Monday, June 8, 2009

David Grisman Quintet

Trumpet master Brian Lynch is quoted on his website ( saying, "I think that to be a straight-ahead jazz musician now means drawing on a wider variety of things than 30 or 40 years ago. Not to play a little bit of this or a little bit of that, but to blend everything together into something that sounds good."
Being that this is so - that modern jazz now encompasses and fuses so many different styles and genres and influences -, it has become increasingly hard to define the word "jazz." With jazz becoming a melting pot of so many sorts of musical fusions, many are becoming more and more obsessed with defining the word and the music, becoming increasingly protective of what they consider to be jazz. However, in the midst of this identity crisis, I believe Lynch says it best by saying that the goal of this fusion is to "blend everything together into something that sounds good." This quote, reminiscent of the famous Duke Ellington quote ("There are only two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind."), stands testament to the idea that definitions are irrelevant; that the only thing that matters is the quality of the music.
Even so, it seems to be a natural human compulsion to attempt to define sound; it is hard for most people to simply hear something and say "this is good music," and leave it at that, without attempting to place it in a genre.
For those who simply can't resist this temptation, the following group should yield quite a fun time. Technically filed in the bluegrass section, the music of the David Grisman Quintet is extremely genre-defying. Is it Bluegrass? Is it folk? Is it jazz? It is swing? Is it country? These are all questions you will find yourself asking, while at the same time, mind-boggled that yes, it is all of the above. For those who need proof that genre defining, while hard to try and not do, only confuses -doesn't legitimize- the music, look no further than the David Grisman Quintet. As the Duke said, "If it sounds good and feels good, then it is good."

1 comment:

thefunkygoat said...

Amen! I love David Grisman's genre defying musical gene-splicing. I just wish he'd come over the pond and play here in the UK! FG