The problem with freestyle jazz

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I have pretty eclectic musical tastes and love anything well produced. Which is the complete antithesis to some strains of jazz music, it seems.

Music is one of those art forms that divides opinion almost as vehemently as politics and religion. One person’s Bach is another’s Stone Roses. For me, if it has a beat, sounds good loud and makes me want to move my limbs, it’s a hit, regardless of style. And that is partly the reason I despise — and I don’t use that word often — freestyle jazz.

Some pieces of jazz I don’t mind, as long as they have musical interest and the musicians are clearly having a good time jamming together. The biggest problem with the freestyle variant of this genre is that there is no musical interest, and the musicians have clearly never met one another. Not only are they strangers, they’re issued instruments they’ve never seen before. “Hey Bob, try this double-bass… no… not that way up.”

The resulting cacophony is like musical nails on a blackboard; the auditory equivalent of a drive-by shooting, with bullets spraying randomly and passers-by screaming or diving for cover from the ricochets. There’s the guitarist noodling away in atonal intervals, the pianist hammering augmented ninths and suspended fourths in a different key, the trumpet player in 6/8 time for reasons known only to him, and the drummer, having quickly given up trying to make sense of the mêlée, pursues the musical equivalent of stumbling around a park after being kicked in the nuts.

I think I’d rather listen to a primary school orchestra than freestyle jazz. Heck I think I’d rather clip meat to my face and charge across the Serengeti than listen to freestyle jazz. It makes me very, very angry.

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