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Horizons: Jazz in 1984
Jones' orchestra, normally a comedy band and completely ignored by jazz critics, often plays first-class big band jazz of this kind.
The Law of Diminishing Repute holds good among reporters and reviewers. During the past year, records by artists who less than a decade earlier would have ranked indisputably as jazz performers—among them Dinah Washington, Wild Bill Davison, Sharkey Bonano, and the former Kenton arrangers Johnny Richards and Pete Rugolo—were considered unworthy of inclusion in the jazz record review section of Down Beat and were shunted off to be dismissed with shorter reviews in the "Popular Records" section. The music on these records remained identical in nature to what had once been considered top-drawer jazz; only the psychological conditioning of the recipients had changed. Similarly George Shearing, when the first records by his quintet appeared in 1949, was a new jazz star with a fresh style, in the view of critics who unhesitatingly categorized this as a jazz group; but by the time the tenth or twentieth release appeared and the appeal of the style had worn thin, its character was magically transmuted into 'popular music." Our critical senses of values have been more capricious than capacious. It is self-evident that there can be no firm standards in any medium as long as it remains subject to so rapid a deterioration of the level of acceptance.
Part of the problem lies in the dual nature of our listening. A trumpet chorus by, say, Lee Morgan, who joined the Gillespie band at the age of 18 in 1956, might be indistinguishable from a solo by his employer. On an entirely subjective basis, scores of trumpet players today are capable of performances that would have seemed fantastic in 1943 (and indeed would have been unique at that time) as were Gillespie's first bop records in 1944. But today Morgan, objectively, must be judged in terms of the listener's awareness of earlier contributions by Gillespie and the other pioneers of the 1940s. Jazz in the next 25 years will certainly continue along these lines: the innovation of today will be the clicbi of tomorrow.
A cross-breeding process will continue to take place in the seemingly independent areas of jazz styles. Just as Dixieland