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Jazz Music

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The Essence Of Jazz Music

The essence of Jazz music is the ethereal atmosphere of the dimensional harmony
created by kaleidoscope of chromatic tones. It is the pulsating back beat of
syncopating African rhythms through the rumble of the drums, or soft sound of
the brush to the snare.

The music is an expression of melody from the depth of the soul conveyed as a
gospel in many unique ways. These elements combined with the free
impressionistic ambiance of instrumental tones in orchestration as a
foundational juxtaposition of 7th, 9th,13th chordal harmony makes this style
truly unique. The essence of Jazz music is music that is upbeat, full of
pizzazz ,yet laid back with style. One would never guess that this free style
of music has a foundation that began with Baroque elements found in Classical

Classical music comes from the basic structure of homophony when two or more
musical lines are played vertically in the same direction as sacred music. In
fact, Jazz music is created with homophony in terms of the movement of chords
to support the melodic improvisation. However, when it comes to playing
intervals and chordal harmonies, Jazz is free from the restriction of classical
form. For example, if a song is written in the key of C or a minor there are no
sharps or flats written on the staffs. Many times in Jazz music Accidentals are
put in the music to cause a tonal effect found in chromatic tones. Tonal effects
can occur when one or more notes are altered by raising or lowering a pitch by
one half step. Sharps are symbols in the shape of a number sign or tic tac toe
board (#). Flats are symbols in the shape of a lower case B(b), yet shaped
differently like half a heart.

In some Jazz pieces, both the sharp and flat can occur simultaneously in a
chord. The result of such musical experimentation can be Dissonant chords
unresolved for the purpose of producing a certain sound. Depending on what
tones are used the sound is either full of color, or full of tension. On the
other hand, Consonance is a stable balance of harmonic tones without tension.
One example of the essence of Jazz Music is the song "Route 66" with cluster of
chords with dissonant tones that move from major to minor to diminished to
create tonal color.

The Tones in Jazz music is always about the speech rhythm and the chordal
harmony full of color as influenced by music in the impressionism period. The
essence of Jazz music serves as a personal interpretation of the picture the
performer wants us to thinks about. The icing to the cake are the vocalists and
instrumentalists who performs how they feel from the soul as the music beckons
them to reply to it's statement. As the soloist plays or sings, the beauty of
strong kaleidoscope tones in the harmony encourages one to soar especially in

All of this can occur when the harmony plays in the right position above the
correct bass tones found in all Jazz masterpieces. The true essence of Jazz
music is present in its ability to shape the music through tones, the
syncopation of speech rhythm, the chromatic harmony, improvisational solos, and
constant motion of the bass. It is the free structure made from a balanced
structure, and a music expressed from the soul.

The Growth Of Jazz Music

In the turn of the century around 1920, many artists made their mark by playing
in the discreet underground nightclubs known as "Speakeasies" which are high
class , "Blind pig" lower class or "Smokeasy" for smokers. The United States
once prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages and smoking tobacco in clubs as
a constitutional amendment. One could usually find an underground nightclub by
the doors without a sign to indicate that there was such as establishment
inside. Those dives also had a secret door that lead out to a passageway or
alley in case the police came to investigate. The police had the power to
arrest everyone in the place due to the fact that they were broke the law by
being there.

However, thing were beginning to look up for Jazz Music once the invention of
the record player or phonograph was made to play jazz albums. In addition,
radio stations helped promote Jazz music, and made it popular among the public.
Jazz Music became a music of class that earned the era a nick name known as the
"Jazz age". The band leaders who became famous as Jazz musicians were Paul
Whiteman, Ted Lewis, Harry Reser, Leo Reisman, Abe Lyman, Nat Shilkret, Earl
Burnett, Ben Bernie, George Olson, Bob Haring, Vincent Lopez, Ben Salvin and
many more. Paul Whiteman claimed to be the king of Jazz music due to his
popularity. He earned the title when he hired some white Jazz musicians with
Bix Beiderbecke included to combine jazz with larger orchestrations.

In fact George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue' was commissioned by Whiteman as
his debut for the orchestra.

Ten years after Jazz music became popular it was reinvented into a style that
would be suitable for radio and dancing. This style was known as "Swing" which
allowed musicians to improvise their own interpretation of the melody or theme
that was sometimes difficult to do. In the Swing era Jazz bands grew into a
larger size which was often referred to as "Big Band" music that would always
feature a soloist.

The band leaders and music arrangers for Jazz music who became famous for this
style of music was Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Earl Hines, Fletcher
Henderson, Walter Page, Benny Goodman, Don Redman, Chick Webb, Jimmie
Lunceford, and Jay McShann. During this time there were racial issues of
segregation between black and white people, but it slowly died down enough for
the white band leaders to find black musicians to perform with them. In the
middle of the 1930's Benny Goodman invited Teddy Wilson(pianist), Lionel
Hampton (vibraphonist), and Charlie Christian (guitarist) to be a part of a
group. Each musician learned from the style of other musicians in order to form
their own. For example, Cab Calloway, Dizzy Gillespie(trumpeter), Bing Crosby
(vocalist) were influenced by the improvising of Louis Armstrong. Later, the
vocalists Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughn
joined the scene with Jazz Improvisation known as the scat. To Scat is to
vocally imitate musical instruments using such non verbal language as doot 'n
doo bee yah bah loo bey doo ee ya boy lay bah doo doot 'n doo yah doo doy.

In the beginning of the 1940's Jazz music evolved yet again into a new style
known as "Jump Music" which was upbeat music using blues chords performed by
small music groups. These small music groups are the forms many bands make
today. Later, another style of Jazz music came using the music of the 1930's as
an inspiration called "Boogie-Woogie" where the usual 4 beat bar section
expanded into an eight beat bar section in the rhythm which Big Joe Turner took
the lead in the 1940's.

In the 1950's, music reinvented again when turner turned to "Rock and Roll
music". As for the Swing era music it was reborn in the use of the modern dance
trends. Kansas City made memorial for Charlie Parker in their American Jazz
Museum that displays the history of the music and the people who made Jazz
music what it has become.

The Many Styles Of Jazz Music

The essence of the appeal of Jazz music has expanded and became reinvented from
the use of elements found in African drumming, spiritual and hymn music,
bluegrass hillbilly music, blues, impressionist, and classical traits to newer
sounds. Jazz music became popular from radio and underground clubs that
influenced other parts of the world. For instance, Europe's French Jazz scene
created Gypsy Jazz and South America's Brazilian and Afro-Cuban Jazz sounds.
Not only did make it's mark on the world, but it also found its way back to its
roots through urban contemporary gospel music of percussion as well as brass

Today the contemporary gospel music uses guitars, keyboard, piano, drums and
brass instruments for their sound. One can usually tell during the ballads how
Jazz chord harmonies are used in the keyboard and piano. The harmony in
Barbershop music like Jazz came from the African American Black gospel church
community which use close four part harmony without accompaniment. This
particular style of music without accompaniment is known as A capella. The
Mills Brothers were popular Jazz musicians who learned how this harmonization
in the barbershop owned by their father.

In many Jazz groups such as Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, Acoustix, Bara
Vox, Beach Front, BR6 and more the harmonies are similar to that of barbershop.
These harmonies are from the chromatic chordal harmony found in Jazz Music. The
group Take 6 has expanded the traditional four part harmonies to six tones. Jazz
Music did not stop there, but grew into an array of different styles that
produce different aesthetic appeal.

The aesthetic appeal can be found in how each part of the music makes one feel
once heard. All the different elements from the lyrical content to the
kaleidoscope of colorful harmony to the depth of the mood provides its own
ambiance of sound. To give examples:

On the extent to which Jazz has expanded are listed below as new expressions to
the music.

Vocalese -- From 1952 to 1962 Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks made their mark
by using their vocals as a substitute for the music instrument in the exact
melody. Meaning, the voice imitated the exact solo of a saxophonist solo. It
was not wide accepted until the musicians above made it popular.

Cool Jazz- From the latter 1940's and 1950's a softer more gentle style of Jazz
of both bop and swing with arranged harmonies that are present in Jazz ballads

Hard Bop-From the middle of 1950's the church's spiritual and gospel roots of
African style returned to the Jazz music which assisted in the making of Rhythm
and Blues. One example of this music is Davis' work titled "Walkin".

