What is Jazz?

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

WHAT IS JAZZ?

From Medieval to Live Evil: We're All Minimalists Now

Read "From Medieval to Live Evil: We're All Minimalists Now" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

A Brief History of the Minimalist Aesthetic Minimalism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity."  Musically speaking, this translates to a few characteristics common to most pieces: Slow-moving or static harmony;Small number of repetitive and simple rhythmic figures;Use of modes rather than the major/minor scales, resulting in a weaker tonality that is less directional;Overall effect is reflective (often contemplative or dreamy) rather ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 3

Read "Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 3" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Part 3: U.K.'s First Album U.K.PrologueIn the second part of this series, I laid out my criteria for what would constitute a fusion of jazz and rock that remained true to both styles, which, in my definition, means that the resultant music would have to appeal to both rock and jazz fans, which is not an easy task. Steely Dan's Aja is a rare example of wildly successful pop music ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 2

Read "Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 2" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Part 2: Steely Dan's AjaI ended the first part of this series with the question that prompted these articles: “Why is there so little music that genuinely fuses two styles together and does so in a way that maintains the integrity of the stylistic contributors?" I could have phrased in differently by asking a closely related question: “Why is there so little fusion music that is accepted as authentic by ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 1

Read "Cold Fusion: The Search for the Jazz/Rock Unicorn, Part 1" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Part 1: A Brief Stylistic History The fusion of different styles of music has been an explicit goal of many musicians in the 20th century. In the early part of the 20C, many classical composers like Bela Bartok, Aaron Copland, Maurice Ravel, and Claude Debussy were interested in incorporating early jazz and ethnic folk music into their works. By the middle of the 20C, composer Gunther Schuller combined jazz and ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

2020 Winter JazzFest Marathons: A Survival Guide

Read "2020 Winter JazzFest Marathons: A Survival Guide" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Believe it or not, it is that time of the year again! The holidaze are barely over and a new edition of Winter JazzFest is upon us. Knowing a jazz marathon is the perfect antidote to the holiday shopping and social marathons, producer Brice Rosenbloom and his cohorts have put together a program of gargantuan proportions. Jazz gluttony, after all, is the only binge that will help you burn the calories you racked up in the previous two weeks...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz and the Meaning of Life

Read "Jazz and the Meaning of Life" reviewed by Douglas Groothuis

I find jazz meaningful and delightful for a happy riot of reasons: its grand tradition and respect for standards, its uniquely American (but also global) identity, its breaking of color barriers, its persistence through changing musical fashions (jazz will never die), its courageous freedom within beautiful forms, and more. Therefore, I was fascinated to find that the prolific literary critic and philosopher Terry Eagleton likens the meaning of life to a jazz performance. That sounds promising! In his ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

2019 Winter JazzFest's Weekend Marathon: A Survival Guide

Read "2019 Winter JazzFest's Weekend Marathon: A Survival Guide" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

With each passing year, Winter JazzFest—New York's premiere jazz festival—has expanded the number of venues presenting an increasingly diverse array of musicians. There are several ways to approach a programme as dense and exciting as the 2019 edition of the two-day Marathon spanning January 11th and 12th. Thanks to an embarrassment of riches, festival goers face some difficult choices but your friends at All About Jazz are here to help ensure you have the best possible experience. Our suggestions reflect ...


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