Runnin’ Scared: The Mets’ Darling of Jazz by Allen Barra

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Veteran baseball writer interviews Mets broadcaster (and former star) Ron Darling about Jazz. And Darling, to his credit, says he finds himself unworthy of the latter John Coltrane music. For many of my baseball friends of my age, even if we love rock ‘n roll, an appreciation of Coltrane and Miles Davis is validation that we’ve got chops. Barra gets it all right, and in a perfect world will prod at least a few to listen to In a Silent Way. [note to cheapskates: take it out of the library!] You won’t be sorry.

3 thoughts on “Runnin’ Scared: The Mets’ Darling of Jazz by Allen Barra”

  1. I always have an issue with any music being labeled sophisticated or being placed on some pedestal by the gourmet crowd as to make people have to reach for it to get it. As it applies to Jazz, what does that mean, “sophisticated”, anyway. Unpopular? Don’t get me wrong, I like Jazz. But are the masters of the Jazz genre more “sophisticated” than the masters of any other genre. Miles Davis vs. Hank Williams? the Beatles?

    I’d guess there are quite a few Jazz fans who don’t “get” the music but just enjoy the feeling. Does one really need to know the difference between be-bop and free jazz to appreciate a Coltrane or a Coleman or whomever? Of course not. I don’t think appreciating jazz is really a validation of “chops”. I think it’s more evidence of an open mind to music.

  2. I meant “chops” more in the sense of cool, not sophisticated, and I appreciated Darling’s take because he was open and exploratory. Many aren’t, or are intimidated enough to really listen.

    Genres are just ways to classify sets of sounds that arrive in similarly shaped packages. The skills it takes to make the sounds in different genres may differ, but the ability of the endproducts–the sounds themselves–to move us have similar ranges of possibility.

  3. “Many aren’t, or are intimidated enough to really listen.”

    There you go. That was kind of my point…as if Jazz can’t just be enjoyed like other music. The genre has managed to put on airs so that it needs to be understood. I’ll never understand how stuff like this happens, but it’s obviously bull. It’s like classical music…if anyone ever asks me if I listen to classical music I say no, not because I don’t, but because I’m not interested in discussing the merits of the second movement’s tempo in Von so and so’s Symphony #7. And I always forget to say “piece” of music. Sheesh…

    Unfortunately for Jazz, I think it collapsed under the weight of it’s own coolness…people *are* really intimidated (nice choice of words) to listen. That’s a shame because there is a lot of good stuff out there. And not just the old stuff.

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