Listening to and playing funk/jazz music- appropriate or not?

I’m a massive funk and jazz fan, and actually play jazz bass. But I’ve had some concerns/criticism head my way because of this.

One of the major criticisms I’ve had playing funk music is that it is often viewed as highly sexualized, although to my mind I cannot think of any funk lyrics which actively promote any sort of sexual behavior except in the context of actually loving that person and not lusting after them.

I’ve also faced criticisms with my playing jazz music, as jazz in the past has often been associated with drugs, usually marijuana but also others, and with heavy alcohol use, as well as violence.

So, is it still appropriate for me to play both of these genres/listen to them?

I imagine that you will get many different opinions. Here's mine - :twocents: alert! - as long as the music isn't blasphemous and/or offensive to human dignity, I say enjoy what is to your personal taste. For myself, I like bouncy music heavy on guitar and drums.

I've also faced criticisms with my playing jazz music, as jazz in the past has often been associated with drugs, usually marijuana but also others, and with heavy alcohol use, as well as violence.

When you face that again you could always point out the number of classical composers who were alcoholics and addicts of various kinds or behaved in licentious behaviour. Jazz been seen in that light is something from a long ago time, jazz is now seen more as musician's music and often as niche or specialist music of a more intellectual type.

[quote="grasscutter, post:2, topic:278419"]
I imagine that you will get many different opinions. Here's mine - :twocents: alert! - as long as the music isn't blasphemous and/or offensive to human dignity, I say enjoy what is to your personal taste. For myself, I like bouncy music heavy on guitar and drums.

[/quote]

I agree with this statement

plus if you compare how the music compares to today's music. Like Hip Hop and that (g rated) stuff that teens listen to now of days is like comparing the bad material in an R rated movie that is approaching NC 17 to a PG movie that is only PG because it maybe talks about some slightly but not that big of a deal adult stuff.

lots of Jazz music talks about romance and stuff. But talking about love back in the 30s 40s and 50s is nothing compared to how they talk about Love (or should I say sex) after the 70s.

I wouldn't worry about what people say I'd imagine you are a good judge of appropriate music yourself.

I remembered one really good example of how to explain this to someone who may have an objection to a song because of the “history” behind it.

On the CD I have there is a song (I’ll won’t name the song or CD to prevent anyone being lead into sin, not the fact that people are going to listen to it but the name may lead to them looking it up) but it is the theme song to a porn movie. Now if you had NO knowledge of this information then this song would not lead you into sin and not count as a near occasion of Sin. I would never have to go to confession and say I listened to X by X. Especially because the song has no words. The most Explicit thing about the song is that the theme is probably romantic.

So just because you are listening to X Jazz player who had a drug addiction but he is one of the greatest X jazz players ever. His drug addiction does nothing to lead you into sin.

Now if it is an issue of supporting some anti Catholic practice then it would be appropriate. But I be shocked if any Funk/Jazz music would be like this.

[quote="Kouyate42, post:1, topic:278419"]
I'm a massive funk and jazz fan, and actually play jazz bass. But I've had some concerns/criticism head my way because of this.

One of the major criticisms I've had playing funk music is that it is often viewed as highly sexualized, although to my mind I cannot think of any funk lyrics which actively promote any sort of sexual behavior except in the context of actually loving that person and not lusting after them.

I've also faced criticisms with my playing jazz music, as jazz in the past has often been associated with drugs, usually marijuana but also others, and with heavy alcohol use, as well as violence.

So, is it still appropriate for me to play both of these genres/listen to them?

[/quote]

If the lyrics of the music are not offensive, I don't see what the harm is. The jazz association with drugs may apply to some jazz musicians, but not to the music itself. Same with rock music. So if that's your musical preference, I say enjoy it!

Hey Kouyate,

As you know, I'm right there with you in the music department. "Headhunters" is one of my favorite albums of all time, right along with "B-----s Brew" and "A Love Supreme." Keep in mind that "A Love Supreme" was, for Coltrane, a religious (albeit fairly new-age) piece.

Still, there's no denying the close relationship between sex and both jazz and funk music. Jazz itself was born in the brothels of my neighbor city, New Orleans. As recounted by one musician, the term itself originated when a client was pushing the clock and the mistress would instruct the house pianist to "jazz it up," or in other words to "spice" the music up, to grab the attention of the customer and notify him that his time was almost up.

As for the drug connection with jazz, yes, many of the early innovators and stars of jazz were drug addicts (you forgot to mention heroin, which was an epidemic problem in the early jazz community, Charlie Parker being its most fabled victim. John Coltrane was also an addict, and credits God with bringing him out of his addiction.) But there is no connection between that and the music. Every man is sinful in some way. If we are to avoid the products of every sinful person, where would we be? :)

Funk has also been closely associated with sexuality. Exhibit A: James Brown. The rhythms are heavily syncopated which creates an innate urge to move the body. While many funk artists and fans use this as an aural aphrodisiac, it is not necessary to do so. It is perfectly possible to dance in a very modest way to funk music.

