Wynton Marsalis Discussion Forum

   

Quincy Jones Calls Wynton out…

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http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2008/10/06/2008-10-06_quincy_jones_when_it_comes_to_hip_hop_wy.html

I just read this article and I am absolutely appalled!!!  For Quincy Jones to make such comments, further shows me lack of direction and greed on his part. Culturally our society is in urgent need of a revival. 

 

Wynton has made his stance firm on what is and is not jazz.  Hip Hop is NOT JAZZ, nor is RAP!!!  There is nothing in common with the two.  Quincy is an arranger of great integrity and skill.  It is obvious that he left jazz to focus on making money in the pop world.  I have no problem with that what-so-ever…that’s his business. 

 

However, I take great offense to him calling Wynton out to present “hip hop”.  Quincy also makes a comment that no one wants to play like Wynton….I have watched countless numbers of young musicians tell Wynton how much he motivates them and how much they want to be like him.  Qunicy never was known to be as a great player.  This has been documented over and over again.  I for one would give anything to sound like Wynton, and I thank the good Lord that we have someone interested in educating youth and promoting jazz the way that Wynton does!!!!

 

Keep Swingin’,

 

Neil L. King

Fairmont, WV

     
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Well, that’s kind of disappointing.  I obviously agree with Wynton.  I don’t think that hip hop qualifies as jazz.  However, I am also a fan of Quincy Jones.  I guess they just have a disagreement on this issue.

     
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Again I am partially biased since my dad worked for Quincy, but I think Mr. Jones is absolutely right. No trumpeter I know wants to play like Wynton, because he is not very melodic and plays too old style New Orleans Jazz. If Wynton can play with Willie Nelson why can’t he play with R&B and Hip Hop stars ? Miles did that before he died. I saw a great video of him playing with Prince back in the day.

BTW,hip hop is the culture rap is the music. I think Quincy is referring to Wynton linking more with Hip Hop culture rather than the actual music. Quincy has done more to keep America’s youth connected to Jazz than Wynton. Quincy produced with Herbie Hancock. I was a fan of Wynton until I heard Miles Davis’ Doo Bop and then I was finished with Wynton. Jazz not Hip Hop ? Listen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DEIR7CQB8I

     

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Charmaine Nokuri

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I can’t think of anything that Quincy Jones has doine in the past 20 years that is even remotely connected to jazz. Maybe I’m just unaware. Can you give an example of Quincy “keeping america’s youth connected to jazz than Wynton”....Fresh Prince of Bel Air????  Thrilller?

     
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Dr Wahoo…...Are you kidding me?????  Hip Hop has absolutely nothing to do with Jazz…NOTHING!!!  Unless you want to count the young men being misguided and parading around as if they were part of a minstrel show.  Wait, that has nothing to do with jazz either, that’s just a group individuals that have not been exposed to true art forms.  Instead they have been lead down a path driven by money and ignorance.

 

  Jazz is Americas greatest legacy and contribution to the arts!!!  For Quincy not to understand this and lead us to believe that we are being steered backwards is crazy to say the least.  You ask why would Wynton play with Willie Nelson?  For one,  I want you to study the term “roots music”.  Roots music is any form of music evolving from the blues that tends to have sustaining power.  Wynton comes straight out of a blues tradition, as does Willie Nelson.  Yes, both have went different directions, but both are directly congruent to “roots music”; in other words “the blues”.  I ask you this:  Why did Louis Armstrong record with Jimmie Rogers?  Jazz in it’s best state is based upon blues and swing.  Now, I want you to know that as Wynton would say,  “I am telling you this in love and its all coming out of love for the music”.

 

You also stated that no one “wants to play like Wynton”  Are you seriously kidding me????  I mean come on,  there is no one today blowing like him!!!!!  The only reason they might not want to play like him is because honestly, they can’t.  I am a 38 year old professional trumpet player and educator.  I would love to play like Wynton!!!!!

