Understanding Jazz

One of my fellow salsa dancers expressed this to me a few months back, and I believe it warrants a discussion. First of all, this person is honest with their feelings about the subject and has an open mind. They are ready to experience something out of the ordinary. Meeting the music half-way—or any art-form—is the beginning of deeper understanding and enjoyment.

Social Media Jazz Poll

In the last two weeks I posed a related question to the jazz forums on Facebook and Google +: ‘What elements of Jazz are most appealing to non-musicians?’  The feedback was both generous and insightful. In this series I will present and summarize the main points from these discussions.
What does it mean to ‘get’ or understand Jazz? At what level of understanding does one start to appreciate it? More important, when does one start to feel and enjoy it to the point where they will go out to hear it again?

Contrary to the popular myth that Jazz is ‘insider’ music, a formal education is not required. If it was, the accusation that jazz musicians just ‘play for themselves’ (or each other) would be correct.

We will start discovering the answers in Part 2

Russ Nolan New York Jazz Educator and Clinician

Russ Nolan Jazz Blog


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