Ultimately, both art forms have evolved significantly from their inception to the point that in some cases, they bear little resemblance to their origins. Jazz fusion is a prime example of this. Regardless, I don't believe the art form itself is sinful. It depends on how it is used.

The disordered drives of mankind can (and WILL) pervert anything. For instance, there has been a longstanding trend in the adult industry of "nun porn." Just a thought to consider.

Now, for a last bit of encouragement and reassurance, I give you Fr. John Moulder, Catholic priest and jazz guitar virtuoso:

Catholic Priest Uses Jazz to Feed the Hungry

[quote="catholictiger, post:5, topic:278419"]
I remembered one really good example of how to explain this to someone who may have an objection to a song because of the "history" behind it.

On the CD I have there is a song (I'll won't name the song or CD to prevent anyone being lead into sin, not the fact that people are going to listen to it but the name may lead to them looking it up) but it is the theme song to a porn movie. Now if you had NO knowledge of this information then this song would not lead you into sin and not count as a near occasion of Sin. I would never have to go to confession and say I listened to X by X. Especially because the song has no words. The most Explicit thing about the song is that the theme is probably romantic.

So just because you are listening to X Jazz player who had a drug addiction but he is one of the greatest X jazz players ever. His drug addiction does nothing to lead you into sin.

Now if it is an issue of supporting some anti Catholic practice then it would be appropriate. But I be shocked if any Funk/Jazz music would be like this.

[/quote]

Well I know in the 70s, a lot of funk WAS used in porn soundtracks.

Now I can say honestly I've never actually seen any of this pornography, and so I couldn't say for certain that any one track I've listened to is featured in any films like this.

[quote="Kouyate42, post:8, topic:278419"]
Well I know in the 70s, a lot of funk WAS used in porn soundtracks.

Now I can say honestly I've never actually seen any of this pornography, and so I couldn't say for certain that any one track I've listened to is featured in any films like this.

[/quote]

exactly as long as the music doesn't lead you into sin or is a near occasion of Sin then your good. IMO

[quote="Kouyate42, post:8, topic:278419"]
Well I know in the 70s, a lot of funk WAS used in porn soundtracks.

[/quote]

erm.... how did you acquire this knowledge of 1970s era porn soundtracks? :blush:
Obviously you didn't watch the films (I doubt you were even born when they were made), so did you learn that in a class?

I guess I am a little skeptical Funk, while popular in the 1970s, appealed to a relatively discrete segment of the US population (I know you are in the UK, I am just speaking from personal knowledge). I would think the pornographers would have used a musical style which would have more neutral and possibly even appealing to a wider audience (although I doubt their audience cared overly much about the music.) At that was true for the US. I realize things may have been different in the UK.

As for the morality of playing jazz or funk, musicians generally are known for leading a more wanton lifestyle than non-musicians. For example, in the US, country music is famous for its many hard-drinking or drugging musicians. And the lyrics of the music often mention such things.

However, playing country music does not require the use of drugs or alcohol. And the same is true for playing jazz or funk.

grin I know about the porn soundtracks because although I've never watched that sort of thing myself, I've met people who have. :D

As to the comment about me not being born then, you should see my iPod....

I'm really puzzled here: While there are clearly many jazz vocalists, when I think of "jazz" I think of things like Live at the Blue Note, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, etc. How can purely instrumental music be considered even remotely sinful or possibly leading to sin? A similar question seems to come up here periodically when so-called "New Age" music is mentioned - typically referring to acoustic music also lacking lyrics. Listening to "Take Five" can somehow lead one into sin?

And someone is going to (somehow) unearth a porn movie from the 70's because - by an amazing coincidence - they heard some music that just happened to be the soundtrack? I truly don't understand.

[quote="Tarpeian_Rock, post:12, topic:278419"]
I'm really puzzled here: While there are clearly many jazz vocalists, when I think of "jazz" I think of things like Live at the Blue Note, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, etc. How can purely instrumental music be considered even remotely sinful or possibly leading to sin? A similar question seems to come up here periodically when so-called "New Age" music is mentioned - typically referring to acoustic music also lacking lyrics. Listening to "Take Five" can somehow lead one into sin?

And someone is going to (somehow) unearth a porn movie from the 70's because - by an amazing coincidence - they heard some music that just happened to be the soundtrack? I truly don't understand.

