What is the definition of Jazz? , by Mecobio on 03/14/2006, 12:55:37

Hi

Just a question, assuming someone here can know the answer.

There have been some argue about how to define JAZZ. In the Mark's "Jazz theory book" nothing is said about it and even in amazon some critize the author becuase of that.

Saying that "improvisation is jazz" is an insult to the human kind because of improvisation has always been in music since the evolution of homo-sapiens (or the creation of Gud, depending on the believe). By the way, isn't so that any creation involves improvisation?

The jazz literature starts with the Blues. The later is well defined as I(1) IV(5) I(7) V(9) I(11). Important to notice that Rhythm & Blues (R&B) which can be seen as a Blues with slightly variation, was later re-named as Rock & Roll due to commercial and racist motive packaging it as a "white creation" to a more rich white consumers. Then, the jazz books move to be-bop.

Many says that the term "jass" was rude sexual slang used in New Orleans brothels. So, Is jazz a commercial name similar to Rock and Roll where both mean sex?

Any serious definition of it out there? The reason of looking for a definition is that, the more you know about a subject, the better you can explore it, transformed, play around with it, etc.

So, if jazz = blues + be-bop, then, jazz itself is not a music but a package. Then, as every package, it is heavily commercialized and simplified, with a lot of lies around it and therefore "too flat" compare to the original blues.

Any comments? Please, I'm not looking for "personal opinions from the heart" but rather from the brain, so we can get rid of the sentimental issues for a while around it, and try to differentiate between music and commercial crap. Interesting that in the Mark's "Jazz theory book" he says that many afro-Americans are opposed to the misuse of the term jazz as it is used today.

I really want to know the point of views of those afro-Americans? What are their arguments?

It is not the first time a music genre is re-named in USA for marketing reasons spreading simplified mediocre "stuff". The term salsa is just another, which it is in fact Cuban son (please, read the definition of the Cuban SON included in the Latin Corner forum files).

It is also said that Tito Puente said that there were good jazz musicians (wonder the definition now) in USA but bad jazz musicians playing "Latin jazz". The term "Latin jazz" is obviously even critized as well, e.g. what it is Latin? What has a latin Italian to do with the Cuban son or any Cuban or Brazilian music? An afro-Cuban musicologist says took this issue far beyond questioning what has a white Spanish speaking argentine to do with afro-cuban drums? The term "descarga" or "descarga cubana" (descarga means download) has been used in Cuba for any kind of improvisation around the Cuban music. Then, any descarga cubana is in fact Cuban music where you add as more as you want in terms of experimental instrumental songs. That is, first you should know the Cuban music very good before to start to do "descarga cubana". Not strange that Chucho Valdes and Gonzalito Rubalcaba are very good in this music as their parents were popular musicians allow them to grow in the "right environment".

Please, don't confuse the issue that many Cuban musicians call themselves as "latin jazz" since this is a way they have to make money and establish contact outside. That is, a commercial name already established in USA due to commercial reasons.

Please, observe from the definition of the Cuban SON written by Raul in the Latin forum files there are plenty of room for any kind of insertion of scales, chord progressions, etc and those experiments have been done by Irakere, Van Van, NG La Banda, etc.

Again, the definition of jazz remains to be given, if it is a music genre at all or just another package for commercial issues.

Any body knows the point of views of those afro-Americans questioning the misuse of the word jazz nowadays? What are their arguments?

LJP Journal: Mecobio

  • 03/14/2006 - What is the definition of Jazz?

    Hi Just a question, assuming someone here can know the answer. There have been some argue about how to define JAZZ. In the Mark's "Jazz theory book" nothing is said about it and even in amazon some critize the author becuase of that. Saying that "improvisation is jazz" is an insult to the human kind because of improvisation has always been in music since the evolution of homo-sapiens (or the creation of Gud, depending on the believe). By the way, isn't so that any creation involves improvisation...

  • 03/14/2006 - What is the definition of Jazz?

    Hi Just a question, assuming someone here can know the answer. There have been some argue about how to define JAZZ. In the Mark's "Jazz theory book" nothing is said about it and even in amazon some critize the author becuase of that. Saying that "improvisation is jazz" is an insult to the human kind because of improvisation has always been in music since the evolution of homo-sapiens (or the creation of Gud, depending on the believe). By the way, isn't so that any creation involves improvisation...


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