Articles

Daily articles including interviews, profiles, live reviews, film reviews and more... all carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. You can find more articles by searching our website, see what's trending on our popular articles page or read articles ahead of their published dates on our future articles page.

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What is Jazz?

What Is Jazz Music About? The Search Continues...

Read "What Is Jazz Music About? The Search Continues..." reviewed by AAJ Staff


We thought it would be a fun exercise to conduct various searches on jazz and compile the results. What are the defining characteristics of jazz? After all the searching, only a handful of elements exist that musicians and experts commonly accept as defining characteristics of jazz. Swing and syncopationImprovisation Bent notes and innovative modes Distinctive voices Who is the father of jazz? Louis Armstrong. Louis Armstrong was born in a poor section of New Orleans ...

Radio & Podcasts

What Is Jazz? Vol.1 with Jimmy Mac

Read "What Is Jazz? Vol.1 with Jimmy Mac" reviewed by Mr Lob


What is Jazz? Is it freedom, is it tradition, is it alive, does it continue to evolve and thrive or is it an art form stuck in time? I cannot answer any of these questions or even really tell you what Jazz is. I can tell you how it makes me feel, where it takes me and what it means to me, but best I leave that to the music which does it much more eloquently. This ...

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Genius Guide to Jazz

What Is Jazz

Read "What Is Jazz" reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius


Being the Dean of American Jazz Humorists®, I am often called upon to weigh in on a variety of important issues affecting the future of Jazz. For instance, I weighed in at 294 pounds on the topic of “Why Jazz Still Matters" and a relatively svelte 275 on the topic of “Where is the Next Generation of Jazz Coming From?" I won the first debate by fall in 2:35, and the second by a 8-1 majority decision. So, let's consider ...

11

On and Off the Grid

What Is Jazz Now?

Read "What Is Jazz Now?" reviewed by Dom Minasi


Back in February, All About Jazz Managing Editor John Kelman asked me to develop a column based on points I made in the comment section of the article BAM or JAZZ: Why It Matters. I still feel the same way, but trumpeter Nicholas Payton's statement that jazz died in 1959 made me think, and I've been thinking about it for seven months. Why 1959? I was 15 years old and going to Birdland on a regular basis. I saw everyone ...

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Jazz Primer

What is Jazz? Good Question...

Read "What is Jazz? Good Question..." reviewed by Jason West


What is jazz? According to Wynton Marsalis jazz is music that swings. According to Pat Metheny jazz is not the music of Kenny G. According to Webster's jazz is characterized by propulsive syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, varying degrees of improvisation, and often deliberate distortions of pitch and timbre. Personally, I prefer the definition found in the old musician's joke about jazz being “better than sex, and it lasts longer."Certainly, the question is a highly subjective one. Ask ...

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Jazz Primer

What is Jazz? Round 2

Read "What is Jazz? Round 2" reviewed by Alan Lawrence


What is jazz? Those three words form one of the toughest questions in music. Ask a hundred people and you are likely to get as many different answers. Few things have given me more pleasure in life than listening to the music we call jazz. Even after hearing several thousand recordings in over 15 years and seeing countless live shows, I cannot offer a definitive definition of the word “jazz." The challenge may lie ...

321

Just For Fun

What is Jazz?

Read "What is Jazz?" reviewed by Shawn McGrew


Some say jazz keeps one foot planted in tradition while the other seeks new footwear, or maybe a warm bath and some talcum. If that's true then Charles Mingus must surely be a case in point. Mingus, a socially conscious musician and bandleader, wasn't content to repeat Jimmy Blanton's advances or rest on his laurels after making a name for himself. As evidence, listen to Pithecanthropus Erectus in general and “A Foggy Day" in particular which hints ...


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