Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Another thread from the Speakeasy that I've been following with some degree of interest is one in which the posters discuss musicians who they felt used to be innovative, but are now no longer living up to their potential. This has got to be awfully tough to figure out sine we often have no idea what the goals of a particular musician are. Arthur's Blythe is one of my favorite jazz musicians, I love the pungent tone he gets on the alto saxophone. Lenox Avenue Breakdown is one of the highpoints of his career (*the* highpoint according to the Penguin Guide) but are we really to say that Blythe is no longer an innovator because he now enjoys playing standards backed by a piano trio on occasion? Music is a tough business and I think that compromises have to be made to secure performance and recording opportunities so it may seem that certain musicians aren't at the cutting edge of the music scene as they may have been in their youth, but when you look at the bigger picture, you see that there are more dimensions to the question.

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