by Sean Chercover
There comes an age (for me, it happened when I was still using fake I.D. to get into bars) when most of the "new stuff" - the popular art being produced by young folks - just seems like crap. And this unfortunate attitude seems only to deepen over time (the last great rock 'n' roll album was Exile, wasn't it?).
I know, I know. Get off my lawn. Old guy talk, and coming from such a young man as myself...
I admit to going out of my way to sound like a curmudgeon, and yes, I exaggerate, but really, most of the new stuff is pretty lame. And yes, much of the "new stuff" of previous eras was crap, mercifully forgotten over time. But still...
My friends try to help my condition, suggest new stuff to me, and I give it a fair listen, or viewing, or reading. And some of it is very good, although much of the very good new stuff is also derivative of the very good older stuff. I'm okay with derivative - if it's good, I dig it - but I still hanker for something truly new. For some evidence that the next generation is taking us in unexpected and exciting directions.
Well, they are.
First up, Trombone Shorty. Trombone Shorty (real name: Troy Andrews) is an incredible musician from New Orleans, and you must check him out. His first album (recorded at the tender age of 23) is called Backatown.
Visit Trombone Shorty's website, listen to the music you'll find there, and buy his album. You'll thank me later.
Next up, Christian Scott. Also from New Orleans, and only a few years older than Troy Andrews, Christian Scott has already made four stunning albums (including a live album at Newport). He drives purists crazy with his incorporation of rock and hip hop within jazz, but purists are always going crazy (see: Miles, or Dylan going electric, for that matter). Purists can bite me.
Visit Christian Scott's website, listen to the music you'll find there, and buy his albums. You'll thank me later.
It's not just that these guys are fantastic (and young). They're fantastic, and young, and bold - intelligently taking the music in new directions, while honoring what came before.
So now, I ask for your help. Hit me with some of the great "new stuff" - music, novels, movies - that makes you hopeful about the future of popular art.
But here's the thing: I'm looking for "new stuff" created by people under the age of 30.
And here's the other thing: I'm not looking for "pretty good" new stuff. I'm looking for stuff that you will still think is excellent 20 years from now, when it is no longer new.
Thanks for your help.