 

You also commented that his playing is “old style New Orleans”.  I could name many recordings where he is flat out blowing on some “straight ahead”.  One recent example is “Live at the House of Tribes”.  Check out Donna Lee….Serious be- bop going on there.  Anyway,  I am making value judgements as are you but, if you don’t dig Wynton then why are you in this forum????

 

Neil L. King

Fairmont, WV

     
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An old topic::

Many people define jazz differently and many make a profit on rap… http://www.rapnews.net/0-202-261784-00.html

     
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True,  many do define jazz differently.  That being said,  how do you define rap?  Someone please give me some insight into exactly how rap is like jazz?  Before you do so remember this:

Rap music is based off of drones or sampled patterns that continue to act as, well should I dare say or use the European classical term passacaglia. (please note this term is used very loosely)

 

Rap music takes no formal understanding in dealing with harmonic knowledge.

 

A jazz musician works countless hours perfecting the ability to have complete understanding and control of their instruments.  To be able to play any idea over a give set of harmonic progressions that will enhance and coexist the context of what is occurring on the bandstand at that given moment.  Democracy in music…A beautiful thing!!!!  It must be rough programing a computer to loop some tracks to rhyme over them.  By the way,  my wife is an elementary music teacher and she has her first graders compose a rap.

 

 

Unless anyone can site any factual information, this is a closed discussion.

     
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Sigh I do love elitist jazz musicians, lol.  You guys remind me that I am in fact on Wynton Marsalis’ website, ROFL.

Here is the link about the roots of hip hop http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_hop_music#Roots_of_hip_hop.

 

Did any of you even listen to Miles Davis’ Do Bop CD ?

 

If in fact Wynton comes from a Blues background, please explain to me why he hasn’t done anything with a R&B singer ?

 

I feel like a step child stuck between two arguing parents. I think both Wynton and Quincy have made tremendous contributions to the world of music. No one is wrong, no one is right.

 

However, I see the world probably more through Wynton’s eyes. I was a black kid trained in classical music, which is not a popular thing. If I got a nickel for every time I was called white I would be rich. I am sure if you looked at Wynton’s soul it looks much like mine, filled with more scars left by black people than white people. He is a black person much like me, caught between two worlds, one filled with crabs the other filled mystery meat.

 

I don’t believe in negating any form of expression because it is personal. Young brothers are trying to get off the street by doing something positive rather than selling drugs or joining a gang. Rich people can talk about quality and all that stuff, these brothers are creating music to survive.  Who are you to look down on them ? In article Wynton is quoted as saying that hip hop “ghetto minstrelsy.”  This why I can’t stand stuck up trained musicians, you lack compassion and humility. You extol quality over humanity. I have a friend right now strung out on drugs, because some idiot at one of the top schools in the nation bawled him out because he made one mistake in a concert and kicked him out. I love music but let’s keep it real you are not healing world hunger or saving lives. My husband is a doctor and what he does in the grand scheme of things is a lot more important than quality music. So let’s keep things in perspective uhmmkay.

 

 

Finally I mentioned it before Wynton has the same image problem as Tiger and Michael Jordan. Old heads like Jim Brown wants these athletes to be like him and talk about race all the time and connect with today’s black youth. What Jim Brown and Quincy don’t understand is that being black is very different than it was before segregation.  There is a severe divide between urban blacks & suburban blacks. Wynton, Tiger, Jordan can not relate to Urban blacks because their experience is TOTALLY different. We may all look the same but our values and experiences are just different.

 

Wynton is a trumpet player but in a greater musical context he is basically irrelevant. He appeals more to academics than the average person. And when Quincy is talking about people wanting to play like Wynton he is talking about style and feel. Wynton is a great technician, but he simply doesn’t move people like Miles Davis or Freddie Hubbard.

