What is Jazz?
"Jazz has the power to make men forget their differences and come together...Jazz is the personification of transforming overwhelmingly negative circumstances into freedom, friendship, hope, and dignity." Spoken by Quincy Jones at the First International Jazz Day in 2012 at the United Nations. The soul of Jazz is expressed in the life of its humblest most gifted people. Musicians find expressions humility, courage, and deep heritage, from the past to its vast promise for the future. Jazz breaks down barriers and creates opportunities for mutual understanding and tolerance. It is a path of freedom of expression; ...Read More
To the memory of Leonard Bernstein, the greatest musical educator of all time, a great conductor and composer who loved jazz and whose televised lectures brought a whole generation of listeners into insightful contact with the music. Maybe you remember how astrophysicist Carl Sagan's vision of billions and billions of stars" captured the awesome feeling of seeing the firmament of the heavens, marveling at its beauty and contemplating the incredible universe. Well, strange as it may seem, many of us get a similar feeling of cosmic wonder when we hear a truly great jazz performance. Sun Ra's intergalactic" ...Read More
Leonardo DaVinci once said, Do you know that our souls are composed of music?" Music and religion are intimately linked, and music is one of the most powerful tools to convey religious meaning. As human beings, we have been given the gift of musical language which can help transform us from our humdrum, everyday existence, into something out of the ordinary. Whether music excites or soothes us, it transports us to another place. When we play and listen to music it can lift us out of ourselves to enjoy the very language of the heavens. To quote Albert Einstein, Human ...Read More
The trumpet was the lead instrument in early jazz: it is the loudest solo instrument, the natural leader of a group of individuals, if you will. So, early trumpet pioneer Buddy Bolden (there is a photograph of him with a jazz band in 1894!) is most likely the first known jazzman simply because he was a trumpeter.And the trend continued with Freddie Keppard and one Louis Armstrong. The two most well-known jazzman to the general public, Armstrong and Miles Davis, were perhaps not surprisingly trumpeters. A history of jazz trumpet is thus a major jaunt through jazz history ...Read More
For some, the saxophone is the sound of jazz. The unique fusion of brass and woodwind that is the sax found an electrifying vibrato in the hands of jazzmen that truly changed the world. The pale pure" tone of the instrument, as first used in classical compositions, vanished in a musical blast of slurs ( Coleman Hawkins and Johnny Hodges, occasional exciting false-fingering" (Lester Young) and runs almost too fast, for some at the time, to listen to (Charlie Parker). Parker employed the range of the alto sax and its keying system to show the world a new music entirely, ...Read More
While in its early days, jazz guitar was considered a rhythm instrument alongside the banjo of Dixieland. In 1940, Charlie Christian and his Gibson ES-150 changed that and elevated guitar to lead instrument status alongside the saxophone and trumpet--instruments that could acoustically cut through the sound of a piano-bass-drums rhythm section. Here, we encapsulate some of the progenitors of jazz guitar and their contributions to the music. Chapter Index The Beginnings: Blind Lemon Jefferson Eddie Lang / Eddie Durham / Lonnie Johnson Django Reinhardt / Charlie Christian / Tiny Grimes Herb Ellis / Barney Kessel / Charlie Byrd ...Read More
The core of jazz is improvisation. This is also what sets apart jazz music from many other forms of music. A friend of mine, who is a keen composer, once asked me, Don't you jazz musicians get bored playing the same standards all the time over and over again," and I replied, Well, the thing is, everytime we play, it is different from the last, and we seldom know what's going to happen next."Check out this video of some great musicians jamming away at casino lights '99 Montreau Jazz festival. I doubt that they've rehearsed this ...Read More