Wherein I blow Ross Douthat’s mind
Dig it, sucka:
Holy tap dancing Christ, it’s jazz merged with hip-hop. And they were doing this over a freaking decade ago. Rap artists listen to and are influenced by genres other than rap! Ho-hum for the rest of us, but apparently startling news to Douthat.
What further annoys me about Douthat’s comments is that he apparently knows as little about jazz as he does about hip-hop. Jazz isn’t some museum piece, frozen in amber sometime around the be-bop era. It’s constantly being remade, and it’s just as non-conformist and family-unfriendly as it was in the 50’s. Douthat’s community swing band might play the park on a Saturday afternoon, but Soulive plays at rock clubs, jazz festivals, and Bonaroo. You can still hear “Take the A Train” if you want, but my favorite Medeski Martin & Wood song is called “I Wanna Ride You”. The Charlie Hunter Trio covered “Come As You Are”!
This isn’t to say all modern jazz is all brash and crazy, but Douthat obviously thinks that jazz innovation simply ceased sometime in the 60’s and all current artists are simply aping the masters of the past, or (shudder) only doing smooth jazz. He would do well to heed Music Snob Rule #435, which states: “Thou shall not comment on genres you have no knowledge of”.