By Kevin Whitehead
What used to be the 1st jazz checklist? Are jazz solos relatively improvised? How did jazz lay the basis for rock and kingdom track? In Why Jazz?, writer and NPR jazz critic Kevin Whitehead presents full of life, insightful solutions to those and lots of different interesting questions, providing an enjoyable consultant for either amateur listeners and long-time enthusiasts.
geared up chronologically in a handy query and solution structure, this fabulous source makes jazz obtainable to a extensive viewers, and particularly to readers who've chanced on the song bewildering or top left to the specialists. but Why Jazz? is even more than an informative Q&A; it concisely lines the century-old heritage of this American and international artwork shape, from its beginnings in New Orleans up in the course of the present postmodern interval. Whitehead offers short profiles of the archetypal figures of jazz--from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Wynton Marsalis and John Zorn--and illuminates their contributions as musicians, performers, and composers. additionally highlighted are the construction blocks of the jazz sound--call and reaction, rhythmic contrasts, custom-made functionality suggestions and improvisation--and dialogue of ways visionary musicians have reinterpreted those parts to repeatedly redefine jazz, ushering within the swing period, bebop, cool jazz, not easy bop, and the avant-garde. alongside the best way, Why Jazz? offers useful plain-English descriptions of musical terminology and methods, from "blue notes" to "conducted improvising." and in contrast to different histories which haphazardly conceal the stylistic branches of jazz that emerged after the Nineteen Sixties, Why Jazz? teams latter-day musical tendencies via decade, the higher to put them in historic context.
even if learn in self-contained sections or as a continual narrative, this compact reference offers a trove of crucial details that belongs at the shelf of somebody who's ever been drawn to jazz.
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Extra resources for Why Jazz?: A Concise Guide
Boogie-woogie is an early manifestation of jazz piano, a rolling, busy blues style spiced with some Cuban syncopations. Jimmy Blythe’s 1924 28 • why jazz? “Chicago Stomp” may be the ﬁrst on record, but the style had been around in some form since early in the century. It was an improviser’s, not a composer’s, music, but as in ragtime, pianists’ hands have independent roles. The left plays a fast steady bass pattern in 8th notes, often walking up and down a scale—a forerunner of 4/4 walking bass— while the right hand piles on lines in contrasting rhythms.
Notice the regular, almost marchlike rhythm of the evenly spaced notes for the pianist’s left hand on the lower stave, and how various shorter notes for the right hand (top stave) are timed to fall between the notes of the left-hand pattern. Those notes “in the cracks,” tugging against the prevailing rhythm, are said to be syncopated. jazz from its origins to 1940 • 25 marchlike pattern, while the right slides between those beats: the taka-taka-taka-taka rattle of a steam engine. A related shift was also going on, from European music’s accent on the ﬁrst and other odd-numbered “strong” beats—1 2 3 4—to the even numbered “weak” beats, or backbeats: 1 2 3 4.
What’s important about Bix Beiderbecke? Jazz loves a doomed genius. A self-taught musician from an uncomprehending Iowa family who drank himself to death at 28, Beiderbecke became a potent mythological ﬁgure. His life loosely inspired Dorothy Baker’s 1938 novel Young Man with a Horn and (even more loosely) the 1950 ﬁlm version. 34 • why jazz? As cornet player, his gifts complemented Armstrong’s: Beiderbecke’s rhythms were less daring, but his choice of pitches could be more so, informed by French impressionist music.