Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Has Jazz Become Hipster Music?

A while back, I wrote a lengthy article about how Jazz is not a genre for certain segments of society (in that case, I was referring to the social elite), but rather everyone.

But now something crossed my mind:

Has Jazz become hipster music?

Urban Dictionary defines "hipster" as (put very simply): Typically a Hipster can be identified by vintage or thrift-store bougt clothing, a taste for obscure or underground music, a penchant for irony and an elitist attitude.

So there you have a basic idea what kind of person this is.

Now, to Jazz.

There is no absolute definition since it's such an evolved art form that if you start describing you will end up talking forever.

Jason West wrote a great little article called "What is Jazz? Good Question... back in 2004 on

In conclusion he said:
Once again, each one of us is left with our own purely subjective views on jazz... Yet, one thing is sure: Jazz remains America's only original living art form. Today, its influence envelops the globe. It's expressive. It's enriching. Call it what you like - jazz is here to stay.

Now that we got that out of the way, recently I read a comment about someone loving to go to Starbucks to hear jazz. So I kept that in mind and I passed by one in a mall. Lo and behold, Miles Davis' "Freddie Freeloader" was on.

I was happy to hear this; I mean... jazz being played to a huge crowd! But then I thought... perhaps people think this is just elevator music... or that people come just to say that they listen to jazz and therefore have an elitist opinion.

Anthony Dean-Harris wrote an article on that there is a little hipster in all jazz fans:

If there’s anything that hipsters hate, it’s other hipsters. If there’s anything that hipsters hate even more, it’s being called a hipster. I bring all this up to say that the jazz fan fits quite squarely in this category, because I can’t think of anything else that celebrates elitist, obscure art more than jazz.

So is this a sort of confirmation that jazz is hipster music?

For me... I could care less if it is. The more people listen to jazz is for the better of the genre; for CD and concert sales... for self learning for musicians and history for the learner. For for me it's not about who, but rather the why.

I still stand that jazz is for everyone, as the art form is can be understood in many different ways; each of us drawing their own conclusions. Let there be no barriers.

So let's go Chase the 'Trane now shall we?

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