Sunday, September 27, 2009

Adorno Still Doesn't Like Jazz

I read a few of Theodor Adorno's essays on jazz and popular music last week for a class (I had to listen to Sketches of Spain a couple of times just to keep myself from punching something—Adorno's attitude toward jazz is infuriating), and my professor sent out a link to this page. Evidently*, two enterprising musicologists found out about a famous spiritualist who claims to be able to summon famous dead people; they decided they'd like to have a chat with Adorno, and contacted her to set up a (not quite) tête-a-tête.

Here's some of what was said:
When questioned about the state of North American popular music, “Adorno” replied that he decidedly disliked the increasing nudity because it wasn’t conducive to social change or deep intellectual discourse. Oddly, he seemed quite interested in Britney Spears' navel.
Adorno also dislikes free jazz, albeit he considers it a promising field.
His favorite record label is ECM.
When Dr. Alicea asked about Latin influences in Jazz, Adorno responded that as long as it was produced in Cuba it was good. When asked whether his opinion on the matter was tainted by political demagoguery, Mrs. Vicuta [the medium] let out a canine-like snarl.

* By evidently, I mean not really. This was an April Fool's joke by the hosting site (All About Jazz). But it was a good one, and worth posting.


Richard said...

I haven't read the Adorno piece, and I love jazz. And yet my instinct is to think that he may have been on to something, even if in the particular he was foolish. Guess I should read it to disabuse myself of this notion, eh?

Andrew Seal said...

Well, Adorno could be (somewhat) excused by the fact that, when he first wrote about jazz, he probably wasn't hearing any good jazz, just "light dance music," like Glenn Miller on downers or something. Or maybe just Glenn Miller.

Anyway, I don't entirely buy the excuse because he continued writing about jazz (and with the same arguments) long after he should have had access to better jazz.

But if you pretend that every time Adorno says "jazz" he really means "Kenny G," everything he says makes perfect sense.