What is Jazz

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

Re: What is Jazz

Post by Arpangel »

RichardT wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 12:18 pm Perhaps I should get one then….

You should, one of these, I’ve just ordered mine.
I can finally be "cool" phew, it was worrying me, a lot.

:D:D

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/114756 ... sel-kippah
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by ManFromGlass »

Heroin addiction optional
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by awjoe »

adrian_k wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 8:23 am
This caught my eye:

awjoe wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 3:19 amSo you have to also think of ways to make your improvising sound different and interesting - it has to be creative as well as disciplined.

My personal perspective is that improvisation doesn’t have to sound interesting, but it should mean something to you when you do it.

I'm reporting my own take on things only, so grain of salt, etc. To my ears, there's a lot of jazz that's samey - it's pleasant enough to listen to, but it sounds like a lot of other jazz. (This is true of any genre - mainstream pop, hiphop, classical, bluegrass - the majority of work in any genre sounds a lot like all the other stuff in that genre.) Now, some listeners just like a genre, and if it's being played well, they're happy with it. But what makes my eyes moist is when an artist escapes the collective wisdom (genre standards) and says something beautiful and/or powerful and/or moving which is individual and different. YMMV
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by OneWorld »

Arpangel wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 12:11 pm
OneWorld wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 12:05 pm This is a jazzy topic, brings in a whole gumbo of opinions!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-z4d0VAXmw

:D

And I can’t play properly at all, until I’ve got a Zawinul hat.

Yep!!! The answer that has so cleverly eluded us is laid before us is made known, if you want to get ahead, get a hat
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by adrian_k »

awjoe wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 4:09 pm
adrian_k wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 8:23 am
This caught my eye:

awjoe wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 3:19 amSo you have to also think of ways to make your improvising sound different and interesting - it has to be creative as well as disciplined.

My personal perspective is that improvisation doesn’t have to sound interesting, but it should mean something to you when you do it.

I'm reporting my own take on things only, so grain of salt, etc. To my ears, there's a lot of jazz that's samey - it's pleasant enough to listen to, but it sounds like a lot of other jazz. (This is true of any genre - mainstream pop, hiphop, classical, bluegrass - the majority of work in any genre sounds a lot like all the other stuff in that genre.) Now, some listeners just like a genre, and if it's being played well, they're happy with it. But what makes my eyes moist is when an artist escapes the collective wisdom (genre standards) and says something beautiful and/or powerful and/or moving which is individual and different. YMMV

Ah, I think we might be convergent :)
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

awjoe wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 4:09 pm the majority of work in any genre sounds a lot like all the other stuff in that genre

I can hear all the greats of the past turning in their graves but I know what you mean. There was a quote from, I think, Stravinsky who said something along the lines of 'Vivaldi didn't write 200 concertos, he wrote the same concerto 200 times'.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by merlyn »

Before Weather Report and the hat, Joe Zawinul played jazz piano, and here he is with Cannonball Adderly in 1963:

Cannonball Adderly -- Jive Samba

It's possible to tell a few things about jazz from that video. The set is quite elaborate, this implies Cannonball Adderly was a star in 1963. We can also note that Cannonball Adderly was good. It's a straight beat, not swing, but still jazz. It may be more correct to say jazz grooves, rather than jazz swings, as there are also latin beats in jazz. Latin beats became commonplace in jazz from the sixties, when Jobim started having an influence.

This beat is kind of a samba, with the doom de-doom de-doom ... bass drum pattern and a bossa clave. I don't know if a Brazilian would think this was a samba. It's jazz musicians' interpretation of a samba. It's different from swing in that the eighth notes are even.

A reference for the question "What is jazz?" is the 1959 Miles Davis album Kind Of Blue which is from before bossas and sambas had become common in jazz. There's a tune on that On Green Dolphin Street, which is swing throughout. It has an ABAC form, and now when this tune is performed it's usually done as

A -- bossa
B -- swing
A -- bossa
C -- swing
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by Arpangel »

ManFromGlass wrote: Mon Feb 06, 2023 1:01 pm Heroin addiction optional

Let’s not go there, I tend to get told off if I do, it’s very common in a lot of Jazz guys, and girls.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by BWC »

My favorite definition (given earlier in this thread) is that jazz = musical freedom. If that's so, then trying to define it by common characteristics is totally missing the point, all fine and well for cataloging purposes, but not very inspirational. Subverting expectations is also great fun for a jazz player, so maybe that's a good reason for trying to define it, just to create the opportunity to disprove the definition.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by Arpangel »

BWC wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 7:30 am My favorite definition (given earlier in this thread) is that jazz = musical freedom.

If that’s the case, then it’s a state of mind, not a case of genre definition.
When I make, or listen to music, I’m not thinking "I’m doing "this" now" I’m not thinking anything, I’m just "doing"
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

BWC wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 7:30 am My favorite definition (given earlier in this thread) is that jazz = musical freedom.

If jazz is simply musical freedom then how does this differ from any other genre of music. Why isn't modern folk, or classical etc just as free?

The great musicians of jazz didn't play totally free music in any case.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by Arpangel »

GilesAnt wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 9:28 am
BWC wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 7:30 am My favorite definition (given earlier in this thread) is that jazz = musical freedom.

If jazz is simply musical freedom then how does this differ from any other genre of music. Why isn't modern folk, or classical etc just as free?

The great musicians of jazz didn't play totally free music in any case.

And, as soon as you introduce rhythm into music, it’s not free.
That’s why as a starting point, I rarely use rhythm.
There are many pieces of music that I’ve listened to, very interesting, and then, thump thump thump thump, it’s tied down, the sound of the factory, the machine. It ends for me there, immediately.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

Arpangel wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 9:41 am And, as soon as you introduce rhythm into music, it’s not free.

And since rhythm (swing, syncopation etc) is such a key characteristic of jazz you have confirmed my view.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by Arpangel »

GilesAnt wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 9:52 am
Arpangel wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 9:41 am And, as soon as you introduce rhythm into music, it’s not free.

And since rhythm (swing, syncopation etc) is such a key characteristic of jazz you have confirmed my view.

Yes, I know this is a bit extreme, but rhythm kills music for me, it always has done, since I can remember, I use it loosely in my own music, but mostly not at all, I think "cycles of repetition" is another way of putting it, but they are never tied or locked to a beat as such.
It’s all related to the human heartbeat, and the fact that it will stop some day, our destination, again, I don’t subscribe to that view either, and it’s reflected in my music, I can’t look at it any other way, even if I wanted to.
There are two obvious characteristics about my music, that the listener should be aware of, no destination, and no conclusions, nothing is "resolved"
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by tea for two »

Were I to play Trumpet people would say I'm copying Miles and Chet. I'd say maaaaan what legends to copy.

Concierto d orange juice (Brassed Off reference lol)
is one of my favourite Jazz interpretation.
Although some may say these interpretations aren't all that Jazzy.

Miles' interpretation
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CsWidlDldVk

Chet and Desmond's interpretation
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XeJODyxPGso

Brassed Off (filum based upon when coal mines closed and the town of Grimethorpe's struggles,
alongside Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band's struggle for survival)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zo8hIc7DpuE
Based upon actual events makes it poignant for me.
This for me is the essence of Jazz.
Our personal emancipation from our personal struggles.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

You can have music which is just as poignant and expressive without it being jazz. Jazz doesn't have a monopoly on this - think Dido's Lament, or The War Requiem just for starters.

So again, talking about freedom/emancipation doesn't really help to define what jazz actually is. Any musical style or genre will have features that can be identified in musical terms, even if that isn't always easy.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by RichardT »

BWC wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 7:30 am My favorite definition (given earlier in this thread) is that jazz = musical freedom. If that's so, then trying to define it by common characteristics is totally missing the point, all fine and well for cataloging purposes, but not very inspirational. Subverting expectations is also great fun for a jazz player, so maybe that's a good reason for trying to define it, just to create the opportunity to disprove the definition.

I don't agree with this at all! All genres offer freedom in their own way. Indian classical music, baroque western classical, African drumming, rock, blues, folk and country all allow improvisation and many other genres too.

Even when the notes are written down, the performer has enormous freedom with the tempo, dynamics, phrasing, rubato etc to build their own performance.

Likewise composers of western classical music have total freedom to write whatever they want. You could argue that this is more freedom than a jazz soloist has when they are playing over a rapid set of changes.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by tea for two »

GilesAnt wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 10:15 am You can have music which is just as poignant and expressive without it being jazz. Jazz doesn't have a monopoly on this - think Dido's Lament, or The War Requiem just for starters.

So again, talking about freedom/emancipation doesn't really help to define what jazz actually is. Any musical style or genre will have features that can be identified in musical terms, even if that isn't always easy.

I don't think we can define any music. We can loosely say somethings about it's parameters as it were : whether Country, HipHop, Baroque.
Mos def such naming of styles helps us to get to the gist of it, which would be rather difficult if we were trying to describe say Country.

Also it's such a personal thing. I'm sorry to say both of those pieces does very little for me, however I understand they are poignant for many.
Whereas Górecki pieces do a lot for me. Whereas others may well find Górecki does very little for them.

It is personal hence me saying our personal emancipation : we can get this from any music from any style including Jazz.

Jazz upto and including Civil Rights movement is intertwined with a specific struggle of a specific group of people : a struggle perhaps none of us here know hence many of us tend to see Jazz as musical only also something technical.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

tea for two wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 10:35 am It is personal hence me saying our personal emancipation : we can get this from any music from any style including Jazz.

