Most people when immersed within the personality of a genre can tell you everything about it and endlessly (or at least the passionate fans I listen to). When I was getting into Retro Gaming I’d read FAQs, reviews, and wikipedia articles on every artifice of gaming I could find. Along with some gameply videos. I felt as if I knew everything, and my passion was never waning. Every time I popped open that computer I needed to look at more games. I was obsessed.
With Smooth Jazz my passion is more subtle and hard to quantify. I clearly have an undying love for the genre, but if you asked me about technical capabilities or even the names of the f##king musicians I couldn’t tell you squat. I don’t spend copious amounts of cash on albums or hours on databases. Rather I listen to every Jazz compilation alive on YouTube and the like. If I type in “Jazz comp” or “Smooth Jazz comp” I’m immediately given the best consensus masterpieces of the medium along with some more obscure almost stock jazz. Everything is there.
YouTube culture and appropriation of what’s considered good by the consensus chips away at the required effort by the listener. There’s no every game ever FAQ compilation and therefore, I don’t take the lazy way out. I always knew I liked Jazz, and if it wasn’t so easy to look it up online I probably would have researched it as I do when finding new Black Metal. Thanks to sites like Metal Archives instead of sticking to the more well known Black Metal bands like Mayhem I’ve found the very obscure Saor who’s became a favorite of mine.
The point I’m getting at here is the lack of effort I put in thanks to the accessibility could be hindering my taste. Why get up from my chair to go over there when I have everything I think I want? This mentality is dangerous as it breeds complacency. A site like Metal Archives allwos me to get out of my comfort and find new things. Jazz comps on YouTube are usually very similar upon each record, and I don’t typically venture away from what I know.
I don’t consider myself a Jazz Otaku in the tradition sense. I’m inamered by the relaxing aesthetic of the music rather then the culture itself. I know very well I could leave what I know and experiment, but I’m not in it for the love of the music as I would for Metal. I want the platonic ideal of relaxation out of Jazz.
When I listen to Jazz music usually I’m down in a dimly lit room watching let’s plays or contemplating in a bath robe. A pleasant state of mind, very chill. There’s no immersion here within the Arts because that’s not the value I need or receive. The only immersion I need is the persona of being chill in a pleasant environment and Jazz helps to convey that.
There are subgenres I want to get into in a more serious way, but for now this is what Jazz is to me. It’s a special kind of music you put on to convey the chill atmosphere I love so much. It’s not music I want any time of the day, it’s a spiritual ritual for that chill downtime to reflect.
Subtle and pleasant. If I was to get into through hours of research I’d be missing what makes the genre so great for me. I don’t care who plays these songs or what albums matter, I want that pleasant spirit when I need it.