Intigued by these clips as Steely Dan's music is totally unknown to me. I have been playing a CD of "Earth, wind and fire" all day yesterday and it struck me just how differently this music would be considered by jazz fans in the 1970's in comparison with nowadays. I feel that jazz has taken on board so many influences from popular music since this time and that popular music has increasingly had less to do with anything remotely music that a group like Earth, Wind and Fire almost are in need of a radical re-appraisal. In short, EW&F sound like they are much closer to jazz nowadays than at the time the made their records. Granted, from a jazz persepctive, the groove has a lot less flexibility than most jazz but there is a very good groove there none-the-less. I would have to say that "white" pop music has frequently sounded pretty lame to me (especially since the 90's) and whilst there are artists like Kate Bush whose work I admire, most white rock bands are not "great" bands like EW&F. There are a few exceptions ( I've heard one American guitarist praise the Beasty Boys as a great band and some of this group's music isn't too far away from the kind of stuff put out by MMW) but I don't really think some of the more successful groups of the last 20 or so years have been too brilliant from a musical point of view. "Oasis" are just a pub band who struck luck with "Look back in anger" and sound pretty basic when you start to appreciate the grooves, horn writing, use of harmonic modulation and improvised solo's that you can hear on the EW&F CD.
Another thing which is interesting picks up on Calum's and SA' s negative comments about the recent Robert Glasper CD. I quite like some of the tracks but , to be frank, they are not in the same league as the EW&F recordings. The 70's group are not quite as dark in their output as Glasper but I'm inclined to suggest that the jazz quotient is probably higher.
So much appreciation of Rock music seems to be centred around British bands but it is interesting that , from a musical point of view, so many of these American bands filled with session musicians are producing the "real" music. There are some clips of Youtube , for example, with Paul Simon leading bands with people like Mike Brecker and Steve Gadd in the line up.
Bruce has raised an interesting topic and it would be fascinating to see just how far you could go with JRR selecting tracks by pop musicians where the music is effectively jazz. I think that the definition of what is or what isn't jazz changes through time as the music has evolved. I would say that this has always been a debatable issue as things from the past which may have been identified as jazz sometimes come across as being markedly divorced from it these days. The notorious debate about Bing Crosby several years ago springs to mind. I wouldn't call Crosby as jazz musician by any stretch of the imagination (at any point in his career) but the likes of Donny Hathaway would, by my definition, have to start being considered as having been hugely influenced by jazz.