What is Jazz

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Re: What is Jazz

Post by The Elf »

'Jazz means never having to say you're sorry' (a wise man said!) :lol:
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

merlyn wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 6:58 pm Having a 7#9 in itself is not enough to make music jazz. Purple Haze is based on a 7#9, but it's not jazz. You could say that's partly because it doesn't resolve. A typical jazz progression using a 7#9 is

| Bm7b5 / E7#9 / | Am7 / / / |

You could then think that jazz involves chord progressions, but that's not always the case. Kind Of Blue has tunes like So What where there are long passages of one chord.

I agree harmony alone can't be the defining characteristic though it is an important one. I would suggest rhythm is a more defining characteristic - especially thinking back to the origins of jazz.

One of the earliest manifestations of jazz was Ragtime. If you remove the syncopations from say Scott Joplin's The Entertainer it sounds not unlike popular music of classical derivation like Sousa's marches.

Conversely, add some syncopation to The Liberty Bell (Monty Python theme music) and you arrive more or less at Ragtime. We still use the phrase "to jazz it up".

As Richard T states above, we know it when we hear it - usually.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by Random Guitarist »

Seems to me Jazz is actually a bunch of genres over times.
Perhaps the thing that links it all together is the approach of the players?

To me it feels like the common thread is a kind of "I will play this because I believe in it, I believe it's worthwhile, I love it and I'm playing it for me, if you like it too that's nice, but I will not dumb it down for you"
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

We get latin jazz, acid jazz, ragtime jazz etc why do we never get country jazz?
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by Sam Spoons »

What about Western Swing?
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

Sam Spoons wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 11:31 pm What about Western Swing?

This bloke, in defining western swing........

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLVJenO26Js

Said western swing is hard to define, it is many things, but there is definitely one thing that what western thing isn't, and that's country?

I like west swing though......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVT5saGp1Wc

Important thing is, I played guitar along with it, and the eSsential 7#9 chord fits!
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by awjoe »

Jazz is whatever jazz musicians say it is.

Miles is jazz. (I've been listening to 'In a Silent Way' for the last three days.)
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by Arpangel »

Do we really need to ask this question?
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by merlyn »

GilesAnt wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:34 pm I agree harmony alone can't be the defining characteristic though it is an important one. I would suggest rhythm is a more defining characteristic - especially thinking back to the origins of jazz.

They could be equally important. Jazz educator Mike Longo said :

Jazz is the marriage of African rhythm and European harmony.

The cyclic form is also important, which may be the influence of Scottish and Irish folk music. And, of course, improvisation. I think a lot of people don't get jazz because they hear the solos as random. They don't hear the form -- the tune -- going underneath the solos.

One thing jazz is is the only American art form.

GilesAnt wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:34 pmOne of the earliest manifestations of jazz was Ragtime.

Ragtime isn't jazz as such to me, as there is no improvisation.

GilesAnt wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:34 pmIf you remove the syncopations from say Scott Joplin's The Entertainer it sounds not unlike popular music of classical derivation like Sousa's marches.

I see what you're saying, that syncopation is important, but de-syncopate The Entertainer and there isn't much left. Here is the first phrase of The Entertainer, with the syncopation marked :
Image
Now, take that out :
Image
Pretty lame, don't you think? :D

GilesAnt wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 8:34 pmConversely, add some syncopation to The Liberty Bell (Monty Python theme music) and you arrive more or less at Ragtime. We still use the phrase "to jazz it up".

The phrases in Liberty Bell end on downbeats, and there is not a lot of room to shuffle notes around.
Image
Those with delicate sensibilities look away now. The fact is Scott Joplin, being black, was coming more from the black tradition, and Sousa, being white, was coming more from the white tradition.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

merlyn wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 10:46 am
Pretty lame, don't you think? :D

Yes and that is more or less my point. I was trying to suggest that jazz is characterised by syncopated rhythms more so than the harmony or melodies. Without the syncopations we have a 'lame' parlour piece of more or less classical origin.

Put that Sousa march into a 4/4 beat with swing and that can easily be jazz. Sorry I don't have the technology on hand to show.

