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Article: 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 ...

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Article: 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 ...

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Article: 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 ...

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Article: 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 ...

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Article: 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, ...

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Article: 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 ...

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Article: 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 ...

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Article: 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 ...

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Article: What is Jazz?

The Touch of Your Lips, Part 3: The Essential Touch in Jazz Piano

Read "The Touch of Your Lips, Part 3: The Essential Touch in Jazz Piano" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 It would be nice and tidy if the development of tone color as a primary in jazz piano matched its development in the other instruments, but that is not the case. From early on in jazz's history, composers and bandleaders like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Cab ...

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Article: What is Jazz?

The Touch of Your Lips, Part 2: Touch and Tone Color in Jazz Piano

Read "The Touch of Your Lips, Part 2: Touch and Tone Color in Jazz Piano" reviewed by Kurt Ellenberger


Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 As mentioned in Part 1, tone color took on a prominent role in classical music in the 19C. The Romantic composers like Wagner, Strauss, Berlioz, Chopin and many others were, I think it is fair to say, somewhat obsessed with it. The composers before them were ...


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