Mainstream- From the 1950's era, Jazz improvisation changed from single line
melodic ornamentation to chordal which appeared again as a loose form of Jazz
music in the later part of the 1970's and 1980's. This style was influenced by
the cool, classical, and hard bop Jazz styles.

Bebop-The dance elements gradually faded away into a true art of real music by
the musicians Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Clifford Brown, Thelonious Monk, Sonny
Stitt, and Ray Brown who wanted to steer away from the commercial type music.
These musicians sought to use examples of the Jazz musicians of the past such
as Lester young, Coleman Hawkins, Earl Hines and Art Tatum to expand Jazz music
to another level.

At this time, Jazz music moved away from the basic melodic element of the piece
to produce a more abstract chordal sound of dissonant tones, and chromatic
patterns. The dissonant tones in Jazz music can be heard when two tones are
played simultaneously in a clashing manner that can either sound strange or
terrible depending on how the tones of the chord fit together as melody notes
from a particular key. Clashing sounds can also occur from the use of lowered
fifths and raised fourths.

The chromatic sound of the music allows the musician to freely play each of the
twelve tones of the instruments without restriction. Musicians were able to play
substitute chords as well as altered chords that could change the key of the
piece in a whim. The change in rhythm became more discreetly energetic in sound
which is used predominantly in Jazz music today. For instance, the cymbal was
hit in beat of a 1+a 2+ a 3 +a 4 +a while the snare and bass drum are suddenly
hit without warning.

Soul Jazz- From the late 1950's, a style of music that derived from gospel and
soul using the tenor saxophone, repetition with melodic groove hooks, and less
intricate improvisation that occurred over the chordal harmonies. The music
from the popular radio artist of the time known as Ramsey Lewis wrote "The In
Crowd" a hit in 1965. Souls Jazz music signature was powerful bass lines and
changing tempo of the song.

Modal- Bill Evans a pianist of this time made his mark in the making of new
jazz music styles by using examples of major and minor medieval church modes
which produced altered sounds between two notes. This music broke the rules by
allowing the musicians to form new harmonies regardless of the key.

Jazz Fusion- Between the 1960's and 1970's, Jazz music infused with rock to the
horror of Jazz lovers. The sound of Jazz fusion is complicated chordal
harmonies, and oddly mixed meters with syncopating rhythms. The instruments
used is similar to the instruments used in today's bands such as the electronic
guitar, electric bass guitar, electric piano and synthesizer. The musicians
Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Tony Williams and Frank Zappa and
many others performed this music.

Smooth Jazz- From the 1970's and 1980's Jazz became a lighter pop style of
fusion which begat muzak an electronic form of popular music on the radio. This
music made popular by Kenny G., Najee and Grover Washington Jr. is played in
many businesses to entertain customers.

All About The Origins Of Jazz Music

The essence of the sound of Jazz music is so versatile due to the origins from
which it first began. In fact, New Orleans, Louisiana is the place where Jazz
first began between 1850 and 1900 by African slaves as well as the freed people
of color. The first style of Jazz music was known as Dixieland.

In Africa from the Middle to Central to the West, one can hear the intricate
rhythmic improvisation of the percussive instruments that is often heard with
Jazz Music. These rhythms combined with the American Spirituals, Hymns, Blues,
and the blue grass hillbilly musical sounds created a type of sound the
originated in Jazz music. However, the music was just a peculiar sound without
a particular title to call it fifteen years later in 1915. The great pianist
Earl Hines born in 1903 played this type of music before the title Jazz became
an official style of music. The word "Jazz" which was formerly spelled as
"Jass" has it's origins as a type of American slang used to describe the sound
of Jazz music.

It is the sound of Jazz music that began as an offspring from the origins that
created this music. In the beginning of the century the instruments used in
Jazz music were European percussion, brass and woodwind instruments primarily
for the military marching or dance bands.

Moreover, these instruments were used in the funeral marches in the deeper
party of the southern area and well as the northern. The essence of the origins
of Jazz music finally became developed into it's own style with an original
shape. In addition, origins of Jazz music expanded the style to the point where
it cannot be defined as pure folk music even when some of its roots began there.

Once the education system included the study of music to train musicians in a
formal setting it paved the way for many to learn the techniques to create
music from the heart. The importance of the origins of Jazz music is to learn
all about the sound that many have fell in love with. Jazz music represents
freedom to create color and sound that can be interpreted best by the
performers and composers who create this style of music. The origins of Jazz
music has been a subject worth debating over when it comes down to labeling it
a particular style. Duke Ellington himself explained it as "It's all music" due
to the fact that the music has no particular structure or form it has to take.

Jazz music is not a simple style that can easily be defined except as free
music that can easily meld into other styles of music to take it to another
level. Jazz music itself is an innovation of African, Impressionist, Spiritual,
Hymnal, Blues and Blue Grass hillbilly music simultaneously combined into a
music masterpiece. The essence of the sound of Jazz music comes from the
different musical elements from each part its origins as putting pieces of a
puzzle together into one cohesive entity.

Jazz Music Composition

Jazz music composition is the work of knowledgeable musicians with the skills
to write, and create one of the most memorable masterpieces. Moreover, Jazz
music Composition is a course included in colleges and universities who deem it
a worthy subject to study. Composing Jazz music requires the theory of
constructing chords that are altered or substitute that would fit within the
guidelines of composition.

Meaning, experimentation is fine as long as you know how to fit in the musical
shocks in the piece in a manner to not disrupt the flow. It is mandatory to
keep the essence of Jazz music a part of you when creating, and keep all
thoughts to restrict creativity out of your mind. The aim of Jazz music
composition is to create what you feel about any subject into the sound of your
musical work. To find your way into the making of Jazz music composition you
should learn the skills of basic theory in ear training, notes on various
instruments, key signatures, scales, chords, intervals, counterpoint, harmony,
melody, music terminology, clefs, meters and time signatures, transposing of
various instruments, and music reading.

Listening to Jazz music from various artists will give you a feel for the type
of composition you would like to create. You can begin with music arranging
which is recreating an old song with new ideas. For instance, it has been done
many times by professional musicians to use a public domain song, or ask
permission to use a certain song. One example is Chaka Khan's " The End Of A
Love Affair" written for Billie Holiday by Edward C. Redding in an arrangement
that fit Chaka Khan.

There are many versions of Jazz standards such as "They Can't Take That Away
From Me" , "Misty", and "Stormy Weather" by different people who wanted to
either keep the basic structure or interpret the song in their own special way.
The basic rules to composing a Jazz Composition is to make a theme and arrange
the music around it.

Meaning, as in basic songwriting structure you will need a beginning, middle,
bridge, and ending. The order is always up to the person(s )creating the music.
You can begin with the themes most common in notated Jazz and Blues sheet music
or fake book forms. In addition, use the basic theory structure you find on
sheet music as a format, but use your own ideas. In arranging, you can examine
the basic format, and embellish on areas you think needs it. The direction one
can go in music arrangement is infinite according to the history of how each
style of jazz music was created.

When creating Jazz music composition one must remember the essential element 
present in all true Jazz music which is improvisation. Jazz Improvisation is not 
notated in any shape, way, or form. In fact, the improvisation in Jazz 
composition is invented by pure emotion of the musician moved by the 
accompaniment. Improvisation in Jazz composition can be in the beginning, the 
bridge and also at the end of the piece. Most commonly there is embellishment in 
the middle of the piece, but it all depends on the mood of the creator of the 

Once you learn the theory behind Jazz music composition, you can learn the
shortcuts on creating. For example, lead sheets usually have the Jazz chord
symbol above the melody below it as a basic structure to follow. When all is
said and done, you will have created your own masterpiece as a gift to the
world from your heart.

Jazz: The Forbidden Music

There was a time in history when Jazz the music was banned during World War II
when it was considered a plight for freedom against Hitler's Nazi regime due to
what it represents. Jazz music is the product of America that was creatively
invented by African American from culture, and all the elements of the American
life that influenced this style of music.

Jazz music is a symbol of freedom, hope and the ability of express ones self in
through one of best art forms which is music. Meaning, African Americans fought
oppression since the beginning of slavery, and Jazz music represented that
resistance. Jazz music has a foundation of the basic rules of composition, but
it has since expanded its way toward newer forms of music.

