Why Men Pretend to Like Jazz


If you’re a man, you’re probably on record as loving Miles Davis. You probably even call him “Miles.” You have a collection of Cds by Coltrane, Mingus, and Charlie Parker. You get all wistful when you discuss how great Chet Baker was.

If you’re a women, you’re really sick of this shit, but you’ve learned to tolerate it, in exchange for sex and security. But deep in your heart, you know he’s just pretending. He doesn’t really love jazz: no one could! It’s awful!

Men like to explain how you haven’t learned to “appreciate” jazz, and that’s why you don’t get it like he does. After all it’s so complex, and women tend to be simpletons, as least where music is concerned. When a woman hears Coltrane’s version of “My Favorite Things”,she is so ignorant that it just sounds like a horrible, excruciating racket. She will long for ear plugs, whereas the man who proudly put on “A Love Supreme” will adopt an expression of perfect rapture.

Men who are musicians are the worst, of course. They will be even more condescending than a civilian man when discussing the merits of jazz. It’s mathematical! You just don’t understand it! If only you weren’t a moron, you could grasp the genius of Thelonius Monk!

Jazz is a prop that affords men a posture of superiority. Nah nah, ladies, you might be gaining authority in other areas of life, but you don’t get jazz! Yet some women still buy into this fiction, like the people who declare that Jackson Pollack is as good a painter as Rembrandt. I think the time has come for women to let men off the hook, by revealing their fraud and allowing them to start making amends. Wait, I mean start listening to good music.

The tragedy is, for some men, that years of pretending have tricked them into believing they actually do like and enjoy jazz. Even when they’re alone, these men will listen to Dave Brubeck or study the history of Blue Note records. It’s kind of like the Stockholm Syndrome, but without the kidnappers.

Studies have suggested that men who pretend to love jazz have higher levels of testosterone than those who admit they either don’t like it or aren’t familiar with it. This holds true even for deaf men. In other words, the mere pretense has a masculinizing effect. Other studies have illustrated that when men talk about jazz, they tend to rate their own intelligence at least twenty points higher than when they talk about cars. Finally, recent research findings at both Oxford University and MIT imply that jazz is intolerable to all cultures where males are still allowed to beat women and set them on fire when honor demands it.

Don’t feel too badly about yourself if you are a man who “loves jazz.” Come out of the closet and celebrate your freedom to listen to punk, rhythm & blues, classic rock and death metal. You can still reads maps better than girls, if you need something to feel superior about.      

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33 Responses to Why Men Pretend to Like Jazz

  1. kristina says:

    He’s never been one for Brubeck but yes, my husband “loves jazz” as do all of his friends…….me, I’m told I listen to “silly music” by feminist neo-folk songers.

    Charlie has is dad’s taste but I’m the only one who likes to use an iPod.

  2. G says:

    …you mean there are still cultures where you can set women on fire!?

    I hate jazz but the anger arson sounds somewhat delightful. My sense of honor demands that you mark my map as to the location of these fire worshiping cultures!

  3. Elena says:

    my first love, Bob, when i was 20ish and still easily swayed, “turned me on” to the local jazz station. we even went to a kenny G concert together. my mom had his number though. she hated him. mom has her faults, but her eyes burn through men like x-ray lasers. interestingly, she loves John, and John hates jazz. we present a united front. together we hate jazz, the blue man group, and generally most popular music produced after 1980.

  4. Sister Wolf says:

    G, I believe the place for you is India, and possibly Pakistan as well. Sorry to hear that your wife dishonored you.

  5. G says:

    India! I’m off…and thank you. If I could cry…well…

  6. Frank says:

    I used to get ticked when people dissed jazz. Then I realized that the kind of jazz I like – the really old, ricky ticky crap with the clarinets and stuff – is no longer even on anybody’s radar, so no one was dissing my music.

    Then I realized no one was dissing it because even KNOWING about it makes you a social lame-o. Honestly, the only people who like my kind of jazz are Jewish women over 65 in New York and New Jersey who aren’t intelligent enough to read good books.

