Monday, May 12, 2014

Why I Stay Away From The Theory Based Review.

funny music photo: this music smells funny thismusic.jpg

I recently reviewed a big band recording and was flattered that it wound up on the face book page of the artist in question...While social media is the cyber island of misfit toys what I found annoying was someone taking a cyber drive by to take a quick pot shot at my effort to draw attention to a review they claim they wrote. The beef was specifically this, "I wrote one that was more involved and went into the charts and soloists etc..."

I don't review from a theoretical perspective. Meter means nothing to those that have never played. Jazz suffers from an image problem. When the average listener that appreciates the music picks up a review and finds terms and concepts that are totally foreign then their interest begins to go out the window and they tighten up in the same fashion as most of us do when they hear the words tax time. I don't write for an audience of professional musicians, they know theory. The pseudo intellectual critic that wants to wax poetic on theory is normally suffering from the "look how much I know about music syndrome" and their end result is normally showing the musicians how little they actually know. I know of no person in my 52 years on this planet that bought a release of improvisational music based on meter...

I write for the passive listener. I write in an effort to share not only relevant information about the artist but where they might have been heading conceptually. Does the record swing? Does it move you? Does it cut new ground? This is what motivates an individual to make a purchase. Critics have favorites and they have opinions. I believe the ultimate responsibility is to share the aesthetic experience one achieved but always with the understanding that taste is subjective.

The method to my madness has paid off. I average about 10 emails a month from artists that tell me, "thank god for someone that listens, you expressed exactly what I was trying to achieve." That is the shared experience of music. Charts, meter, and changes just show you may have taken a theory class. Mom must be so proud...I played. I minored in music. I've reviewed more improvisational music in four years than some people have heard in their life, I just don't make a big deal out of it.