Haruki Murakami wrote the essay "Who Killed Jazz? (誰がジャズを殺したか)" in the book "I've Been Getting to Feel Sad about a Foreign Language (やがて哀しき外国語)". I'll translate the passage of this essay as follows.
In the end I am sorry that jazz might have been straying away from the contemporary music, which is alive in this age. With a cold attitude, I feel and think the same way.
"In the end jazz may become a kind of "traditional art" for the generation of Marsalis". Wynton Marsalis is a bright talented young man, and he studies jazz quite intensely.
His playing has full of love and affection, but they are from the time that has passed by and is going to die.
Jazz is not the thing to resist for the generation of Marsalis now, but the music to be moved by, be touched by and study. It is the circle, which has already closed, for them.
Jazz is taught in Berklee College of Music as if it's a "traditional art", and jazz musicians have never learned music in the jazz clubs full of cigarette (or marijuana) smoke
I think that rock music isn't contemporary music now either. Hip hop killed Rock music in the 90s, and Nirvana was the last band that created new rock music. And then rock musicians have basically rehashed old rock music, so I mainly listen to rock music from the 60s and 70s. (Fortunately Berklee hasn't taught rock music. When they begin to do so, it’ll be the time of complete death of rock music.)
Ben Folds is one of a few rock musicians, whose new CDs I buy. Sometimes he also rehashes old rock music, but he tries to enhance the possibility of rock music in the 00s at the same time. He plays the piano (he plays all of the instruments by himself when he records his songs in a studio), and he doesn't use guitars in his band. But his songs are considered to be rock music, because he plays the piano as if it were a percussion instrument. He hits a keyboard with his palms, knuckles and elbows.
"Army" Ben Folds
I love his music, and himself as well. I feel closely related to him.
We are the same age. He looks like a geek, so do I. When he was young, he seemed to be a stupid boy, and wrote and sang songs for stupid boys, like "Songs for Dumped". I love such songs, because I love stupid boys and of course I also was a stupid boy.
"Songs for Dumped" Ben Folds
"金返せ" (Japanese version of "Songs for Dumped") Ben Folds
When I saw him at the live, he seems to have matured, in other words, he's got older. I have also became a little more matured and older. And both of us wear glasses, (although I'm not as talented as he is.)
I was afraid that he would not come to Japan, because of the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear accident. In fact many events were canceled. He's been worried about Japan, and he played for a charity on ustream, and finally I was able to see him again.
"Jackson Cannery" Ben Folds on SXSW 4 JAPAN
It's super cool for him to kick a keyboard, lol.
I have some disappointing experiences with seeing some musicians perform live, because their performance was much worse than their CDs. But seeing Ben Folds' lives was much better than his CDs, (although his CDs are good enough). He is great at playing the piano and singing.
This live performance was held at Hitomi Kinen Hall in Tokyo, which are usually used for classical music concert, so the sound was really great. I could hear his piano sound directly, not through a PA. It was just the live music!
I was singing, shouting and dancing throughout this performance. I really enjoyed singing with him. I took my wife to this live performance. She isn't fan of Ben Folds, but she was satisfied with it.
I'll never say to you "金返せ (kanekaese)". I love you, Ben chan.