Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast
Results 76 to 90 of 98

Thread: What is Jazz

  1. #76
    Ensign, Principal
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    60
    It's still possible to retain the African elements which made it jazz in the first place, and blues must be considered as almost totally synonymous with that.

    By post-1960, jazz had assimilated so many other characteristics that it was almost unrecognizable.

    Note that Miles Davis is also a trumpet player; there may be a degree of competition there.

    Perhaps what Marsalis laments is the post-be-bop discarding of harmonic complexity, as Miles Davis led the way to, playing melodically over "drones" or melodically only, like Ornette Coleman, who rarely used a pianist, as Sonny Rollins began to do. This non-chordal, harmonically static style of melodic playing, or more accurately, the lack of harmonic root-movement, is what I think Marsalis is objecting to.

    Analyzing this "no chord" way of playing, the connection to African music, and other non-harmonic/melody only "world" musics is inescapable. Realistically, Marsalis may have a point here, since jazz, originating in America, became "jazz" only when the African elements (pentatonic scales, bent notes, division of beat into three) were combined with Western rudimentary harmonic progressions, beginning with the blues use of I7-IV7-V7, and progressing from there into "I Got Rhythm" type progressions, I-VI-ii-V-I and so on, using popular "standards" as harmonic templates for melodic/pentatonic overlays.

    One more time: Jazz became "jazz" when the African elements were combined with Western rudimentary harmonic progressions and played on Western instruments.

    So, yes, jazz has always had Western influences, but these became bigger and bigger, especially with the almost total removal of the African/blues melodic features, and removal of 3-division African rhythm, as Bossa Nova did, changing it to a evenly-divided 4/4 beat. If you take these African features away, it is no longer jazz, but a hybrid form.

    For the "pro-assimilation" argument, I counter by saying: The African elements of jazz were just as essential as the Western rudimentary harmonic progressions.

    But for the "new jazz" revolutionaries, the Western rudimentary harmonic progressions of jazz had been increasingly emphasized, while the African elements had been slowly removed.
    These harmonic progressions are what modern players like Miles Davis and others removed, in order to take jazz back to the more "black," more African elements.

    So why did they do this, and why would Wynton Marsalis disagree? Because, removing the chord progression made jazz sound more like actual African music, which was melodic only, using no chords, like many non-harmonic "world" musics.

    Was this fair? Admittedly, it took jazz in the opposite direction of Western harmony, transforming it into an even more "Africanized" form. A form of "cultural revenge" on America, perhaps, on the part of black jazz players?

    And Marsalis is a "newer" generation of black man, more assimilated, less angry, more successful, unlike the angry Black Panther "hippie" afo-haired radicals of the 1960s.

    Race aside, Marsalis is also the product of the "post-modern" era, in which we become aware of "histories" which did not really exist as commodities or "discrete objects" which could be used in various ways; to meld and cross-breed with other discrete histories, or to adopt wholesale as an artist direction, such as "roots music" movements for blues (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) or bluegrass (Brother Where Art Thou), or, Marsalis himself and his "Jazz at Lincoln Center" series. In this case, Marsalis is a "roots" traditionalist who has adhered to a strict historical model of jazz, as a fusion of African and Western elements, but still strictly American.

    Also, Louis Armstrong the Man plays a factor in this; his unflagging good nature, his feeling that he did truly belong to America, the love audiences had for him, and, generally, that he was coming from a place of love, rather than anger or hate. Malcolm X also gravitated to a more "loving" position and tried to start a less hateful form of Islamic religion.

    But in this sense, are Malcolm X and Miles Davis seeing themselves as more "world citizens?" Is this their motivation? And does this validate Davis' transforming of jazz into a more African, more "world," less American form? Perhaps this is just as valid as Marsalis' more conservative view. The "world" view, however, takes jazz away from America, away from the slavery and poverty from which it was created.

    In this sense, "jazz" was just as "artificially created" as anything else; a "fusion" hybrid music from the beginning, created from the results of dislocation, aggression, and a people literally ripped from its cultural roots. Is it any wonder?

    I guess Ken Burns is strictly an American historian, after all, so it makes good historical sense that his PBS documentary series took the form it did, and avoided these types of controversies. Perhaps "History" did end by the pst-1960s. "It's the End of the World As We Know It," as REM sang.
    Last edited by millions; Jul-18-2013 at 03:10.

  2. #77
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Nu Zeln
    Posts
    4,962
    Quote Originally Posted by millions View Post



    Ok, ok....I chased down an old blog of mine...I'm doing you a favor, I hope you appreciate that.
    You are too kind and I do appreciate it my good luck has never been so large, you are providing a lot of information which is a bit daunting to a simple soul such as I however I do my best so here goes:


    However, there are accents which are divisions of 3 which cannot be notated properly in 4/4, because our time signature system does not allow for "3" values to be placed in the bottom number of the time signature. Everything goes in multiples of two: Whole, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and so on.

    To get a "three" value, we must place a "dot" after the note.
    Well this is surly a dotted rhythm as used in all music is it not?





