BUT I CAN'T KEEP CALM!
It's not about bashing smooth jazz, but then again, let's get something in a proper perspective. Jazz purity has almost become ancient in the United States.
An excerpt from an article on the difference of jazz:
Smooth jazz is a highly popular genre of jazz music, which is very easy to the ear. Saxophone and guitars mainly play melody for smooth jazz. Many listeners are unable to tell the difference between smooth jazz and contemporary jazz, while there is a big difference in between. Smooth jazz suits well on the background, and it doesn't require much of the audience's attention. However, the case is just the opposite of contemporary music. It needs the full attention of the listener to listen.
It doesn't require much of the audience's attention. However, the case is just the opposite of contemporary music. It needs the full attention of the listener to listen.
But the article then goes on to say even smooth jazz is losing grip to now Urban Contemporary so were now finding jazz artists teaming up with new R&B if you can still call it that, along with hip-hop to produce a style more fitted for youth culture.
YES, Miles, Dizzy, Coltrane, Monk, Mingus, and many other legends are dead, and in the US there starting to become lost. In the UK and other countries, jazz is finding the audience lost by the Americans.
What caught my eye was:
It doesn't require much of the audience's attention. However, the case is just opposite to contemporary music. It needs full attention of the listener to listen.
But to add to this, it's also true that a lot of jazz goes beyond just paying attention, but staying awake. Artists like John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and Pharoah Sanders, to name a few, produced very long compositions and complexed improvisations--which could span 20 mins for just one tune. (case in point John Coltrane's ASCENSION edition 1 part 1 is 19 minutes long)
You listened to them play and play, and play--until, even if paying attention, you couldn't help but lose focus as you grew tired of hearing ultra-long saxophone or piano solos.
If you listen to jazz there are about 55 different forms of jazz!
So many might become confused to just what should I be listening too?
All of those jazz forms intersect in some way. They contain precise riffs or themes that, after a while, with careful listening (notice I said carefully) you'll be able to pick up on a bass line, a specific chord(s) melodies, harmonies, rhythms and so on. And a few of those styles have run their course and are now in the archives. Others are still present, but get very little airtime, if any, very few sales, if any and probably very low attendance when played live.
As a jazz harmonica player and yes my style is Nu-jazz which according to the definition is:
Music that blends jazz elements with other musical styles, such as funk, soul, electronic dance music, and free improvisation.
And yes I've made many of those elements available in the playing style. But I still can take methods like the modal style so brilliantly expressed in Miles Davis all-time classic album Kind of Blue--And find my voice and interpret it as it fit the freedom for me to convey.
As complicated as Thelonious Monk playing was--tunes like Straight, no Chaser, Green Chimneys, Round Midnight, Blue Monk, Ruby, My Dear, In Walked Bud, and Well, You Needn't. Are today considered jazz standards and again when I play them, I'm allowed to express it in my own style.
But were not handicapped there is much room to create.