- Monday, August 15, 2011
- by Jonathan Martin
Jazz continues to escape and evade any sort of comprehensive definition. From the very beginning to today people haven't been able to pin-point what it is that makes Jazz music Jazz.
This has been the topic of discussion all the way from bar stools long forgotten to coffee shop bistro tables; all the way up through complete doctoral dissertations dedicated to defining Jazz.
Different Flavors of Jazz
While Jazz is considered a genre of music. It continually disappoints people who have their own expectations of what Jazz should sound like. I used to be really frustrated after buying a CD that I thought was going to be straight-ahead Jazz, and it turned out to be some variation of Funk or Fusion. All considered Jazz, but different flavors.
As a result, I chose not to buy albums I hadn't already heard. It was a quesstion of economics. I don't have money to spend on music I may not like, and I don't know anyone else who does either.
What Did You Expect?
So, here we see highlighted the problem that Jazz musicians run into time and again. We try to be different, to be original. But, potential fans just don't buy if they don't know what to expect from us.
Every artist has their concept of the music that they want to convey, and they try to be unique with their own "voice". Unless they copy the style of another artist. Let's face it, lot's of Jazz players, even today, try to speak with Miles Davis' or John Coltrane's "voice".
International American Art
It used to be called "the truly American art form". But, that is no longer the case. Today Jazz is practiced worldwide in every country that has musical instruments. And, each musician in each country uses Jazz and mixes it with their knowledge of their own music to create something unique.
So, there is the real secret to Jazz.
The secret that Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and all the other great Jazz musicians and composers knew.
Jazz is a Modifier
It's like an adjective that changes and intensifies the meaning of a noun. Jazz Music. It is the secret sauce you add to your own music that makes it better.
- Come back for Part 2 when we talk about the very beginning of Jazz, and uncover the origins of the Jazz concept ...
- Click here for the exciting conclusion to What is Jazz Anyway ...
How do you define Jazz? What makes music Jazz? Tell us in the Comments below ...
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