I went to the Gaslamp last week to check out the KIFM Smooth Jazz Festival. Well, that was the plan anyway. Once at the gate I had a change of heart.
This because smooth jazz is really just sandblasted real jazz. It is spiritually vacant, ultra-lite, “the-sun-is-shining-and-all-the-bills-are-paid,” fashionable fusion jazz.
There is, however, nothing fashionable about real jazz. Real jazz is oppression jazz. It's big-troubles jazz. It's “strung-out-on-smack-and-your-old-man-is-beating-you-silly-Billy-Holiday” jazz.
So, deciding against the KIFM Smooth Jazz festival, I went to the Fifth Quarter bar instead to improvise a buzz and ponder my next column topic.
So there I am, sitting at the bar, sipping on Fosters, when, to my horror, a quartet of neatly dressed musicians (two white and two black) mount the Fifth Quarter stage, followed by another smartly dressed black man carrying his shiny gold saxophone.
When you see a spiffy black man with a saxophone consorting with white guys on a downtown stage it can only mean one thing: Smooth fusion fashion jazz.
Now, a sparkly new saxophone will suck a considerable amount of jazz out of a jazz band, but nothing sucks the jazz out of jazz quite like white people. They are the Aryan Borg of the musical universe. They suck out the soul and leave nothing but a trail of bleached zombies in their mammoth wake.
And this group-which is currently on stage introducing themselves as Reggie Smith and Pressed for Time band-has two whole white guys in the band: One is on keyboards and the other is on drums. As soon as they start playing I can see there is little hope. I know all too well the signs of when the Negritude has been sucked out of the Negroes. Forget “fusion,” it's more like they've been lobotomized. The black bassist is patting lamely on his strings, standing there stiff and bored and staring blankly at nothing. The black percussionist thinks syncopation is the place where doctors scrub down before an operation. And the sax player, Mr. Reggie Smith himself, is blowing this milky lather from his sax and splattering it all over what's left of the band's pigment, so much so that I'm considering sending them a round of gin and juices, or Hennessys-something, anything-to get the black back into the stack. But it's all just whack.
The two white guys have already sucked every last drop of jazz out of this poor, unsuspecting jazz quintet. And I'd rather cauterize my eyeballs with a branding iron than watch Reggie Smith and the Excessive Whiteys suck the jelly right out of the Jelly Roll Morton any further.
I know what you're thinking. “Hey, Ed, less than 50 percent of this band is white – it can't be that bad.”
No, no, no, NO!
That kind of thinking is how paleface snuck the funk out of the trunk! White people swallow the Negrescence of black people to absorb their life forces. It's a proven fact. This is exactly how the soul gets sucked out of the soul; the hip stripped from the hop. It's an endless cycle:
1. The negros invent a musical genre that is an expression of their oppression. Just as the blues was a cry against slavery, as rap was a reaction to racial injustice and police brutality in the inner city, so was jazz a pariah to the mainstream-played and enjoyed only in the whorehouses and speakeasies of the New York, Chicago and New Orleans ghettos.
2. Eventually, the genre is recognized as the real voice of the oppressed, which can only be defined as true art.
3. Since true art is all, the genre in question becomes popular outside its original demographic (meaning white kids eat it up), which scares the Christ out of the parents of white kids, so much so that they start imagining conspiracy plots and nefarious lyrics and, finally-the last horrific straw-white fathers begin conjuring horrific images of these big, black ogres mingling with their tiny white daughters and defiling their pristine vaginas.
4. (But) the more white parents object to the evil devil jungle music the more the white kids flock to it. Suddenly, there is a profit to be had and, of course, Whitey wants a piece of it. Or, fuck a piece-he wants all the action. So here come the WASP record labels, and the WASP producers, and the WASP promoters, and the WASP performers, all muscling in for their bit of the brass, turning the blues, jazz or rap scene into nothing more than a massive money-making machine, and, finally-and this completes the cycle-forcing blacks to innovate a whole new genre so they can re-terrorize the white folks all over again.
Yes, of course, this is a grotesque simplification of an expansive and complicated evolution, but surely we can all agree on the premise: white folks have an ugly habit of sucking the jazz right the shit out of jazz.
So, Reggie, take it from me, a miserable jazz-sucking Caucasoid-boot the honkies out of the band. Tell them you want to play that jump-jive and, well, white men can't jump. Then flag them a taxi cab Calloway and send them away forever. Hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho.
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