Jazz is six feet under and rock could soon be joining it
Jazz has been dead for years. Don’t believe me? Name one jazz record from the last decade. Most kids and young adults could care less about jazz, and unfortunately, their lack of knowledge on America’s most beautiful genre of music is justified.
I am a jazz musician. I play in Schoolcraft’s combo and big band jazz ensembles. Classmates Keith Davis, 22, of Livonia; Joe May, 23, of Westland and I are the only members of the class who attend Schoolcraft classes outside of jazz. If this does not scream generational gap, nothing will. Jazz is not a genre our generation grew up with, or even a genre our parents’ generation grew up with. This has ended a “passing of the torch” so to speak.
Jazz is a genre of music that worships tradition. This conservative attitude alienates potential fans and pushes them away. Another factor is the jazz musicians themselves, as most of the genre’s biggest names have been dead for years.
At this point jazz feels more like a footnote to American history rather than a relevant genre of music.
Although this should not be news to anyone, what most people do not realize is that rock is next. If rock is not already dead, it is laying on the ground, bleeding out. Rock will die for the same reason jazz died: tradition. When thinking of modern rock bands like Foo Fighters, Green Day and Queens Of The Stone Age come to mind for some, but these bands are not exactly modern. Green Day was just elected into the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall Of Fame, Foo Fighters have been a band for 20 years and Queens Of The Stone Age front man Josh Homme is 42. After these rock and roll veterans decide to retire, there is not a group of young bands to take their place.
As unfortunate as it may be, this very well may be the last generation of rock. Much like jazz, rock and roll is a genre of music that worships dead musicians and tradition. Bands like The Beatles and Rolling Stones may still be popular today, but it is hard to imagine future generations getting into bands that will not have a single living member.
No matter what the state of music is, rock and jazz will always be there for fans to admire and listen to, but as far as new artists go, both genres are dead. This may be depressing, but we must look back on how much we have been given by jazz and rock. Fans have been blessed with decades of quality music in both genres. While neither genre is progressing forward, we can always look back (the beauty of the Internet). It is unlikely we will see a rock or jazz revival, but we can enjoy what we have and look forward to a future of new music.