Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Music Mix: And All That Jazz!

There's something subtle and powerful about jazz. No other genre of music can express a true-blue mood of sadness or longing like jazz can. On the flip side, jazz can achieve such lighthearted tones of happiness. One of the things I love about jazz is how it's ours. It's a genre that originated in the United States during the early 20th centruy, and it's infused with all the panache and swagger of the flapper era. Like all music, Jazz tells a story of us, and how America has grown both musically and socially. 

There are numerous branches of jazz, but in case you haven't taken that oh-so-fun History of Music 101 course or forgot all your learned when you put down your pencil and handed in your final scantron, here are some of the main categories: New Orleans jazz is the original jazz of the early 1910s. The 1930s and '40s saw the development of the nonstop fun big band swingKansas City jazz and Gypsy jazz styles. During the mid 1940's, bebop took over the scene and caused a wild rumpus and a bit of footloose times! While jazz might sound like a free for all, it actually requires more advanced theory and technique than any other genre, and jazz musicians who have mastered their art actually stand at the top of the game. In addition to require extreme improvisational skills, jazz musicians have to instinctively feel what their fellow musicians are going to play, which is no easy task. Despite the skill level required to play jazz, there's nothing more exciting than getting together with a group of jazz musicians and falling into the rhythm and soul of a great jazz tune!  

Jazz is one of those "love it or hate it" styles of music. Some people can't stand the wandering melodies and discordant tones, while others hear the exquisite beauty in music that is so clever, it literally paints a picture of life. After all, we all wander through life and face times of disarray, but like jazz, life has a brilliant way of finding a beautiful, harmonious melody at just the right time. Whether your a lover or hater of jazz, open up your heart and try a little here and there. You just might find yourself in the mood for all that jazz.


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