicology student, someday I might BE a music critic
Stanley Crouch has been a driving force in the carreer of Wynton Marsalis and, for better or worse, the shape of mainstream jazz as we know it. Listen to Wynton's entire catalogue. Crouch has written liner notes to every album. Until about 1988, Crouch's notes described a kind of jazz eutopia where everyone bowed down before Duke and Louie. All the while, Wynton sounded like Miles, the antithesis of Crouch's vision for jazz. In 1989, Wynton came out with The Majesty of the Blues, a piece that included a lengthy sermon spoken on the disc, written by crouch. The sermon is a jazz manifesto based mainly on the aesthetics principals set forth in Albert Murray's Stomping the Blues. Wynton sounded different on that album, too. His sound was dirtier, more gutteral. Less Miles, more Louie. Since that album, Wynton has solidly preached the gospel of Crouch: bow down before the elders.
Record companies heard this. They embraced Wynton, but at the same time realized that it was cheaper to reissue old stuff. They dropped young talent from the major labels. Wynton was on TV preaching about how great the oldies are, so Columbia went into over-drive, going into the vault and re-releasing everything they could find in $90 commemorative boxed sets. Much of that is still going on. Stanley Crouch is still on the artistic board of LCJO last time I checked. Meanwhile, the Carnegie Hall band went under and many other jazz organizations aren't fairing so well.
So yes, I listen to Stanley Crouch because in many ways he is a driving force behind mainstream jazz today.
I'm going to work on getting my thesis published in one of the jazz magazines. If that doesn't work out, I'll post it here so you can get the full story (with a little better spelling )
Yeah, but what does Crouch think of Arturo?
I've never read anything by Crouch on Arturo. Most of Crouch's writing is social criticism dealing with race relations between blacks and whites. American jazz, for Crouch, falls smack in the middle of that topic. He very rarely writes outside of that and I haven't seen anything to do with Latin Jazz.
Hit the nail on the head there!
(Sorry, I don't know how to do the "quote" thing! )
It is difficult not to say something here about linking Wynton with this article. Wynton Marsalis is one of the brightest people I have ever met. At 19, he had a mind of his own, he still does. I know Stanley Crouch . He is no Svengali, nor is Wynton his Trilby. Wynton's likes and dislikes are his own. Miles, like it or not, was never above reproach. No one is.
Maybe Crouch has had a change of heart about Miles, who knows.
You know better than I, as you've met and interacted with these people. I believe that Wynton is his own man. He is one of the most well-spoken, opinionated jazzmen I have studied. It seems to me, though, that Crouch has acted as a guiding force in Wynton's life.
If you look at Wynton's complete catalogue, Crouch's liner notes remain consistent. In the beginning, the liner notes preached one thing while Wynton played another. Gradually, Wynton's music came to align itself with Crouch's notes. The two paths meet at The Majesty of the Blues and have been aligned ever since.
Maybe it's a case of influence: through Crouch, Wynton was introduced to Al Murray and Ralph Ellison (Crouch's mentor). If you look at Stomping the Blues by Al Murray, and then listen to "Wynton Marsalis" or "Think of One" or "Hot House Flowers," thereâ€™s not a huge connection. Fast forward a decade or so and listen to Blue Interlude, A Fiddler's Tale or Big Train. Murray and Crouch's fingerprints are all over those albums.
As I said before, I think Wynton is a genius, but the opinions that he so clearly articulates in his music and public speaking/writing are straight out of the book of Murray, Crouch and Ellison.
The thing that amazes me about Stanley Crouch is that he can be so bull-headed some of the time. In his essay on Miles in Skins Game, Crouch follows two pages of bashing and low blows with very adept criticism of Birth of the Cool. He argues that Birth of the Cool was a glorified television soundtrack, and as much as I hate to admit it, he makes a compelling point. But personally, I'm never going to take him seriously when he begins his essay by calling Miles the "greatest examples of self violation in the history of art."
I can already tell this thread is going to be amazing.