    Hey, maybe I could score some slightly stale ruggalah out of this. There’s always a bright side…

  7. This article makes me sad. I myself am a jazz musician who is struggling in part because I’m dealing with an audience that is indifferent. Why do you find the need to attack a music that accounts for only 3% of all sales? You like to kick people when they are down? Why not attack rap for its violent and misogynistic lyrics?
    I don’t walk around putting down women who don’t like jazz. At least I don’t call them idiots. Also, I don’t criticize their taste in music. The best I can do is say open your mind and give it a chance. I can try to explain to you as best I can, as a musician, how the music works. The rest is up to you. Maybe some men pretend to like jazz and think they are hip, but not this guy. I truly love it, it is my life and passion. Some women like jazz too you know?
    Jazz is exciting and spontaneous. It is based on improvizing to a set melody and chord changes. It is like a long drawn out rock guitar solo, yet people can’t seem to make this connection. I feel that many people can’t understand improvized music because they are used to pop music that is performed to prerecorded tracks and computerized drum beats. Also, since people don’t like change, they want the song to sound the same everytime. Why can’t people break out of their routine and try something new every now and then?
    Anyway, I could go on forever, but in the end, it is up to the listener to make the effort to understand. Ultimately, you can choose to like it or dislike it. This is after all a free country. However, I find it curious that you feel the need to attack and criticize so vehemently when a simple “this music is not my cup of tea” and move on would have sufficed. Are you threatened by this music or something? Why feel threatened by something you don’t understand? I don’t understand physics yet I am neither threatened or feel the need to criticize it. Similarly, I don’t attack another culture just because it is different from my experience. I simply choose to try and understand it and then make a better informed and educated decision.
    Finally, I am quite puzzled by these alleged studies that state that men who love jazz have higher level of testosterone. I quite frankly do not see the connection and you don’t list any sources. Sounds very unscientific to me. Also, you mention that countries where men are allowed to set women on fire are most intolerant of jazz. This factoid, if true, actually makes a total mockery of your arguments. It seems to suggest that if you live in a primitive, backwards and human rights suppressing culture you will “hate” jazz. So are you trying to say that you hate jazz just like the men who abuse women? Doesn’t make you look very good. By contrast, cultures that are more educated, enlightened and respectful of human rights would seem to produce more jazz lovers. Sounds to me like a good argument to like jazz rather than the opposite.

  8. Bill Evans says:

    Bird Lives!

  9. Alan says:

    I get it that you don’t like Jazz, but do take note of this, some of your favourite musicians in whatever genres you listen to, they listen to jazz themselves, you probably won’t recognize their ideas and influences borrowed from jazz or even rock fusion musicians within their music. And vice versa jazz musicians get their ideas and influences from other genres. Accept and appreciate the richness and variety of music world, you’ll be a happier person

  10. Steve says:

    Dammit, and there I was thinking that Americans can’t do irony.

    Oh you meant it? How depressing you are. Gabriel has it about right. You, on the other hand, have it 100% wrong.

    Oh and Elena, if you’re going to live in a land that excludes jazz music, can you take kenny G with you please? Jazz doesn’t want him either.

  11. Josh says:

    Your statement that no one could like jazz is untrue, and based off of your opinion. You do not jazz, probably because it confuses you and you are an amateur musician. Jazz is a beautiful art. It comes from the soul, and men don’t listen to it to seem smarter, at least I don’t. I listen to it because it speaks to me, and I play it because I can channel my feelings at the current time into a solo. I often get made fun of because of my interest, and I would not pretend to like jazz so I could have a less successful social life. I genuinely love jazz, and so do the other musicians I play with. Stop hating on other people’s tastes in music, and show some open mindedness.

  12. Alexandru-Dan Manatu says:

    Your argument is unfalsifiable, which makes it a weak one:anyone who truly does like jazz, will say:”you just don’t get jazz, it’s complex, and I really like it” and you’ll say that you covered exactly that in your text.For example:any woman who fakes an orgasm will make the exact sounds as a woman that does have an actual orgasm, and thus one might, after reading such an argument like that of your own making, believe, that any girl with whom he or she has sex with, fakes that orgasm, and when promply saying that to her face she, because she had an actual orgasm will say:”no, but I really did have an orgasm, you rocked my world etc etc” and it is true, but he or she, will have no choice but to say:”every woman that fakes an orgasm says that”.Just like “you’re insane” “no, I’m not for Christ’s sake!” “God that’s such a crazy thing to say, you don’t even see how crazy you are!” or “Detective,I’m not guilty” “Only a guilty man would say that!”

