"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?

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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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