Why is jazz so underrated?
A few years ago I had a brush with mortality while travelling. When I felt well enough in hospital to listen to music, the first album I chose from my iPod was Onirica by veteran be-bop pianist René Urtreger, who is seen above. That compulsive choice of music in Perpignan Hospital reflects my very high regard for jazz. On his 1956 Columbia spoken word LP "What Is Jazz?" Leonard Bernstein championed jazz and argued against critics who preached that jazz is loud, has low-class origins, and is therefore not art. Despite this jazz is still a grossly underrated art form. Which is wrong. Because as the African American poet Yusef Komunyakaa explains: "Jazz has space, and space equals freedom. A place where the wheels of imagination can turn and a certain kind of meditation can take place".
Header photo from The Blue Moment's nice appreciation of René Urtreger at 80. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.