America who also gained their freedom from Europe joined showed their
patriarchy by listening to the Jazz music on records and on the radio to
encourage their fellow Americans to believe in their country, and the freedom
it stands for. Hollywood, celebrity musicians and Jazz musicians even supported
freedom by joining patriotic films to get their point across to the world. This
act caused Hitler and Stalin to fear the effect Jazz music would have on all
who listens who could easily be influenced by the idea of freedom, and

In the year 1921 there were Americans who did not favor Jazz music or the Jazz
dance. There were activist who stated that Jazz is a type of menace that is
worse that alcohol, and that it would be better to wipe Jazz out of existence.
In Germany, Jazz and all other American music was banned in the country before
and after Americans joined the war. Stalin forbid the playing of Jazz music at
the end of the 1945 war throughout the Soviet Union, and banned the use of
saxophones. Jazz was called "the music of blacks by Hitler as a reason for the
prohibition of Jazz music. Nevertheless, Jazz music was embraced by all who
heard it around the globe.

In fact, It was adored by those who supported the resistance of such a war. In
the area of Azerbaijan the year of the 1950's produced even more forbidden Jazz
music into a new style of Jazz known as Mugam that came from the Baku style of
music. The sound of Jazz produces an atmosphere of relaxation and freedom that
even spread to Algeria who wrote a form of Jazz that spread all around their
country and in Europe known as Rai in the late 1960's. Though there were many
haters of Jazz music who forbid the use of it those who understood loved it.

Those who did not like Jazz wrote books on it titled "Vo do do de o Blues"
against Jazz and blues. Another title was "Anti rag time girl" about a lady who
hates Jazz music. However, when the underground clubs broke the law discreetly
to make a home for jazz in Speakeasies they also spread the gospel of Jazz
music all around the world.

Creating Jazz Music

All over the world people have invented their own interpretation of Jazz by
creating new music from their soul, yet branching out to expand the
capabilities of the music of their culture. Jazz around the world must always
begin with examples of various music. The main traits of the styles of music
that stands out consistently should be reviewed.

One must think about the aesthetic nature of the songs, and the general sound
of that style. The next action to make is to add a trait or two to the
traditional music of your culture. In all music there are notes that sound
horrible when played together or just plain uninteresting.

With research and experimentation one can find traits from many styles of music
that could fit together perfectly. There you will have invented a new style of
music by expanding your cultural music, or adding the ethnic trait to another
style of music. One can always balance each trait evenly to make it difficult
for anyone to point out anyone style to create a new style of mongrel music.
Nevertheless, creating Jazz music is taking what is known and expanding it
without abandoning the main core of the style.

It has already been determined that the creation of basic Jazz music must
include syncopation, speech rhythms, chromatic juxtaposition of 7th to 9th to
13th chordal harmony using accidentals, improvisation and a walking bass line.
The usual instruments used in the creation of Jazz music are percussion, brass
and string bass. Nowadays, strings and woodwinds can be added to the creation
of Jazz music to add to the tonal quality of the sound. The upper stringed
instruments as well as the lowest double bass stringed instruments can expand
the sound of jazz music in the vertical matter of height, and depth while the
brass sounds stronger as the center of Jazz music.

The addition of the breathy sound of the woodwinds tends to soften the sound.
Therefore, having instruments from all the musical families balances the music
to a fuller colorful atmosphere of sound. To diversify creation of Jazz music
one should determine the elements to add or expand on.

The elements to look for would be tone color, rhythm, and resonance.
Furthermore, take time to research the instruments for woodwinds, percussion,
brass, and strings from other countries to see what can fit in the creation of
Jazz music. You can also visit for a collection of world

The American Influence Of Jazz Music

The Jazz music sensation began to rub off on other parts of the world which
encourages the experimentation of melding their familiar sounds with the
essence of Jazz. In Europe's country in the Region of France came the Quintette
Du Hot Club de France who was responsible for the making of the early "Gypsy

The Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt created gypsy jazz by mixing the style
of French Musette which was used in the dance halls, eastern European Folk
known as Jazz Manouche, and American swing of the 1930's. The sound was
developed by instruments from the string family which are a steel string
guitar, violin, and an upright bass. The atmosphere of the Jazz music is
seductive with sudden unpredictable twists, and accelerating rhythms. The
French artist Bireli Lagrene plays this unique music with old elements of the

Another style of Jazz music that allowed the musicians to express themselves
freely was the invention of Avant-garde or free Jazz music. Both of these
styles stemmed from the Bebop era, yet produced a relaxed form of harmonic and
rhythmic music in the 1940's and 1950's. The musicians John Coltrane, Dewey
Redman, Charles Mingus, Sun Ra, Sam Rivers, Ornette Coleman and many more were
the creators of the free Jazz music. Between the 1960's and 1970's the Latin
musicians created the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian Jazz Music styles after Bebop
musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Taylor cultivated it.

Gillespie and Taylor was influenced by the music of Cuban and Puerto Rican
musicians Chico O'farrill, Tito Puente, Chano Pozo, Xavier Cugat, Mario Bauza
and Arturo Sandoval. Jazz music expressed in a Latin interpretation was termed
Bossa Nova with origins in Samba music which is a mixture of Jazz, classical
and pop music from the 20th century. Bossa is a moderate sound of music with
Classical harmonic structure from Europe, Samba polyrhythm's from Brazil and
cool music. The tempo of such a work is about 120 beats per minute. The
instruments used in this particular sound is nylon stringed guitar, piano, high
hat tap of eighths, tapping on the rim of the drum like Sade's "Sweetest Taboo",
and a vocalist. The sound produced is a new relaxing sound where the acoustic
sound of the guitar can lull one to sleep with it's easy melodic line.

Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim became popular in the sixties with this
style of music. The influence of Jazz music returned to the place of its
origins in the religious music known as Urban Contemporary Gospel from the
spirituals music. Much of spiritual music sung by southern slaves in the past
has a haunting dark and mournful sound during the 1800 and 1900's. The churches
know as the sanctified or holy churches took a more happier approach by
encouraging member to sing speak their personal testimonies as they celebrated
with song and dance.

The sanctified artist Arizona Dranes who was a traveling pastor made recordings
that would fit in many musical categories such as blues, and boogie-woogie with
the use of Jazz instruments. At the time the Jazz instruments used with
religious themed music were percussion and brass instruments.

The Magic of Jazz Singers

One of the most beautiful interpreters of song are Jazz singers. The abilities
of the human voice is phenomenal in the fact that one could imitate another
person or instrument, or sing several octaves on the piano. The human voice can
also interpret emotion in a way only a human can. Jazz instruments can express
emotion, but the natural gift from within the human voice is conveyed in a
variety of ways.

For example, each singer has his or her own style they were born with. Some of
them may not be the best singers that Simon Cowell would compliment. However,
there are many Jazz legends and people like them who have their own unique
style. The je ne sias quoi x factor of a voice that is unusual, yet pleasing to
the ears. The Jazz singers who have this quality have been heard in many clubs,
and recordings in the past.

These Jazz Legends have helped make Jazz music popular especially with the use
of the voice. There are four different types of Jazz singers that made it in
the world of Jazz music. One style is the well-known crooner sound from singers
such as Ivie Anderson, Harry Connick Jr., Mel Torme` Michael Buble`, Tony
Bennett, Billy Eckstine, Mildred Bailey, Michael Kaczurak, Sathima Bea
Benjamin, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Johnny Hartman, Bing Crosby, and Nat King
Cole. The signature element of the crooner sound is a voice with a smooth and
sophisticated resonance made for the microphone as clear as a radio announcers
speaking voice.

Another style of Vocal Jazz Singers is the soulful bluesy sound with Singers
such as Diane Schuur, Nina Simone, Bessie Smith, Etta James, Della Reese, and
more. The soulful sound of voice is the skill of ornamentation of the voice
running up and down the scale with ease. Bluesy and soulful is also a depth in
the range of the voice that sound as if it comes direction from the soul. There
are Jazz music Virtuoso's who have the ability to do anything from vocalese to
scat to ballad to fast and complex in perfection. The Jazz singers of this
category are Ella Fitzgerald, Phoebe Snow, Eva Cassidy, Ernestine Anderson,
Betty Carter, Cab Calloway, Sammy Davis Jr., Eddie Jefferson, Bobby McFerrin
Jr., Jon Hendricks, Slim Gaillard, Rachelle Ferrell, Annie Ross, Etta Jones,
Dame Cleo Laine, Sarah Vaughn, Carmen Mercedes McRae, Mabel Mercer, Nikoletta
Szoke, and Nancy Wilson.

