The More it Changes the More is Stays the Same (Part 1)

Those of you who have experienced Japan’s school culture, or have watched a rom-com slice-of-life Japanese series on a school setting, may know that school/university festival is a huge thing there. I am lucky (and cultured) enough to have done both, and luckier still to have attended one. And being the self-proclaimed person of music, I was there to watch the performances by the music clubs, while roleplaying as a music journalist.

First up was the jazz club. My old anthropology professor used to say to look at the audience and you’ll pick up the most peculiar details. With the greatest admiration to the talent on show, I can only describe the audience as distant. On the technical level, everybody was doing their part impeccably, but it felt rather one-sided. Maybe that particular audiences are just a little shy and restrained, maybe it’s the lighting, I don’t know. But to me, the contrast to the other performances by the light music clubs* is there. Now it’s the other way around. The performances might not be on the same technical level, but everybody was in a trance. Folks just seems like they’re having a lot of fun together.

Anyway it got me thinking. I am under the impression that jazz in its inception in the early 20th century was about splendour in deviance. Improvisation and style in contrast to the structure and a fidelity to a form that is classical music. I am not suggesting that the current genre has completely flipped on its own meaning. No, this is not about jazz music, nor the music clubs’ performances (I think they’re all marvellous by the way, besides, who am I to ultimately decide who’s doing good or bad). On the contrary, it simply got me wondering if there is any musical genre that stays 100% true to its own original sound and ethos.




*I never get this naming convention. To me, they’re both music clubs, it’s just that one plays jazz and the other sometimes plays progressive pythagorian metal math rock that might as well be called jazz.







パフォーマンスは同じ技術レベルではないかもしれませんが、誰もが夢中になっていました。 みんな一緒にとても楽しんでいるように見えます。

とにかく考えさせられました。 20世紀初頭のジャズの始まりは、逸脱した素晴らしさだったという印象があります。 構造とは対照的な即興性とスタイル、そしてクラシック音楽の形式への忠実さ。 私は現在のジャンルがそれ自体の意味を完全にひっくり返したと言っているわけではありません。 いや、これはジャズ音楽についてでも、音楽クラブの演奏についてでもない(ところで、私は彼らがみんな素晴らしいと思いますが、誰が最終的に良いか悪いかを決める権利があるのは私ではありません)。 それどころか、独自のサウンドと精神に 100% 忠実であり続ける音楽ジャンルが存在するのだろうかと単純に疑問に思いました。