In response to this article, and the invocation of "Musicians who ignore Armstrong" (a convenient fiction, methinks, if there is any truth to the notion that most contemporary jazz musicians are the products of history-laden jazz education programs), I tossed off this tweet today:
"I don't get this idea that musicians have to emulate all the music they love / are influenced by. It's more complex than that."
What do I mean by that?
Look. I love bluegrass music. I have listened to a lot of bluegrass music in my time. If I were charged with assembling a bluegrass band, I would know what to look for as I was auditioning and hiring the musicians. I would understand what sort of repertoire to have them perform. And knowing what distinguishes "good" bluegrass from "bad" bluegrass, I would understand how to guide such a project. Furthermore, god-dammit, I would probably enjoy the entire process.
I'm certain that my experience with bluegrass informs my writing to some extent. Yet most people would probably say my own music sounds nothing like bluegrass.
Am I influenced by bluegrass or not?