What is Jazz?

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

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What is Jazz?

Building a Jazz Audience: The Sisyphus Redux

Read "Building a Jazz Audience: The Sisyphus Redux" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Since my controversial article on jazz education and audience development, many have asked “Well, if education isn't the answer, what's the solution? How do we develop and maintain a strong jazz audience?" Audience development is a complicated issue, and it's not limited to jazz. Every artist and arts organization is trying to answer the same question. We've identified a problem and we're going to “build" something to solve it. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? It's not ...

2

What is Jazz?

Ghosts In The Machine, Part 5: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music

Read "Ghosts In The Machine, Part 5: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 Part 5: Jazz in Academia Jazz musicians have always been acutely aware of the “byproduct" of becoming proficient in jazz. Jazz training, even if rudimentary, provides the ability to master or at least become fluent in other styles in a short period of time. As detailed in the previous installments of this series, this skillset has allowed jazz musicians to function as musical chameleons ...

2

What is Jazz?

Ghosts In The Machine, Part 4: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music

Read "Ghosts In The Machine, Part 4: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 Part 4: Jazz in the Trenches In my previous articles, I detailed the enormous influence that jazz musicians have had on popular music since the 1960s. This may, early on, have been a matter of survival; as the popularity of jazz waned, so did the income potential, as detailed in Marc Meyers' noteworthy recent addition to the social history of jazz, Why Jazz Happened. ...

3

What is Jazz?

Ghosts In The Machine, Part 3: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music

Read "Ghosts In The Machine, Part 3: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 Part 3: The GhostsIn a recent essay in Commentary, Terry Teachout, arts and culture critic for the Wall Street Journal, makes an argument for the date on which the jazz era officially ended and the rock/pop era began—May 9, 1964, the last time a jazz musician (Louis Armstrong, with his version of “Hello Dolly," from the musical of the same name) topped the ...

7

What is Jazz?

Ghosts In The Machine, Part 2: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music

Read "Ghosts In The Machine, Part 2: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 Part II: The Machinery Jazz musicians have played an important role in the development of popular music from the 1960s until today (we should also remember that jazz actually was popular music from the 1920s-1940s). For those who know the history of the music, this comes as no surprise--jazz and popular music stem from the fusion of the early blues and gospel music of ...

8

What is Jazz?

Ghosts In The Machine, Part 1: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music

Read "Ghosts In The Machine, Part 1: Jazz Musicians And Popular Music" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 Part I: The MachinesJazz and classical musicians have long had a troubled relationship with pop music. (By “pop music," I mean all styles outside of classical and jazz--country, rock, hip-hop, rap, etc.--any style that enjoys a double-digit market share is properly called “popular," as opposed to the dismal 4-6% (combined) that is shared by jazz and classical music.) Admittedly, most of pop ...

6

What is Jazz?

Jazz and the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read "Jazz and the Dream of Martin Luther King, Jr." reviewed by Douglas Groothuis


Without jazz, there may have been no “I Have a Dream" speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Delivered at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, this historic oratory is most known for improvisation--a skill without which there is no jazz--that was not found in his original written text. Moreover, the very spirit of the civil rights movement owes much to jazz, as Dr. King himself said, as we will find. Mahalia Jackson was ...


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