Electric Jazz Thoughts

Simon Reynolds (yay) vs Stanley Crouch (boo) on 1970s fusion or "electric jazz" (a better term). (Not a forum, just the former writer discussing the latter on his blog.)

Reynolds on Crouch:

...it's bracing to read someone pungently and often waspishly espouse a completely opposite ideology of jazz to the one I'd adhere to (both out of taste and out of instinct), i.e. this neo-conservative vision Crouch has controversially pushed in tandem with his ally Wynton Marsalis via the Lincoln Center and that Ken Burns Jazz series (which I never watched). Basically their stance (crudely summarized) is that the essence of jazz is "swing" and blues feeling; it must be played on acoustic (and non-effected) instruments in real time; for this reason, the fusion era was an "aesthetic death valley."

Crouch on Miles Davis' In a Silent Way:

Davis's sound was mostly lost among electronic instruments, inside a long, maudlin piece of droning wallpaper music.

Reynolds responds:

The swipe at "electronic instruments"--he's talking about the shimmering electric pianos of Zawinul and Corea and Hancock--one of the all-time great sounds in music!--plus McLaughlin's fantastic guitar. "Wallpaper": he's slurring as "d├ęcor" what is really the album's great innovation, its environmental, immersive quality, the way a mood is stretched out to become an ocean of sound (and Macero's later production of Miles on specifically "He Loved Him Madly" I think it was, got cited by Eno as a major influence on him coming up with ambient). As for "maudlin"!!! - I cannot figure that one out at all.