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Re: music just for musicians

I wrote:

Although we speak here about music and the almost magical technology that
becomes our artist's palette, I cannot help but to be drawn to the bigger
picture of the times in which we create.  Is it historical "business as 
that substance gives way to fashion?  The 60's did not feel that way to me,
but no doubt I am myopic and biased by my own experience.  I feel that the
US, and perhaps much of the world, has become more conservative since those

Michael responded:

>I don't really follow what you're saying here, not having experienced the
>60s for more than a month, and then only as an embryo.  Could you

>From *my* vantage point, the 60's were a time when popular music was 
with real depth.  This notion has become a cliche to some extent, so I'm
conscious of not gushing too hard over the music that I was exposed to
then, during my own adolescence: during my own period of heightened 

But I can argue, from a musical perspective, that the times were richer.
Hendrix and Clapton made statements that are still very much alive today:
exemplars almost, of what kinds of expression can be gotten out of the
electric guitar.  Go into most music stores today, and you will meet 12
year olds who love the music and style of Hendrix.  During the 60's, it
*seemed* that even the average Joe's and Jane's were moved by music that
had more to say.  My own roots (and hence my biases) lie in the music that
has that blues movement to it.  It's a very hard thing to define in words
without sounding pedantic and self-referential.  Either you get it or you

Take an album like Electric Ladyland.  1960's technology.  But the
guitar playing and the engineering is sublime, eerie almost in how
much is conveyed.  My guess is that this will be listened to in 2100
and beyond.  The music is just so present, human, and alive, on so many

I think the business of music was very different, too.  I just spoke 
with a drummer that I've known since 1972, when we worked together.  Over
the years, he's had major gigs with several well known rock acts (Meatloaf,
Edgar Winter, John Cale, Flo and Eddie of the Turtles).  He sites the
corporatization of rock as a major factor in the change of things.  When
rock became big business, the scum quickly floated to the top.  Now there
are less opportunities for high quality players to find work.

There was less structure and more freedom to experiment in the 60's.  There
was a greater liberalism and idealism, infused with the sense that big 
in society could be made (along with angst surrounding Vietnam War and
burgeoning drug use among middle class kids, not to mention the real sense
that society might be put to rest via nuclear holocaust).  There was this
greater sense of risk-taking and a relative breakdown or blurring of class
boundaries.  Much of the music expressed renewed innocence and hope, even
in the face of armageddon.  Blues sensibility was the perfect medium for
this message, expressing a sort of strength and beauty despite obvious
pain and suffering.

The absorption of rock instrumentation and affect into big business largely
defangs its movement toward change and rebellion.  There has always been
bad music of every form.  But what was once a medium recognized for it's
expressive power has become largely the backdrop for superbowl beer

Recently, I saw guitarist Scott Henderson at a small club in New Jersey.
The music was incendiary.  Scott played the hell out of everything from
Coltrane's "Giant Steps" to Hendrix's "Fire".  What an awesome command
of blues, modern jazz, funk, bebop.  The place was half empty.  When
I was 15, I saw Hendrix play to a sold out Madison Square Garden, making a
lot of the same noises.  But now it's a whole other game.



Emmanuel Angel
Nuclear Medicine Physics and Instrumentation Group
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA