What is Jazz

Arrangement, instrumentation, lyric writing, music theory, inspiration… it’s all here.

What is Jazz

Post by tea for two »

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.
Even though some of the Jazz luminaries lived on until recently such as Pharoah Sanders (left earth 2022, September 24).

Jazz from 70s to now branched out into lots of styles : Acid Jazz, Ambient Jazz, Drum n Bass Jazz, Electronica Jazz, Fusion Jazz, HipHop Jazz, Lounge Jazz, Nordic Jazz, Smooth Jazz, Spiritual Jazz, so forth.

::

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.

Perhaps links to some of our favourite Jazz pieces, albums.

I'm fairly sure there will be quips :lol: also welcome because without mirth where would we be.

I'm sure there will be posts of too many notes, too much technicality too much free form lol.

::

Were I to make a Jazz album, I never have,
I would have to in my mind link it to struggles people are facing :
some persons on this forum, some person I see in town, some person in my life, some group of people struggling on earth, some struggles untold people on earth go through including us on this forum.
tea for two
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3615 Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2002 12:00 am

Re: What is Jazz

Post by RichardT »

Trying to define a musical genre is a difficult thing. People who know jazz generally recognise it when they hear it - but it's not done through an intellectual decision process so I think it's impossible to articulate how.
RichardT
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4317 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: Ireland

Re: What is Jazz

Post by shufflebeat »

It's a dialect.

My Jazz collection is mostly sourced second hand where I can take a chance on something I know nothing about and also pick up "the Greats" from the donated collections of deceased others.

I tend to go through phases, then incorporate the experiences into my internal reference bank, sometimes never returning to the material.

Past phases:

Ella
Django
Hugh Masekela
Satchmo
Oscar P
Basie
Various unknown sidemen

I've observed that, like anything slightly non-white is often considered Black, anything with a "hint of the exotic" is rendered "Jazz" by dint of it's deviation rather than any intrinsic qualities, partly because Jazz in it's original form(s) was so disruptive of the Natural Order of Things that anything subsequently perceived as disruptive can be described as Jazz.
shufflebeat
Longtime Poster
Posts: 9129 Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:00 am Location: Manchester, UK
“…I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career” - (folk musician, Manchester).

Re: What is Jazz

Post by MOF »

I'm fairly sure there will be quips :lol: also welcome because without mirth where would we be.

Well I couldn’t resist, below are two links to the Fast Show, the first is just one of the sketches in the compilation that the second link refers to, it neatly sums up my definition of Jazz.
The best definition of Jazz I’ve come across is ‘A race to the finish in any key you fancy’. ;)

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MsQYzpOHpik

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TebUMhJAKSM
MOF
Frequent Poster
Posts: 2276 Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2003 12:00 am Location: United Kingdom

Re: What is Jazz

Post by shufflebeat »

MOF wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 12:54 pm
The best definition of Jazz I’ve come across is ‘A race to the finish in any key you fancy’. ;)

Are we including Stan Getz in that def?
shufflebeat
Longtime Poster
Posts: 9129 Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:00 am Location: Manchester, UK
“…I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career” - (folk musician, Manchester).

Re: What is Jazz

Post by RichardT »

shufflebeat wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:08 pm
MOF wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 12:54 pm
The best definition of Jazz I’ve come across is ‘A race to the finish in any key you fancy’. ;)

Are we including Stan Getz in that def?

And many thousands of jazz ballads too!

One thing that is quite distinctive about a lot of modern jazz is the use of certain chords that are rarely heard in other types of music - particularly 7#9 chords and their derivatives. But that’s no more watertight than any other definition. Pink Floyd use a 7#9 chord in Breathe - Rick Wright admitted he nicked it from Miles Davis.
RichardT
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4317 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: Ireland

Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

RichardT wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:17 pm
shufflebeat wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:08 pm
MOF wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 12:54 pm
The best definition of Jazz I’ve come across is ‘A race to the finish in any key you fancy’. ;)

Are we including Stan Getz in that def?

And many thousands of jazz ballads too!

One thing that is quite distinctive about a lot of modern jazz is the use of certain chords that are rarely heard in other types of music - particularly 7#9 chords and their derivatives. But that’s no more watertight than any other definition. Pink Floyd use a 7#9 chord in Breathe - Rick Wright admitted he nicked it from Miles Davis.

".....rarely heard in other types of music - particularly 7#9 chords and their derivatives........" Not really, from Debussy (and others) to Stock Aitken and Waterman litter their music with said chords.
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4523 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

Surely the question itself is ignis fatuus. If you need to ask you're not meant to know, but start finding out by finding your mojo :bouncy:
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4523 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: What is Jazz

Post by Kwackman »

What is Jazz? A great little Honda. :D
User avatar
Kwackman
Frequent Poster
Posts: 3238 Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 12:00 am Location: Belfast
Cubase, guitars.

Re: What is Jazz

Post by merlyn »

OneWorld wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:43 pm ".....rarely heard in other types of music - particularly 7#9 chords and their derivatives........" Not really, from Debussy (and others) to Stock Aitken and Waterman litter their music with said chords.

'Litter' seems an exaggeration. Clair De Lune, does that have a 7#9? Bringing it to mind, I don't think so. Thinking of a Stock, Aitken, Waterman track, I Should Be So Lucky -- that's triads all the way.

A 7#9 is often used as a V chord in a minor key. It sounds more modern than a 7b9, which is also used as a V chord in a minor key, but sounds more old time. Jazzy pop songs have 7#9s and it's the distinctive chord in Purple Haze.
merlyn
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1305 Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:15 am
It ain't what you don't know. It's what you know that ain't so.

