Why are the Jazz is Dead release so tepid?

Why are these releases so middling? Why didn't the label say hey, lonnie liston smith, go cosmic! Make something left-field for the dancers and the astro-travellers! It's 2023! Do the really crazy shit!

So many amazing musicians, so much potential, and yet all so bizarrely forgettable. It's as if they really want to prove the label name isn't ironic and yes, jazz is truly dead. I'm so disappointed by this squandered opportunity. Who listens to this stuff without shaking their head?


  • ketanketan Warmly booming riffs 3,097 Posts
    I haven't listened to them all, but that's partly because I wasn't very inspired by earlier releases...

  • YemskyYemsky 708 Posts
    I made the mistake that in my usual buying frenzy I did not keep up with listening to the early ones and kept buying….

  • I've only ever listened to scattered bits but it all kinda sounds like the same band (and the credits bear this out) recorded in the same way in the same studio, with these old legends sort of just sitting in almost like session guys. If you don't like that band I don't think the addition of (your favorite octagenarian musician here) is gonna solve that. But again, I haven't heard it all. But I didn't really feel like hearing more at the time for what that's worth.

  • para11axpara11ax No-style-havin' mf'er 398 Posts
    In fairness, it seems to me like it’s the legends themselves who’ve lost the “lightning in a bottle”.

    Bob James put some stuff out a few years back, and it was just snoozy jazz trio biz of classics like “Westchester Lady” etc…tepid! 

    Janko Nilovic was backed by funky Ruskies The Soul Surfers on an LP from a year or so ago…tepid!

    Arthur Verocai’s recent(ish) stuff (other than “Bis”) is tepid. Floating Points tried to summon magic from the majestic Pharoah Sanders not long ago and got tepidity. Gil Scott Heron, Brian Jackson, etc. etc. 

    This isn’t (and won’t be) an exhaustive list, but I think these legends just lose it after a time, or have perhaps moved on from the peak of their sound. Who knows why. 

    The Jazz Is Dead series has some nice moments on them, but nothing that will make you sit straight up when it hits you. 

  • ketanketan Warmly booming riffs 3,097 Posts
    para11ax said:
    Floating Points tried to summon magic from the majestic Pharoah Sanders not long ago and got tepidity. 

    Largely agree with you, but: Bite your tongue, young man!

    (I loooove that album, and I hear a lot of emotion and other subtlety in Pharoah's playing.)

  • ppadilhappadilha 2,235 Posts
    Yeah that Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders album is amazing.
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