Jazz Primer

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

JAZZ PRIMER

10 Fun Facts about Jazz

Read "10 Fun Facts about Jazz" reviewed by Ellie Mckinsey

Jazz is one of the most popular music genres today. However, many people don't know what makes a song jazz, rather than blues or pop, nor do they know the genre's long and interesting history. jny: New Orleans is the definitive birthplace of jazz, where Black musicians started combining ragtime, French quadrilles, biguines, brass-band marches, and blues in the 1910s. New Orleans was a melting pot of cultures, languages, and music styles, and dancing was a huge part ...

JAZZ PRIMER

You Too Can Be A Jazz Fan!

Read "You Too Can Be A Jazz Fan!" reviewed by AAJ Staff

No jacket required--no SUV or Ph.D., either... Jazz is intimidating. Now I know those of you who live and breathe jazz are probably shaking your heads in pity, but speaking for those who haven't been fully initiated into the mysteries of jazz, trust me--it's intimidating. Part of the problem is that, for an art form that had relatively humble beginnings, jazz has picked up some rather lofty icons along the way. Luxury sedans. Custom kitchens with ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Thinking Outside The Musical Box

Read "Thinking Outside The Musical Box" reviewed by Donal Fox

What is jazz? It is a state of mind, a spiritual quest for true unfettered artistic expression. A human expression of individual freedom, social freedom and love. Jazz is also about diversity. Diversity is important, isn't it? We expect it in our social lives. We demand respect and honoring in our society as artists and as human beings, because we need to help maintain equality and social justice among all the people of the world. In our music and in ...

JAZZ PRIMER

John Coltrane and the Meaning of Life

Read "John Coltrane and the Meaning of Life" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

Few jazz musicians inspire more respect or demand more attention than John Coltrane. Elvin Jones, Coltrane's drummer in “The Classic Quartet" (1961-65), said that most people who listen seriously to John Coltrane's music eventually acquire all of his recordings. I find that those who hear Coltrane for who he was want to hear all that he was. I am one of these completists, ever scanning music stores and the Internet to find new releases. The man behind the music fascinates ...

JAZZ PRIMER

How to Listen to Jazz

Read "How to Listen to Jazz" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

All About Jazz readers are usually very hip to the joys and challenges of listening to this uniquely American and endlessly fascinating art form we call jazz. Aficionados of jazz like to talk about jazz, like to recommend jazz to others, and like to listen to how others listen to jazz. This is why strangers can so easily talk jazz. In that spirit, consider how to grow even bigger ears for the music. Obstacles may stand in ...

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 ...

JAZZ PRIMER

Miles Davis: Unlimited Miles

Read "Miles Davis: Unlimited Miles" reviewed by Bill King

I can't think of an artist who has had greater influence over jazz the past forty years than Miles Davis. For music, style, language and business, Davis was at the top of the game. One to never step aside and let critics dissuade or impede his aspirations, he constantly retooled his band with the brightest most gifted young players of the moment. There are those who will argue that Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Oscar ...


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