nice points, thanks.
the reason i asked about the "relic" bit was because i wanted to get a sense of how other people who are more musically inclined than me perceive this genre. i just spent the day listening to albert ayler and it's as current to me as anything going on elsewhere.
as for tallis, etc-- the thing with classical music is that it has a lively tradition of performance-- the music remains contemporary because its performance remains very much alive-- it hasn't become culturally irrelevant. it's not just a numbers thing, but i'm thinking in terms of social participation, not individual pleasure.
the reason i started this thread was to help me organize my thoughts around this bizarre idea of starting a free jazz blog. i won't be writing it, but i do wonder about investing energy into a relevant project that can reach some sort of audience.
i was at a poetry reading recently & two things happened 1) i wanted to kill most of the poets, 2) i wanted to kill poetry. poets reading to poets is an exercise in mutual handjobs, and it makes poetry (bad poetry anyway) totally irrelevant.
this is all part of a long story that is too long to tell, but yeah, i guess my question is is free jazz relevant to the development of new music today? and the answer is OF COURSE!