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02 Feb

What is jazz ? Featured

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“Man, if you gotta ask you'll never know" … "What we play is life."  Louis Armstrong -

According to Wynton Marsalis jazz is music that swings. “It, It's almost like asking, What is French? Jazz is a musical language. It's a musical dialect that actually embodies the spirit of America.”. In Jazz, a fim by Ken Burns, Wynton Marsalis also said: "The real power of Jazz is that a group of people can come together and create improvised art and negotiate their agendas... and that negotiation is the art"

 According to Dr. Billy Taylor, Jazz is America's classical music. In a four part ARTSEDGE lecture series, recorded live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Dr. Billy Taylor, noted jazz pianist, historian, and educator, shares glimpses of his extensive knowledge of jazz music from its roots in the African-American slavery experience, through the early days of ragtime, and onward through swing, bop, and progressive jazz. Dr. Taylor combines academic research with a wealth of personal knowledge of the music and shares many fascinating anecdotes about the great artists of jazz. He cautions, however, that four hours is only long enough to scratch the surface.

There is also the definition found in the old musician's joke about jazz being "better than sex, and it lasts longer."  

Jazz is the most significant form of musical expression in American culture and outstanding contribution to the art of music. From obscure origins in New Orleans over a century ago, the music is now familiar all over the world. An academic definition of Jazz would be: A genre of American characterized by strong, prominent meter, improvisation, distinctive tone colors & performance techniques, and dotted or syncopated rhythmic patterns. But Jazz is so much more than that !

 Jazz continues to evolve and seek new levels of artistic expression. In slightly over one hundred years, this evolution has given birth to approximately two dozen distinct Jazz styles. Jazz music draws from life experience and human emotion as the inspiration of the creative force, and through this discourse is chronicled the story of its people.

Jazz remains America's only original living art form. Today, its influence envelops the globe. You can find Jazz festival   in almost every country around the world with artist from everywhere. It's expressive. It's enriching. Jazz is alive



What is Jazz ?

Jazz is the folk music of the machine age. Paul Whiteman

"I'll play it first and tell you what it is later." Miles Davis

Jazz is about being in the moment. Herbie Hancock

Jazz is there and gone. It happens. You have to be present for it. That simple. Keith Jarrett


Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time. Ornette Coleman


Jazz is the big brother of the blues. If a guy's playing blues like we play, he's in high school. When he starts playing jazz it's like going on to college, to a school of higher learning. B. B. King


By and large, jazz has always been like the kind of a man you wouldn't want your daughter to associate with. Duke Ellington


Jazz is a white term to define black people. My music is black classical music.   Nina Simone

You not only have to know your own instrument, you must know the others and how to back them up at all times. That's jazz. Oscar Peterson


Jazz to me is a living music. It's a music that since its beginning has expressed the feelings, the dreams, hopes, of the people. Dexter Gordon


Jazz is known all over the world as an American musical art form and that's it. No America, no jazz. I've seen people try to connect it to other countries, for instance to Africa, but it doesn't have a damn thing to do with Africa. Art Blakey


Life is a lot like jazz... it's best when you improvise. George Gershwin


I have made a film about jazz that tries to look through jazz to see what it tells us about who we are as a people. I think that jazz is a spectacularly accurate model of democracy and a kind of look into our redemptive future possibilities. Ken Burns


A jazz musician is a juggler who uses harmonies instead of oranges. Benny Green


As long as there are musicians who have a passion for spontaneity, for creating something that's never been before, the art form of jazz will flourish. Charlie Haden


Last modified on Tuesday, 01 April 2014 08:18