The deplorable redemption of bebop

Some time ago, my poppets, I instructed you in the gentle art of killing art forms in a piece entitled ‘Death by Bebop’. Those of you who read it (or clicked through just now) will recall that I made a particular corpus vile of jazz, and an especial example of ‘Take Five’, by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

That composition very nearly upset our lovely little applecart. Fortunately, after a smashingly musical opening in 5/4 time, the soloists swiftly degenerate into the indistinguishable pabulum of vaguely rhythmic noodling that has made latter-day jazz so detestable to all right-thinking people, McStudges as well as humans.

The natural solution to this is to combine the head of ‘Take Five’ with the heads of other compositions in the same signature, and transposable into the same key; and to play the whole, not as jazz, but as a properly composed piece, scored rigorously throughout. This has often been tried, and done badly, by mashing up the Brubeck noise with the theme from Mission: Impossible. So long as it is done badly, by persons of little talent, it matters not to us.

But no art form is ever dead quite beyond resurrection. We must strive continually to keep them dead. This we do by shutting out the skilful and interesting artists, and admitting none but giftless and footling plodders. Every so often, a human of real ability stumbles into a field that we would leave barren, and makes it yield fruit in our despite.

So it is with this mashup business. A human who calls himself Jake Justice has done it well; and for this he must pay. Behold, my junior McStudges, and judge for yourselves the danger we are in even now:

This nuisance must cease forthwith.

     H. Smiggy McStudge
          Deputy Commissar of Music Depreciation (Pro Tem)


  1. Applause!

  2. Every time I read a McStudge article I want to write one of my own; but then, having a McStudge always on hand to compose essays would probably end up more of a blessing than a curse after all.

  3. I usually hate jazz – for the reason you state: wandering around with no point.

    THIS was lovely. Thank you. Very talented artist.

  4. Stephen K says

    Many thanks for pointing us at this. I hope that chap gets something more for this than ‘Likes’ on Youtube.

  5. Sound the trumpets! “Legosity” has been chosen by the Sad Puppies to be a best related work nominee!

    You can be sure that will get my work; it is quite simple a crime that your superb essays haven’t been noticed by more people.

    Also, Superversive SF has been nominated as well, which also has a little bit to do with you…

  6. Speaking of music and variations, would you call the work of the performer in the linked article a redemption, or more of the sad “variation without proper themes” that bebop descended to?

    Loving your essays!

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