Well done for going to the trouble of demonstrating this in detail by the way!

And yes, I know ragtime isn't truly jazz, but it probably marks the point at which jazz separated from the mainstream at that time.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

GilesAnt wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 11:44 am
merlyn wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 10:46 am
Pretty lame, don't you think? :D

Yes and that is more or less my point. I was trying to suggest that jazz is characterised by syncopated rhythms more so than the harmony or melodies. Without the syncopations we have a 'lame' parlour piece of more or less classical origin.


Really?????

Listen to the following, the full 11:00 minutes, and by the way, if this isn't jazz then what is it.

Gato Barbieri

Intro/Cancion/Tango (00:00 - 11:13) from the album The Third World (1969)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp5XcEi8cvc
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

OneWorld wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 12:17 pm
Listen to the following, the full 11:00 minutes, and by the way, if this isn't jazz then what is it.

I haven't said that isn't jazz - I'm not quite sure what specific point you are alluding to.

My remarks on suggesting that rhythm was perhaps the supreme defining characteristic of jazz were placed in a context of early jazz because we can get some glimpses there into how it emerged from earlier genres and forms.

Modern jazz is much more free of course.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

GilesAnt wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 12:31 pm
OneWorld wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 12:17 pm
Listen to the following, the full 11:00 minutes, and by the way, if this isn't jazz then what is it.

I haven't said that isn't jazz - I'm not quite sure what specific point you are alluding to.

My remarks on suggesting that rhythm was perhaps the supreme defining characteristic of jazz were placed in a context of early jazz because we can get some glimpses there into how it emerged from earlier genres and forms.

Modern jazz is much more free of course.

The point is.......just asking
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

OneWorld wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 3:41 pm The point is, jazz is many things to many people and I am perplexed as to why we have this need to put everything in a box like we do with washing powder or whatever. The original question was ‘What is Jazz’ and not ‘What were the origins of jazz’

We were discussing some of the most important musical elements that distinguish jazz. By looking at the origins of jazz it is easier to see what these elements might be. Obviously things are so diverse nowadays that the picture will be more obscured.

Jazz is about other things too of course, but we just happened to be talking about these aspects.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

GilesAnt wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 4:15 pm
OneWorld wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 3:41 pm The point is, jazz is many things to many people and I am perplexed as to why we have this need to put everything in a box like we do with washing powder or whatever. The original question was ‘What is Jazz’ and not ‘What were the origins of jazz’

We were discussing some of the most important musical elements that distinguish jazz. By looking at the origins of jazz it is easier to see what these elements might be. Obviously things are so diverse nowadays that the picture will be more obscured.

Jazz is about other things too of course, but we just happened to be talking about these aspects.

I'm still none the wiser. It seems if I play a piece of music, then add 7#9 chord it becomes jazz, really? Well I'll t'top of our stairs
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

OneWorld wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 5:12 pm I'm still none the wiser. It seems if I play a piece of music, then add 7#9 chord it becomes jazz, really? Well I'll t'top of our stairs

Nobody is saying that. There are many elements to jazz, but the 7#9 is one characteristic feature. Most of the elements individually occur elsewhere in music, but when many are combined it looks and sounds a lot like jazz.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by ManFromGlass »

Arpangel wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 7:27 am Do we really need to ask this question?

The question is good - the answer(s)? well good luck.
For me the tune has to swing. It’s as simple as that. Swing in the way that jazz would define the word. And there is the rabbit hole.

After many years I am still trying to decide if the James Bond theme actually breaks into jazz for a few bars. That section sort of swings but in a rather straight way. The ride cymbal pattern doesn’t quite make it into the land of swing for me. I love the tune but will always be on the fence about if it swings the way jazz does.
And now a lot of the younger jazzers are taking pop, rock and other tunes and interpreting them. Steely Dan? Joni Mitchell? Some of the arrangements blow my mind.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by RichardT »

ManFromGlass wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:28 pm
Arpangel wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 7:27 am Do we really need to ask this question?

The question is good - the answer(s)? well good luck.
For me the tune has to swing. It’s as simple as that. Swing in the way that jazz would define the word. And there is the rabbit hole.

