That’s not jazz, Spaniard tells saxophonist

Larry Ochs’ Sax & Drumming Core may not be al gusto for everyone, but should Spain’s Civil Guard decide whether it plays “jazz”? At the Sigüenza Jazz Festival a disgruntled purist demanded his ticket money back claiming he was subjected to “contemporary music” rather than jazz fitting his definition; pistol-packing cops backed him up (which makes me wonder what they thought of last week’s concert by Digital Primitives). Read the Guardian account here.

Ochs is, for those who don’t know, a founding member of the estimable East Bay-based ROVA Saxophone QuartetStone Shift, his Sax & Drumming Core’s recent release from the French label RogueArt features his alternately garrulous and tender extended-technique tenor and sopranino improvisations on four somewhat open form compositions with post-Coltrane harmonic extrapolations, engaged collaboration from Satoko Fujii on piano and synth, Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and drummers Scott Amendola and Donald Robinson. Most of the recording is live from a 2007 concert at Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, Venice. No reports have surfaced about gondoliers or anyone else protesting either the newness or jazziness of that performance. Word: jazz and “new music” are one and the same. Purists beware!
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  1. says

    Reminds me of something Henry Grimes said to me in a Q & A at the NEC: “The avant-garde stands or falls together.” He continued, saying “You may start it by opening a can of coffee…” By which I think he meant (but only Grimes knows Grimes) free jazz may be original in one sense, but it all goes back to the tradition of bucking traditions, wherever that may have begun.

  2. says

    hmmm…. “contemporary” inherently means not jazz? Must have been planted there by W.Marsalis! But the good news (I guess) is that the local Guardia Civil was packing pistols; when I was in Spain many years ago, they were toting some pretty scary looking rifles, even if they were just directing traffic! (I remember being at a storytelling event, where the storytellers were simply presenting mostly age-old folk tales from several cultures — and one angry father grabbed his kids and left, complaining later in a letter that he hadn’t known he was being “forced” to listen to “left-wing diatribes”! As it happens, I worked in the same place he did at the time, and he told me that the stories were “anti-Christian” (which I guess equals “left-wing diatribe”). So there’s just no way to know where some people’s near-violent prejudices will rear their ugly heads.