The Virtuoso can croon a ballad and articulate it in a unique way. The virtuoso
Jazz singer can also be strong and sassy and scat in great complexity with ease.
There is no doubt that the virtuoso Jazz singer is the total embodiment of what
Jazz is all about. The last type of vocalist has an ethereal appeal that seems
to come out of another place with uniqueness in sound, and suitable to the
world of Jazz.

The unique style of Jazz singers is a sound that one doesn't usually hear. For
example, the uniqueness can come from the sound quality of the voice or by
doing something that sets the Jazz singer on a different plane than the others.
Singers of this category are Amos Leon Thomas, Billy Holiday, Lee Wiley, Blossom
Dearie, Shirley Horne, Rita Reys, Eartha Kitt, Anita O'Day, Ray Reach, Ethel
Waters, Monica Zetterlund, Jimmy Rushing, Louis Armstrong, Cassandra Wilson, Al
Jarreau, and Dennis Rowland. Each one has a particular sound of raspy, lush,
high pitched, yodeling, vibrato, or gift of humor.

There are also the average Jazz singers who deserve to be in the spotlight also
for having what it takes to make it successfully in Jazz.

The History Of Vocal Jazz

Jazz music made its mark in the hearts of Americans ever since the 20th century
when people embraced the musicians of the time. However, when the singers came
on the scene strong with skills in the art of scatting that is a vocal form of
Jazz improvisation, the ability to articulate music expressively, and have that
pizzazz to swing to the rhythms effectively makes a Jazz virtuoso. Jazz music
bore another gift on the American public to spread to the world during the
1940's when singers came together to form groups. The sound of acapella harmony
of many voices like in a church choir using a juxtaposition of Jazz harmony is
ethereal and divine.

In fact, due to the success of such groups as the Mills Brothers, Boswell
Sisters, Andrews sisters, and Modernaires during the 1930's 1940's made Jazz
fans of vocal Jazz music seek more. As a result, record stores stocked up on
the music of vocal Jazz music, and it became a tremendous success that made
quartets like Manhattan Transfer a household name today.

In addition, America has the largest selection of vocal Jazz music even though
there are vocal Jazz ensembles all over the world. These new vocal Jazz groups
do not all sing a capella style music that is common to barber shop. Vocal Jazz
groups commonly use a Jazz band to accompany them as they perform. Jazz music
may not be as strict as classical music, but it is in a class all it's own. It
takes great skill to sing Vocal Jazz as it does with Classical, and many other
styles of music. Meaning, everyone cannot be a good jazz soloist, but it
doesn't mean that they cannot sing in the vocal jazz ensemble. Each singer must
match in volume, resonance, and key in order to be a worthy member in the vocal
Jazz ensemble. Ever singer must be able to sing their parts, and be heard as
well as blended into the group. There are times when different people in the
vocal Jazz group will be asked to scat to the music, and take the challenges
that some complex Jazz music holds with great skill.

All the beauty that Vocal Jazz possessed in the past did not always keep it in
popularity. For instance, there was a time in the 60's when Jazz music no
longer had mass appeal due to the American interest in Rock music. Imagine the
record companies who supply music to the radios, and the nightclubs who allowed
popular acts to perform live suddenly locking Jazz musicians out. Yet, Jazz
never lost its following despite the ever-changing interests of the public.
Vocal Jazz singers attempted to begin again in the 70's, but the public did not
show much interest in a style that was considered passe.

Fortunately, those who loved the music and dedicated themselves to the music
caused people to take notice from the latter part of the 80's to the millennium
where Jazz singers came prepared to recreate Jazz again. Vocal Jazz singers went
along with the times to keep the traditional Jazz and add new elements that the
public would like to hear.

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday was one of the most famous jazz music singers in America. Her
real name was Eleanora Fagan. Like most lives of musicians, she had a very bad
time growing up which damaged her career. Her life is written about in the
autobiography Lady Sings The Blues, but there are many things in there that are
not really valid. Her stage name is from an actress, Billie Dove and her father
Clarence Holiday.

Billie grew up in the poorest area of Baltimore. Her parents married when she
was three years old, but it did not last. They divorced and she was raised by
her mother and various relatives. She had been raped when she was eleven years
old, and skipped school a lot, so she was placed in The House of the Good
Shepherd in 1925. The House of the Good Shepherd was a reform school for
Catholics. A friend of the family helped her out of there a couple of years
later. She then went to New York to live with her mother. A year later, her
mother discovered a neighbor was raping Billie, the man spent three months in

Things seemed to go from bad to worse. Billie had said a brothel claimed her
where she worked as a prostitute , and then was in prison for awhile. She
started singing for tips in the Harlem night clubs in the 1930's. It was said
when she had not a dime to her name and was about to be evicted, she sang
"Trave'lin All Alone" at a club and had the audience crying. She kept singing
for tips until she ended up at a popular jazz club called Pod's and Jerry's in
Harlem. A lot of her performing cannot be discovered, but it is said she was
working at Monette's, another club in 1933 when John Hammond, a talent scout
found her.

John got her to record with Benny Goodman that same year. She sang in a group
with Teddy Wilson, a pianist. Their debut was the song "Miss Brown You", and
"What A Little Moonlight Can Do", which made her a famous jazz singer. The year
following that, she began recording under her own stage name. Some of the
musicians who she performed with her the best, such as Lester young, a tenor
sax player. Lester was a boarder in her mother's house, so they were good
friends. He was the one who gave her the nickname Lady Day. She gave him the
nickname Prez. She also performed with Artie Shaw and Count Basie.

When Billie was on the Columbia label, someone gave her the song "Strange
Fruit" about lynching. She sang the song at a club in 1939, afraid of some kind
of retaliation. Later on, Billie said that it was similar to the death of her
father, and that is part of the reason why she performed it. She was upset that
a lot of people didn't understand the song. She said," They'll ask me to sing
that sexy song about the people swinging." Columbia didn't record it, but
Commodore Records did. She sang that song for twenty years.

She began doing drugs in the 1940's, married Jimmy Monroe, a trombonist in
1941. At the same time, she was with her drug dealer Joe Guy living with him
common law. She divorced her husband in 1947, and departed from her drug
dealer, but spent eight months in a correctional facility for women. Because
her Cabaret Card was taken, she couldn't perform in clubs in New York City for
the last twelve years of her life, except once at the Ebony Club with

She continued on with substance abuse, and getting into the worst relationships
with men. She died in 1959 from cirrhosis of the liver. She was just 44 years
old. All she had was seventy cents in the bank, and a $750 tabloid fee. A movie
Lady Sings The Blues was done about her life starring Diana Ross. It wasn't the
real story but it gave Diana a Best Actress nomination. Billie has been an
inspiration for many people and is still one of the best jazz music vocalists

Art Blakey

The beginning career of jazz music legend Art Blakey was amazing. He took piano
lessons at school. When he was in the seventh grade he played music full-time
and was leading a popular band. Not too long after, he started playing drums in
the style of such players as Ray Bauduc, Chick Webb and Sid Catlett. He taught
himself how to play. He played with Mary Lou Williams at Kelly's Stable in
1942. Next, with Fletcher Henderson for the next two years, and he toured with.
Art then went to Boston to lead a big band, then joined Billy Eckstine's band in
St. Louis. Art stayed with that band from 1944-1947.

Art was considered to be among jazz music's finest musicians such as Fats
Navarro, Miles Davis and Dexter Gordon. In 1947 when Eckstine's band broke up,
Art started the Seventeen Messengers. He would go on to have several other
groups with this same name. He then went to Africa to learn all about Islamic
people for over a year. By the 1950's he performed with Clifford Brown, Miles
Davis, Charlie Parker and Horace Silver.

After they performed together many times, he started another group with Horace
which included Kenny Dorham, Hank Mobley with the name Jazz Messengers. Horace
left a year later. He was the known leader of the band. The Jazz Messengers
played hard-bop jazz music. The roots of which were blues music. Hard bop is a
mixture of bebop with gospel and soul music. An example of this is his album
Moanin' recorded on Blue Note Records in 1958. They fought hard to keep black
people interested in jazz, when the ballroom jazz music disappeared. Many young
musicians during the years have been influenced by this style. Jazz musicians
such as Keith Jarrett, JoAnne Brackcen, Woody Shaw , Donald Byrd, Delfeayo,
Branford and Wynton Marsalis.

