RE: RARA-AVIS: Re: Noir jazz and all.

From: Todd Mason (
Date: 20 Feb 2003

Yes, dave...actually, much of the Ellington ouervre as well as not a little of Shaw would be noir just fine, one need not try to claim that Bop was the quintessential noir music. JOHNNY STACCATO notwithstanding. And there goes the mythologization of those who foreshortened their lives, which also manages to forget that heroin wasn't invented by the boppers, either.

"Hell Hound on My Trail" by Robert Johnson is as noir as one could want...but then, what isn't noir about blues? Or bluegrass? At least in their, ahem, noirish moods. TM

-----Original Message----- From: dave [mailto:]

I seem to remember a similar thread a few years ago...

I've followed the latest attempts to define Noir with much interest. Everybody seems to make good points. And although I believe there's a noirish worldview that transcends period, the "purest" examples of Noir to me exist roughly between 1943-1950.

Utilizing that criteria, Bebop would be the authentic music of Noir. Not to mention, Bird, Bud Powell's, Fats Navarro, Sonny Stitt, etc's essentially "noir" lives. The frantic, jagged, and unsettling melodies and tempos of these cats' bebop "heads" captures in an abstract way much of the noir malaise. Bird's famed "Koko" is a helluvalot more "Noir" than recent nostalgic exercises in mood, such as Charlie Haden's recent noir tributes.

If the basic Noir themes can be summed up by Woolrich's
"First you dream, then you die," or Ellroy's "There is no hope -- only obsession..." The music and lives of this first wave of beboppers epitomize the Noir credos...

Having said that, there is an Artie Shaw tune from the thirties called "Nightmare" that has a very noirish flavor...

loving noir and jazz --

# To unsubscribe from the regular list, say "unsubscribe rara-avis" to
#  This will not work for the digest version.
# The web pages for the list are at .

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 20 Feb 2003 EST