In which case how does this help us define specifically what jazz is?
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by merlyn »

BWC wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 7:30 am My favorite definition (given earlier in this thread) is that jazz = musical freedom. If that's so, then trying to define it by common characteristics is totally missing the point, all fine and well for cataloging purposes, but not very inspirational. ...

Another vote for "just feel it, man". I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but once you say "just feel it, man" you're done with this topic. For example someone could say "there are a lot of ii V Is" to which the answer is "just feel it, man" or "there is extended and altered harmony" to which the answer, again, is "just feel it, man", if you see what I mean. :D
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by BWC »

merlyn wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 12:29 pm
BWC wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 7:30 am My favorite definition (given earlier in this thread) is that jazz = musical freedom. If that's so, then trying to define it by common characteristics is totally missing the point, all fine and well for cataloging purposes, but not very inspirational. ...

Another vote for "just feel it, man". I don't think there's anything wrong with that, but once you say "just feel it, man" you're done with this topic. For example someone could say "there are a lot of ii V Is" to which the answer is "just feel it, man" or "there is extended and altered harmony" to which the answer, again, is "just feel it, man", if you see what I mean. :D

Not exactly, I very much see the value of analyzing what's been done, and using what you learn to help inform what you do, just not in seeking defining characteristics (of jazz, at least). Also, I would never say "just feel it, man." I would say don't forget to feel it, but jazz usually involves both thinking and feeling. Maybe that's a defining characteristic, the balance between the two. :think::)
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by floppydrive »

A recent conversation between me & the wife:

wife to me: "I don't like jazz"
Me to wife: "why not dear"
wife to me: "because it sounds like they're making it up as they go along"

True story
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by merlyn »

BWC wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 1:40 pm ... I would say don't forget to feel it, but jazz usually involves both thinking and feeling. Maybe that's a defining characteristic, the balance between the two. :think::)

I would agree with that. A jazz drummer said to me that the heart and the head are required, and that seemed right to me.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by sonics »

RichardT wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 10:25 am I don't agree with this at all! All genres offer freedom in their own way. Indian classical music, baroque western classical, African drumming, rock, blues, folk and country all allow improvisation and many other genres too.

Exactly. I don't think anyone would ever describe an Indian classical concert as jazz, yet they are using themes and then playing with the same freedom.

As for emancipation, I just image all the middle class dinner parties that have taken place to the sound of Kind of Blue. That was the sound of privilege for some time.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by tea for two »

Mention of Indian Classical alongside Jazz reminded me of Trilok Gurtu.
After Evelyn Glennie my favourite percussionist,
Trilok is probably my 2nd favourite percussionist.
Trilok usually most of the time sat on the floor.

Here is Joe Zawinul with Trilok in 1994
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VQWKbUC57_8
24min50sec Tablas intertwining with Joe's chanting and Keyboards.

::

Also I just remembered Bheki Mseleku South African Pianist Guitarist Saxophonist, composer arranger.
Bheki's Jazz was partially shaped by apartheid alongside his spirituality.
https://m.youtube.com/results?sp=mAEA&s ... the+stars+

::

Tony Scott Jazz Clarinetist.
His album
Music for Zen Meditation in 1964 combined Clarinet with Koto played by Shinichi Yuize and Shakuhachi played by Hōzan Yamamoto.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=pvyvihNiFfg
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by tea for two »

Alice Coltrane : Harp.
Pharoah Sanders : Saxophone.

Journey in Satchidananda (Hindu Saint Swami Satchidananda)
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TQtEFdyhgdE#searching

Shiva-Loka
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EPzozPT5V0o

Isis and Osiris at Village Gate 1970
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cdHrCAIE7XM
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by Arpangel »

Instruments define genre, if you want to invent a new sound, or genre, just change the arrangement.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

Arpangel wrote: Wed Feb 08, 2023 8:39 am Instruments define genre, if you want to invent a new sound, or genre, just change the arrangement.

It takes a lot more than that to invent a new genre. Rearranging a Beethoven symphony for a piano duet is hardly creating a new genre.
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by GilesAnt »

In any case jazz pretty much existing instruments
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Re: What is Jazz

Post by BWC »

...jazz = musical freedom...

RichardT wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 10:25 am I don't agree with this at all! All genres offer freedom in their own way...


GilesAnt wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 9:52 am
Arpangel wrote: Tue Feb 07, 2023 9:41 am And, as soon as you introduce rhythm into music, it’s not free.

And since rhythm (swing, syncopation etc) is such a key characteristic of jazz you have confirmed my view.

I didn't say absolute freedom. I said, "musical freedom", as in freedom within a musical context. I also didn't say that jazz had a monopoly on musical freedom, but I do think it's more free (or at least feels more free), and more about freedom.
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