Whether it's the deep-voiced Sinatra, the raspy Armstrong, the New Orleans swing, the strums of a Brazilian Guitar, intricate Saxophone solos, tingly piano chords, and many many more. Jazz is a sophisticated genre that brings color to the world. Despite being a distinctive Genre, Jazz has a lot of subgenres and international interpretation that spawns artists left and right to discover their authentic "Jazzyness".
Hey all! Fabian from the think-team, convincing anyone in my vicinity to love Jazz. Note that this post isn't an intro to Jazz or its history as there are enough books for that. I simply want to share my love for it and what I think it means for my life (and possibly yours).
So let's start with what does Jazz music sound like? It is very nuanced, so let me start with the chords. If you know what chords are, they consist of at least three notes that work in harmony. This depends on the distance between each note, but let's not get there. The most general chord is known as a Triad, one with exactly three notes. But in the world of Jazz, we spice things up by adding one or more notes. A simple pop song may consist of four Chords that look like this: Am C F G. A Jazzy song could look like Am7 D9 GMaj7 CMaj7 F#dim B7 Em7. That's Autumn Leaves for you, we haven't even touched the melody or the walking bassline yet. So watch this video for that:
A normal A major chord would have three notes, while an A major 7 chord would have four notes. There are also chords in Jazz song that looks like a Wifi Password like a BbM7#11 which has five notes. But really, they are just chords with extra notes compared to the Triad. I think that's fascinating how the spaces of a note and the number make a big difference to the entire feel and mood of a song. Jacob Collier explains it best when he breaks down a somewhat Jazzy pop song by Daniel Caesar. He shows how these Jazz chords can make a song much more colorful than Triad chords and why the melodies make sense. Spare 5 minutes to appreciate music theory.
All that's been said is really just the gist of it. It's amusing to see the infinite combinations of the basic rule of Jazz. Jazz songs can be both a baby's lullaby and groovy social music. It could be timeless with songs that could be sung by generations after generations. Over the dinner table or the dance floor, the versatility of Jazz is to look up to.
I think my biggest lesson from Jazz is exploration. I don't mean just improvisation (that's a whole other discussion), but how just one or two extra notes can make a more colorful world. Everyone says that Jazz can spice up your life. Imagine what it means to find that one extra note for your life. Whether's that's a research paper or a story you heard from a friend, we all need one metaphorical note to spice things up. We would be forever stuck with the same four chords if we never learned how to make new ones. The world would be stagnant if we never explored.
Thanks for reading! I hope I've convinced you on why Jazz is so important to a lot of people and to me. If you're still not a fan, I hope you take the essence - that the world is changing and always in need of new things.
For the Jazz lovers, what's your favorite piece? Currently, this cover of Autumn in New York is on repeat in my head. I think it's a masterpiece of its own with the guitar arrangements and the effortlessly stunning vocals by Allison Young without many overembellishments.
Looking forward to hearing some of your jazzy recs!