Jazz: Pretension's Perils

Ever since Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, the Lewis and Clark of modern jazz, returned from their first explorations on Manhattan's 52nd Street, other musicians have been following the masters' trails. Their search is more for small refinements than grand departures, and cults of aficionados armed with phonograph records travel in their wake. Thelonious Monk's cult, whispering of Webern, insists that the silences in his music are even more profound than the sounds. Miles Davis' cult, transfixed by his trumpet, says nothing, preferring to express its worship in utter silence. But...

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