"Art is the creative custodian of the truth"...Heidegger

"There is no true Art without secrecy"...Camus

Jack Reilly is a pianist, composer, and author whose work has achieved a remarkable synthesis of traditional classical music with jazz. His compositions and performances reflect his solid musicianship, intelligence and sophistication. The enthusiastic response his European tour with George Russell's New York Band and his subsequent performance with the band at the Village Vanguard in New York City; his concert at Jordan Hall in Boston with the Jack Reilly Trio, where he was given a standing ovation; his recordings and books --- three volumes on jazz improvisation entitled Species Blues, nine folios of his compositions and the acclaimed book The Harmony of Bill Evans confirms the scope of Reilly's talents and versatility.

Reilly has also presented lecture/recitals at numerous schools in North America and in Europe including presentations at the prestigious International Piano Festival and Competition at the University of Maryland. Formerly chairman of the Department of Jazz Studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, he has served on the faculties of the Mannes College of Music, New York University, The New School, The Berklee School of Music, and as chairman of the Jazz Program at La Musica A Villa Scarsella in Diano Marina, Italy.

His recordings include include albums of original material: Blue Sean Green, Tributes, The Brinksman, Masks, Here's What I Like, Tzu-Jan Volume 1 and 2, and two new releases, Pure Passion and Live in Poland, all on the Unichrom label.

His compositions include Jazz Requiem (1968), an Oratorio comissioned by the NEA (1974), Chuang-Tzu - Theme and Eight Variations for Orchestra (1993), Concertina for Jazz Piano and Strings(dedicated to Bill Evans), Lullabys for Orchestra, Fantasy for Piano and Wind Quintet(dedicated to George Russell), Piano Sonata in D Minor, and Concerto for Harmonica and Strings.

In 2001 his first Piano Concerto for jazz trio and orchestra, titled, Orbitals was premiered in Houghton Michigan,with the composer as soloist, with the Keweenaw Symphony, Jeff Bell-Hanson, conducting.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

As a classical/jazz composer, jazz/classical pianist and author of five books on Jazz, I feel qualified to stick my neck out and give this posting, "THE FUTURE of JAZZ", a provacative and perhaps, more so, a contraversial, polemical slant. I approach this task in all humility.

To define the term Jazz, is not so difficult as its practioners proclaim and yet parodoxically, it is a frustrating pursuit to say the least. The "House of Marsalis", (Jazz At Lincoln Center), takes the parochial stance, that is, "it don't mean a thing if if a'int got that SWING", Duke's mantra. His members number in the hundreds and are convinced that he is right and knowingly follow the leader. This kind of parochialism can be applied to all the variety of jazz players on the scene today, both young and old. They each adhere to a particular "school" or style of Jazz that announces and defines their parochialism. Each and every player has their leader: the "Free formers" have their Cecil Taylor/Derick Bailey/Keith Jarrett/Ornette Coleman/Lennie Tristano, the "Song formers" have Art Tatum/Dave Brubeck/Bill Evans/Keith Jarrett, the "Blues" players have Dextor Gordan/Sonny Stitt/Charlie Parker, the "Funk" school have Horace Silver/Bobby Timmons, the "Be-Boppers" have Bird/Diz/Bud, the impressionists/modalists have Miles/Coltrane/Gil Evans, the abstract jazzers have Lennie Tristano, the micro-tonalists have Joe Maneri/Mat Maneri, the "Third Streamers" have Gunther Schuller/Jimmy Giuffre, the dixielanders and early masters have Louis Armstrong/Bix Beiderbecke, the Swing team have Benny Goodman/Woody Herman/Pres/Basie, the Jazz Composers have Duke Ellington, the "In betweeners" have Brad Mehldau/Jason Moran, the LCCOTA school (Lydian Chromatic Concept Of Tonal Organization) have George Russell/Paul Bley, the Hip-Hoppers have Medeski/Martin/Wood. We can go on naming dozens of players alive and dead ad infinatum but those named above are the innovators, the ones that changed the face of Jazz. Where does Ragtime/Boogie Woogie/Stride music fit? Was Jazz born before 1900? If so we have a strong foundation on which to build.

Can't we define Jazz by naming the player? I say NO and YES! When I ask myself to define Romantic Classic Music, I name the composer i.e. Brahms/Schumann/Chopin/Liszt. You see the problem? That's not a very sound,(pun intended) scientific, objective definition of the term Jazz. It's one that doesn't really satisfy me. Jazz must have had a beginning and from that foundation each generation of innovators added to the face of Jazz. Yes? If so, Jazz must have a future.

For every decade since 1900 to 1970 Jazz has proclaimed one/two/three innovators who have changed the face of Jazz Music, spawning legions of immitators.There's nothing wrong with imitation. I will expound on this theme in PART ONE. Therefore, the defining of Jazz music creates an inexplicable maze, not expressable and capable of having a fixed definition. To say Jazz is IMPROVISATION, i.e. anything that's made up on the spur of the moment, is to do a great injustice to the Masters named above. To be able to call yourself a Jazz Musician in the present 21st century, you must be conversant with all the styles mentioned above; you must possess an infallible technique on your chosen instrument; and you need to live a monastic existance, somewhat! These are the basics. Naming is Nessary. After all, we cannot communicate without naming, therefore, without defining. Let's give it a try.


NEXT: Part One; I will be asking the following: "Has Jazz exhausted its vocabulary"? "Is it Dead or just on the stage of extinction, moribund"? "What do I mean by vocabulary?" "Is there a player amongst us today who has absorbed all these styles and created a singular body of work to counter the monotony and presumptuousness of some of the "New" younger players?" What is mainstream jazz? What do the imitators imitate? And why is it a good thing? How does imitation effect the future of Jazz?