After many years I am still trying to decide if the James Bond theme actually breaks into jazz for a few bars. That section sort of swings but in a rather straight way. The ride cymbal pattern doesn’t quite make it into the land of swing for me. I love the tune but will always be on the fence about if it swings the way jazz does.
And now a lot of the younger jazzers are taking pop, rock and other tunes and interpreting them. Steely Dan? Joni Mitchell? Some of the arrangements blow my mind.

Swing is definitely an important factor. It’s key to the sound of big bands from mid last century, which is repertoire I’m very familiar with personally. It’s not so universal now as jazz has expanded to include elements from other genres such as rock and funk.

I think the James Bond theme does include swing sections.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

ManFromGlass wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 6:28 pm
Arpangel wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 7:27 am Do we really need to ask this question?

The question is good - the answer(s)? well good luck.
For me the tune has to swing.

Why? The question is hardly novel, it’s been asked before, an£ no one can come up with a definitive answer because like music itself, it takes many forms and is perceived in many different ways. Ok there are some fixed representations - a waltz has to be in 3/4 but an identity that establishes the ingredients of Jazz is more elusive. It certainly doesn’t have to have swing, listen to the likes of Egberto Gismonti, Keith Jarrett, Jan Garbarek et al Defining what is jazz is equally as futile as laying down a formula for classical music.

Last night I was noodling away on the piano, playing around with Mozart’s Lacrimosa, one of the most soulful compositions ever written, and definitely classical of course. Then something occurred, Gershwin’s Summertime, which lends itself to an infinity of ‘jazzy’ extemporisations, would sit right on top of Lacrimosa, I was in my element. Then I asked myself “Is this classical or is this jazz?” Of course I concluded it was jazz, because jazz allows the opportunity to be whimsical and carefree, but working within a framework, and that includes or can include all the complexity of what a classical piece may consist of, but having the luxury of tossing in the Blue 3rd, flattened 7th etc or go the whole hog and pull in some chromaticism, or simply hunkering down and getting a groove going, whatever tickles your fancy.

So jazz is the interface between all flavours of music, and one puts their own take on it. I haven’t heard anyone play jazz on the bagpipes yet, but I’m open to persuasion. If someone says “Jazz is this” someone will rock up and say “Well what about this then?”

What is Jazz? Well any fool knows the answer to that - it’s Freedom. In a musical sense of course
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by tea for two »

OneWorld wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 9:05 pm What is Jazz? Well any fool knows the answer to that - it’s Freedom. In a musical sense of course

I'm so proud of you OW. You got it.
I'd treat you to your favourite cake.
I feel like patting your head.
I'm glad you are the fool that got it lol.
We are all fools one way or another.
It's our foolishness that's the common link of human beings.

Yes !
Freedom.

::

Freedom from Slavery.

Slavery can take many forms as we are aware.

Our personal slavery in our life from various factors : metal health issues, anxiety stress, struggles, mortgage, relationship, work, whichever.

Literal slavery as was faced by a large group of the audience at that time.
Hence my opening paragraph

tea for two wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:07 am goodness knows the struggles a particular large section of audience went through in those times.


::

Arpangel wrote: Sun Feb 05, 2023 7:27 am Do we really need to ask this question?

The purpose of this thread is was to see Jazz not merely something musical technical rather something that represented the Humanity.

Hence the opening paragraphs of this thread.

tea for two wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:07 am Jazz, for me, up to and including Civil Rights era was on the whole to uplift those that were struggling, help them for a little while fly away from their struggles, help people dance and laugh have whale of a time, to find affinity within the music of their struggles :
goodness knows the struggles a particular large section of audience went through in those times.

Nina Simone said after the Civil Rights movement ended, She lost her purpose to make music to sing even.

Jazz after Civil Rights movement ended, from 70s onwards to now doesn't have that connection to those struggles.

::

I also understand that such a question will also open up technical discussions.
I'm glad it has as this is a Theory forum.

tea for two wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 10:07 am Perhaps this thread will include posts about certain technicalities of certain types of Jazz, appropriate as this is a Theory forum.
Every such is welcome.

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