Friday, 7 September 2012

Folk Meets Jazz - stronger than ever!

The journey of jazz seems to be constantly steering itself towards the deep deep truth of its roots. Whether it's flashy, subdued, abstract or a simple interpretation: everything that we associate with jazz and its tools of expression such as improvising, is also present in virtually the same forms in folk, bluegrass, country and pop (to a certain extent). The abstraction of early blues singers such as Blind Willie Johnson can resemble the core behind the most abstract improvised music; and straight-ahead jazz improvising over chords and changes is not that different to what great bluegrass soloists do. A decade ago I would say that the only difference is the vocabulary but today that is not even as true: Bluegrass soloists are now well versed in jazz, classical as well as the art of traditional bluegrass and therefore the vocabularies are starting to influence each other. Although it's not as easy for a pianist or a trumpet player to have a career in bluegrass, I do believe the urge and pull of that music to many musicians, myself included, results in great experiments... to find the most creative and natural way to express the merging of worlds - the roots are the same after all!

Today I came across an advertisement for Dave Douglas's FONT (Festival Of New Trumpet). As part of the festival, Dave Douglas will be releasing his latest project Still, which is a Quintet with Rudy Royston, Jon Irabagon, Linda Oh, Matt Mitchell and special guest Aoife O'Donovan, the singer of the great Bluegrass band Crooked Still, and one of the great singers of our generation.

And one other such experiment comes from two other great musicians collaborating: pianist Brad Mehldau and the bluegrass mandolinist Chris Thile, who besides collaborating with everyone from Edgear Meyer to Bela Fleck, shines in his own group Punch Brothers:

Let the Journey continue!

No comments:

Post a Comment