Here at Lubricity, I’m hoping to corral the wisdom of the Jazz Internet to try and get a finger on the big question that always plagues the jazz community. Please, leave a comment here by finishing the sentence that begins “Jazz is …”
Here are a couple to get you started:
… a music created mainly by African-Americans in the early 20th century through an amalgamation of elements drawn from European-American and tribal African musics.
… a musical tradition rooted in performing conventions that were introduced and developed early in the 20th century by African Americans; a set of attitudes and assumptions brought to music-making, chief among them the notion of performance as a fluid creative process involving improvisation; and a style characterized by syncopation, melodic and harmonic elements derived from the blues, cyclical formal structures and a supple rhythmic approach to phrasing known as swing.
… an art, not a subjective phenomenon.
… a never-ending phenomenon.
… music; swing is business.
… back — in zombie form.
… a lie.
… a definition-resistant musical tradition. (What a great cop-out, right?)
I look forward to reading your responses. Witty or serious, comprehensive or reductive, long or short, I just want to see how you finish that sentence: “Jazz is …”
…music that evolved from early-20th-century popular styles and retains its distinction from what is currently considered “classical” music, despite its marginal popularity. Historical forms of jazz can be defined more precisely in terms of its place in the progression of the style, but contemporary jazz can generally be described by: a) syncopation/rhythm based on blues/rock b) more complex harmonies and melodic structures than “pop” music, and most importantly, c) improvisation, often of the technically proficient kind.
… a conversation.
an American music that draws from all types of music.
jazz is spontaneous creativity
… an acquired taste among an off-putting, miniscule, predominately white male clique who take themselves way too seriously.
…what you bring to it….which is bad news for Alan Kurtz methinks.
…..the most profoundly creative shape shifting dialect of the language we call music. While I can’t “speak” it, I understand it intuitively in most of its iterations.
…community, a naturally developing opportunity to share & advance a music of profound spiritual insight into what it means to be human.
Before I give my view, this the first of 3 videos which are worth watching, IMHO. It’s WKCR’s Ben Young being asked this very question.
That was excellent. Thanks for that. Of course, in the context of the discussion forum, we naturally feel constrained to a paragraph or so, as likely no one would have the endurance to read a written version of the interviewee’s comments. But great stuff!
True enough, Hank. I did a brief summary in Spanish of the interview in my blog and it wasn’t so long, but yes, not near enough to condensing it to a dictionary entry.
…the past, the present and the future – in EQUAL parts.
. . . a very good topic to read when Alex R. is writing about it. Thanks for your always provocative and humane perspective, Alex!
I meant to say: “a very good topic to read about” when Alex is writing about it . . . jazz, that is . . .