Wednesday, August 15, 2007

jazz for not-dummies

Another critical attribute of jazz music in general is that it has considerable intellectual content, and that the jazz performer needs high level of both cognitive and subconscious abilities - and a lot of discipline. The originals in particular contain so much harmonic and rhythmic substance that only the serious student of music is equipped to deal with them. At the same time, the solos demonstrate the enhanced level of consciousness needed to spontaneously compose a melody while taking into account so many external factors simultaneously (the tune structure, harmony, melody, themes and variations, time, sound and texture, tension and release, etc.) In short, you have to be really smart in order to play jazz, and these guys are wizards!
- Don Braden, for Steve Wilson's Blues For Marcus
Does anyone feel that this is an attractive description of jazz? Is all that about being super-smart or is it about working at it?

Plus, if the Harry Potter books and movies have taught us anything, it's that wizards aren't necessarily all that smart.