    For the answer to "What makes Africal pentatonics different?": they are non-Western, and use "just" intervals, like most folk musics.
    When you say “just intervals” are you referring to “just temperament”?
    I know what a pentatonic scale is but I was trying to find out
    a. what was different in an African scale as opposed to say a Celtic scale,
    b. why jazz has to be constructed on that format “this was your second criteria”
    I don’t doubt it started out like that but jazz has evolved.





    Well, this would appear to contradict your earlier post:
    How so?? Oh… I have just become aware of your latest post so I have yet to read it

    Yes, I consider the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra to be jazz. If you disagree, that's your privilege.
    OK but are they improvising?? Which was #3 on your list
    Do you consider the following link as jazz ?
    I don’t want a signature any more

  3. #78
    Ensign, Principal
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    60
    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    Well this is surly a dotted rhythm as used in all music is it not?
    Your line of inquiry seems motivated more by a desire to diametrically oppose my observations than a desire to truly discuss the characteristics of jazz. It's as if you're asking "How is jazz similar to all other music?" That'll really be illuminating.

    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    When you say “just intervals” are you referring to “just temperament”?
    No, because that is a contradiction in terms.

    WIK: In musical tuning, a temperament is a system of tuning which slightly compromises the pure intervals of just intonation in order to meet other requirements of the system.

    No. I'm referring to small-number intervals, not a temperament.

    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    I know what a pentatonic scale is but I was trying to find out
    a. what was different in an African scale as opposed to say a Celtic scale.
    There is no basic difference. Certain African music used pentatonic scales, tuned with flatter sevenths, and this is what was brought over by blacks (you know, those black people we enslaved) and this became "the blues."

    Western classical and popular music is based on 7-note diatonic scales, not pents. This makes pents "non-Western."

    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    b. why jazz has to be constructed on that format (this was your second criteria)
    I don’t doubt it started out like that but jazz has evolved.
    You don't have to do anything. All I'm saying is, the more diatonic and less pentatonic "jazz" becomes, the further it departs from its African origins. And jazz was invented by black Americans in New Orleans. Do you dispute this?
    Last edited by millions; Jul-18-2013 at 17:46.

  4. #79
    Ensign, Principal
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    60
    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    ...are they improvising?? Which was #3 on your list.
    Yes, there are sections of improvisation.


    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    Do you consider the following link as jazz ? (Stan Kenton clip)
    Yes, I think it's jazz, because:
    1. It uses syncopated rhythmic figures in the opening scored brass sections.
    2. The instrumentation conforms to jazz conventions: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, stand-up bass, drumset.
    3. It features improvised solos from the saxophone.
    4. The saxophone solo incorporates "bent" notes.

    You might find my "extra-musical" observations more interesting:

    1. Harmonically, this is jazz which has become increasingly Westernized and diatonic. There is pervasive use of diatonic harmonic function (I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii), using major seventh chords on "I." Unlike "blues" harmonic forms, there is no flatted-seventh on I or IV.

    2. Look at the expression on Stan Kenton's face when it goes in to close-up. This is not the facial expression of a Western classical musician; this is the "leer" of a jazz musician, who seeks to be totally and physically involved with the music. I hate to say it, but this is a white man adopting "black" mannerisms. Just sayin'.

    3. The band members are interesting, too; they are exclusively white, many of them are sporting facial hair, and the hair is longer than 1950s standards; they look almost like "hippies."
    Last edited by millions; Jul-18-2013 at 18:13.

  5. #80
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Nu Zeln
    Posts
    4,962
    I am getting a little tired of ‘you said I said format’ so with one last attempt:
    I am not diametrically opposed to your observations but do question some this happens on all forums.
    I have not said “jazz is similar to all other music” but it has many things in common don’t you agree?
    Pentatonic is defiantly not all “non-Western” some Gregorian chant, American Natives, European folk tunes and the early Greeks had Pentatonic.
    That jazz was born from the imported black slaves I am not disputing.
    Now if you want to take the purest stance in that jazz has to be of Pentatonic format you will get no objection from me as I also am a purest for some music.
    In the big bands and dance bands improvised solos were standard but that IMO does not make them “Jazz Bands” I know most people will disagree with me on that one but, there I go being a purist.
    The jazz that I was involved with was nearly all 4/4 the front liners would improvise within the bars with melody and accentuation while the rhythm section laid down a firm beat that they (front liners) could return to at any time we used the plane old diatonic scale sure there could have been the odd number based on a diatonic.
    Every number was improvised by the whole band the size of the ensembles would be from a trio up to septet. I never saw a score in any jazz club that I played in but dance bands were a different kettle of fish as it was all about the dots, so there you have it millions you have raised a lot of interesting things that made me re think my position but that is all to the good I hope we will be on friendly terms.
    I don’t want a signature any more

  6. #81
    Midshipman, Forte Latona's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Trying to stay afloat in Victoria Harbour
    Posts
    40
    Bloody hell, you lot don't mind tackling the big questions do you?

    I don't know enough about musical theory to even try to answer something like this. Jazz just sounds like jazz to me, whether it's Satchmo or Arve Henriksen, and I know I like it.

