What is Jazz?

What is jazz? Initially, for many reasons I shied away from using the word Jazz. It seemed to have been hijacked by so many different groups as being theirs that I lost sight of where the boundaries are and became even more confused. Consequently, it took a long time for me to decide the name of this site.

Is Jazz American?……….Well, for many years I lived in London and I knew hundreds of musicians who loved listening to the classic US jazz, and yet they did not always play music that sounded like it, even though they considered themselves to be jazz musicians. I also have played and travelled in 30 countries and found the same. I have heard people playing great Be-bop, from Poland and Sweden and Italy, and have also heard American musicians play music at jazz festivals, in and out of the USA, that seemed more akin to contemporary folk or classical or rock music. On one occasion, during a visit to a temple in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, I stood agape, chin-on-the-ground, as I watched a quartet of 2 hand drummers and 2 nagaswaram players, improvising with the same intensity and virtuosity as the classic John Coltrane quartet.

I thought about replacing the term, Jazz with Improvisation instead, as that was what all of these musicians where doing. Then I thought about the musicians that I have met that improvise freely, without the perceived constraints that a harmonic or rhythmic structure can have.

Also, the dictionary meaning for the word, Improvise is, …’to perform or deliver without previous preparation’……..so this is definitely not the right term for the approach used in this site.

What is jazz? – global-improvised-music.

So, I unashamedly opt for Jazz, fully aware that some people may take umbrage from the fact that this system does not explain how to play American Jazz, per se, but opens up to a wider, global approach, introducing the improviser a system of learning that will enable them to use melodic, harmonic and rhythmic ideas, regardless of what kind of groove they choose to play with, and whatever their ethnicity.

It is my aim to introduce you to some of the musical archetypes that you can work with, in order to pursue an infinite approach to the physical (ears, hands, feet, gut, etc.) and spiritual (heart) aspect of musical creation.

Check out these links;

wikipedia

allaboutjazz.com

apassion4jazz.net


 
 
 

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