Frank Allen: “The Other JQ: The Jazz Question”

At Counter-Currents, Frank Allen has a very good essay on “The Other JQ: The Jazz Question”.

As a big jazz fan myself (especially the harder East Coast style), I found this to be a very good orientation of the contours of jazz from a white identitarian perspective. Jazz is perhaps the one area of black culture where impressive accomplishments have genuinely been made, which explains why jazz audiences today are overwhelmingly white.

Generally speaking, in jazz we have the fusion of western technique with primal Dionysian emotion, a blending of various pre-existing genres (gospel, blues, Tin Pan Alley, etc.) With respect to Bop, which I subjectively consider the high point of jazz, the immediacy of the music pulls you in. The intragroup dynamics of skilled ensemble playing (especially in an improvisational context) reveals the level of commitment involved, the years of practice, the mastery of instrument, material, and modes.

IMO, the heights of jazz greatness come in the form of improvisation, which, eschewing staid formality (which is fine and appropriate in other musical contexts), artfully circles around a basic musical structure and/or melodic core, allowing us to witness (in real time) the spark and surprise of skillful musical imagination. This is true even when listening to jazz recordings, which usually involve some degree of improvisation.

In the field of philosophical aesthetics, there’s a whole subgenre in philosophy of music, and a good entry point (for conservatives in general) is the work of the prolific Roger Scruton. In his book The Aesthetics of Music, he examines the role of spatial metaphors in musical experience; in shorter essays such as “Why Musicians Need Philosophy” and “Music and Morality”, he delves into the underlying philosophical dimensions of music in general.  (Scruton also has a short, 7-page essay written in 1987 on “Jazz in Central Europe”, which looks at the role the Czechoslovakian jazz scene played in embodying a form of protest against the Communist regime.)

In any domain of the arts, the Greats have more than their fair share of tempestuous and narcissistic personalities. Jazz is no exception; in fact, given the prevalence of Negroes in the genre, self-destructiveness will be that much higher. Removing whatever political leanings individual black jazz musicians may have had, along with the rampant drug use throughout jazz’s history, and the overall awful personalities many of the jazz giants appear to have been, the musical legacies and realities of jazz’s evolution is something blacks can genuinely be proud of.

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