Re: What is Jazz

Post by RichardT »

OneWorld wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:43 pm
RichardT wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:17 pm
shufflebeat wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:08 pm
MOF wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 12:54 pm
The best definition of Jazz I’ve come across is ‘A race to the finish in any key you fancy’. ;)

Are we including Stan Getz in that def?

And many thousands of jazz ballads too!

One thing that is quite distinctive about a lot of modern jazz is the use of certain chords that are rarely heard in other types of music - particularly 7#9 chords and their derivatives. But that’s no more watertight than any other definition. Pink Floyd use a 7#9 chord in Breathe - Rick Wright admitted he nicked it from Miles Davis.

".....rarely heard in other types of music - particularly 7#9 chords and their derivatives........" Not really, from Debussy (and others) to Stock Aitken and Waterman litter their music with said chords.

No, I disagree, they really aren't that common in pop and classical music. Debussy and Ravel are the most likely candidates, I agree.

Do you have any examples from Stock Aitken and Waterman?
RichardT
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4317 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: Ireland

Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

merlyn wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 2:59 pm
OneWorld wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 1:43 pm ".....rarely heard in other types of music - particularly 7#9 chords and their derivatives........" Not really, from Debussy (and others) to Stock Aitken and Waterman litter their music with said chords.

'Litter' seems an exaggeration. Clair De Lune, does that have a 7#9? Bringing it to mind, I don't think so. Thinking of a Stock, Aitken, Waterman track, I Should Be So Lucky -- that's triads all the way.

A 7#9 is often used as a V chord in a minor key. It sounds more modern than a 7b9, which is also used as a V chord in a minor key, but sounds more old time. Jazzy pop songs have 7#9s and it's the distinctive chord in Purple Haze.

Ok the use of the word littered was artistic licence on my part, but music is art anyway, in a song someone might sing “I would die for you” that doesn’t mean they are going to book a slot at Dignitas. My point was of course a general one, that being that music and all that jazz is ambiguous not prescriptive, except say Bach for example might have done a fugue or two, as part of an exercise, but to sort of labour under the illusion that music is cat in stone and one would never happen across 7#9 in anything but jazz, well, not the music I listen to, there again I am musically promiscuous and have come across all sorts of anomalies and that’s what makes music so enjoyable, the surprises
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4523 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

The 7#9 chord is far from common in classical forms, though there are examples in Gaspard De La Nuit by Ravel for example. On the other hand listen to Oscar Peterson and his left hand is never far from a 7#9 chord.
GilesAnt
Regular
Posts: 262 Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 12:00 am
 

Re: What is Jazz

Post by Sam Spoons »

User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 19930 Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am Location: Manchester UK
People often mistake me for a grown-up because of my age.

Re: What is Jazz

Post by shufflebeat »

Kwackman wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 2:40 pm What is Jazz? A great little Honda. :D

Miles Davis - Live in Tokyo (I wish).

:)
shufflebeat
Longtime Poster
Posts: 9129 Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 12:00 am Location: Manchester, UK
“…I can tell you I don't have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career” - (folk musician, Manchester).

Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

shufflebeat wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 5:33 pm
Kwackman wrote: Sat Feb 04, 2023 2:40 pm What is Jazz? A great little Honda. :D

Miles Davis - Live in Tokyo (I wish).

:)

So does he, well depending on where he is, he might well be in jazz heaven and lovin' it
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4523 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: What is Jazz

Post by Mattsong »

Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory summed it up nicely, “ I am going to listen to some jazz, where they play all the notes at once.”
Mattsong
Poster
Posts: 32 Joined: Fri May 22, 2020 3:10 pm

Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »


I like one of the comments made on that vid.....

@maureenc1284
8 days ago (edited)
JAZZ - the new axe throwing for the TikTok crowd.

LOL
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4523 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: What is Jazz

Post by merlyn »

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.
merlyn
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1305 Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:15 am
It ain't what you don't know. It's what you know that ain't so.

Re: What is Jazz

Post by RichardT »

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.

That's very true!
RichardT
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4317 Joined: Fri Aug 13, 2004 12:00 am Location: Ireland

Re: What is Jazz

Post by The Elf »

'Jazz means never having to say you're sorry' (a wise man said!) :lol:
User avatar
The Elf
Forum Aficionado
Posts: 20232 Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

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.
GilesAnt
Regular
Posts: 262 Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 12:00 am
 

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"
Random Guitarist
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1028 Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2008 12:00 am Location: West Sussex UK
I've never liked a solo violin, you need at least five for a proper fire.

Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

We get latin jazz, acid jazz, ragtime jazz etc why do we never get country jazz?
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4523 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

Re: What is Jazz

Post by Sam Spoons »

What about Western Swing?
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 19930 Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:00 am Location: Manchester UK
People often mistake me for a grown-up because of my age.

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!
OneWorld
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4523 Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:00 am

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.)
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster
Posts: 4660 Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:00 am
"The ionion was grown up with a pistol and motor."

Re: What is Jazz

Post by Arpangel »

Do we really need to ask this question?
User avatar
Arpangel
Jedi Poster
Posts: 16803 Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

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.
merlyn
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1305 Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:15 am
It ain't what you don't know. It's what you know that ain't so.

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.
GilesAnt
Regular
Posts: 262 Joined: Tue Feb 18, 2003 12:00 am
 
Post Reply