Two things you should know by now: 1) the Technics 1200 direct-drive turntable is the last great jazz instrument of the 20th century and 2) “DJ” (master level: turntablist) is just another word for jazz improviser. Check the karmic come-back: brass ‘n’ drum were limited martial band instruments until mostly self-taught African-American musicians reinvented them to create a new art form -jazz. Seven decades later, self-taught street jocks in the South Bronx used a mixer and two turntables to transform common house party records into hip-hop ghetto symphonies by extending beat breaks, rewinding/cutting/scratching vocals, riffs and hooks. In this spirit-cosmic continuum, Satchmo = Grandmaster Flash, Bird = Marley Marl, Miles = DJ Logic.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.