Friday, August 9, 2013

Nicholas Payton / Oops! I Did It Again

I have been taking it easy over the past few days as I recover from my fourth surgical procedure when I was sent a link to the latest rant from Nicholas Payton posted on his web site. Granted, I am no stranger to the occasional well placed rant but I felt compelled to go against my better judgement and say something on the topic at hand.

Evidently Payton is drawing some fire for agreeing to play a festival in Israel. Nicholas Payton does in fact lay out a very well thought out piece of logic as to why he will play the festival and in his own unique style is clearly stating those that are upset over this can basically kiss the front of his back. I actually agree with Payton 100% up to the point where he directly implies that the United States is the Hitler of the world...

We are the United States and not without problems that involve race, sexual orientation, and a myriad of other social issues. One person can not make a difference although the naive liberal mindset will argue otherwise. Human behavior can not be legislated nor can it be manipulated through caustic racially charged hate speech. I am not picking on Payton as there are a very small but concentrated group of musicians still holding onto the belief that #BAM is a musical revolution that will still take shape. I have been effected by #BAM as I seldom use the umbrella term of jazz but instead use the term improvisational music, that is as far as I go.

Hitler of the world? Perhaps Payton would enjoy living in one of the third world Islamic nations that will slice the head off an American simply due to his country of origin. After the Trayvon Martin tragedy Arturo O'Farrill came out on face book and directly implied that the appropriate response would be Americans taking to the streets with a violent intent. Orrin Evans referred to his record label as "shit" on face book. Yet all of these jazz pimps continue to cash their pay checks as handed to them by the "white power" to reference a statement made by J.D. Allen.

Despite Payton's last live recording being the best release he has had in over a decade, he languishes in relative obscurity. Payton is believing his own press clippings yet the problem is they have 25 year old dates on them. Biting the hand that feeds you is never wise. Believing you are the center of the trumpet universe, a sonic collective of Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis is worse still. There is always someone better on the horizon as the music continues to evolve.

Freedom of speech allows the musicians I have referenced above to say any dumb ass thing they wish. There are those that will pander to them based on race and not based on logic, reason or intellect. Nicholas Payton and Orrin Evans are two major prolific talents in the world of improvisational music. The education of the fans of improvisational music can not be strong armed by a handful of people that wish to make a successful career out of riding on the coat tails of the masters that came before them. Had I referred to any employer as "shit" then I would have been terminated immediately yet Evans continues to get paid. So how racist is America or the music industry as a whole?

There is no doubt I will receive a posted nasty gram from Payton. I am a literary loose canon in the world of jazz journalism. I call it straight down the middle. Other critics have advised I look the other way, accept a liberal medium for what it is. Unlike some poverty pimps turned jazz musicians I am not drawing a pay check. Think about it.

I support Payton's refusal to boycott Israel. He makes some cogent points but his main problem is he never knows when to stop talking. It's not what you say but how you say it. With that in mind, I'm out.