February 11th, 2007
When I was younger, I was into jazz, being a musician with the trumpet as my main instrument. Later on in high school, it fit into my (somewhat misguided) bohemian asperations, and I stayed with it. But somewhere along the line, I lost track of it, not in any sort of conscious way, but as music is a reflection of one’s life and the music that you listen to reflects your mood or life at that moment, my life went in such a way that I stopped listening to to because it just didn’t fit into it at that time.
But a recently, I heard something, and decided to pick up some of my old albums, and I have not been able to put them down, specifically John Coltrane’s Live at the Village Vanguard and Ornette Coleman’s The Shape of Jazz to Come. These albums are ingrained into my memory (or what’s left of it) but the years that it has been since I have listened to them have given me a new perspective on them.
The big thing for me is the connection between what the early jazz artists were doing and the larger creative process. That is, the severing of the past for the creation of the new. Although later misinterpreted, the Futurists had a similar beliefs; in Marionetti’s manifesto, he called for the destruction of museums and libraries in order for art to move forward. A similar sort of attitude can be seen both in the title of The Shape of Jazz to Come and in the music, where it was a harbinger of a new style, breaking a lot of old rules of song structure, but doing so in order to move forward.