I love jazz, but I'm not a musician, nor am I that intimately familiar with the social history of the form. However, I have noticed that a change in jazz occurred about 30 years ago. Most everything that I hear from after 1975 or so seems...safe, watered down. It's almost like after the Coltrane/Davis avant garde movement peaked, everyone backed off and retreated to the other extreme.I know some folks will tell you that "true" jazz became commercialized and died out in the 1930s. I think it just evolved thanks to Gillespie and Parker and the like. Swing was "safe" jazz that the white musicians took to, while black artists, with nothing much to lose anyway, cut loose in the clubs and on the independent labels and created the riskier but more organic sounds of be-bop and free jazz.Herbie Hancock and the Marsalis clan are still turning out excellent stuff, but you're right; jazz as a primarily black expression just isn't there anymore. Maybe it's because as society evolved and racism declined the black community found more open ways of speaking what was in their souls and didn't need to rely so much on the vocal code of music.But as I said, I'm just an armchair listener. What do I know?
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