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The Difficulty, Intricacy, and Beauty of Jazz: Musical Rebels
One of the most influential and inspiring genres of music in the modern world. But jazz too has its influences. Deep within African culture is a special type of music that has appealed to those jazz pioneers such as Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington. Those two alone can be considered the greatest jazz musicians to have ever lived.
So what is jazz? Some think of it as a dawn of a new era, while others see it as rebellious music that challenged the ideals and “norm” of the time. A prime example of this is during WWII in Nazi Germany. So called “swing music” was banned as it was a sign of rebellion against Hitler’s Third Reich. Yet, people still got there hands on this music and made it a priority to listen, learn, understand, and dance to this new style. It’s impossible to avoid.
Jazz brings out a side to musicians that can’t be accessed through any other genre. The creativity and imagination that a jazz musician has is incomparable to any other artist. Take the skill of improvisation (improv) for example. A jazz artist must imagine what he wants to play in his head and then let it sing through his horn. If that weren’t hard enough, take in consideration that they must do this within whatever style of jazz they are playing (swing, shuffle, samba, funk, etc.), and in REAL time. To create something so pure and beautiful in the blink of an eye is truly amazing. Being a jazz player myself, I can attest to the hard work that these musicians put in to keep their art alive and fresh.
A New Way To Listen:
We’ve all heard jazz music, but next time you do, listen carefully to everything that is going on. Listen to the drummer’s rhythm and creativity, the guitar and piano in the background adding exceptional color to the sound, the bassist’s time and outlining of chords, the saxophone’s fingers flying and adding chords so tightly packed together, the trombone’s dark warm sound adding depth to the group, and of course the screaming trumpet’s high notes as they show off in the back. This all happens at once, sometimes for many, many minutes.
This music is beyond intricate. As mentioned before, some think of jazz as rebellious. It challenged what people were used to. And in my personal opinion, they did an amazing job because from there, new genres of music were inspired by jazz. The tight harmonies, complex rhythms, and the multipart involvement of the musicians in a jazz band are what make this art so awe-inspiring.