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Awww, c'mon. Someone can't ask a clarifying question without it being tossed aside as "trifling?"

I know that people dropping their educational credentials is a bit uncouth and off-putting, but seriously.


"Preliminary enthusiasm?" You straight-up shill for Nonesuch on that one. "...intimate reinvention from someplace deep inside the music." That's onesheet copy, man. Or if not, they should have paid you for it.



"At the risk of being too self-referential..." Yeesh, we're reading the blog of a professional critic, what else could it be?

Sarah D

nice definition, nate! i appreciate a man who's not afraid to pull out the old merriam-webster in response to trifling blog comments.

Nate Chinen

D-Bon: isn't it funny how he can do that? Refocus an entire performance with one sparkling moment?

Alex: I can't speak for the jazz baggage of "serious," though I'd be happy to read your thoughts on the subject. Here's what Merriam-Webster has for the word (I'd say almost every definition applies):

1 : thoughtful or subdued in appearance or manner : sober

2 a : requiring much thought or work b : of or relating to a matter of importance

3 a : not joking or trifling : being in earnest b archaic : pious c : deeply interested : devoted

4 a : not easily answered or solved b : having important or dangerous possible consequences

5 : excessive or impressive in quality, quantity, extent, or degree


I would argue that the quick ascending/descending lick Herbie plays after the line "I would teach my feet to fly" during the song "River" is more brilliant than entire albums by lesser artists.

Alex W. Rodriguez

What exactly do you mean by the "depth and seriousness" of the Shorter sextet? The word "serious" in particular carries a lot of baggage in the history of jazz writing (I'm reading Gunther Schuller in two of my MA classes right now ...) and I would be very interested in a clarification of your intent on your use of it in this instance, in this contemporary context.

Michael J. West

It's certainly rare to read jazz criticism contained the sentence "I also think I'm being a dick."

The first time I saw Herbie play, he nearly put me to sleep. The second time, he made my hair stand up - but I'd never have seen the second if I'd shrugged Herbie off after the first.

That's what makes him worthy of following. I'll slough through the worst chaff when the quality of the wheat is so high. And there's always a chance that what he does next (as I understand it, an experiment with pan-African music) will be so good as to render The River, or any other middling previous project, irrelevant.

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