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    I Like Jazz

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    Jazz is one of the most important musical innovations ever created.

    The soft drink world has Coca Cola, the music world has jazz.

    Why do I like it? Well, here are 5 reasons…

    #5: Not much singing:

    It’s strange, but I’m not a huge fan of lyrics and singing. I am more interested in what the instrumentalists are trying to tell me through their music. That’s not to say that lyricists and vocalists are useless to me, I just like to be able to enjoy the music without the intentions of the lyricist. I mean, what if I like the music of a song, but the lyrics are depressing? Again, it’s not to say that the lyrics should be undervalued, or that the lyricist doesn’t have something important to say, but most of the time (me, at least), I like to just kick back, and enjoy the instrumentation.

    #4 Instrumental Virtuosity

    At my high school, the highest band you could get into was the jazz band. To be able to get in, you had to have a mastery of your chosen instrument. The reason is simple: Jazz musicians built their style of music by improvising and bringing new and unique sounds to their songs. That’s not for amateurs, folks. The Jazz genre has produced several virtuoso instrumentalists who have not only gained a mastery of their instrument, but also changed the game for everyone to follow. No one played the sax like Coltrane, and anyone who does is merely following the footsteps of a musical prodigy.

    #3 Mood

    One of the things I like about Jazz is its ability to project a mood. You see, I feel like I can get a “vibe” from the various melodies played by Jazz musicians. When I put on a song, there are certain musical messages that are projected and interpreted by me in various ways. There are songs that project lonliness, joy, frustration, anger, spirituality, and all sorts of other emotions and mood. I also am a huge fan of the “visual” qualities of Jazz. When I listen to Jazz, I really enjoy closing my eyes, and envisioning a new landscape before me. I like how an instrumentalist can paint a landscape of sound, that can then be interpreted by me to mean what I want it to mean. There are few other genres that can effectively accomplish this for me, aside from classical, and the occasional rock piece.

    #2 Intensity

    One of the stereotypes of Jazz is that it is “elevator” music, and completely boring. Not true!!! I cannot emphasize this enough! There are so many Jazz pieces that have the energy of a punk band, and the emotional intensity of a Martin Scorsese film. Jazz musicians are a crazy bunch. Much like the rock musicians of today, many of the Jazz musicians of yesteryear were notorious, dangerous, and wildly unpredictable. These guys were on the cutting edge of life, the cutting edge of music, and they lived to tell us about it through music. John Coltrane’s greatest work is “A Love Supreme”, consisting of four parts to a suite of songs that he wrote and performed as his personal tribute to God. This album is very heavy, very intense, and one of the best musical experiences you can have. There are so many pieces out there that project the emotions of the human experience: Loudly, proudly, and deeply satisfyingly. Jazz is not for people who don’t like to be moved by music.

    #1 Beats

    Where did Rap come from? Jazz. Sure, you’re not going to hear really low bass hits in a lot of Jazz, but the framework was built in Jazz. Some of these songs just inspire you to get up, get going, be awesome. It’s the beat. Jazz drummers will blow you away with their intensity, speed, and ability to get so much sound out of a little 3 piece set. As an old music instructor once told me “Jazz drummers are LIVE!” Translation: These guys are off the hook. These beats are phat, mesmerizing, intense, and just plain amazing. I believe that humans subconsciously receive messages and emotions from beats, and this explains how music came to be in the first place. Back in the old (old, old, old, days), humans made noise. They then set this noise to a rhythm. From there, melody was invented. Beats are the basis of all music, and beats speak to us on a subconscious level. The beats that are found in Jazz are exciting, moving, and very virtuoso.

    So, there you have. 5 reasons why I like Jazz music. If you want to experience the greatest American musical innovation, you need to get some jazz in your collection. Read my post “10 Essential Jazz Albums (Part 1)” to get some ideas about the greatest of the great.

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