Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Rock criticism vs. Jazz criticism

Loved this comparison of rock and jazz criticism from an interview with the NYTimes's departing music critic, Ben Ratliff:

"The philosophy of rock is essentially founded on the idea of killing your parents, breaking with the past and creating something entirely new: being shocking or disorienting. What we think of now as rock criticism, at least in its sensibility, basically starts with punk and is fairly hazy about what came before it. Anything that seems allied with punk in some way is basically true and right. Somehow that includes Bob Dylan. It also includes John Lennon, but not Paul McCartney. The culture of rock musicians buys into that and the culture of rock critics buys into that, so there’s unity. You’re absolutely right, it’s astonishing sometimes to hear rock musicians talk with knowledge and insight about Lester Bangs or Greil Marcus or whomever. They care what those people said and thought.

In jazz, there’s a fundamentally different understanding between critics and musicians. Many critics are futurists, a slightly less violent cousin of punks: they believe it is the music’s need or destiny to break away from the past and reinvent itself. And many jazz musicians believe that continuity with the past is extremely important."

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