On Jazz (and Maybe Modern Art)


I like jazz. Sometimes.

A. and I went to a jazz concert on Thursday, the Ljubljana Jazz Festival is in full swing and we got the tickets. We listened to Carate Urio Orchestra and for the most part, I enjoyed the music quite a lot.

What I mean is this: some parts, where it was clear the music was written and rehearsed in advance, were very good. Melodic and interesting. But the other half of the concert was made up of improvisation, which was, I am sure, done expertly and artistically – and true jazz enthusiasts doubtlessly enjoyed that, too. But I didn’t!

Some would say jazz is all about improvisation. And I’m not saying that improvisation can’t be good. Or rhythmical. I’ve been to several jazz concerts and can now say that I definitely prefer the parts where there’s a more repetitive rhythm. Perhaps my mind is just wired that way but I like the feeling of anticipation, of knowing (approximately) what the next beat will mean.

It’s the same with modern art (be it painting, sculpture, intermedia or whatever) and modern dance. Some artists manage to reach me, I find something familiar in their work, and like it – or at least appreciate it – because of it. Any form of art, however, that is completely foreign to me in its concept or execution, will probably leave me cold.

I don’t believe artists should try to please their (potential) public with their work. The same goes for writers, of course. It’s just that I can’t relate to some of the things that people create. Maybe being exposed to jazz (or modern art in general) more often would result in me being more familiar with it?

I know I’ll keep trying to understand modern art. Again, some people might argue that it’s not about understanding, that art isn’t necessarily made to be understood, but felt or whatever the artist wanted to achieve with it. But my mind sees these things I can’t relate to as problems and is continually trying to solve them.

I really like discovering new artists (whether they are modern or not) and I definitely don’t mean to say that everyone should stick to “classic” art and imitate the masterpieces of the previous decades/centuries. That’s not the purpose of this little ramble. I just wanted to put my thoughts out there and admit once for all that I sometimes don’t like modern art (including jazz) but that I’ll keep searching it out in the hope that I’ll find a gem that I’ll love.


Do you like jazz? 

What’s your take on modern art? Yay or nay? 

I’d love to hear from you! :)

  • Greg Hill

    I’m not a huge fan of classical jazz (or any jazz until recently), but in the last few years I’ve been enjoying what they call contemporary jazz I guess. Artists like Dave Koz and Mindi Abair, Richard Elliott. I really liked the Summer Horns thing they did – wish I could have seen their live show.

    Great post!

    • Thanks! :) I’ll have to check these out, I haven’t heard of them yet – but that’s not really surprising given that I only listened to jazz on concerts and rarely at home.

  • Maraia

    Hah, neither jazz nor modern art is for me. My take on modern art ranges from disinterest to intense dislike. The “red dot on white canvas – that’ll be $5000, please” kind makes me especially angry. Maybe some people can pull an interpretation out of their asses, but I’ll pass. :D

    • Mm, yeah, I once saw a room-full of pencil drawings of circles that turned out to be pictures of rocks. It wasn’t an installation or something pretty – just plain paper with wobbly circles on it. Eh.
      I really want to get some of the modern art (and jazz), I feel like the artists try so hard sometimes and they just can’t get through to me. But hey, it’s not supposed to be for everyone, right?

      • Maraia

        Yeah, I don’t think I’ll *ever* see the deeper meaning behind a room full of circles, but if someone else enjoys it, hey, whatever floats your boat. ;)