A Beginning of Creative Musicology
Jazz is too Mainstream Music what Einstein’s Relativity Theory and Quantum Mechanics is to Classical Newtonian Physics. It is different and much more complex than the standard sol-fa tonic scale of notes. Sophistication and special effects enter into this genre, and it is American like Deconstruction. The complexity of harmony, the syncopation of rhythmical notes, and extreme improvisation all feed into jazz’s beauty. What started in the heart of New Orleans with Black American musicians doing the best they could, with what they had, slowly yet steadily spread throughout not only America but the rest of the world. Later on, New York became a central hub of jazz music, and it gathered inspirational influences such as pop, rock and funk in its repertoire.
The 20th Century was decidedly the Jazz Century. It involved several music experiments the most famous of which included musicians such as Johnny Cash and Igor Stravinsky. The use of discordant notes and unresolved tension spread among the body politic of music. It was not easy music meant to chill out while listening. The mind had to work on this music to make meaning out of it. Chicago, like New York, became a cultural centre of jazz. Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis lent new strength and supremacy to jazz, and so over time, jazz was shaped both internally and externally.
The fact of the matter is that jazz is not a movement in music in a definite direction. It is always open to change and keeps evolving. You cannot pin it down or analyze it and declare that this is jazz. The moment you do this, it finds an escape mechanism and is gone with the wind. There are even people today that label jazz as African, Black American or French. Such is hardly the case since there is not a single source behind jazz. Jazz is all about diversity and polymusicality. The word itself meant vitality, energy and power to begin with. Also, it has connotations of sensuality and sexuality. Jazz used to be alternative music. Today, however, it has entered the mainstream of musical life.
The Signs of its Significance
At the present moment in human history, jazz has become what American culture and civilization are all about. The evolution of this style of emotional sound creation has impacted other things in the culture such as fashion, poetic expression, the Civil Rights Era and smart objects of art. It is also much more respected today than when it started at the beginning of the Century. The clothes it has inspired go best with dancing to jazz music. Even feminism left its marks upon jazz. Women were coming out of their shells, which had been created thanks to patriarchy, so they found a way to vent their feelings in dancing studios and clubs were dancing to jazz music was the norm. Jazz soon enough became synonymous with freedom, expression and living the individualistic lifestyle of success and excess.
Nowadays, such legendary musicians as The Beatles and Pink Floyd owe a debt of gratitude to jazz music. New York City has some of the best jazz clubs. Birdland NYC is one of the most prominent of these clubs. It has a modernistic tradition and feels that is all it’s own. Come to think of it; jazz came of age in the 1920s. This era in history was known as the Roaring Twenties. Even the literature of that era bears the imprints of jazz. Think of T.S. Eliot and E.E. Cummings who went out on a limb to create new written content styles. Today, jazz music and culture have been assimilated into the commoner’s experience of the world. It is not just about notes; it is about a whole nature.