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What is Jazz?

Jazz is the folk music of the machine age.
-- Paul Whiteman

Jazz is an intensified feeling of nonchalance.
-- Françoise Sagan

Miles Davis/John Coltrane 





Jazz music is an art of improvisation. It is a combination of improvisation, swing notes, back beats and blues with brass instruments. These ingredients have combined in different ways, with different factors, to make different types of jazz. From Dixieland to Chicago style to swing and soul, the different types all meet at one confluence.

Among the most popular and earliest forms of jazz music was New Orleans Dixieland jazz. This genre, in the city credited with birthing the jazz tradition, created jazz standards such as “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Dixieland Jazz dominated the scene in the early part of the 20th century, from about 1918-1928. It was known for its ragtime jazz sound, which was played over a rhythm section, unusual for jazz music shows. The rhythm sections often included guitars, banjos and drums. New Orleans Dixieland had a northern counterpart in Chicago style jazz, that implemented a faster pace to this form of rhythmic jazz.

Another type of jazz music, swing, dominated in the 1930s and through World War II. This genre was the main form of American popular music for much of this time and introduced the United States to exuberant big bands and band leaders. The genre was named for the strong swing notes played in the unique jazz style. The swing notes involved a style in which a first note in a rhythm was extended over a second note and improvised.                                                   







"Jazz music has got to have that thing. You have to be born with it. You can't even buy it. If you could buy it, they'd have it at the next Newport festival."
-- Miles Davis

"I'll play it first and tell you what it is later."
-- Miles Davis

"He sounded to me like he's supposed to be the savior of jazz. Sometimes people speak as though someone asked them a question. Well, no one asked him a question."
-- Miles Davis, speaking of Wynton Marsalis

"Bebop didn't have the humanity of Duke Ellington. It didn't have that recognizable thing. Bird and Diz were great, fantastic, challenging -- but that weren't sweet."
-- Miles Davis

"When I joined the band I didn't know any of the tunes, and when I left the band I didn't know any of the tunes!"
-- Keith Jarrett, speaking of his time with the Miles Davis band

"Learn to play the piano, man, and then you can figure out crazy solos of your own."
-- Dizzy Gillespie to Miles Davis

"It took me twenty years study and practice to work up to what I wanted to play in this performance. How can she expect to listen five minutes and understand it?"
-- Miles Davis, when one of the audience complained that she did not understand what he was playing


"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know."
-- Louis Armstrong

"We all do 'do, re, mi', but you have to find the other notes yourself."
-- Louis Armstrong

"Not too slow, not too fast. Kind of half-fast."
-- Louis Armstrong

"Because of [the early jazz critics'] lack of understanding of the mechanics of music, they thought there weren't any mechanics. It was the 'they can all sing, they all have rhythm' syndrome. If that was the case, why was there only one Louis Armstrong?"
-- Wynton Marsalis


"When I was young and very green, I worte that tune, Sister Kate, and someone said that's fine, let me publish it for you. I'll give you fifty dollars. I didn't know nothing about papers, and business, and I sold it outright."
-- Louis Armstrong

"I think we've all had enough of Coltrane saxophonists. There's a case of someone ruining a generation of saxophonists, as Louis Armstrong may have ruined a generation of trumpeters."
-- Paul Bley

"You see, pops, that's the kind of talk that's ruining the music. Everyone's trying to do something new, no one trying to learn the fundamentals first. All them young cats playing their wierd chords. And what happens? No one's working."
-- Louis Armstrong

"Armstrong: a high note or series of high notes played on a trumpet, especially in jazz."
-- Dictionary of American Slang


"I hate straight singing. I have to change a tune to my own way of doing it. That's all I know."
-- Billie Holiday

"Don't threaten me with love, baby; let's just go walking in the rain."
-- Billie Holiday

"The only reason they're out there is to see me fall into the damn orchestra pit."
-- Billie Holiday

"I joined Count Basie's band to make a little money and to see the world. For two years I didn't see anything but the inside of a Blue Goose bus, and I never got to send home a quarter."
-- Billie Holiday

"In this country kings or dukes don't amount to nothing. The greatest man around then was Franklin D. Roosevelt, and he was the President; so I started calling Lester the President. It got shortened to Pres."
-- Billie Holiday (speaking of Lester Young)


Take Five- click link please

The History of Jazz Music

It is impossible to establish the exact beginning of jazz as a distinct self-contained music. However, New Orleans appears in the standard legend of the origin of Jazz. Early New Orleans sounds obviously contains many music forms and styles like a Negro music, black church music, regtime and the blues. Tribal African drum beats and European musical instrumentals are the basic jazz feature. When Negro slaves were taken to United States, their culture and music style has mixed. New Orleans was the most prosperous city in the jazz history of the1920’s. Additionally, Trumpet player and vocalist Louis Armstrong was the most important figure of this period.

The 1930s and early '40s was known as the swing era or big-band era. Since during the1920s, musicians has begun playing together and formed the social dance bands. Most swing-style groups had at least 10 musicians and featured at least three or four saxophones, two or three trumpets, two or three trombones, piano, guitar, bass violin, and drums. Also, they have had an up-beat rhythm and simple repeating melody in ‘30s. During the 1930s, the strict blues form was being used more in jazz recordings as the tempos were speeding up. Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie led some of the more popular bands. This era had a jazz improvement in its band form and musical theory.

