Music Commentary: The Catechism of Jazz Critical Cliches
By Steve Provizer
The Arts Fuse recently published a self-examination by one of its critics. In that spirit, I publish this list, accumulated during a lifetime’s observation, as a caution for the next generation of jazz critics — and readers of same.
- Into his or her efforts what must a jazz musician put: His or her all.
- Can the state of originality be surpassed? Yes, but only by hyper-originality.
- Can note choice, harmony, or sense of time be peccable? No, only impeccable.
- What method of household chore epitomizes a listener’s reaction to a jazz performance: Being swept up.
- To what effect, as per Jelly Roll Morton, may jazz be susceptible to other musical genres: “Tinge-ing.”
- Can the adjective “neo” be attached to any stylistic jazz descriptor: Yes, with “pseudo” as fallback.
- What dangerous cardiac condition can be induced by certain ballad performances: Heartbreak.
- Of what form of empty bombast can saxophonists sometimes be accused: Bluster.
- In what invaluable sartorial appurtenance can a drummer likely be found? In the pocket.
With apologies to Myles na gCopaleen
Steve Provizer writes on a range of subjects, most often the arts. He is a musician and blogs about jazz here.