Stumbled across the following in an article about teaching jazz within an historical context:
A musician, even a great one, has far less control over the general course of his art than we might think. The broad outlines of a style, it seems clear, are shaped by ideas in society. Thus, a player like (Marion) Brown (who claims to have no outside influences) cannot escape tapping into the social currents of his time, and if enough listeners hear those currents in his playing they ate just as ‘right’ about his music as he is.
Food for thought as I continue to refine what I mean to do and be as a composer.
Now, a self-conscious composer could ask, “What are the ideas of our times?” But what Harker implies in this passage is that you don’t have to go looking for those influences. You don’t have to play journalist or historian or pundit for the times to speak through your music. They’re already in you. They don’t take any special reflection to reveal themselves.