Hip-Hoppers Come ‘Round To Jazz

It’s Jazz Part 12


Bird lives, and so do the sounds of Monk and Miles. Of course they do, but their jazz is new to a very different generation. The hip-hop crowd is discovering their parents music and making it their own.

Jazz was always slinking around the house where Alan Adams grew up.

Dad was a musician so there was no escaping be-bop and acid jazz, even if Adams, a typical Los Angeles youth, was more partial to hip-hop. He wanted to rebel against whatever his parents stood for and rap was the language of the streets, the beat that spoke to him.

But his dad just sat there calmly and said, “You will come around. ”

Adams, now 24, recounts this story late one summer night outside the Hollywood club Cosmos, as the strains of the group Quest waft through the brick walls into the nighttime air.

Inside, six guys under 24 are jamming Coltrane, mixing classic bop with improvisational licks that define the ’90s free-form style. Youngest is Ardom Washington, 19, who studies music at Musicians Institute by day but is now working that stand-up bass till the sweat flows down his face, which is raised in ecstasy.

Outside, Adams is conceding that his father was right: He and many others have come around.

“Everything originates from jazz, “Adams muses. “It’s a Afro-American art form.

But I was young. Didn’t understand that. Now my grandfather and my father and I have common ground. We’re on the same wave length.”

And the wave has yet to crest.

Says, Sandy Feldstein, a music publisher and veteran of the music scene who has seen it all come and go since the early 60’s: “Maybe after listening to so much music people have learned that jazz is a little more sophisticated than rock or heavy metal. It’s the music we need for the times. In a way, its more intelligent. It leaves space for you to appreciate and think about music.”