One of my favorite quotes about jazz by Anthony Braxton popped up in my head today. I think it is an important quote for many reasons, and I think everyone who loves jazz (or whatever you want to call the music) listens to it, makes it, talks about it, writes about it, criticizes it, etc., should read it, consider it, and use it to inform how you think about the music you love. It is a quote that I completely agree with – even though I consider myself to be a critic and that Braxton takes issue with jazz critics, who by virtue of their writing have the effect of limiting, or at least precluding, artists to do as they wish. Interpret it and my reason for posting this as you wish.
The problem with jazz . . . is that they’re defining it in such a way that you cannot do your best. So there’s something inherently wrong with how jazz has been defined . . . The situation now is designed so that jazz is framed in a little box and if you don’t follow in someone else’s footsteps, someone who is so-called ‘jazz’, then you’re automatically excommunicated. But all the masters followed their own steps, so it’s a contradiction in terms.
– Anthony Braxton