I have pretty ecumenical tastes. I'm interested in a lot of different kinds of music, so I don't listen with a jaundiced ear to music because it's in a certain category, whether it's country or opera or hip-hop or bebop or whatever it is.
When I was a little kid wanting to play music, it was because of people like Pete Johnson, Huey Smith, Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair, James Booker, Art Neville ... there was so many piano players I loved in New Orleans. Then there was guys from out of town that would come cut there a lot. There was so many great bebop piano players, so many great jazz piano players, so many great Latin piano players, so many great blues piano players. Some of those Afro-Cuban bands had some killer piano players. There was so many different things going on musically,... Read more »
You don't see the European classical musicians allowing the music of Bach, Brahms, or Beethoven to become extinct. That music has gone on for centuries and centuries. We have the same obligation. Why do we have to become so 'hip' that we can say, 'Bebop is square,' or "New Orleans is square'? This, to me, is a shame.
In those days before hearing Charlie Parker and Dizzy, and before learning of the so-called bebop era--by the way, I have some thoughts about that word, "bebop"--my first jazz hero ever, jazz improvisor hero, was Lester Young. I was a big "Lester Young-oholic," and all of my buddies were Lester Young-oholics. We'd get together and dissect, analyze, discuss, and listen to Lester Young's solos for hours and hours and hours. He was our god.