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Horizons: Jazz in 1984
any other way, and more honest than most. You can t separate the music from the people who make it.
"Yet Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker are rooted in widely different areas of geographical, musical and personal background. Each symbolizes a different stage in jazz's development—Louis, the joyous cry; Duke, the grand manner; Bird, the sharp commentary—and each stage parallels a change in living conditions. Already the Negro American participates in the complexity of activities known by the Italian American, the Irish American, etc. As his life grows more complex, as he grows more sophisticated, so does his music. Better food, better pay, better education, better satisfaction—these must reflect in the ways a man expresses himself.
"A third answer: Jazz will be as the people who make it will be. Meanwhile we live when history is being made. The historians will tell of Louis, of Duke, of Basie and of Bird, and of the size they gave to twentieth-century America. We will be remembered by the best of their music, and by what we did about it. Bird is gone; but let's not wait till the others go before we recognize them. What Louis or Duke does away from his music is irrelevant. That music theyll write about—it's being made now, we can hear it.
"The future of jazz? It depends on how wisely we treat it today."
An interview with Louis Armstrong resulted in this colloquy:
What do you think jazz will be like 25 years from now?
It's all personal—every tub. If the cats don't take care of their health, 25 years from now theyll be deadl You've got to have health to play any kind of music. To play like we play it takes health.
I dorit mean just the musicians of today, I mean music in general. For instance, do you think classical music and jazz unJH move any closer together?
From the symphony orchestras I've played with, all indications are that that's going to be the next trend. A cat's gotta have tone and imagination. If he doesn't have tone and imagination he's gonna be left out. There's no use coming out with these wild