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Jazz Night In America

Tresillo is the most basic and most prevalent duple-pulse rhythmic cell in sub-Saharan African music traditions and the music of the African Diaspora. To provide young performers of jazz music with the knowledge and skills to begin and sustain a long and successful jazz career. But certain types of jazz (or at least jazz-adjacent musics, featuring artists who are recognised as jazz musicians) have utilised straight, rather than swung, eighth notes whilst retaining other elements that we associate with the music. Albert Murray, who wrote the acclaimed book Stompin’ the Blues, suggested that the core elements of jazz are swing, blues tonalities and acoustic sounds. Jazz is now taught all over the world in elite conservatories, which continue to produce outstanding young players and, whilst it is no longer popular music in the way that it was in the 1930s, it retains a dedicated audience of concertgoers and listeners. The relaxed Cool jazz of Miles Davis’ Birth of the Cool, The Modern Jazz Quartet and the Lennie Tristano school was marketed as a softer alternative to the more fiery sounds of bebop.

American slaves, by contrast, were restricted not only in their work conditions and religious observances but in leisure activities, including music making. Although slaves who played such instruments as the violin, horn, and oboe were exploited for their musical talents in such cities as Charleston, South Carolina, these were exceptional situations. By and large the slaves were relegated to picking up whatever little scraps of music were allowed them. The newest generation of jazz musicians continue to honor the tradition while bringing in their own unique sounds. Catch contemporary performers such as Trombone Shorty, Irvin Mayfield, Kermit Ruffins, Aurora Nealand, and brass bands like Dirty Dozen, Dukes of Dixieland and Rebirth Brass Band performing regularly throughout New Orleans. In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called “pop fusion” or “smooth jazz” became successful, garnering significant radio airplay in “quiet storm” time slots at radio stations in urban markets across the U.S.

Other styles and genres abound in the 2000s, such as Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz. Although jazz is considered difficult to define, in part because it contains many subgenres, improvisation is one of its defining elements. The centrality of improvisation is attributed to the influence of earlier forms of music such as blues, a form of folk music which arose in part from the work songs and field hollers of African-American slaves on plantations. These work songs were commonly structured around a repetitive call-and-response pattern, but early blues was also improvisational.

A more precise term might be Afro-Latin jazz, as the jazz subgenre typically employs rhythms that either have a direct analog in Africa or exhibit an African rhythmic influence beyond what is ordinarily heard in other jazz. Beginning in 1904, he toured with vaudeville shows to southern cities, Chicago, and New York City. In 1905, he composed “Jelly Roll Blues”, which became the first jazz arrangement in print when it was published in 1915.

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar. McCoy Tyner perfected the use of the pentatonic scale in his solos, and also used parallel fifths and fourths, which are common harmonies in West Africa. In 1926, Fred Elizalde and His Cambridge Undergraduates began broadcasting on the BBC. Thereafter jazz became an important element in many leading dance orchestras, and jazz instrumentalists became numerous. An 1885 account says that they were making strange music on an equally strange variety of ‘instruments’—washboards, washtubs, jugs, boxes beaten with sticks or bones and a drum made by stretching skin over a flour-barrel.

Performing throughout the year on and off campus, Milton’s jazz combos have opened for such artists as Jim Hall, Dave Holland, Abdullah Ibrahim, Elvin Jones, T.S. Monk, Poncho Sanchez, James Taylor, and Victor Wooten. Over the past several years, advanced jazz students have toured South Africa 12 times, where Milton has a close relationship with two township groups—the Amy Foundation and the Music Academy of Gauteng. On these tours, students have delivered over $265,000 worth of donated music instruments and materials to needy South African school music programs. Jazz grew from the African American slaves who were prevented from maintaining their native musical traditions and felt the need to substitute some homegrown form of musical expression. Such composers as the Brazilian mulatto José Maurício Nunes Garcia were fully in touch with the musical advances of their time that were developing in Europe and wrote music in those styles and traditions.

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