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Cheerful Horace Silver waited to release the last album of his splendid discography so he could call it “Jazz Has a Sense of Humour” (1999). A veritable statement of principles. It seems that the more jazz has increasingly been perceived as intellectual music, the more good humour has gradually faded away. There were times when some people even criticised the demiurge Louis Armstrong for laughing so much, as if being in good humour and enjoying a laugh undermined the talent and lowered the artistic quality of jazz musicians. It’s a well-known fact that when you’re constructing an orthodoxy, the best way to prove that you are taking your job seriously is to put on a face as long as a fiddle the moment you walk on stage. And this paradigm shift in the attitude towards humour is very strange in a musical culture that was born in taverns and brothels. It’s as if people wanted to erase the memory that back in the beginning, jazz was dance music. What would have happened to swing without the urge to have a few dances and a few laughs! The desire for respectability is a drag. But thankfully there’s still good humour to be found out there, in the soundtracks of animated cartoons, the eccentric hats of the Boppers, Dizzy Gillespie’s jokes, Lester Bowie’s ironies, or Frank Zappa’s pranks. In this afternoon’s talk we will retrieve images of some of those moments of good humour in the already gigantic history of jazz.
Biography of Pedro Calvo
An essential figure in journalism with a career that spans the past forty years. The music critic in El País, Diario 16, La Razón and Público, not to mention his myriad collaborations with such publications as La Luna, El Europeo, Sur Express, Marie Claire, La Clave and many others. Radio has always been another of the platforms he has used to offer an always intelligent and clear view on anything related with popular music and culture in general. He is in charge of the musical programming of Radio El País and he directs and presents several radio programmes in Radio Nacional de España (Radio 1 and Radio 3), Efe Radio, Onda Madrid and Radio Cero. Pedro is also co-author of such books as the “History of New Flamenco” (Historia del Nuevo Flamenco) and “A Free Guide to Flamenco” (Guía Libre del Flamenco) and he has been the music consultant of such TV programmes as Televisión Española’s “Remember When” (Cuéntame Cómo Pasó) and a gastronomy and travel programme called “Un País para Comérselo”. He can currently be heard on the “De Película” programme on RTVE’s Radio 1, in which he keeps listeners up to date with the latest news from the thriving world of TV series.