"Man, there’s 12 f * * * ing notes. What’s going to be new?"

Thanks to Ivo Neame for spotting this polemic from Branford Marsalis

Everything you read about jazz is: “Is it new? Is it innovative?” I mean, man, there’s 12 fucking notes. What’s going to be new? You honestly think you’re going to play something that hasn’t been played already?

The interview, from the Seattle Weekly, asserting the primacy of melody, is HERE

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5 replies »

  1. LMAO. Yep, laying the truth bare as always. That's why I luv yah Branford.

    I hope some of those pyrotecheads out there can dig this. Bring back the Song!

  2. I think that there are quite a few musicians of Branford's generation who have come so, so much closer to finding something 'new' to say -melodically or not – than he has; this statement says a lot about why. What a tedious old windbag…

  3. There may be more innovative musicians in Branford's generation but remember, most of the great jazz was not made by innovators – of whom there have only been a handful anyway. The question is, does jazz offer something to listeners outside the 'already converted'? Has the huge critical emphasis on the pursuit of innovation and novelty been fruitful – or even honest? Reasonable questions, I think, which Branford is raising.

  4. Hmmm…
    A bit of a rant – and it includes a gratuitous rude word. Very cutting edge Mr M.
    I've commented on this in my blog recently [http://jazzlifeuk.wordpress.com/2011/09/18/whats-branford-marsalis-problem-with-jazz/]. There is some sense in the interview – although he could have put it more politely than “people that buy records don't know shit about music” – but mostly his comments seem to assume that commercial success is a musician's only goal.
    And are there really only 12 notes?

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