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Alexander Rocha
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Some people have pointed out more or less idiosyncratic contestants who have placed in the finals or won previous contests, but then suggested that the participants were dialing down some of their idiosyncracies (I don't want to say individuality, because I don't want to suggest that the more mainstream competitors aren't individuals) to fit a "mainstream" context. Perhaps, Jeffalbert, Jamison Ross approached the competition by imagining how he'd sub for Philly Joe Jones in the Miles Davis Quintet. Everyone seems to agree he does have magnificent feel. I get why Ethan Iverson made his question about Monk - it's the obvious rhetorical move - and I think a lot of people missed the point a little bit when they said "hey, Monk could play a lot of piano!" and "he won competitions as a kid!" Yeah, but after 1945 or so Monk played Monk, uncompromisingly, willing to live and die with the respect of some of his peers and the scorn of others. I feel like the question could've been posed even more forcefully, though less ironically, about Ornette Coleman. Does anyone really think there's any way Ornette could win the Monk competition on saxophone? Again, whatever else he can do on the horn (and I think there are fewer voices saying that Ornette can do a mean Charlie Parker impression, or whatever), Ornette does Ornette Coleman, uncompromisingly. Some of jazz's most important innovaters have been powerful undeniable virtuosos who could and did play the standard language as it existed BEFORE they revolutionized it. That's not how Monk and Coleman (of equal importance in my estimation, if not greater) did or do it. And yet at the end of the day, in a drum competition, maybe the guy who swings hardest should win, right? Good for Jamison Ross.
Toggle Commented Sep 25, 2012 on Let's Call This at THE GIG
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Sep 25, 2012