In 1971 to 1972, Art world toured with the biggest names in jazz music such as
Kai Winding, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. He also performed a lot at
the Newport Jazz Festival. The best performance was when he was in a battling
performance with Buddy Rich, Max Roach and Elvin Jones in 1974. Art continued
to tour nonstop with help from Donald Harrison and Terence Blanchard, along
with younger musicians such as Benny Green.

Art never thought of his music as similar to African style, although he did use
some of their techniques such as using his elbow on the tom-tom to alter pitch.
His trademark, the forced closing of the hi-hat on each second and fourth beat
was created in 1950-1951, which many jazz musicians copied.

A major jazz musician and innovative in his drum style, he was unique and
performed with power. The way he played was loud and aggressive. The jazz
critics basically ignored what he did in the 1960's. American audiences left
him behind in the 1970's when rock music took over the scene.

He always made time for young jazz musicians, listening to them, and helping
them with their jazz music careers.

Dizzy Gillespie

There is not one person around who knows jazz music that did not hear the name
Dizzy Gillespie. Dizzy Gillespie was a composer, singer, jazz trumpet player
and bandleader. He along with Charlie Parker was the creator of modern jazz
music and bebop. Dizzy also started Afro-Cuban jazz. He had the gift of making
new harmonies that were layered and complex. At the time, it was not done in
jazz before. He was most remembered for the trumpet he played that was bent. It
was accidentally ruined when he was on a job in 1953. Surprisingly, Dizzy liked
it because of the way it changed the tone of the instrument.

Dizzy was born John Birks on October 21, 1917 in South Carolina. He was the
youngest in the family of nine children. His father was a horrible man who beat
his children all the time, and died when dizzy was 10 years old. He taught
himself how to play trumpet when he was twelve years old. He won a scholarship
to Laurinburg Institute but, dropped out of school and went to Philadelphia to
pursue music full-time. He played with Frankie Fairfax and recorded for the
very first time in 1937. He then was a part of Cab Calloway's band, but was
criticized for his solos, calling them "Chinese music". He was thrown out
because Cab said that he sent a spitball at him, and Dizzy, angrily stabbed him
in the leg with a knife.

Dizzy was a part of Duke Ellington's, Woody Herman and many other bands. It was
with Billy Eckstine's band where his unique playing fit better than anywhere
else. He met again with Charlie Parker. Together they played famous clubs such
as Monroe's Uptown House, and Minton's Playhouse. This is where jazz music
progressed again and bebop was created. In the beginning a lot of people didn't
like bebop. They were used to the old jazz music, and thought the new sound of
bebop was a threat and were afraid of it. Dizzy's style had an effect on
trumpeters and the younger musicians that he was able to mentor. Examples of
bebop music are "Groovin' High", "Salt Peanuts" and "A Night In Tunisia".
Musicians that he taught bebop to were Miles Davis and Max Roach.

Eventually, the band departed, as the audience grew wary of the new jazz music.
Dizzy wanted to go big, and tried to create his own big band in 1945 but was not
successful with it. He started other small groups and finally put a big band
together that was a success. He soloed many times with Jazz at the Philharmonic.

Dizzy proved himself overseas in France when he began his third big band, and
did several concerts and albums. During the 1940's Dizzy was composing
Afro-Cuban music. Afro-Cuban music is a combination of Latin and African music,
pop and salsa. The work that is the most well known are "Tin Tin Deo" and
"Manteca". Dizzy was responsible for finding musician Arturo Sandoval while he
was on a tour in Cuba researching music.

Dizzy continued to reach people with his music even on television and film. He
was on Sesame Street and The Cosby Show. He died in 1993 from Pancreatic
Cancer, he was 75 years old. He had two funerals, one was for friends and
family and the other funeral was for the public in Cathedral of St. John the
Divine. Dizzy Gillespie was a special innovator in jazz and is continually
remembered at the New York Bahai Center.

Lionel Hampton

One great jazz musician was Lionel Hampton. Lionel was a bandleader, actor,
jazz vibraphonist and percussionist. He has worked with other famous jazz
musicians such as Buddy Rich, Quincy Jones and Charlie Parker. Lionel was
raised by his grandmother in the south before he relocated to Chicago. In the
1920's he started playing the xylophone and drums. His first instrument was the
fife drum.

When he was a teenager he played drums for the Chicago Defender Newsboy's band.
When he lived in California, he played for the Dixieland Blue-Blowers. The first
band that he recorded with was The Quality Serenaders, then he left again to go
play with another band, Les Hite band. It was here that he began studying the
vibraphone. Louis Armstrong asked Lionel to play the vibraphones on two songs.
That is when he made the vibraphone a popular instrument.

While still with the Les Hite band, Lionel went to the University of Southern
California taking music. He also worked with the Nat Shilkrer orchestra. In
1936 he was in the film Pennies From Heaven, starring Bing Crosby. He was next
to Louis Armstrong, but hid himself by wearing a mask when he was playing the

In 1936 he was fortunate to meet Benny Goodman who came to watch him perform.
Benny asked him to join his trio which consisted of Benny, Gene Krupa and Teddy
Wilson. It was then renamed the Benny Goodman Quartet. The year before, Lionel
worked with Billie Holiday with Benny's orchestra. This group of artists was
one of the first integrated jazz groups that performed openly in society.

Lionel recorded with several groups while still with Benny Goodman, but in 1940
he left to create his own big band. Lionel's orchestra was a hit in the 40's and
50's. "Flying Home" featured a Illinois Jacquet solo that began a new style of
music, R&B. The song was so popular that he did another version called "Flying
Home, Number Two", with Arnett Cobb. Lionel's music was a mixture of jazz music
and R&B during this time. Some great jazz musicians that worked with him during
this time were Johnny Griffin, Dinah Washington, Charles Mingus and Dizzy

As time went on, in the 1960's and after, his success lessened. He was still
performing hits from the 1930's-1950's. In the 1970's he recorded with the
Who's Who Record label, but still did not do as well as he could have.

Going the college route seemed to help a bit. His band played at University of
Idaho's jazz concert regularly. In 1985, the named it the Lionel Hampton Jazz
Festival. Two years later, they named the music school the Lionel Hampton
School of Music. It was the only music school at a university that was named
after a jazz musician. Lionel kept playing until he had a stroke in 1991 in
Paris. Even though he had to stop performing as much, he did a performance at
the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2001, not long before he
died. This jazz music legend will never be forgotten.

Lena Horne

Lena Horne is one of the most popular African-American jazz legend singers. She
was born in 1917 Lena Mary Calhoun Horne in New York City. She performed with
the greatest jazz musicians such as Duke Ellington and Artie Shaw. She lives in
New York City today and does not appear in the public eye anymore. Lena is most
famous for the movie Stormy Weather, in which she sung the title song, in the
1940's. Contrary to how music careers usually begin, Lena grew up in an elite
family. She lived in a black bourgeois area in Brooklyn, New York.

Her father Edwin Horne left them when she was three-years-old. Her mother Edna
Scottron, daughter of an inventor, was an actress with a black theater group
and traveled a lot. Lena's grandparents raised her. Though, she was said to
have been a part of the Black elite, racial discrimination still existed. Lena
Horne and her friend Paul Robeson embarked on a lifelong effort to fight for
Civil Rights.

In fact, she took the civil rights movement so seriously to the point of
rejecting the offer to perform to a segregated audience or to an audience where
the black people were there only to serve white people. Lena Horne was apart of
the March on Washington just for the purpose of receiving well-deserved
treatment equal to the privileged white people. In addition, Lena Horne
committed herself to speaking along with performing for the NAACP, National
Council For Negro Women and to assist former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in
passing the anti-lynching law in America's Congress.

Even with all those serious concerns she still found time to become one of the
most memorable Jazz singers in history. She performed at the cafe society, a
club imitating the European cabarets to show the talent of undiscovered African
American which led to the success of Lena Horne, Paul Robeson, Big Joe Turner,
Ella Fitzgerald, Lester Young, Hazel Scott, Sarah Vaughn, Josh White, Pete
Johnson and Mary Lou Williams.

From 1947 to 1971 Lena Horne remarried again to a Jewish man Lennie Hayton a
musical conductor and arranger for MGM studios later to admit in her
autobiography titled "Lena" by author Richard Schickel that she married him to
help her career. Nevertheless, the interracial couple as always had to face
pressures same race couples do not, but she stayed with him until he passed
away. Lena Horne was in several Broadway musicals, and won a 1958 award for her
performance in the calypso titled "Jamaica". Lena Horne won a Tony Award For her
one woman show titled "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music".