 

Here is some facts about the above http://planet.blog.usf.edu/topics/wynton-marsalis/

 

http://letters.salon.com/ent/audiofile/2007/04/17/marsalis_davis/view/?show=all

     

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Charmaine Nokuri

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I am so glad that you responded.  I first and foremost want you to know that I am enjoying engaging in dialogue with you.  You obviously have given much thought to your argument, and I can only praise you for taking a stand and presenting it in a dignified manner and tone.

 

I however must answer your question to why Wynton has not performed with an R&B singer.  What type of R&B are we discussing?  Are you wishing to discuss R&B musicians of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, or today’s current R&B stars?  Early R&B musicians were pioneers.  They took blues music and begin to present it to the masses.  However,  due to the terrible things such as segragation/racism, and race records the music never made it to the masses.  This changed when white musicians began to copy the artist and introduce R&B to a new audience.  However, in the early 50’s it was introduced to the masses in a genre’ that we currently refer to as Rock-a-billy. 

 

I know for a fact that Wynton has great respect for the R&B musicians that grew out of the Blues “roots music” tradition.  Wynton performed at “The Apollo” on June 2, 2003 with BB King and Ray Charles in a joint concert promoting the music that they both came from:  The BLUES!!!!!  He also performed along with Stevie Wonder at the funeral for Mr. Charles held one year later.  You obviously did not read about “roots music”.  Yes as I stated above R&B comes from roots music (e.g. THE BLUES). 

 

I am not going to obviously convince you that Wynton relates to the young urban black community.  I will however tell you that he spends countless hours in schools and with Jazz at Lincoln Center trying to reach out to all races.  Wynton and I both recently enjoyed a discussion that we had in regards to the fact that jazz has taken a turn that is not necessarily for the better.  That is, jazz has became “concert hall” music.  As I am sure we both can agree early jazz was music for the people.  You call me an elitist above,  I have to say I am not an elitist, however I prefer to be called a “jazz snob” :)

 

On a serious note, I to have been subject to criticism from members of my own race.  I am a white dude that lives and grew up in WV and wanted to be a jazz musician.  Now,  think about that for a bit :)  Seriously though, I cannot put myself in your shoes as you can not put yourself in mine.  We both feel and “take” things differently.  I can however tell you this:

 

I have great respect for what Quincy has done as an arranger.  His works in the 50’s and 60’s with big bands were stellar.  I for the last year have been seriously digging on his complete Mosiac big band recordings.  Robot Portrait, The Twitch, Quintessence, and Hard Sock dance to name a few are true works of art.

 

No, I have not listened to the Miles Davis recording that you cited earlier.  I honestly cannot bring myself to listen to a man of such genius playing the stuff that he played after 1970.  Miles like Quincy saw a chance to make a lot of money and that is why he began to record what he did from the sides of “Bitches Brew” forward.  I cannot fault him for wanting to make money.  Do you honestly think that his rationale for recording these styles was to “bring jazz” to black urban youth?  I am sorry,  I have to say that this was not his motive.  And yes, Freddie Hubbard played with utmost swing and emotion.  If you are looking for emotion in Wynton’s playing just check out any of his standard time recordings, or for that matter hear him live.  It is an experience you will not forget!!!!

 

 

Thank you for allowing me the chance to debate with you.  I don’t think that we will ever agree, but I must say that I have enjoyed the discussion.

 

With Swing,

 

Neil L. King

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhythm_and_blues  R&B

     
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Well, jazz is not hip-hop and hip-hop is not jazz.  With that said, I recently wrote an arrangement of Wayne Shorter’s “Black Nile” that started with a hip-hop groove then went into swing.  The transition between the two grooves were seamless!  I believe jazz IS a higher more complex art form that can be performed in the concert hall AND in the intimate jazz club.  The beautiful thing about jazz and jazz musicians is this: My sextet recently had a weekend gig and here’s some of what we played:

Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” - swing groove

Fuller’s “A La Mode”

Mobley’s “No Room For Squares”

Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” - funk groove

Shorter’s “Black Nile” - hip-hop and swing groove

With all acoustic instruments!

