The thing i love about jazz
, or good music in general is the ability to play with notes
. We can listen, hell, we can even play an instrument
, sound horrible at first, producing only pops and squeaks (sax
) or strum a tangled mix of notes to produce a mangled chord
. But as we get better (hopefully) we learn how to blow notes correctly, we learn correct chords
. Then we play for years and years maybe.
In the understanding of jazz, something else happens: expression and emotion are now able to be created via your instrument. After a while, you become able to articulate through sounds and notes your emotions, it's an amazing process, but because Jazz is an expressive medium, like writing, jazz the entity experiences change over time, this is like mentioning all the different styles of jazz: big band, bossa nova, cool, bop, hard bop, fusion, free jazz, on and on to infinity. The changing face of style isn't as easy as say a critical theory, because reading is a much easier thing to learn compared with learning how to play an instrument, and even more learning how to manipulate emotive tones through your instrument.
Unlike critical theory, in jazz you have to know your field better. Consider the begining of bop -- the fifties with Dizzy Gilespie and Charlie Parker -- a new sound constructed of incredibly difficult, fast pased, emotive fingers and lips pressing and blowing, chaning the path of music forever. Listening to a bop song such as Salt Peanuts opposed to listening to something by Benny Goodman is enough to make your head spin if you don't hold on too tightly.
To be brief, i'll cut to my point, focusing on the further evolution into today's jazz (even though to many jazz is dead, though i tend to lump together jazz and experimental music, becuase, to me, experimental takes over where fusion and jazz left off) where one hears a string of notes that sound more like a child picking up his instrument for the first time, sneaking in pops and squeaks along side completely formed notes, not because the player is just learning, but because that's the style he's going for -- raw.
In a way, music has gone far from the starting point, but because of the pretty standard number of notes capable on an instrument, music -- in it's contemporary -- thinks of new ways to use notes. It forces us to rethink what we think we know and try again, look for new patterns, look for new tones, half-keys, different ways to blow, different ways to manipulate the sounds, the way we hear them, the way they penetrate our hearts and minds. This is the new jazz, real music.