  13. Duzuldorf says:

    I pretended to like Jazz for 7 years. My boyfriend was a drummer in a jazz band. When they played live I used to have to watch other people and pretend to clap and whoop and Holler when I was supposed too. Exhausting!!
    I should have known then that it was just not right.
    He used to make really weird faces whilst drumming. No one would make those embarrassing faces if faking. No. For him it was real. For me, totally fake.

  14. boobywooby says:

    It sounds to me like an article that was created to illicit a negative response, and that was not designed to enlighten the reader. Anyone who claims to have been in a relationship where they felt the need to “pretend” to like something when they in fact did not at all but pretended to do so for a period of seven years just to maintain the appearance of a being a loving partner is a bitch. Who’s the fake in that situation?

  15. jazzyj says:

    you can go and fuck yourself.

  16. Your momma says:

    You are a silly bitch if you really think that no one in the world “really” loves jazz. It exists for a reason, and continues to exist because good music will always resonate with good people.

  17. Junichi says:

    I really hope you’re just trying to be satirical…

    We should all be allowed to have our different tastes. I enjoy jazz, but I hate country. If a friend took me to a country concert and had me sit and listen the whole time, I would probably go insane. Despite that, I don’t go around saying that people who like country music are actually faking it to look a certain way. Whether this you’re a troll or not, I pray for the spirit of Coltrane to descend from the heavens and smite thee for thine ignorance.

  18. Jimmy Smyth says:

    Listen to Keith Jarret’s ‘Koln Sessions’.
    If you don’t like that after a few listens, you don’t like life much.Man or Woman.

  19. Philip Begley says:

    What a stupid article !! You might as well dislike Impressionism…..

  20. Wavy Chittlin Gravy says:

    You are egotistical and narcissistic.You have the opinion that no one,NO ONE could possibly have a different viewpoint than mine.You seem to have the perception that the only point of view is yours.You are not the standard of perfection in which we are all to be judged.We are NOT you.You imply that I and others pretend to like jazz.FOR 45 YEARS.FOR WHO??Owning thousands of jazz records is a pretence?

  21. Jazz Cat says:

    Took a glance at this article and after a few minutes of reading the first paragraph, I stopped and smiled.

    “Ah, another twat with no brains and taste.”

  22. Jazz Cat says:

    I can see where she’s coming from. I’ve met other people, not just men, who are just pretending to love jazz for the sake of feeding their own ego. But with her, hating jazz too much. I’d agree with the person on top of me that she doesn’t have taste at all. Nuh uh. That’s the ugly truth when it comes to people who doesn’t know what good music is.

    But we should also consider that women are from venus and men are from mars. Can’t blame her if she doesn’t like jazz, just like most people hate math. A pity if you ask me. You’ll understand someday if you put effort in learning basic to complex music. Ain’t no algebra in it, girl. You gotta have the “feel” of it.

    Aren’t you wondering that the word “jazz” doesn’t really have a standard definition, just like philosophy? And yeah, you might be referring to hipsters who are self-absorbed and pretentious.

  23. justin says:

    Look lady…that maybe right for some men (although I’ve never met one) but some guys actually like jazz. And yes it take more understanding then most musical form, you actually have to understand chord progressions and a little music theory to get but there are men who enjoy it. I will say that is better than the corporate trash coming out today with nothing more than a beat and meaningless words. Jazz actually require someone to think to appreciate it.

  24. confusedfinn says:

    LOL I have to say. I would think pretentious 12-year olds could pretend to like jazz even though they don’t. Most jazz is not hard to get at all; you just have to listen. If you like music and have listened to it enough to like it besides the top40 chart, you will get jazz. I am only 21 and not a musician, and I love jazz music as does my girlfriend, genuinely. I am also a math student, though I cannot see anything mathematical in jazz… at least not particularly. It’s just improvisation ffs, you don’t need to know any math to do it.

