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--- Sep 10 1999 Go to category
Subject: Europe and US Musical philosphy : a myth ?
Category: Musical Philosophy
From: franck wilmart (soissons / France)

HI Pat,

thanks for the fantastic concert in Vienne this summer ! Larry and Bill are really incredible !

i would like to have your opinion on a great debate : do you think that there is really great differences between the musical conception of the european jazz player and the US jazz player ?

this is an old debate (especially for jazz critics )which perhaps has no sense ... but i would be very curious to have your opinion !

You told a few years ago in an interview that one of your project would be to play with musicians from Europe ? Is it always a project you are thinking about ( For France, i think to people like Daniel Humair , Louis Sclavis .... ?

Best / AmitiƩs . Franck

Pat’s Answer:

hi franck,

the fact that this is still argued about is almost funny to me. i mean, dave holland!! joe zawinul! django!! etc. etc.etc.

especially these days, most young musicians EVERYWHERE learn by listening to records and hearing good players play in concerts. in that respect, young european musicians have much more of an opportunity to hear great players regularly than american kids outside of nyc - because the vast majority of american jazz musicians don't really play that much in america compared to how much they play in europe. i do think you can hear the roots of most advanced players, because jazz is a form that basically demands that you discuss personal issues in musical terms so those roots are bound to come out - but this is a natural thing.

bottom line? the people who hold onto nationalistic or ethnic based predjudices regarding any artform are almost always people who have a vested interest in a) maintaining the argument itself for career or personality reasons (critics would fit in this slot) or b) an interest in constructing a universe that their particular thing is at the center of. sadly, there is A LOT of that going around in the jazz world these days - but rarely if ever from the highest level players - it is almost always from the ones who need to form their aethestic in a political climate in order for it to exist fully - i really just care about the music part myself - and the music always transcends this kind of discussion anyway if it is effective at what it is trying to do.