Wednesday, March 3, 2010


It's interesting how Anthony Braxton in the interview segment we watched in class yesterday used the word "cerebral" to talk about the reception of his work. In other words, he was viewed as too intellectual. The same term has been used of Lennie Tristano and others of his school in the 1950s, and of many white musicians generally. Cerebral is the opposite of emotional, and generally speaking the word has negative connotations.

Some listeners find almost all jazz to be too cerebral, yet within jazz itself there is a division between heart and head--at least in the way people talk about jazz. I myself don't find Braxton to be too cerebral. If he is, then he is in the same way that Ornette or Coltrane is. Or Miles Davis or Max Roach. Intelligence dose not kill emotional response--in fact, the two go together very well in jazz with no contradictions at all.

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