Sunday, January 19, 2014

The 1% Jazz Invasion or How I Helped to Kill Roy Campbell. Part 1 Contours of the Problem.

Roy Sinclair Campbell Junior essentially gave his whole life to the music of his home community, the African American community, from his early days as a community college student with a Fletcher Henderson alumnus, Dick Vance.

From there he learned more trumpet craft from Lee Morgan. And so it went across the bright arc of his moments.

Roy was the ultimate musical working stiff and roamed New York to find work in stage and show bands, parade gigs, probably even a fashion show or two, (it's an actual gig description item in the musician's union rate book).

And through all that he kept faith with his world and participated to the greatest degree he could. 

And he was ever optimistic, if disgusted, by the long haul of show biz media idiot gate keeper bullshit that was a major obstacle back in those days when tree ware still mattered and fans made their decisions based on what some scribbler touted.

This period where all who want have international reach and people make music choices by ...uuuh.. directly checking the music on You Tube, was a new distraction for someone so single minded in his devotion to his muses.

The greatest threat to the continuation and survival of a robust African American street based musician community has come from a corner so strange and absurd Samuel Beckett couldn't have invented it in his wildest dreams with Dostoevsky on LSD assisting.

Of course it didn't help that it all coincided with the 1% takeover of New York City in general that marked the long reign of error now in history's ashcan called the Bloomberg Period where the 99% was a yawned afterthought.

But that severe Affluenza might have been managed where it not for a much more insidious and direct intervention, a strange idiot invasion of goofy trust fund brats from music schools conned by scum who needed to live beyond what this situation can offer by way of money compensation.

So Roy was basically suffocated by rich assholes sucking all the oxygen out of the scene purely so they could impress parents and convince them that blowing 120 grand on a credential that is barely worth having for a form of music generally ignored when it isn't despised... was a good idea.

Is that sick or what?

That it never occurred to any of these twerps that such would be the inevitable outcome of their impositions and interventions speaks volumes about the self absorbed callousness and narcissism that rich asshole America wallows in.

We have twisted stuff like a real estate mogul's brat trying to buy what's left of Bill Dixon as a kind of cred sleeve wear while sucking up to NYT imbeciles and stepping into a spokesperson chair at an increasingly musty national magazine to let the rest of the 1% that might bother paying attention know that this Campbell fellow was really splendid, (while taking the occasion to leverage more cred).

That particular specimen is really special. Roy wasn't much of a regular visitor to the performance space and recording studio the brat's daddy bought him. 

In fact, a look at the convenient gig list provided by the dump indicates Roy never got a gig there once between its opening in 2005 and Roy's last day.

I never noticed much of a sense that the goob understood how much it sux to try and do what Roy and his community try and do when there isn't a moneybags daddy around.

Having described the contours of the situation, allow me to fess up to my role in it all long ago and how I got hosed by my naif's assumption that it was all a 'competition for innovation', in which Roy's community wasn't keeping pace with other oncoming geniuses.

This was repeatedly put to me as a self serving justification for undermining their lives by the principle architect of their ruin. 

I now have come to see 'innovation' harping as a kind of dog whistle for dull white people waay to anxious to show an indifferent world how smart they are with a bunch of archaic musical instruments.

I managed to scrub the stink of that nonsense from my psyche by listening to lots of old Blue Mitchell disco era records with heavy supplements of Lonnie Liston Smith. Worked like a charm.

But my deeper crime goes back decades and will be covered at the conclusion of this run of screeds. I'll spend the next post describing the odd cred biz that mainly benefited one person and functioned as the driving force for this unseemly invasion.

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