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At what point does music become Jazz ?

Jerrod

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,879
It's a good thing there's some pretty good responses to go with all of the stupid ones.
 

disconnector

It's been swell, but the swelling's gone down.
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,777
Let me preface this by saying that I **KNOW** that I'm a musical Neanderthal. I just don't "get" jazz. God knows I've tried over the years because of the incredible and mind-bending talent that lives in the jazz genre. Please understand that I'm not bashing - I just don't understand. It's like talking about color to a blind person or sound to a deaf person.

My mind just doesn't process jazz.

To me jazz begins where the melody ends. It's when the actual musicality takes a back seat to the harmonic complexity created by the performers.

To me jazz sounds like the aural version of a group masterbation session. It might be fun to DO but it's not very fun to watch.

When I listen to Dave Gilmour or Satriani I can usually sing a memorable melody after listening to the song. In jazz I never hear a melody that sticks in my mind. To my admittedly stone age ear there's nothing that my brain can connect to for enjoyment.

This is important to me because it helps me to understand what I like and dislike. If I can't extract a useful and memorable melody it's probably jazz and I'm probably not going to dig it. That's why I'm replying to this - I'm not piling on hate. I just don't get it.
 

mad dog

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,961
This thread is a good example of how elusive genre definitions and borders are. I doubt most capable jazz players spend a lot of time defining like this. The music is as much environment and culture as it is product/output ... experiential. A consensus, shared discipline. That kind of thing is too amorphous and changeable to be easily characterized.

Some parts of jazz are clear. The history, the tradition, the standard repertoire. The emphasis on harmony and melody, and diversity of rhythms. After that, things get personal and quite variable quickly.
 

rumbletone

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,732
In order to determine when something becomes it, I’d need to be able to define “jazz” - and I haven’t been able to do that. I think it’s easier to define what minimum capabilities a player should have to be able to hold them self out as a competent “jazz” player, but from a compositional perspective I’m not sure it can be defined.
 

Jazzandmore

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
10,387
Does it need to have complex, altered chords ? Can you play Jazz over one chord or a simple riff ? If so, how far do you have to move from basic pentatonics and modes before you've entered Jazz territory ?
Isn't music a language? So with the 12 notes we have, we get all kinds of stuff, rock, bluegrass, classical, jazz, polka, on and on. Does it have to be complex? Check out So What, out of 32 measures, 24 of them are straight up D minor, the other 8 are Eb minor. Nothing complex in those chords at all. Same with Impressions by Coltrane. So clearly it can be played over a single chord.

As far as moving from basic pentatonic and modes, why would you need to do that? You could just stick with triads and play over those chords. An F triad would work nice. But hey, so would an E triad, gives you the b5 which is totally useful in a pentatonic setting. How about an F major arpeggio or a G7 arpeggio? Just modes, but you use the modes to decide which "letters" you use to make your "words".

You could also check out Freddie Freeloader, or All Blues. Heck All Blues even uses a few 7#9 chords, which is what people get so excited that Hendrix used. Of course All Blues and the use of the 7#9 chord existed long before Hendrix got famous. But nobody thought Hendrix was playing jazz.
 

Jerrod

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
12,879
Let me preface this by saying that I **KNOW** that I'm a musical Neanderthal. I just don't "get" jazz. God knows I've tried over the years because of the incredible and mind-bending talent that lives in the jazz genre. Please understand that I'm not bashing - I just don't understand. It's like talking about color to a blind person or sound to a deaf person.

My mind just doesn't process jazz.

To me jazz begins where the melody ends. It's when the actual musicality takes a back seat to the harmonic complexity created by the performers.

To me jazz sounds like the aural version of a group masterbation session. It might be fun to DO but it's not very fun to watch.

When I listen to Dave Gilmour or Satriani I can usually sing a memorable melody after listening to the song. In jazz I never hear a melody that sticks in my mind. To my admittedly stone age ear there's nothing that my brain can connect to for enjoyment.

This is important to me because it helps me to understand what I like and dislike. If I can't extract a useful and memorable melody it's probably jazz and I'm probably not going to dig it. That's why I'm replying to this - I'm not piling on hate. I just don't get it.
We like what we like, but much jazz is eminently hummable. Who can't hum So What?
 

Dexter.Sinister

Still breathing
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
6,799
Does it need to have complex, altered chords ? Can you play Jazz over one chord or a simple riff ? If so, how far do you have to move from basic pentatonics and modes before you've entered Jazz territory ?
When would you like it to?

When you can fail upward?

Learn to resolve sticky situations, intentionally, and land someplace you own?

<I could go on like this all night, but prefer to play...gotta go!>
 

dsimon665

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
608
according to the "3 chords, X thousand people" saying, "the point at which Jazz" is inversely proportional to the audience size
and directly proportional to the number of chords used
 

Trem-o-dust

Member
Messages
296
There's many dead giveaways you can look out for:
- turtle necks
- silk shirts (usually blue)
- berets
- big, usually golden, rings one 4 or more fingers.
- pony tails
-thick rimmed eye-glasses
 

marvin cobain

Member
Messages
1,778
Let me preface this by saying that I **KNOW** that I'm a musical Neanderthal. I just don't "get" jazz. God knows I've tried over the years because of the incredible and mind-bending talent that lives in the jazz genre. Please understand that I'm not bashing - I just don't understand. It's like talking about color to a blind person or sound to a deaf person.

My mind just doesn't process jazz.

To me jazz begins where the melody ends. It's when the actual musicality takes a back seat to the harmonic complexity created by the performers.

To me jazz sounds like the aural version of a group masterbation session. It might be fun to DO but it's not very fun to watch.

When I listen to Dave Gilmour or Satriani I can usually sing a memorable melody after listening to the song. In jazz I never hear a melody that sticks in my mind. To my admittedly stone age ear there's nothing that my brain can connect to for enjoyment.

This is important to me because it helps me to understand what I like and dislike. If I can't extract a useful and memorable melody it's probably jazz and I'm probably not going to dig it. That's why I'm replying to this - I'm not piling on hate. I just don't get it.
there's actually a lot of jazz that is very melodic and accessible, as much as Gilmour or Satriani.The genre is big, it doesn't ends with Charlie Parker/Coltrane/late Miles Davis/Ornette Coleman.




 

ivers

Member
Messages
3,896
To me jazz begins where the melody ends. It's when the actual musicality takes a back seat to the harmonic complexity created by the performers.

To me jazz sounds like the aural version of a group masterbation session. It might be fun to DO but it's not very fun to watch.
You hear what you hear, and no one can tell you what you should feel about jazz or any other music.

Having said that, it's very easy to find examples of jazz that pop into my head and to me don't fit your description at all.

There's no melody here? Only harmonic complexity for its own sake, performed as a group masturbation? Again, you hear it in your way, but the similar way you don't get jazz, I don't get this perception on jazz as a genre.

Of course, jazz musicians (including those of us who aspire to be such) can lose track of melody and overcomplicate things. Just like blues and rock musicians they can play uninspired and unmelodic noodly stuff.

But for me the genre has so much more to offer. Sure, I enjoy harmonic complexicy, also of the kind that is found in jazz, but a reason I've listened to jazz for almost 30 years is definitely also what the genre offers in terms of melodic playing and empathic interplay (which in my thinking is quite opposite to masturbatory activities).




 




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