Word Echoes from SANZ: “JAZZ APPRECIATION MONTH”
Written by Helewise Arends on April 27, 2018
Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) is a music festival held every April in the United States,
in honor of Jazz as an early American art form.
JAM was created in 2001 by John Edward Hassse and was initially funded
by the Ella Fritzgerald Charitable Foundation.
JAM was created to be an annual event that would pay tribute to jazz as both a living and as a historic music.
For 2018 JAM celebrates the relationship between jazz and justice by
looking beyond the music, to the dynamic ways jazz has played along
with its transformative role in social justice, musicians’ rights,
and equality since its birth in America.
Jazz has had a major influence on most popular music genres in the 20th century – Rock, Hip-hop, Latin.
Jazz music perfectly encapsulates the American ideal of collaboration mixed with individuality,
and its history is really the history of the country.
Jazz has a definite masculine ethos with its emphasis on the solo and improvisation,
which requires a performer to embrace risk
and adds an element of palatable bravado to the music.
While jazz is certainly collaborative, it’s imbued with a competitive spirit as well.
Jazz musicians of the past often tried to one-up each other in virtuosity
and in moving the music in brand new directions.
Jazz music is simply good music – there’s a genre of jazz for everyone out there.
When you start getting a rush from jazz improviser’s rhythms harmonies, and melodies,
you know you’re on the road to true jazz appreciation.
To truly appreciate jazz, you need to identify each part (bass line, melody, harmony, improvisation)
and at the same time hear how all of the parts fit together.
Jazz usually has a juicy beat that you can feel.
Jazz audiences usually emphasize two and four beats,
with a looser, swing feeling that dates back to African-American churches.
Although some jazz encompasses complex or irregular rhythms that may escape
the tap of the foot, most jazz retains a steady beat embellished by the drummer and other players.
Listen to Louis Armstrong or some early jazz performers (Miles Davis; Charlie Parker; Lester Young).
Tap your foot, clap your hands, or move your body.
Try to feel the music, and listen to the way various instruments carry the rhythms.
The joy of getting into jazz comes when you begin to recognise the players “voices” –
jazz legendary players embrace special sounds of their own.
Explore into jazz and find the heart and soul for the