by carl wilson


How to assess the U.S. Pulitzer Prize committee's crying "Uncle" today to long-standing complaints from the jazz and experimental-music worlds about its annual composition prizes? Meaningless for the Pulitzers, and bad for jazz.

Look, if the committee is only now, in 2004, agreeing to recognize music with "elements of improvisation" as open to consideration - in the same gesture as recognizing Hollywood soundtracks - and still not considering pop music, it just makes it look like jazz is lying still and dead enough to be handled with the Pulitzer's kid gloves.

Since the prizes have consistently ignored the most important music that was eligible under the previous definition, don't expect the new guidelines to bring sudden recognition to Matthew Shipp, or even Dave Holland. And what is a small step for the Pulitzers is just another lameassed leap for Wynton Marsalis: Like Ken Burns' infamous PBS Jazz series, it implicitly takes up (past Pulitzer winner) Marsalis's culture-war rebranding of jazz as "American classical music."

Recommended reading: Gary Giddins' supple evisceration of the Pulitzers in the Village Voice this time last year, mentioning such non-winners as: John Cage, Morton Feldman, Harry Partch, Conlon Nancarrow, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, Thelonious Monk, Laurie Anderson, George Crumb, Steve Reich, Wayne Shorter, Randy Weston, Max Roach, Modern Jazz Quartet, Dizzy Gillespie, Muhal Richard Abrams, Cecil Taylor, and Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Bob Dylan, Benny Carter, George Russell, B.B. King, Lee Konitz, Henry Threadgill, Abbey Lincoln, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Andrew Hill, Jim Hall, Chuck Berry, Roy Haynes, Pete Seeger, James Brown, and David Murray.

Just for starters. And why should you care? Giddins makes a good case for that too.

News | Posted by zoilus on Tuesday, June 01 at 07:07 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (2)



hey, sean, how are things in blyth? sorry i didn't catch your phone call before you left. drop me a line...

Posted by zoilus on June 1, 2004 08:06 PM



amen brother.

Posted by seandix on June 1, 2004 07:30 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson