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What is Jazz?

WHAT IS JAZZ?

A Look Back At Robert Glasper's Enoch's "Inaugural" Meditation

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One of the most powerful jazz documentation of a Presidential Inauguration was a YouTube presentation of Robert Glasper's “Enoch's Meditation," a piece from his 2005 album entitled Canvas. Glasper, a Blue Note artist and Grammy Award winning jazz piano star, has received critical acclaim for his trio style that weaves together a tapestry of diverse musical genres from rock, hip hop, gospel to even country, staying within the jazz aesthetic in a way that is mind-blowing. Through the ingenuity of Josh Jackson, special presentation director at WBGO 88.3 FM, “Enoch's Meditation" received a presidential “rendering" where the piece ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

How Teachers can Swing in the Classroom

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I am a jazz aficionado as well as a philosophy professor. Being in front of a classroom teaching is my favorite place on earth, second to a good jazz club with hip friends. In the midst of a philosophy class, I may wax enthusiastic about the transcendent qualities of a John Coltrane saxophone solo or the preternatural swing of Buddy Rich's timekeeping or the song-writing and band-leading genius of Duke Ellington. These comments are not merely idiosyncratic. They reflect something of a philosophical theory of pedagogy that is steeped in jazz sensibilities. After over thirty years of teaching philosophy in ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Virtues of Jazz

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Any jazz aficionado knows the musical virtues of jazz, whether they are a musician, a jazz writer, or simply a committed jazz listener. In classical Western thought (that is, in the musings of cats like as Aristotle and Plato), a virtue is a kind of excellence in performance that flows from a settled habit. One who plays the flute as it ought to be played--the proper tone, pitch, and timing--displays a virtue or sharp skill in that musical instrument. One may be virtuous with respect to any endeavor worth doing, since anything worth doing is worth doing well. One who ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Power of Jazz

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"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; ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz Cosmos: Music and Modern Physics

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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" ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz Music Is Ecstatic Language

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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 ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

The Story of Jazz Trumpet

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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 ...



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