METAL IS THE NEW JAZZ
I’ve spent plenty of time in this space discussing the myriad connections between classical music and heavy metal, a topic I always love falling back on when skeptics peg metal as a low-class art form (i.e. my relatives: “You do what for a living??”). Now the New York Times has given me some more cannon fodder by arguing that jazz and metal are artistic cousins, and since my family takes the New York Times as the bible and listens to NPR jazz broadcasts like they were State of the Union addresses I’ll be well-armed next time Aunt Sadie scoffs at why I’m not a lawyer or banker like all the other nice Jewish boys.
Jazz stages and metal stages are places where a certain kind of experimentation happens: brainy and cabalistic, with a hint of a smile. Both increasingly depend on educated virtuosos. In both genres you can develop curious harmonic worlds, warp the tempos, brush against folkloric or conservatory music, play many notes very speedily and engage sturdy American grooves or a more studied system of fitting odd-number beats into even-number meters. Pat Metheny, jazz guitarist, meet Paul Masvidal of Cynic; Jeff (Tain) Watts, jazz drummer, meet Tomas Haake of Meshuggah. Both forms seem to have a neatly divided audience: maybe two-thirds respectfully fixated on the music’s past, one-third concerned about building paradigms for the future.
And so on and so forth. Read the article at the fit-to-print website of the New York Times, and thank Suckalo Mark Moritz-Rabson for sending this one in.