 

Jazz musicians can take all the different genres and make them ours and create something new within the jazz genre.  One minute the crowd is clapping to a funk groove, the next, snapping to “Donna Lee”...PRICELESS!  It’s why I love jazz AND why I listen to all music.

 

My job is to create jazz. Support jazz. Further jazz. Defend jazz. Explore jazz.  To me, Wynton must feel this is his mission as well.  However, as much as I despise so called “smooth jazz”, I will not spend my energy trying to convince the public of its illegitimacy as true jazz, it is simply instrumental pop with faint jazz overtones.  I will spend my time presenting classic jazz to the public with all my conviction.  In my sets I perform music from Louis, Duke, Clifford, Blakey ect…

 

If you present the music to folks this way they’ll know if you’re serious or not and will respond accordingly.  If Q wants to defend or talk about the virtues of hip-hop…great.  I on the other hand have to be concerned with preserving this great music called jazz, which has greatly influenced R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop and Rap.

 

Kenny

     
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Is Natalie Cole considered R&B?  I believe she sang with Wynton and it was posted on this site.

     
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Now this is what I am talking about people, some good dialogue. My faith in this website has been restored,lol.

I have to admit I am a jazz snob as well. Do not get me started on Kenny G,lol.

 

I just believe in pulling people up, not down. I have been blessed with an enormous intellect and fairly good musical training. But all this was given to me by the grace of God. Everything I have and am is to be used for His glory.  Read 1 Corinthians 13 or one of my favorite scriptures that always humbles me is that knowledge puffs up loves edifies.

 

This not to say we shouldn’t analyze or critque things. I have had to check myself recently with one of my clients who is a musician. She isn’t a high quality musician by any stretch of the imagination but she has the drive to get better and to grow. I admire her because I gave up on music when it got to hard. I kept comparing myself to every other musician and thought I could never be great. That is until I met Sean Jones. We don’t agree on anything about music, but his humility and encouragement when I told him I wanted to play the trumpet again inspired me to give it a try and I am eternally grateful. Then I hooked up with an old friend from my trumpet line in high school that graduated from Eastman and she helped me be patient with myself. Once I became secure in who I was as a musician I can accept all musicians and all genres.

 

Maybe white musicians cannot relate which is cool, but for those of us who are African American we have to have the attitude he ain’t heavy he is my brother. We can pontificate all day long about what jazz is and isn’t today, but at the very heart of all African-American music is the will to strive and survive in a system that was initially dedicated to keeping us subservient. That survivor spirit is what connects R&B, Jazz, Gospel, Hip Hop, Reggae and all music from the African Diaspora. If you can’t dig that, than you just can’t.

 

But here is a dedication to Barack Obama that I created. I think Miles would have appreciated it because I am not as cynical to think that Miles was just after money, for goodness sakes he had so many albums. He was a strong supporter of the Civil Rights Movement and played a benefit concert for the NAACP. Read his biography to know his heart.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ajPPXsm80Q

     

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Charmaine Nokuri

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Kenny my friend, welcome to the forum.  Great to see my West Vee homey on here and a jazz musician of your integrity and profound insight.  Dr. Wahoo excellent video.  I have great respect for the civil rights movement and for a great American like Dr. King!  I think that honestly you and I could be great friends.  We both have well versed stand points on issue.  Though in some of my writings, it may not sound like it, but I too want to see people uplifted not put down.  Life is hard enough without people being put down.  Also, welcome back to the trumpet. 

Music and the trumpet in general have provided me to have a lifestyle and see things that I would have never have seen or been able to accomplish.  I am sure that my good friend Kenny(above) will say the same.  It’s obvious that you and I have different views, and that is wonderful….If everyone was the same or believed the same than life would be pretty boring.  That’s what makes us unique and honestly things in my opinion GREAT! 

