I love that Esperanza Spalding got the grammy for new artist. Not only did she earn it, I love what it stands for.
She’s a prime example to use the next time you hear someone say, “there’s no more good music these days”. For example, here’s a typical comment from I found on youtube while watching the Temptations:
“Too bad real music like this will never happen again….too much computer enhancement and auto-tone these days. You don’t have to really sing anymore…these days the record deals are all about who you know instead of “real” talent. RIP Motown…”
This is a sentiment you’ll see parroted often when you browse videos with past greats like Ella Fitzgerald or Stevie Rae Vaughn. They’re great, today’s top 40 sucks, ergo, no more good music ever again. It’s not only there that I’ve encountered this; I heard it uttered over and over when I was studying music, both from classmates and from seasoned pros and/or profs who should have known better.
Philosophically, we can never wade through the same river twice. Times change, tastes change, technology changes. However, this does not prove that there are no and never will be any more brilliant music. In fact, there’s a myriad of artists, writers and composers out there right now who are burning with musical talent and passion. Esperanza Spalding, I submit, is an excellent example.
Here are two counter-arguments to consider:
First, when we look back in music history, we see all those awesome characters: Mozart, Stravinsky, Duke Ellington, Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Hendrix, both Joplins, Kurt Kobain, etc. But for all these great musicians, there are countless others we don’t remember. We don’t remember them because they weren’t great like the ones above. There were lots of cats composing at the same time as Mozart, but there was only one Mozart.
First-and-a-half, we assume that all these past musical greats were always accepted as such in their own times. Bach and Haydn led mostly humble lives as servants. Schubert died somewhat obscurely as a pauper. Little Richard is surely better known than white-bread-with-the-crusts-cut-off Pat Boone, but who’s recording of Tooty Fruity did better then? Hendrix got canned from his gig opening for the Monkeys after two weeks because the audience thought he sucked.
Great artists are often under-appreciated in their own times while mediocrity often rises to the top. It’s not my part here to discuss why this is so; my point is that this has always been so.
Secondly, just because you don’t hear it doesn’t mean it’s not being played. To anyone who read that quote above and thought that it was right on the money I say this: it’s not the times, it’s not the musicians, it’s not even the record labels at fault; it’s you. True it may be that record labels are becoming ever more bottom-line selective in whom they sign, there has never been a better time in history to discover great music from all over the world, all by yourself. Thanks to the internet and digital media, it has never been this easy. Any musician with or without a contract — such as myself– can sell mp3s on iTunes, and many musicians — such as myself– are even giving away music for free. My point being, if you can’t find musicians out there who can really play, singers who can really sing, songwriters and composers who can really write, you’re not trying hard enough.
To wrap up, here’s a paraphrased exchange from I, Claudius where a famous, aged Greek actor engaged to perform at court chats with a servant who was also formally an actor:
Servant: “The theater is not what it was…”
Old Actor: “That’s true, but I tell you something else. It never was what it was.”
My gallery page is currently down. That is to say, only logged in users can view the pictures en large.
Having done some reading about this kind of thing, it appears that this bug occurred because I used ole’ Fantastico to handle the updates instead of doing it manually. So, I need to redo the update manually. I just have time for that crap right now. Or ever, really. So I’ll fix it when I fix it.
Faut-il relâcher le requin-guitare ?
Mariko died this Thursday at 9:20 am of lung cancer. She was at her home in Königsstraße in company with her brother, her parents who had flown in from Japan four weeks ago, and her husband Marco.
Dude Dude Chick will be playing at Schaubudensommer on July 18th at 11:59 pm.
Next, we are playing on Thurday, August 12 at Zille.
Gesualdo composed beautiful madrigals. He is also the perpetual outsider.
I’ll leave that to you to find out why, but here’s one of his pieces. Note his use of chromaticism (you can read along, look for the accidentals). Keep in mind that chromatic scales were relatively new in his time. Nobody — and I mean no-frickin-body — was writing like this in his time. It didn’t catch on for another 400 years. Stravinsky took pilgrimages to Gesualdo’s castle, and even erected a statue to him.