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Overview *   
Behind The Scenes - Part 1
Behind The Scenes - Part 2
Behind The Scenes - Part 3
Behind The Scenes - Part 4
How To Listen To Jazz - Part 01
How To Listen To Jazz - Part 02
Next Time *  How To Listen To Jazz - Part 03

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How To Listen To Jazz - Part 2
Welcome to my Personal Notes feature where I explain and discuss topics relating to the JAZZNET247 Project and the Genre. This is the Second Part about How To Listen To Jazz.
wes george

Jazz music post 1960 has always been playing 'catch up' to Rock and Roll, Rock, Pop and even Country music, as people's horizons widened with the onset of numerous radio stations in every city and town they had a wider choice of styles to listen to. Some stations play only Country or Soft Rock, but most play it safe and play Pop. Few play only Jazz.

Define Pop Music (Popular Music) ? Well it is what the majority of people 'pre Internet' would have listened to on their local radio station, and as they didn't tend to ' Listen Outside Of The Box ' Pop is all they heard and in turn that is the music they bought when they visited their local music shop or supermarket. Many people listen to radio for news, weather, traffic updates and the music is only incidental to them tuning in.

So Charts evolved playing the music that has been bought most frequently and of course that added to the popularity of these releases, and now video.

Jazz music was THE Pop Music for so many years pre 1960 and that is what people heard on radio and asked for in their record stores, nowadays things are very different and the Jazz genre has circa only 3 - 4% of ALL music sales.

Jazz music is bought by people who have grown up with jazz or who have outwardly gone to look for or listen to it. Jazz music will not trip you up in the street and say ' Here I am, buy me ! '.

The number of Jazz radio stations is at an all time low worldwide and even stations with the word 'Jazz' in the title play many other sub-genres of music such as Soul, Funk, R'n'B and Gospel. If they have a commercial element to try and make money this is the only way forward as there are simply NOT ENOUGH Jazz listeners to listen to 24/7 Jazz Music only broadcasts. (Specialist internet stations like JazzNet247 Radio Europe try and play Jazz to a bespoke audience, but we are not trying to please Commercial Advertisers).

When I ask people ' What do you hear when you hear Jazz Music ? '. The older people often reply 'I hear a frenetic mass of intruments playing at the same time' (presumably they are referring to BeBop).

When I ask the younger people what do they hear when they listen to Smooth Jazz, they often reply 'Sounds like music they play in Elevators or Supermarkets'. (Personally as I have said many times before I think Smooth Jazz is really more akin to Adult Contemporary or Easy Listening.)

As someone who has read the History of Jazz and written about it, the roots of jazz stem from Blues and Gospel music and today's music doesn't bear much resemblance to either, it is usually very well played by today's artists, but in my opinion lacks much originality. Many many of today's artists see Smooth Jazz as the ' IN ' mode of Jazz Music and copy similar styles of artists who are already popular, but for me few or none stand out above all others and are MANY making a living from it ?.

So this article aims to target people who really want to examine Jazz Music pure and understand WHAT they are listening to.

As I have mentioned before there are ' PEOPLE WHO HEAR MUSIC ' and there are ' PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO IT '. To really appreciate Pure Jazz you have to closely LISTEN to it.

Real Listening is the path into the heart of Jazz Music and it is time well spent in my opinion. If we listen to it at a deep enough level we enter into the minds of the Songwriters and the Musicians and more often than not, transport ourselves back into a time gone by when composition and originality were key.

Our Jazz ancestors had little or no formal music training, BUT they were excellent listeners and that was the foundation to unlocking their own creative potential.

Music and Dance have always been closely related and the basic element of RHYTHM was the cornerstone for dancers and if you listen to early jazz ensembles in New Orleans they were often playing music to dance to and the Rhythm Section were pivotal to keeping the song in some semblance of order. ( In Jazz we think of a drummer, bass and maybe a piano player as the 3 key rhythm members and backbone with one, two or even three lead instruments taking time to lead - think Kind Of Blue with Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb.

Rhythm sections in Pure Jazz often offer a paradoxical interplay in real time and often 'improvise on the fly' - (this cannot happen in today's Smooth Jazz if a sequencer or drum unit is used, no matter how sophisticated the equipment is), Improvision, Originality, Syncopation and the Blues Scale are what Pure Jazz is all about. The Blues Scale has a universal appeal that reaches the core of emotional satisfaction.

These give and take offerings in Jazz are heard from recording to recording and some musicians are synonymous with certain flairs or styles which they add to different artist's recordings and combinations such as Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb or Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones or Ron Carter and Tony WIlliams.

Only by listening to the recordings and to the various instruments can you start to appreciate the artist's interpretation, freedom of expression and creative flair. In fact some albums offer different takes of the same track and the rhythm section's interpretation changes with every take (as well as the lead instruments) - think John Coltrane's ' Love Supreme Complete Masters ' (2015) for some real homework.

JazzNet247 Radio Europe Listening Options -
* Tune In @ Using The LIVE365 Player
* Tune In @ Using The StreetJazz Player

Next Time on Part 7 of Personal Notes
- I'll continue the serialization with some TIPS on HOW TO REALLY LISTEN TO JAZZ.

Wes George

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