In her success, she has to her credit one of the longest solo performances in
history to run more than the usual record time. Lena Horne in great modesty did
not accept a lot of musical projects, yet agreed upon a recording with Frank
Sinatra and Quincy Jones as producer which did not happen. However, Lena Horne
worked on a solo recording that featured duets with Sammy Davis, and Joe
Williams titled "The Men In My Life" in the year 1988. The next year she won a
Grammy Life Time Achievement Award to add to her list of credits of success she
mastered in her career. In her eighties she continued to record albums titled
1994 "We'll Be Together Again", 1995 Live album that won her a Grammy for the
Best Vocal Jazz Album. 1998 "Being Myself". Finally, she had the chance to sing 
on an album with Frank Sinatra to the song "Embraceable You".

In 2000 she recorded another album to lend her voice to a "Classic Ellington"
recording. Lena Horne is a member of the sorority Delta Sigma Theta and has
been on the label Blue Note Records since 1995.

In 2005, Oprah Winfrey stated that she may to ask singer/musician Alicia Keys
to play the part of Lena Horne in a movie.

The Manhattan Transfer

Anyone who loves jazz music must know about the amazing vocal group The
Manhattan Transfer. What some may not know is that the Manhattan Transfer comes
from the Name of Two different groups. The first group made one album, then
broke up in 1969, the other group is the one, which is the basis for this
article. They began in 1972 and still sing today. The Manhattan Transfer does
an exquisite job of blending jazz music, popular music and big band together.

The members of the group are: Alan Paul, Janis Siegel, Laurel Masse and Tim
Hauser. Their first album entitled, The Manhattan Transfer brought them a hit
single, a gospel song called "Operator". In 1971 an album was made with only
one of the members, Tim Hauser. The album Jukin' was really considered to be
released by a different group. This vocal group did a spectacular job
performing in Europe.

The next two albums, Pastiche and Coming Out had a number of top ten hit
singles. "Chanson D'Amour" went to number one in the United Kingdom in 1977,
but didn't make the charts in the U.S. After that, the group released The
Manhattan Transfer Live Album recorded in the United Kingdom. After that,
Laurel was terribly injured in a car accident and Cheryl Bentyne took her
place. The group has been the same ever since. They went on to make another hit
in the U.S. with "Twilight Zone/Twilight Zone" from the album Extensions. This
same album gave The Manhattan Transfer their most recognized sound. "Birdland"
written by Jon Hendricks gave them their first Grammy award for the Best Jazz
Fusion Performance, Vocal or Instrumental. They also an award for best
arrangement for voices.

The group broke their record in 1981 by winning a Grammy in a pop and jazz
category that year. Jazz music was taking a new and enjoyable turn. "Boy From
New York City" made it into the top ten, and won Best Pop Performance by a Duo
or Group with Vocal. "Until I Met You (Corner Pocket)" was for Best Jazz
Performance Duo or group. Both singles were on their fifth album Mecca for

By the time their album Bodies and Souls was released in 1983, they took a new
turn in jazz music again, their songs becoming more contemporary and urban.
"Mystery", "Spice of Life" were hit singles. "Mystery" is one of the best
Manhattan Transfer songs. Anita Baker covered it on her Rapture album. With
their next album Vocalese, they were going for complexities and were very
successful. That album got not one, but 12 Grammy nominations. It was number
two to Michael Jackson's Thriller album. They won for two Grammys. One for Best
Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group and Best Arrangement for Voices.

Lately, the group has released An Acapella Christmas in Japan, 2005. Last year
they have released The Symphony Sessions, which is a greatest hits collection.
The songs were re-done for pop orchestras and symphonies. Late last year, they
released a DVD called The Christmas Concert, which was on the PBS network. The
Manhattan Transfer also did an original song for a film, called "Trail of the
Screaming Forehead".

The Manhattan Transfer has really changed and expanded the style of jazz music.
Each of the members has appeared on other artist's albums as guest. To date they
have recorded twenty-four albums, and each have done solo albums. Janis's solo
career being the most popular.

Diana Krall

Diana Krall is an accomplished singer, and jazz pianist. Diana was born in
British Columbia Canada in 1964. She learned to play piano when she was just
four-years-old. Everyone is her family are musicians. When she was in high
school she played in a jazz group, and at just fifteen played in many
restaurants in Nanaimo. She won a scholarship from Vancouver International Jazz
Festival at 17 years old to go to Berklee College of Music. She stayed for one
and a half years.

When she played in Nanaimo, Ray Brown, a famous bass player and ex-husband of
Ella Fitzgerald told her to move to Los Angeles, California and improve her
talents with Jimmy Rowles, a pianist. She did, and began to sing with him. This
move led her to into a circle of producers and teachers who could further her
career. In 1990 she went to New York and married the British musician Elvis
Costello, on musician Elton John's estate in 2003. Diana and Elvis had twins
Dexter Henry Lorcan and Frank Harlan James in 2006.

Listening to her fathers huge jazz music albums is what helped Diana be the
musician she is today. She lost her mother to multiple myeloma in 2002, and her
mentors Ray Brown and Rosemary Clooney in just a few short months of each other.
Her younger sister is a strong supporter of her jazz music career.

Her first album came out in 1993, called Stepping Out. John Clayton and Jeff
Hamilton were part of that record. Tommy LiPuma heard it and produced her next
album Only Trust Your Heart in 1995. Her next album was called All For You: A
Dedication to the Nat King Cole Trio, in 1996. That was nominated for a Grammy
award and was on the jazz charts in Billboard magazine for seventy weeks. In
1997 Love Scenes was a hit record with Russell Malone on guitar, and Christian
McBride on bass guitar.

In 2000, Diana went on a tour with Tony Bennett and was nominated for more
Grammy awards. The Look of Love album went platinum, the following year. It
went to number one on the Canadian charts, and on the Billboard 200, top ten.
In 2001 Diana toured the world. The Paris Olympia concert was recorded, and
Diana Krall-Live in Paris was released and went to the top of Billboard jazz
charts, number 5 in Canada and the top 20 of Billboard 200. On the recording
was a cover of Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are" and "A Case Of You" by Joni

Diana also wrote with her husband after they were married, and wrote her own
songs. The Girl in the Other Room was the result of her work, in 2004. This
year, she was in a Lexus ad. Diana also sang "Dream a Little Dream of Me" with
Hank Jones, a famous pianist. In 2003 she received an honorary doctorate from
University of Victoria. In 2004 she was included in the Canada's Walk of Fame.

The New York Voices

The New York Voices are a vocal jazz group that have learned from other vocal
jazz groups such as Take 6, The Manhattan Transfer, Lionel Hampton and have
taken jazz music to higher levels which have earned them Grammy Awards. Their
sound is definite jazz sound with classical, pop, Brazilian and R&B immersed in.

In 1987, Peter Eldridge, Darmon Meader, Kim Nazarian, Caprice Fox and Sara
Krieger formed the group. Darmon, Peter, Caprice and Kim went to Ithaca
College, in upstate New York. They were able to go and tour the European jazz
festivals in 1986. In 1989 they were signed to GRP Records and their first
album New York Voices was released. In no time at all it seemed they became
popular in the jazz music world. Four albums were done with GRP.

The Collection, Hearts of Fire and What's Inside. During this time, some
changes were made. Sara left, and they auditioned more than sixty vocalists in
the United States before they settled on Lauren Kinhan. When she sang with
them, the chemistry was real and she fit in perfectly. Thus, they called
themselves the "New" New York Voices. Lauren appears on the third recording. In
1994, Caprice left , and the New York Voices was at the point the same as it is

The New York Voices, has recorded their own albums, guest starred on other
albums, and many other performances. Some of those performances are Live at
Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Brazilian Dreams, a Latin Grammy Award winner
with Paquito d' Rivera and Heirs of Jobim. They have also performed with many
famous jazz artists such as Annie Ross, Bobby McFerrin, Nancy Wilson, John
Hendricks and Diana Krall. They tried something new in 1997, by singing Paul
Simon's songs. It was called New York Voices Sing the Songs of Paul Simon.

They used many styles to sing his music. Near the end of 2000, after they have
completed their sixth album, Sing , Sing, Sing, they took on big band music.
They had performed with the Count Basie Orchestra for years, so Darmon arranged
the band and vocal parts and Elliot Scheiner who has produced The Manhattan
Transfer and Steely Dan, produced a great recording. Other arrangers on the
recording were Rob Mounsey and Michael Abene. The result was something complex,
with swing, and vocal parts intermingled that was contemporary as well as
classic. They did it in a way that did not lessen either style.

In 2006 their was a new recording where they go back to their Brazilian style.
The New York Voices have been all around the world astounding audiences with
their amazing vocal style, arrangements and classy selections. They have been
at numerous jazz festivals, The North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland and The
Montreal Jazz Festival.

The New York Voices also helps high school and college students doing workshops
and clinics. They have many projects teaching, writing, solo gigs as well as
arranging. They are forever expanding their fan base by experimenting with all
types of music.

All About High School Jazz Competitions

There is nothing more exciting that masses of Jazz lovers all in the same place
competing in a competition to showcase the skills they have honed. High school
educators all around the country unite at different location to enter their
vocal Jazz ensembles, Jazz Bands, Jazz Orchestra's in a competition to
represent their schools. All who enter this Jazz competition have been
preparing and working hard at learning the music most of the school year.

The music educators gather a small stack of repertoire that will really make
their students stand out as unique. The key to performing for the Jazz
competition is to know the music, and express it exactly the way the teacher
has taught them to do. The truth of the matter is that all Jazz singers should
sing out , and not hold back unless the teacher motions for you to do so. All
the instrumentalist should follow the music and shape the sound. Jazz music is
an expression that should come as a personal interpretation of the piece. After
all, how do the winners in the Jazz competitions exist if the right music and
interpretation of the musicians did not exist?

Fortunately, the successful Jazz Group must possess something that allows them
to feel at ease with showing soulful emotion with the instrument of voice. When
every member does the same thing it makes the most magical atmosphere of music
that would send chills up the spine. One can play the piece of music plainly as
written, or one can perform the music as written shaping it into something
beautiful. Emotion should always be involved with music performance. Moreover,
the music performed in Jazz competitions should be believable to the listeners.

Meaning, if you do not feel the music no one else will feel it. Therefore, a
performance without emotion is dull and uninteresting. If emotion is something
hard to grasp at anything in your life, you should try the Mr. Holland's Opus

There was a girl who could not play her instrument the way she wanted to. He
told her in the film to think of something that means a lot to her. She thought
of that and was able to perform. If the piece you are playing does not move you
personally you might find it hard to perform. However, if you are familiar with
what the music is about it will be easier to interpret it. For instance,
"Georgia On My Mind" written by Stuart Gorrell and Hoagie Carmichael, one may
have never traveled to the state of Georgia. Nevertheless, the music is an
expression of adoration for the state of Georgia.

All students participating in high school Jazz competitions should use that
emotion to the fullest when performing. In other words, think of something you
adore and perform with that though in mind. The thought can be a person, a
place or even an object that you hold dear. Be prepared to shine in high school
Jazz competition, and feel the music from your heart. It wouldn't hurt for the
teachers to choose the right music to show off your talents.

All About Jazz Dance

The Art of Jazz dance is an amalgamation of different styles of dance that
began between 1800's, and the middle of the 1900's rooted in African American
movement. One man known for this type of dance was the star of vaudeville Joe
Frisco around 1910 who danced in a unrestrained fashion in close vicinity to
the ground while tossing his cigar, and derby in a juggling manner. The Jazz
dance style up to the middle of 1950's was Tap dance which was always performed
with Jazz music such as the Jitterbug, Swing, Boogie Woogie, Lindy Hop, and the
Charleston. Katherine Dunham is renowned choreographer and dancer studied the
cultural dances of Caribbean in Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Tobago, Martinique
and Shango making this African American dance a modern work of pure art.

She took this style to Hollywood and Broadway who embraced a more refined Jazz
dance. Modern Jazz Dance is a smooth style of dance roots from Tap, Ballet and
Jazz music which is performed in many musicals from the Pajama Game to Cabaret
to Chicago to music videos and the Las Vegas showgirl performances. The usual
technique for Jazz dance is that of a ballet dancer for balance and strength
from doing slow movements. In contrast the typical Jazz dance has sharp
movements, but the skills of ballet smoothes it down into a refined style.

Moreover, Jazz dance is such a versatile style that it can be combined with
other dances from lyrical, contemporary and hip hop. Jazz dance like Jazz music
can be combined with other dance styles to enhance the dance to another level.
For instance, The United Kingdom witness a new movement of dancers in the
1980's who danced when the Jazz, and Funk music clubs was becoming unpopular
known as Street Fusion Jazz Dance. Due to the new modern music scene, new
groups who longed to keep the tradition of Jazz dance, and still leave room for
the new styles.

There are two groups known for street fusion jazz dance known as IDJ ( I Dance
Jazz), Brother in Jazz and Jazz Cotech. Famous people of the world of Jazz
dance is Fred Astaire, Jerome Robbins, Jack Cole, and Bob Fosse. In the world
of Jazz Dance there are terms people use to describe various dance movement.

Jazz Dance Terms:

Ad lib, Axel Turn, Ball Change, Barrel Jump, Barrel Turn, Bounce, Cake Walk,
Cat walk, Catch Step, Chasse`, Coffee Grinder, Contract, Curve Or Arch,
Dolphin, Drop and Recover, Fall, Fall Over The Log, Fan Kick, Figure 8, Flick,
Flick Kick, Freeze, Funk, Head-Roll, Hinge, Hip Walk, Hip-Fall, Hip-Roll, Hitch
Kick, Hop, Jazz Drag, Jazz Run, Jazz Split, Jazz Square, Jazz Walk, Jump Over
The Log, Kick, Knee Fall, Knee Slide, Knee Turn, Lay Out, Limbo, Mess Around,
Moonwalk, Pencil Turn, Pitch, Pivot Step, Primitive Squat, Release, Ripple,
Shimmie, Shiver, Shoulder Fall, Shoulder Roll, Sissonne Fall, Skate, Snake,
Snap, Spins, Spiral, Stag Leap, Step, Switch, Table Top, Tilt, Touch,
Tripplettes, Turns, Twists, and the Worm.

Jazz Music Schools

There are many excellent jazz music schools across the country as well as all
over the world. Here is my list of some of the best colleges for young people
who want to get the finest education that jazz music has to offer.

Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

At Ithaca College, you can get a Bachelor's of Music in Jazz Studies. The Jazz
Studies program will get students to perform at many places-on campus as well
as off. Some courses that students will take are: Jazz arranging, jazz
improvisation and jazz history.

Ithaca teaches jazz music in both avenues, for instance, if you are a vocal
jazz major or a major in any instrument, your private lessons will be done in
the traditional classical style. If your major is jazz guitar, you can study
electric guitar, but still know how to perform on classical guitar. Guest
artists visit Ithaca and perform giving master classes for students, and they
also coach them. Some artists that have performed there are: Jaime Laredo,
Rhythm and Brass, the Bach Aria Group and Vladimir Feltsman.

Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA

Berklee College of Music is where students from all around the world come to
study jazz music. Students would be majoring in jazz composition here. This
jazz music program develops student's creative side, contrapuntal skills,
formal as well as developing melody, rhythm and harmony. The student will end
up with a group of compositions that will be performed. in public for different
ensembles to play. Students will attend jazz clinics, concerts, join in projects
and develop critical skills that will enable them to discuss various types of
criteria in jazz music. Completion of this major will give students all the
skills they need to pursue a career as a professional jazz writer. This is one
of the best schools to enroll in to get a top-notch music degree.

University of Rochester, Rochester, NY

The Eastman School of Music is a name that is heard quite often among the music
crowd in upstate New York. Students going to this school will be majoring in
Jazz Studies and Contemporary Media. Students choosing this major will acquire
performance, teaching as well as other music skills and academics. Completing
this major will enable students to be their own boss, in a way. They can be
part of a symphony, and teach in college; or teach private students and direct
as a church musician and free-lance their skills and give recitals. Some
students become lawyers or music administrators because the training in music
at Eastman School gives them the discipline to do and be anything.

Manhattan School Of Music, New York

Students attending this school will be skilled composers, arrangers as well as
performers when they are ready to begin their jazz music career. Students are
taught by faculty who are experts. The will also be able to perform with well
known jazz artists.There are undergraduate level courses, graduate and
doctorate level to major in jazz music. Those who are serious in obtaining a
career in jazz music, should really consider any one of these schools to enroll.

Jazz Music Festivals

If you are a jazz music lover, chances are that you go to a festival every
year. What you probably didn't know is that there are jazz festivals all over
the world. If you like to travel, expand your jazz tastes and go to these
international jazz festivals.

Akbank Jazz Festival, Istanbul, Turkey

The Akbank Jazz Festival is one of a diverse mixture of sounds from the country
as well as all around the world. Last year's festival was dedicated to Arif
Mardin. One artist that has performed there is Kurt Elling. Kurt Elling is very
popular in jazz music today. In his ten year career, all six of his albums were
nominated for Grammy awards. He has toured all around the world in places
including Israel, Japan and Australia. In 2003, he was made Vice Chair on
NARAS.(National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) He has an album out
this year.

Barbados Jazz Festival, Barbados

Some of the artists that will be performing here are Ruben Studdard, Anita
Baker, Macy Gray and Robert Glasper. This is not a free Jazz music festival.
Prices to hear performances range from $30 to $100, depending on the artist. If
you want to attend this jazz music festival, you cannot order tickets
internationally. You have to actually be in Barbados and provide the address
where you'll be staying in Barbados and the tickets will be delivered to that

Brecon Jazz Festival, United Kingdom

Brecon Jazz has been around for twenty-four years. The best jazz music is
performed at the brilliant Brecon Beacons National Park. It is located in
Wales. The company, Brecon International Festival of Jazz Ltd., a charity
organization, is backing the festival has an education and outreach program in
Wales and the South-West of England, during the year. This year, the Brecon
Jazz Festival had an Artist-in Residence, Joe Lovano. Joe Lovano is one of the
world's best tenor saxophone players and has been around since the '70's. He
has performed in Woody Herman's orchestra and Mel Lewis's orchestra. The music
he then went on to create broke boundaries collaborating with artists such as
John Scofield, Hank Jones and Bill Frisell. He led the BBC Big Band at Brecon,
taught a masters class to young welsh Jazz musicians. This year Brecon also
featured "Women in Jazz". A couple of the artists were: Jessica Williams from
the U.S. and Hiromi from Japan.

Copenhagan Jazz Festival, Denmark

In case you didn't know, the Danish are really into jazz. New artists as well
as the old have been performing in the city. The concerts in the day are
perfomed near the canals and historic homes. Some prefer to play small, crowded
clubs. Every live performance is electrifying and memorable. Artists that have
performed here are George Clinton and the P-Funk Allstars, McCoy Tyner Trio,
Scandinavian Brasillian-Big Band,Mavis Staples W. Band, The Zawinul Syndicate
and Maceo Parker. Jazz music is not something that is only appreciated in the
states, but everywhere around the world. It is important to experience jazz
music in other places so that the magic of jazz will ever be broadened, shared
and continued to be translated for years to come.

Jazz Clubs

Jazz music is appreciated worldwide. If you are ever traveling and are new to
some countries, here are where some of the best jazz clubs are located so that
every place you go will be just like home.

Canadian Jazz Clubs

In Westminster, you can go to the Java Jazz Cafe & Bistro. Live jazz is played
served with Filipino cooking, with dishes like kare-kare, milkfish and bangus.
Every night there are different artists playing. Times are from
Tuesday-Thursday from 12p.m. to 2:30p.m. and 5:30 to 12:00a.m. Friday it's to
1:00a.m., Saturday 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday 5:30 p.m. to midnight. If you
want to attend jam sessions, they are each Saturday 3p.m. to 6p.m.

If you are ever in Victoria, go to the Hermann's Jazz Club on 753 View Street.
This club has been around for 25 years. You can enjoy good food and
international jazz music from the hottest musicians around.

In Vancouver, you can go to Capones Restaurant & Live Jazz Club. Jazz music is
played there every night of the week. The food is excellent food and wine. Some
of the dishes are pizzas, pastas, tapas and there are also some signature
entrees. The musicians that play here are literally chosen to play there from
the area and offer great west coast jazz music and blues. You have to call and
book in advance to get a table here.

Cuban Jazz Clubs

If you are heading to Havana, be sure to stop at La Zorra Y La Cueva Jazz Club.
Open every day, you can eat, drink, dance and enjoy the best jazz music as only
the best of musicians play here. Dress tropical for this club.

Chinese Jazz Clubs

In Bejing, you can go to The Big Easy. Modern jazz music and blues is played
there. Ted's Cafe plays traditional jazz on Saturday nights. In Shanghai you
can go to the CJW. The CJW is the Cigar Jazz Wine House. It is on the highest
floor of the fifty-story Bund Centre. The atmosphere is very modern, eccentric
with lava lamps, transparent beaded curtains. The food is traditional western
and Chinese fusion.

Israeli Jazz Clubs

In Binyamina, you can go to the milestone. The Milestone is set in a beautiful
park inside a Roman fortress. The times are from weekends Thursday to Saturday.
The jazz music is played by the best Israeli jazz musicians. Gourmet food is
served, and there is also an amphitheatre. If you are in Haifa, go to the
Hottentot. Performances are just about every single day. The atmosphere is
laid-back, there's good food, drinks and a gallery.

French Jazz Clubs

I had to save the best clubs for last. French jazz clubs. The French are
serious when it comes to jazz music. All kinds of jazz music is played from
standard to amateur. There are many, many jazz clubs here. Quite a few American
jazz musicians chose to live there permanently or temporarily and have enhanced
their lives all around. Here is a couple of the best jazz clubs in France. In
Paris 4th, there is Franc Pinot. Those that love swing and bebop music should
come here. This club has natural acoustics, and is located in the heart of
Paris. Times are from 7p.m. to 9p.m., but it depends on who is playing for the
night. In the 15th, there is Jazz Club Lionel Hampton where the best bands and
artists play contemporary jazz. If you want to enrich your spirit, go travel to
other places to appreciate jazz music.

Jazz Music Today

Jazz music has evolved to the point where basic signature of the style has
minimized into an influential element. For example, the Jazz music of the 80's
electronica music of IDM which stand for Intelligent Dance Music where such
artists like Bjourk is known for. The drum and bass is another form of
electronica that does not use the typical improvisation that is one of the key
elements of Jazz music. In fact, this is not thought of as Jazz music at all,
but a style that was influenced by Jazz music.

Musicians of the electronica age were St. Germain, Jazzanova, Portishead, Apex
Twin and more who used live Jazz music to beats. The Cinematic Orchestra and
Julien Lourau from Europe's France were very successful with this style of
music. However, those musicians who master keeping the traditional Jazz music
combined with new elements are the most loyal to the style from which it
came.   In the millennium, Jazz elements became a part of the American Pop
scene with the artist Norah Jones, and Christina Aguilera, Amy Winehouse.

There are skeptics who do not believe the music should be called Jazz. However,
Christina Aguilera's Back To Basics album used Jazz brass instruments with urban
beats. Jazz music according to the National Public Radio filed a report stating
that the music is becoming more popular with the public regarding the interest
of the buyers of jazz music.

Rhythm and Blues music is a product of Jazz music that describes funk and soul.
The musicians who successfully made their mark with this sound of jazz,
boogie-woogie gospel, bebop and blues reinvented R&B into contemporary styles.
Artist such as Robert Palmers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Prince, Michael
Jackson, Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson, Keith Sweat, Mariah Carey, En Vogue,
Guy, Jodeci, Mary J. Blige, Levert, Teddy Riley, Justin Timberlake, Aaliyah,
Missy Elliot, Lauren Hill, Brian McKnight, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis are a few
of the many people who've made this music popular. Later on Pop artist like
Pink, Britney Spears and Gwen Stephani used R&B musical elements in their
songs. The wheel of the evolvement of Jazz music keeps turning into new styles,
yet turns back at different times toward the root where it began.

Those who were in favor of the traditional Jazz music feared that the essence
of Jazz music would be lost among all the new innovations. Free thinking in the
world of Jazz caused a division between the modernist and traditionalist. The
world of Jazz music has changed to the point where Jazz once the leader turned
into an element included in today's works of art. Nevertheless, nothing in the
traditional Jazz music has changed, but the radios have extended their
repertoire to include all the styles of music with jazz elements.

The array of Jazz music is present in the Jazz fests who played music with
African elements that did not sound like Jazz music. One thing we all should
look out for is the musical elements in Jazz that stand out such as the complex
rhythm, and the chromatic chordal harmony or chord progressions typical for the
Jazz Music.

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