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Folks I admire the level at which you all are discussing these issues, thank you. I want to briefly weigh in with a quote from a recent article on Jazz composition I wrote for Chamber Music America Magazine:
" We are arguably in the midst of radical changes, driven not by one defining genius but by many forward-thinking individuals all working at once. What I find interesting these days is not so much how people are soloing- it’s the new materials they’re being fed."
The materials that the most interesting composers are using today...the force that motivates the improv...it's changing, growing at pretty great speeds.
To me the single overriding factor in discussions about the identity of jazz is this: jazz is a set of practices that can be used in any context with any motivating set of notes and rhythms to work from. Many people today are finding extravagantly diverse building blocks for jazz music. It could be no other way. Those who invented jazz endowed it with qualities that embrqce all serious comers, no matter whether they want to color their sound with Indian music or Rock n' Roll.
There are those who believe that jazz is a set of TRADITIONS- well yes, but it's more and many of the least interesting musicians of the year seem bound by tradition. As always the most interesting music turns tradition on its head without at all abandoning it.
Joel Harrison

Alex W. Rodriguez

The best thing about jazz in 2009 is Josh Jackson's posterior? I can't say that I disagree ...

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