 

I to like Miles.  I don’t dig his later stuff, but the genius of his early works could never be debated.  If you get a chance,  check out artist Jo Gelbarb writings on Miles.  She really gives insight into the Miles that very few people ever got to know.  IMHO better insight than his autobiography (which I have read several times). Check out this link, the books is literally an hour read.  If you order a copy tell them that I recommended the book.

 

Let me know what you think.  http://www.alovestoryinblue.com/

 

Neil L. King

http://www.neil-king

     
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You make me smile Neil :)

As for hambonejones, up there. Even though I don’t dig on swine, I wanted to comment about what Quincy has done for music.

 

As an aspiring jazz trumpeter myself, I have TREMENDOUS respect for great jazz trumpeters. Mastering jazz trumpet in my opinion is probably the hardest thing to do in music, because of the physical nature of the instrument and the theoretical knowledge that it requires. It takes the kind of focus and preparation that VERY few are willing to give.

 

However, I think because of that laser focus SOME jazz musicians lose sight of the greater picture. Jazz is still apart of a larger social framework.  It is a gift from God to all of humanity. Yet it is increasingly becoming hidden from the world. I think somewhere someone noted that even Wynton is concerned that jazz is becoming more and more “concert hall” music, which means it is being alienated from the greater masses. Philosophically this bothers me. I don’t criticize or analyze as a jazz hater, but as a jazz lover. Open rebuke is better than secret love.

 

By calling out Wynton, Quincy is doing something for jazz. As they say bad publicity is better than no publicity.  America loves conflict, in fact that is probably what put hip hop on the map. The East Coast/ West Coast battle raised its awareness. Dialoguing creates change. Even in relationships, intimacy grows after conflict. A strange phenomenon indeed but such is life.

 

In truth I am a lover not a fighter, but true love can’t grow until we are willing to challenge what we know and continue in our journey towards the truth. You don’t know who you are or what you believe until you are tested. Jazz must continually be put through the fire like gold, so that it can be refined. As a jazz missionary I believe in the good news of the jazz gospel. Jazz is a lifestyle not just notes on a page. We who are entrusted with its very survival must do everything in our power to spread it to the world at large, because its message is one of beauty, peace and acceptance.

 

I guess as a lady I can sit back and look at Quincy and Wynton and accept that boys will be boys and fight. But as a sister I guess I sit back also and hope that this little “sibling rivalry” will produce some middle ground. So to Wynton all I can say is yes move to higher ground but bring more young people with you.  Be secure enough in your jazzhood that you can find a place for hip hop or other black genres in your music. Or maybe jazz is like a spice that needs to be added to these genres. Who knows just find a way to blend without losing integrity. This is the calling of all innovators and it indeed is a tough balancing act.

     

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Charmaine Nokuri

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Last thing that I am going to throw on the table.  No one here has yet to define the essence or common thread that holds today’s popular music together.  Jazz, Country, Hip-hop, Rap, Rock n roll, R&B, Ragtime etc. etc…All have one common thing…come on now people what is it?

Neil L. King

http://www.wvtrumpet.com

     
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DrWahoo said: “Wynton, Tiger, Jordan can not relate to Urban blacks because their experience is TOTALLY different. We may all look the same but our values and experiences are just different.” Are you serious? One of the issues I have have with folks who post on here is that they suppose to know the man…are you a friend of Wynton’s? Did you grow up in his neighborhood? Do you have any credibility when it comes to discussing his formative experiences and values? The first thing most people do when thinking of or discussing Wynton is completely misrepresent his upbringing. He grew up totally in an urban environment (he would call it the ‘hood)...with all of the issues and challenges that brings. I can say with complete confidence (I can not speak for Tiger or Jordan) that Wynton has not lost touch with his"urban roots”, or his ability to stay in touch with the common man, just because he is successful. If that would be the case, then most of the major hip hop artists, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Kanye, etc would have no street cred at all…due to their “success”...