In contrast, it's also true that jazz that was once modern is now old — unless it's resuscitated by musicians playing it now, in the moment, which must be modern.
But how should we respond to stuff that would have been tired even when it was modern, but is now being played now? For example, this recent performance by the Nasheet Waits group with Vijay Iyer.
Sad to say, there's nothing happening here (even though Waits is a great drummer). Well, at least there's a pulse for a while after 2:30, and some intermittent runs and clusters from Iyer around 4:00-5:00. I listened to part 1 of this piece, which I found a little more engaging, but still dull. Four decades ago, the free jazz I heard had lots of muscle and sonic extremes. As a high school kid with a new driver's license, I drove with my friends to downtown Chicago and heard Ornette Coleman with Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell. I also had albums by Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Lots of screeching and blatting and general commotion, plus periods of abstraction kind of like these videos — but never boring. Fun while it lasted, but I moved out of that phase, like many others.
The Art Ensemble from the 1970s sounds more modern than this stuff that was performed a few weeks ago.
All of this adds up to the grim fact that after nearly half a century of listening to jazz and being open to new sounds, I have become a moldy fig. I never thought it was possible. But, having encountered such dreary music that owns a place in the vanguard, I must accept my lot.
However, many musicians are making challenging music WITH A LIVELY PULSE.