  7. #82
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Nu Zeln
    Posts
    4,962
    @ Latona.
    OK you don't need to know musical theory! not more than a handful of early jazz musicians did, but try to analyse what it is that actually appeals to you and I will bet it is rhythm and sound once you have that sorted out you can delve further but that depends upon you.
    I don’t want a signature any more

  8. #83
    Midshipman, Forte Latona's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Trying to stay afloat in Victoria Harbour
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    @ Latona.
    OK you don't need to know musical theory! not more than a handful of early jazz musicians did, but try to analyse what it is that actually appeals to you and I will bet it is rhythm and sound once you have that sorted out you can delve further but that depends upon you.


    Yeah, it's just such a difficult topic for non-musicians to try and pinpoint what exactly they are hearing. Some of what you guys were discussing was WAY over my head, but in the end it's hard for me to even use my own words to capture what jazz is.

    I mean, I get that improvisation is very important in jazz, but if something is not necessarily improvised i'll still enjoy it. If I hear a musician doing pretty much the same solo as Coltrane did on 'Naima', say, it doesn't mean it's not fundamentally jazz coz he didn't add his own ideas. Ellington and Strayhorn wrote some incredible tunes for their groups and orchestras, which left a little space for improvisation in the solos, but bore the very strong mark of a personal musical mind, and with many changes, times and structures which were just as important to the tunes.

    There are just so many things that I love about different kinds of jazz - some say it's the group dynamic and interplay that makes jazz special, but I also love many solo jazz records. I love improvised jazz, but I also love many jazz tunes that swing the same way every time. I love the blues or classic songbooks in jazz, the frame and structure that then lets the soloist or group fly, but I also love a great deal of modal and free jazz, where so much is left to the player and then the listener to try and connect with. I love hard bop, Dixie, fusion, electronic jazz... it's just gotta have the right feel.

  9. #84
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Nu Zeln
    Posts
    4,962
    Great stuff Latona you are obviously well into it, I do look forward to your future comments in jazz discussions, btw do you like classical at all? you seem to be keeping the same hours as me but I am off for a wee drinky now. g night
    I don’t want a signature any more

  10. #85
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Kent
    Posts
    8,955
    Things can get a little intense here. Millions seems to have disapeared from this scene, gone the same way as so many others who are not tolerant of an opposing idea.

    teddy
    Pining for the South of France

  11. #86
    Rear Admiral Appassionata
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    north tyneside
    Posts
    1,817
    Thanks Latona,
    I was just trying to sort out a definition of jazz to suit my own views, when,
    low and behold, you have just done it for me.
    "its just gotta have the right feel" sums it up beautifully.
    Cheers John

  12. #87
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Nu Zeln
    Posts
    4,962
    A lot of folk music has the same basics even (if I dare mention it) Pentatonic scales (not that these are a required ingredient) but lets keep it simple. apart from folk music Shostakovich and Bernstein got very near to the jazz rhythms etc but of course they do not use the instruments in a way that a jazz man would so in this case it is the overall sound that you go for? also in classical there are parts that the player may improvise if so inclined but apart from Nigel Kennedy they are nothing like the jazz sound or feel...........................
    I don’t want a signature any more

  13. #88
    Rear Admiral Appassionata
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    north tyneside
    Posts
    1,817
    In my case I like"straight - forward" jazz, albeit in a range of formats. When it becomes what I
    class as pretentious I mentally switch off.
    However things can adjust with time (ie Age).
    I didn't used to care for Kenton - now I listen to him regularly.

  14. #89
    Midshipman, Forte Latona's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Trying to stay afloat in Victoria Harbour
    Posts
    40
    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    Great stuff Latona you are obviously well into it, I do look forward to your future comments in jazz discussions, btw do you like classical at all? you seem to be keeping the same hours as me but I am off for a wee drinky now. g night
    Sorry JHC, never really been able to get into classical much, apart from the odd track. Perhaps in the future though - i never say never with music.

  15. #90
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Nu Zeln
    Posts
    4,962
    Quote Originally Posted by Latona View Post
    Sorry JHC, never really been able to get into classical much, apart from the odd track. Perhaps in the future though - i never say never with music.
    Is that Vic Harbour HK?? are you in a leaking boat or just rough weather I agree with you never say never also that our tastes change, as John said in his post age changes your tastes as well, one of the first big bands I really got into was Kenton and IMO he was the best but I really do not go for the big band stuff to day I much prefer the intimacy of the small groups say trio to septet and I have the same liking with classical much preferring chamber music as opposed to orchestral works.
    I don’t want a signature any more

Page 6 of 7 FirstFirst 1234567 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. I like it, but is it jazz?
    By Dorsetmike in forum Jazz Forum
    Replies: 87
    Last Post: Oct-17-2017, 23:05
  2. What is Jazz?
    By White Knight in forum Jazz Forum
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: Nov-26-2010, 01:04
  3. Please tell me this isn't really jazz
    By Dorsetmike in forum Jazz Forum
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Nov-25-2010, 18:20
  4. Online jazz radios and free jazz music lessons
    By MartinB in forum Jazz Forum
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Dec-16-2009, 12:33
  5. Jazz...
    By giovannimusica in forum General Music Debate Forum
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: Jan-16-2006, 00:16

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •