The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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The evolutionary course of any art form tends to defy crystal-gazing. Just as it would have been impossible for an art student of the nineteenth century to foresee accurately the arrival of cubism, just as no musician even in 1941 could predict the up­heaval that was to be wrought by bop only three years later, the prognosis for jazz must be heavily qualified by an admission that the only predictable factor is its unpredictability.
In terms of general trends, and more specifically on such sub­jects as the relationship between jazz and classical music, most musicians have managed to formulate a view, no matter how amorphous, of what the future may hold. Recently the writer approached a number of jazz figures in an attempt to design a perspective of jazz in 1984. Most of the musicians questioned will no longer be active in jazz twenty-five or thirty years hence; some will have passed their creative apex and may have moved from jazz into other fields; but the presence of every one of them is bound to be felt indirectly. All have made a contribution the impact of which cannot fail to endure for generations to come; all were willing to venture a few prognostications concerning a future in which their own direct involvement may be in doubt.
An interview with Duke Ellington produced the following dia­logue:
What do you think jazz will be like 25 years from now?
Well, for one thing, nobody's going to worry about whether it's jazz, symphony, boogie-woogie or folk music. The categories will be abolished.