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Thirty Years of Our JazzTimes: The 1970s

For the 30th anniversary of JazzTimes, Chip Stern looks back at the music of the magazine's first decade

We can start the process of fishing for metaphors to explicate the 1970s by enunciating the dreaded, one-size-fits-all epithet that both categorizes an amorphous emerging style and misrepresents the decade’s achievements: fusion. Aaaaahhhh—there, I said it!

Looking back at the ’70s now, many politically correct mainstream commentators are far too quick to dismiss the decade’s successes and breakthroughs, lumping them all together with its most mundane aspects and egregious excesses. In a sense, the ’70s were a cultural petri dish for spores first planted in the ’60s, which came to term in an electric firestorm of new hybrid forms. Then, everything seemed possible. But looking back in mid-2000, it’s plain to this pilgrim that fusion, however clumsily, denoted an attitude as much as a style.

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