What is Jazz?

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz and Philosophy

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Philosophy warms to jazz, but not as much, perhaps, to rock or blues. We can talk through the night about rock and blues, and it may be fun. But just how philosophical can we get about rock and blues--even with the help of a few smart friends and a few adult beverages? Rock is the rambunctious and electrified child that came out of the blues, and the blues are a way to make pain bearable and even enjoyable, once the ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

In Praise of Young Jazz Musicians

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I hear a lot about this entitled generation of kids. The lazy buggers don't woodshed for 12 hours a day learning Charlie Parker solos like we did. They don't give a hoot about blowing Cherokee in 12 keys. And yet, those lazy buggers seem to be filling the halls of Berklee, North Texas State and a hundred other jazz programs. Are they walking down the halls of NEC listening to Kanye West and Beyonce? Probably, but Bird and ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Tokyo Jazz Joints: Capturing An Old Love Story

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Click the Slideshow button above to view the photos. Could you imagine coffee shops in any North American or European city that played jazz non-stop all day, or bars where, variously, as you quenched your thirst, you heard only Blue Note Records, free-jazz or the music of, say, Miles Davis, according to the bar owner's tastes? Could you imagine such places where speaking is not only frowned upon but is actually banned in reverence to the music? Probably ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Misterioso

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Music and improvisation--that comes naturally to our ears but what if we say life and improvisation? Huh? Well, life is improvisation is it not? How do we deal best with that period of time between birth and death that we call life? Life is a strange dance partner--it offers one fun, friends, food, love, knowledge, discovery but lets you know throughout that death is part of this deal called life. Does improvisation sound more inviting now? These are ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Listening to Jazz Knowingly and Authentically: The Epistemology and Ontology of Jazz

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"What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call 'thought.'" --David Hume I deliberately used the words “epistemological" and “ontological" in the title in order to attract your attention. If you don't know what they mean, you're going feel put off or curious. If you do know, you're going to wonder what they have to do with jazz. Either way you're going to think consciously about what you just read, and if you ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz Stories: 2016

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All About Jazz--a longstanding internet destination for all things jazz--is a community bound by its love of the music. Since March, we've solicited jazz stories from our members asking them to answer any of a handful of questions and we wanted to recognize some of our submissions from 2016. New stories arrive daily and we've gathered over 3,000 to date--that's over EIGHT years of jazz stories! Inspired, touching, funny, helpful (to newbies) or simply providing snapshots ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Words and Music: Why Liner Notes Matter

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It is said that we live in The Information Age, but perhaps, it would be more correct to say that we live in the Age of Too Much Information. If there is something you are looking for, you can often find it on the Internet, but the question is whether it is quantity rather than quality. Of course, in spite of increasing commercialization and an endless pile of trash, there is also much valuable information to be found on the ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz Popularity and You

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Twenty years ago I read in a William Bennett book that jazz made up only 3% of the music market. I often lamented that when jazz came up in any of the classes I taught. I further wondered if that lamentable percentage included sales by Kenny G. If so, all the worse, since, as Pat Metheny said, G is either not jazz or very bad jazz. I opt for not jazz, since a necessary element in America's classical music is ...

WHAT IS JAZZ?

Jazz: The Sacred and the Profane

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“As above, so below" --Hermes Trismegistus A warning: this article is worth reading only if you believe, as I do, that jazz is not just a form of entertainment, but an art form that has deep significance for our lives and contributes to our search for meaning. I fully appreciate the value of “digging the music" and leaning into it for its rhythmic syncopation and feelings of fun and excitement. But for many of us, jazz is part ...


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