[/quote]

Depends on the type of jazz/funk you listen to. Certainly jazz tends towards instrumental songs, but well known standards such as The Girl from Ipanema and That Old Black Magic DO have lyrics.

From what I can tell of the gigs I've played, lyrics and vocals are optional extras.

[quote="Tarpeian_Rock, post:12, topic:278419"]
I'm really puzzled here: While there are clearly many jazz vocalists, when I think of "jazz" I think of things like Live at the Blue Note, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, etc. How can purely instrumental music be considered even remotely sinful or possibly leading to sin? A similar question seems to come up here periodically when so-called "New Age" music is mentioned - typically referring to acoustic music also lacking lyrics. Listening to "Take Five" can somehow lead one into sin?

And someone is going to (somehow) unearth a porn movie from the 70's because - by an amazing coincidence - they heard some music that just happened to be the soundtrack? I truly don't understand.

[/quote]

A lot of Jazz is just instrumental, but all throughout Jazz history there has been lots of vocal music.

Every once and while Count Basie would have vocalist sing

Same with Duke ellignton

a couple of real famous Jazz Artists are Louis Armstrong who sang a lot. (what a wonderful world is an example) ella Fitzgerald is another great example of a Jazz Singer. Frank Sinatra sang lots and lots of Jazz. I would imagine that some eras in Jazz would have more singing then others. Like early Jazz and the Big Band eras would have a lot more singing then the Bebop era and Cool Jazz (which I hate)

So jazz has both vocal and instrumental in many pieces.

[quote="Dale_M, post:10, topic:278419"]
erm.... how did you acquire this knowledge of 1970s era porn soundtracks? :blush:
Obviously you didn't watch the films (I doubt you were even born when they were made), so did you learn that in a class?

I guess I am a little skeptical Funk, while popular in the 1970s, appealed to a relatively discrete segment of the US population (I know you are in the UK, I am just speaking from personal knowledge). I would think the pornographers would have used a musical style which would have more neutral and possibly even appealing to a wider audience (although I doubt their audience cared overly much about the music.) At that was true for the US. I realize things may have been different in the UK.

As for the morality of playing jazz or funk, musicians generally are known for leading a more wanton lifestyle than non-musicians. For example, in the US, country music is famous for its many hard-drinking or drugging musicians. And the lyrics of the music often mention such things.

However, playing country music does not require the use of drugs or alcohol. And the same is true for playing jazz or funk.

[/quote]

I came to my knowledge not by seeing the movie associated with the song rather, when I was watching it with my family my very knowledgable Father mentioned this was the theme to a (you know what) movie. It's a very beautiful song and it doesn't bother me the way it was orientally intended for.

A lot of musicians have had skeletons in their closet. Beethoven's love life, I memory serves, was fairly scandalous, as was Liszt's. And don't get me started on Percy Grainger for those who know of him.

Then there's the association between Wagner's music and the Nazis and Mozart's magic Flute which is riddled with Masonic allusions.

And why stop at musicians? What about watching the movies of Elizabeth Taylor or Marilyn Monroe given what we know of their private lives and battles with drugs and alcohol and whatnot?

[quote="catholictiger, post:14, topic:278419"]
A lot of Jazz is just instrumental, but all throughout Jazz history there has been lots of vocal music.

Every once and while Count Basie would have vocalist sing

Same with Duke ellignton

a couple of real famous Jazz Artists are Louis Armstrong who sang a lot. (what a wonderful world is an example) ella Fitzgerald is another great example of a Jazz Singer. Frank Sinatra sang lots and lots of Jazz. I would imagine that some eras in Jazz would have more singing then others. Like early Jazz and the Big Band eras would have a lot more singing then the Bebop era and Cool Jazz (which I hate)

So jazz has both vocal and instrumental in many pieces.

[/quote]

Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass was a jazz ensemble. They popularized a type of jazz based on mariachi music of Central America. Happened to be my favorite music growing up in the 60s.

[quote="LilyM, post:16, topic:278419"]
A lot of musicians have had skeletons in their closet. Beethoven's love life, I memory serves, was fairly scandalous, as was Liszt's. And don't get me started on Percy Grainger for those who know of him.

Then there's the association between Wagner's music and the Nazis and Mozart's magic Flute which is riddled with Masonic allusions.

And why stop at musicians? What about watching the movies of Elizabeth Taylor or Marilyn Monroe given what we know of their private lives and battles with drugs and alcohol and whatnot?

[/quote]

Assuming that I deleted everything off my iPod which had musicians who'd broken Church law, I'd have nothing. At least three of my fave bands are atheists. Quite a few of my fave musicians have been divorced, committed adultery/pre-marital sex, taken drugs/drunk too much, taken the name of God in vain etc.

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