Modern jazz, which contained some new styles like bebop or bop, became the main style of jazz in the 1940s. Their music reached a much higher technical improvement and more complex harmonies. Also, music was more intensive and had solo play parts for each instrument. This is the basic form of present jazz style. Additionally, Bop became the first jazz style that was not used for dancing. The best known musician in this age is Alto saxophonist Charley Parker, and he could do anything on the saxophone, in any tempo and in any key. He created beautiful melodies that were related in advanced ways to the underlying chords,

Jazz  History

The history of Jazz music origins is attributed to the turn of the 20th century New Orleans, although this unique, artistic medium occurred almost simultaneously in other North American areas like Saint Louis, Kansas City and Chicago. Traits carried from West African black folk music developed in the Americas, joined with European popular and light classical music of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, became the syncopated rhythms of Ragtime and minor chord voicings characteristic of the Blues.

Jazz and Blues are among America's greatest cultural achievements and exports to the world community giving powerful voice to the American experience. Born of a multi-hued society, it unites people across the divides of race, region and national boundaries and has always made powerful statements about freedom, creativity and American identity at home and abroad.

Jazz is not the result of choosing a tune, but an ideal that is created first in the mind, inspired by one's passion, and willed next in playing music. Its unique expression draws from life experience and human emotion as the inspiration of the creative force, and through this discourse is chronicled the history of a people. Musicians and those that follow the genre closely, can indeed be thought of as an artistic community complete with its leaders, spokesmen, innovators, aficionados, members, bands, supporters & fans.


Billie Holliday

Patti Austin

Ezmeralda Spalding-2010 Grammy winner- best new artist



 Pitiful - Aretha Franklin
 Love for Sale - Lisa Ekdahl
 I Get a Kick Out of You - Ella Fitzgerald
 Body and Soul - Diana Krall
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes - Dinah Washington
 My Baby Just Cares For Me - Nina Simone
 So Nice - Gil Gilberto
 Purple Shoes - Maria
 Makin' Whoopee - Ester Phillips
 I Didn't Know What Time It Was - Sarah Vaughan
 (Getting Some) Fun Out of Life - Madeleine Peyroux
Georgia on My Mind - Billie Holiday

 Love - Abbey Lincoln
 l'eau La Bouche - Anne Ducros
 You Make Me Feel So Young - Chris Connor
 Whispering - Lena
Crazy He Calls Me - Aretha Franklin

Back Of Your Mind - Bridge Bridgewater
 Mean To Me (With Oscar Peterson) - Ella Fitzgerald
 Till There Was You - Etta Jones
 My Man - Abbey Lincole
 Carmen Cuesta - Loeb - While My Guitar Gently Weeps
 Eliane Elias - Segredos(Secrets)
 Viktoria Tolstoy - Upside Out
 Lisa Ekdahl - Daybreak
 Lyczacza - Din Di Ri Don
 Yvonne Sanchez - Pieces
 Astrud Gilberto - Fly Me To The Moon
 The Mahattan Transfer - Walk In Love
 Randy Crawford - Almaz
 Corinne Bailey Rae - Till It Happens To You
 Candy Duffler - I Cant Make You Love Me
 No Limits - Jenny's Day
 Lizz Wright - Hit The Ground
Shola Ama - Celebrate
 Patricia Barber - A Man And A Woman
 Stacey Kent - You've Got A Friend
 Sophie Milman - La Vie Em Rose
 Noche De Boleros - Adeus
 Bebel Gilberto - Next To You

 Gabriela Anders - Fantasia
 Patricia Kaas - If You Go Away
 Madeleine Peyroux - The Summer Wind
 Norah Jones - The Nearness Of You
 Ella Fitzgerald - Wait Till You See Him(De-Phazz Remix)
Lizz Wright - Stop
 Stacey Kent - The Gentle Rain
 Debbie Cameron - You Go To My Head
 Laura Fygi - Sabor a Mi
 Eva Cassidy - Imagine
 Doris Day - Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps
 Yvonne Sanchez - Voa Voa
 Valerie Kimani - Besame Mucho
 Mark Whitfield feat. Diana Krall - Early Autumn


 Eliane Elias - Photograph(Fotografia)
 Anjani Thomas - No One After You
Carmen Cuesta - Shape Of My Heart
 Katia Cardenal - Quien Fuera
 Ive Mendes - I Don't Want To Talk About It
 Marie So - Par Hasard S'Imposer
 Valerie Kimani - Nguga Ii(I Will Say Yes)
 Adele - Chasing Pavements
 Yael Naim - New Soul
 Jane Monheit - In The Still Of The Night
 Yvonne Sanchez - The Girl


Malene Mortensen - Desperado
 Wendy Mseleku - Life Is Going On
 Sarah Vaughan - Slow Hot Wind
 Nouvelle Vague - Love Will Tear Us Apart
 Smooth Machine - Ta Noc Ten Dzien
 Dinah Washington - Mad About The Boy
 Agnieszka Maciag - Zatrzymaj Czas
 Carol Duboc - Feel Like Making Love
 Julie London - When I Fall In Love
Carmen Cuesta - Aclarate
 Monday Michiru - True Colors



 Christina Dahl - Because Of Love
 Billie Holiday - Baby Get Lost
 Ella Fitzgerald - Cry You Out Of My Heart
 Dinah Washington - Walkin And Talkin
 Julia Lee - Show Me Missouri Blues
 Myra Taylor - Tell Your Best Friend Nothing
 Dinah Washington - I Want To Cry
Ivian Green - Red Light
Helen Humes - Jet Propelled Papa
 Memphis Minnie - Fashion Plate Daddy
 Dinah Washington - Ive Got Bad News Baby
 Myra Taylor With Jimmy Keith's Orchestra - Take It Easy, Greasy
 Myra Taylor With JImmy Keith's Orchestra - The Spider And The Fly
Cleo Brown - Boggie Woogie