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Michael Brecker et. al

Interesting that you bring up Michael Brecker. Ted Gioia recently blogged about Brecker--lamenting that despite other musicians (especially saxophonists) ravishingly singing his praises he is now virtually ignored by critics. So I Googled a bit and found the critical assessment of Michael Brecker (which I think is pretty apt) linked below.

Brecker was certainly an amazing technician and probably a very good person; I (and many others) never found him a particularly interesting artist. In my experience, musicians tend to be in awe of players with more chops than they have, and this speaks to the craft and professional aspects of being a musician. Saxophonist that come off of the jazz academy assembly line tend to revere Brecker; he was at the top of the quantifiable ladder of the jazz meritocracy that they as students are trying to climb. But artistry tends to be ineffable. How do you quantify an Albert Ayler or an Ornette Coleman. I know plenty of jazz college grads. who will tell you flat out the both of these great artists couldn't play their horn. Which is ridiculous; rather they chose to play in ways that made the standard criteria irrelevant. The jazz colleges teach jazz as a fixed body of music and musical practice, and this is at odds with the creation of art.


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