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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource


Bridges vs. Walls

By Published: April 17, 2012
It's all connected to this thing called "jazz..." a hybrid flower that bred a world wide forest. A symphony of culture and color that filled the planet with sound—and taught the world to swing, rock and groove.

Yet most of us can't see beyond our own CD collection or favorite radio station.

Now Nicholas Payton wants to get rid of the word jazz altogether in favor of something called #BAM or "Black American Music"—which would be fine if that's all it was.

The blues are most certainly Black American Music—they serve as the very foundation upon which the Jazz Continuum was built. However, blues IS a specific genre. It is one particular style with a 12 bar structure. Jazz took that base and layered every other culture and sound in the world upon it via improvisation.

Jazz was given birth on the back of every culture that built America—and was then released into the world to allow each culture to grow and flourish with a multitude of sounds.

Jazz is a bridge—BAM is a wall.

Jazz is an endless symphony—BAM is a singular song or style.

Jazz belongs to us all—BAM belongs to Nicholas Payton and a few of his friends.

God bless jazz, may it continue to grow and evolve for the next millennium to come.

Eventually, there will be a new continuum—and the jazz continuum will become like the classical continuum that preceded it.... a multitude of eras and styles all defined by a single word.

Photo Credit

Treme Brass Band and Preservation Hall by Joseph Crachiola

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