    I would not care to know what you have to say about Stockhausen or Messiaen… I guess you’d just say “that’s not music and eveyone who says so is a pretentious asshole”. You seem very closed-minded to me. Listen to Miles Davis’s Milestones or something like that as an easy introduction, that stuff is really cool and catchy.

  25. giovanni says:

    ignorant fuck

  26. chansuma says:

    @Gabriel Jodorkovsky… thank you. very fitting reply to the article (which, if it is ironical, i must say has a very very poor sense of irony). also taking it on, from gabriel’s last point…the culture where women WERE (please note the past tense. n it has been in the past tense for nearly two centuries now) set on fire, viz. India, has a very strong tradition of improvisational music. the Indian classical music tradition is based almost wholly on improvisations on the mode(raga) and rhythms(tala). and in this characteristic, it is very very close to jazz, in essence. Pandit ravi shankar has dealt exclusively with the similarities and dissimilarities of jazz and indian classical music in many of his lectures. feel free to look it up on the net.
    also, ever since the “westernization” of the indian culture, indian classical music has lost out majorly on it’s audience. it has been less understood by the majority. with further “westernization” and “globalization”, the jazz audience in india has shown similar trends. broadly speaking, the more “modernized” indian culture becomes, the less audience it has for improvisational music traditions, and, the further it gets from widow-burning! which is what, gabriel has said in brief.
    therefore, i am inclined to think this article is an attempt to irony. but i must remark upon the fact, that irony is not a synonym for bullpoop!

  27. Brad says:

    I find this hurtful. May you find peace and happiness.

  28. Brad says:

    Oh and I should add that there are and have been many great women in jazz, singers, instrumentalists, composers, critics, patrons and of course, fans. You imply that men are only valuable to women for sex and security…this is perhaps more disturbing than your casual dismissal of America’s greatest contribution to music. Also, I hate to beat a dead horse, but I think there is truth to the idea that a disdain for jazz (as an American: Europeans and Japanese love it!) contains a strong element of racism. Another point would be that “jazz” is a word which many (though not all) musicians and fans do not like, and furthermore, that there are no clear lines which define any genre compared to any other. They all merge and blend at the margins, or you might say they dissolve completely. Anyway, your viewpoint is not uncommon I fear, and that is quite depressing. Luckily, in jazz, we have the blues! It can soothe broken hearts, maybe you ought to give it a try?

  29. Karen says:

    I love jazz. I really dislike rock. Can’t stand twanging guitars. I have been married twice and have not found a man who enjoys jazz yet. You are very lucky to have found those men. Jazz transports me. It quiet and exciting and beautiful and vital. I so wish my husband shared my taste in music. As the fabled Bill Evans commented earlier-Byrd Lives! Have you ever listened to Christo Redentor? Otherworldly. Think about it. But I guess we are all individuals.
    Good luck in this world.

  30. bucks burnett says:

    You make jazz cry because you hurt jazz feelings. bad person!

  31. Marc says:

    To everyone who responded with a sincere attempt to defend the beauty of jazz I’d say take a breath. In and out, with a long exhale. The author is just putting their opinion out to the public. The more responses the better the piece appears.
    It’s a small segment of readers that will feel a simpatico with the author, allow them that moment. It has nothing to do with the music or what you love.

  32. Steve says:

    I actually like jazz though… it’s my favorite genre by a clear mile. Second place goes to deep house, followed by rock from the 70’s/80’s. It’s no fallacy that I truly enjoy these genres – my feet bop to the beat, my shoulders jump, and I enjoy it tremendously. I’m not a big name dropper and have no interest in such things. Rather, I am more of a laid back listener, who enjoys smooth/modal jazz of almost all forms, so long as they don’t contain hard, repetitive beats. I think you’re throwing out a label on all listeners of jazz (of which there are many women) and in turn are making yourself look like an idiot for doing so.

  33. Look sweet heart, I love Jazz that’s all I’m gonna say. You can’t say Jazz is awful because without Jazz there’s no modern Shit music. Where do you think these modern jerk offs get their style? from old music of course.

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