Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
on March 27, 2013
I come to this music from a different perspective. I'm old enough to have been listening to jazz since the late `60's. I "grew up" listening to jazz when it was in a place of tremendous creative explosive growth and expansion. That experience formed my aesthetic regarding this music we call jazz. To me, jazz is - or should be - in a state of perpetual creative restlessness. To me, that quality of creative restlessness is right at the heart of what jazz, as a distinctive form of music, is all about.
Since the advent of the Jazz Taliban in the 80's - i.e. Wynton Marsalis and Stanley Crouch and their ilk, this heart of creative restlessness is mighty near dead. For the most part, these days, what I hear is not "real" jazz at all. It is an earnest, well-meaning recycling of shopworn jazz clichés from the 30's, 40's, 50's, and 60's. Marsalis' mighty effort to "save" jazz has just about killed it.
And that's what I hear in Bill Charlap's Live at the Village Vanguard CD. I hear absolutely nothing new or original, or pushing any boundaries, or even getting close to pushing any boundaries. I understand how many people love Charlap's music, but it does nothing for me. It's tired, it's boring, and its clichéd. It is indeed very, very well played. But it's not saying anything new or original. It contains nothing challenging. It's just really, really pretty, polite, anonymous muzak.