Beyoncé – Ornithology/Déjà Vu (Live) (2009)


“Jazz is dead.” said the ornery old man, as he reflected upon the current state of music.

That’s what they say.

In reality, jazz, like most other mediums of sound, grew up. It evolved. It birthed funk, soul, and R&B, whilst maintaining its independence amongst those artists caught up in the rapture of nostalgia. Jazz is present in everything that we today call music.

But, as it was written, nostalgia, an acute symptom of antiquated thought, will claim that jazz died somewhere around 1959. The birth of fusion prescribed by Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, and Miles Davis, they would say, is nothing more than an abomination, lacking in authenticity.

For those purists, I weep. I truly feel their plight. It’s difficult NOT to yearn for the days of Kind of Blue and Coltrane’s Sound, even if I never lived them myself. But then I see something like this:

Taken from the Las Vegas leg of Beyoncé’s I Am… Tour, we capture a moment greater than the music, itself. Here we have a sold out show of the stadium status variety, containing a crowd of the 18-30 age demographic. And on stage is the world’s biggest pop star…performing the 1946 jazz standard made famous by composer and saxophonist Charlie Parker.

And this isn’t some clever remake. This isn’t an imitation. At no point, does Jay-Z make some grand appearance flipping the script with a sample heavy hip-hop record. Even to the most conservative ear, this is jazz. You can hear that Cotton Club swing as Beyoncé drops her typical vocal gymnastics for the even more difficult practice of scatting. So you know it’s real.

As the song transitions into the popular “Déjà Vu,” the band maintains the Bebop vibe swinging along with the hit record. This is what musical continuity sounds like. It’s what Miles prescribed while others were attempting to remake “So What.” Jazz isn’t dead; it’s simply taken on a different shape.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Written By: Paul Pennington

zp8497586rq

Comments

Do/Do not read the text. Definitely watch the video. http://t.co/8Q79V7O9

posted by @paulpennington on 02.04.12 at 1:41 pm

Beyoncé connects with her Jazz roots in this live performance in Vegas (2009) http://t.co/QbkVLahb written by @PaulPennington

Subscribe Scroll to Top