That difficult modern jazz relationship between singers and instrumentalists

I believe that contemporary jazz has what might be called a dysfunctional relationship with singers, and it is to the music’s artistic and commercial detriment that this is the case. While there are great vocal artists in contemporary jazz, there is a jaundiced view of singers among many jazz instrumentalists, one that places singers in the role of second-class jazz citizens.

That’s a small quote from a much longer blog post by the Irish bassist and educationist Ronan Guilfoyle. It’s a fascinating article on his Mostly Music blog in which Ronan articulates very clearly – and in language everyone can understand! – how this unfortunate situation has arisen, and what might be done to sort it out.

And aside from the specific argument – the whole subject of jazz, the voice and the instrument happens to enthral me but it might not be everyone’s bag – it’s just a superb example of the fine writing that goes on out here on the worldly-widely-inter-thingy. And we need such fine examples to encourage us when the drivel, dumb stuff and downright lies on things like Facebook are starting to get us down. It’s certainly made my day.

  • Read it, everyone, I urge you – it’s here.


Categories: Opinion

Tags: , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. Jazz-on-3 did a “vocal special” this week (yes, Jazz Lineup does a vocal special *every* week but Jo3 isn’t renowned for playing a great deal of vocal work). Perhaps the differences between such shows is illustrative of your point. Thanks anyway, I hadn’t given it a great deal of thought, but if it’s true then it’s the opposite of pop where the astonishing musicians and producers don’t get a look-in. I think it’d be easy to overstate though; it’s still vocalists who rake in all the money in jazz as well as pop.

    Jo3 anyway: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b060z9vt

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