Monday, January 24, 2011

Jazz: The Art of Improvisation, Creativity, and Self Expression

Creativity, self expression, and improvisation these are the words that describe Jazz.  Of course this is subjective, as many things are, but I think in its essence creativity, self expression and improvisation are key elements of jazz music. It's true people may disagree with me but that doesn't matter.  I've been wanting to write about how I personally feel about jazz music and improvisation in general so this is that description.

When I consider what draws me to jazz music and what joy I get from it, the three elements that always come up are creativity, the ability to express oneself, and of course improvisation.   So in simple terms jazz is the art of improvisation, creativity, and self expression.  So why do I say this?

First jazz has always been a flexible music.  It is always evolving and changing.  This can only happen when there are opportunities to be creative.  From the early days of jazz you see the desire of the musicians to tell a story in there own creative way.  The first jazz musicians didn't follow the tradition of western music instead they took the sounds surrounding them and made them their own.  They weren't afraid to be brash sounding or wild.  Whatever communicated their story the best was what they used.  In this creativity we also see their individuality and voice.

With all the freedom that jazz seemed to have you can see how it easily became a great form of self expression.  There really wasn't a right or wrong way to play as long as it told your story.  The whole history of jazz music is about musicians being creative and telling there own stories through written and improvised music.  From what I can tell creativity , improvisation, and self expression all come together.  Really the greatness of jazz and its vitality all stems from these traits.

When I look at my own experience with jazz music I see these same traits.  The first time I remember hearing jazz music the thing that grabbed my attention the most was the life the music had.  It was so expressive, and colorful.  It was full of emotion.  I thought it was wonderful.  Until I heard jazz I had never had music really strike me, but jazz did.  The reason jazz struck me so much was because it was a true expression of the musicians and there feelings.  I also believe it struck me because of the improvisation.  Most music repeats the melody over and over again, but jazz didn't just repeat the melody it changed and made new ones all in the same song.  The music became organic.  This can only happen because the musicians truly expressed themselves and weren't afraid to be creative, and they did this through the medium of improvisation.

Now today when I play jazz myself these same traits are what makes me love it and want to explore it so much.  The opportunity to improvise and express myself is such a fulfilling experience that I keep coming back for more.  I think that we all have the desire to be creative and express ourselves in our own ways.  For me jazz music provides that opportunity to do so and to grow at the same time. It is my hope that others will feel the same way or at least see and appreciate the potential that jazz music has.  For those who truly want to do there own thing and wish to tell their story through music jazz is a great option.

Well there you have it.  In my opinion jazz music is the art of improvisation, creativity, and self expression.

Until Next Time,


No comments: