Minor Music
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All That Jazz

 

If you’re lucky enough to be in a school district that’s committed to its music program, you probably know that the spring semester is when we celebrate all things Jazz.

But surprisingly, even the most accomplished elementary and secondary level musicians fall short in their actual understanding of the American-born musical genre.

The beginnings of Jazz are found in the southern United States during the early 1900s. And it’s influences are a true American blend of African and European traditions. Jazz legend Louis Armstrong maintained that “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” But we thought it worthwhile to at least give you a fighting chance.

In the simplest of terms, two things set jazz apart from other musical genres: improvisation and syncopated rhythms. We consider the art of improvisation as that musical place where discipline meets creativity. It’s a spontaneous interpretation of a piece of music. Syncopated rhythms place rhythmic accents where they wouldn’t normally occur.

But having said all that, the best way to truly understand jazz is to hear jazz at it’s undisputed best. So we turned to one our friends, jazz saxophonist Denis DiBlasio, to help us compile this list of 5 must-have’s for your music collection. DiBlasio is the director of jazz studies at Rowan University. He also worked as musical director for the big band of legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson.

Top 5 Jazz Picks for Young Listeners
1. Miles Davis Kind Of Blue (Legacy Edition)
2. Count Basie The Complete Atomic Basie
3. Horace Silver Blowin' The Blues Away
4. Ella Fitzgerald The Complete Ella In Berlin: Mack The Knife
5. Louis Armstrong All Time Greatest Hits

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