Of course there will always be great players from every era of history. My comment is that there are not as many, because there is no need to HAVE to learn to play to create a marketable product. I'm all for progress, and invention but I am also very sad that many music majors in todays class of college students probably counldn't play the "Popeye" theme or the "Jetsons" music .... just to name a few. These pieces had tons of articulated 16th notes at break-neck speed, and I just don't think the current class of cats are up to the task.
(Sure, there are SOME)
I'm not a "When I was young..." kind of person. I love the way technology has aided my business, and I adore getting new toys, but I put in my time on the basics for ages before I had any auto-anythings.
There is lots of music being written and performed today that I really enjoy, so it's not a case of nostalgia. If I had to pick an era to get "stuck in" - It would be really difficult for me to do. I'm somewhere in between the dixieland/big band swing era and the funk/jazz/blues of the 70's. Mostly, I am motivated by horns. I think there is no substitute for a blaring horn section in ANY style of music. Each note played in real time, by real musicians, on real instruments. It's a thrill to watch, and a joy to listen to. I was a Woodwind major at Temple in the 70's - any other converted horn guys playing keys now? I still drag the clarinet and the flute to gigs once in a while, but I sold all my saxes for keyboard gear over the years. (snif....snif)
I miss my Mark VI, but I've lost the "edge" in my lip - so it would just depress me to play it and sound like a string band player.
(Don't start yelling ! I played in string bands too! All I mean is that it's COLD, and you're marching around, some guys are drinking and it's NOT the most musical of experiences!!! An there's all that Banjo strummin' too ... out of tune and all yukky))
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Every instrument, every voice, every sound in nature ... these are are all my private tutors ... 24/7 for free, and all I have to do is listen.