Jazz - America's Only Indigenous Art Form

When I was barely into double digits my father introduced me to jazz.  Fats Waller, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sidney Bechet, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Billie Holiday – the elite.  By the time I hit college I was deep into rock – Hendrix, Traffic, The Who – but I was also getting into contemporary jazz – Tony Williams Lifetime, Miles Davis, Roland Kirk, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus.  As I got older, what I found was that while rock started to fall by the wayside, jazz endured.  Today I listen to R&B, soul, funk, some rock, and a lot of jazz.  For me, jazz is a much larger and sophisticated canvas than any of these other forms, almost limitless in its possibilities.  And though nothing new has happened in jazz worthy of mentioning since the deaths of Sun Ra and Albert Ayler, it remains America’s greatest artistic contribution to the world.  I love jazz.
ElLagarto ElLagarto
56-60, M
12 Responses Jun 23, 2007

LOL...so not.

You failed to consider the only real indigenous anything....Native Americans-duh

I'm glad to see some one else knows who Sun Ra and Albert Ayler were. You are right, jazz is American Classical music.

I'd count modern dance as an original American Art Form... Nobody can choreograph or dance modern like Americans. Nobody!.. West Side Story. Sweet Charity. Amazing.. and this from a person who doesnt like musicals.

From be-bop to hip-hop! The career of Miles Davis spanned many decades and many different jazz styles - a true pioneer.

I have always been a singer. In addition I played flute and saxophone (soprano, alto, tenor & baritone). I haven't played in years, although I used to sit in at local clubs now and then and belt out a standard or two. I agree, the more I listen the more I enjoy the older stuff - jazz has lost its way today.

Humdinger - If you know the way from Hodges to Ayler - then you are one very special individual indeed and I salute you. -- Funny you mention bluegrass. I lived in Louisville, KY for 3 years, (worked for the paper, got my MA). Went to local clubs constantly to hear local music - bluegrass was my favorite. (Even saw Bill Monroe at The Grand Old Oprey.) You could say that Appalachian music is descended from English/British folk music in the same sense that jazz is descended from African rhythms, and that both have evolved so much that they are now uniquely American. -- You don't hear bluegrass and jazz linked very often. -- As to seeing Mingus - you lucky so and so. What a giant. I can't listen to Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting often enough.

But as for only indigenous American art form, not so fast - you got to give props to bluegrass (or maybe you don't, but more open-minded scholarly types and us bluegrass lovers do.)

But as for only indigenous American art form, not so fast - you got to give props to bluegrass (or maybe you don't, but more open-minded scholarly types and us bluegrass lovers do.)

But as for only indigenous American art form, not so fast - you got to give props to bluegrass (or maybe you don't, but more open-minded scholarly types and us bluegrass lovers do.)

Hey, El, very cool, and I share a lot of your tastes from Hodges to Ayler. Lots of interesting innovation going on in the realm of free jazz, but the mainstream sorta lost my interest back in the eighties and I never got it back.<br />
<br />
Got to see Mingus in a hippie/granola joint while he was still around and I was just a kid. He ignored the non-smoking signs and blanketed the joint in cigar smoke.

Thank you for sharing this highly reasoned critique. Chacun a son gout.

I just cannot bear to listen to jazz, i really cant, i dont know why...well actually i do...its bloody awful