No one listens to jazz anymore


Jazz died in the 60's. It deserved to. Everything that could be said by an acoustic quartet had been said.
It didn't evolve, it couldn't, though some leading jazz musicians reinvented themselves (but not jazz) in the 70's as Fusion. Sometimes it was called Jazz/rock or jazz fusion but it had lost the jazz plot. Any jazz musician who wanted a gig went electric, though they tried to force jazz chops over the new, funky grooves. It was jazz in name only by incorporating an improvisational form in places.
Smooth jazz popped up in the 80's but that wasn't anywhere near as improvisational. It was instrumental pop. It was a nod and a wink to jazz but the form was more 'head' than solo.
Since the 80's...nothing.
Jazz is reduced to a musician only club for middle class white people who meet in small numbers to jam over ancient and hammy show tunes called out of the Fake Book (real book?). Good luck to them but it is an otherwise extinct form.
For no good reason Jazz remains a syllabus item in music schools but is not a career choice.
Anyone who claims to be a professional jazz musician is lying or deluded. Jazz musicians are trust fund babies playing at it.
There are pockets of 'real' jazz musicians, largely established acts like my favorite band, Yellowjackets.

The J Word


I would never claim to be a jazz musician. It's the kiss of death.
It's hard enough to find an audience for instrumental music to jinx it by calling it jazz, so I don't.
Of course, jazz means different things to different folks. To me it is music that goes somewhere unexpected, a place no other music goes.
For Millennials and Gen Z Jazz isn't even on their radar.
I'll keep improvising but I won't let on I'm playing my version of Jazz - the J-Word!
Date: May 2022 last updated May 2022
Genre: Jazz blog fusion instrumental       Benny Sutton
Keywords: one listens jazz anymore blog fusion instrumental