I've been amazed at the huge response to my post on jazz education. Not only has there been direct responses in the comments section to the blog, but there’s also been an avalanche of responses to my various email addresses, website etc. I really didn’t know that this subject would elicit such a reaction, but I’ve been amazed....
I got one very irate response from the writer Stuart Nicholson concerning the quote from his book Is Jazz Dead? (or Has it Moved to a New Address) that I used in the post. An argument I’ve often heard by boosters of European jazz is that American jazz has been ruined at least in part by jazz education – an argument which ignores the fact that most European jazz schools are very similar to their American counterparts. However Stuart has pointed out to me that the quote I used from his book to make this point is a misrepresentation of his position and he sent me other quotes from the book to show how I had erred in using the quote in that way. And he’s right - so my apologies to him for that – I’ve removed the quote from the post and rephrased it so that it has no reference to his position on this subject.
The purpose of these posts is always to discuss the ins and outs of creative improvised music, they’re never meant to personally offend people. I remember meeting Stuart several years ago and found him to be a very nice man who was kind enough to later send me a copy of his excellent biography of Duke Ellington which I enjoyed very much so I hope he’s not too offended.
Several other reactions have suggested other aspects of the whole jazz education thing which deserve further exploration, and I’ll come back to them in a subsequent post. Thanks for all the interest and reaction – of all kinds!
Dizzy Gillespie in London, 1966
15 hours ago