Jazz... it’s that musical equivalent of our world famous Burton made Marmite. Love it or hate it, April is Jazz awareness month!
Created in 2002 by the well respected Smithsonian Museum, Jazz Appreciation Month is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz - to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on the radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, in the US in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as ‘America’s classical music’. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression.
The music grew through the turbulent times of the Civil Rights movement in America. It appealed to whites and blacks alike, provided a culture in which the collective and the individual were inextricable. It was a space where a person was judged by their ability alone, and not by race or any other irrelevant factors. Not only was jazz music itself an analogy to the ideals of the civil rights movement, but jazz musicians took up the cause themselves. Using their celebrity and their music, musicians promoted racial equality and social justice.
You might be surprised to realise quite how much jazz you actually do know!...
‘Take Five’ - Dave Brubeck
With it’s cool train-like piano intro and playful saxophone melody this is probably the most famous jazz track of all time, this instrumental piece has been used in numerous adverts and films, you’ll remember it from the Cadbury’s ‘Twirl’ chocolate bar commercials.
‘So What’ - Miles Davis
This finger clicking laid-back classic just makes you want to sit in a bar and lose yourself in the cool trumpet notes. Miles Davis’ career spanned five decades and his music still influences artists today
‘Strange Fruit’ - Billie Holiday
Try listening to this song without feeling goose bumps all over. Can’t do it? We don’t blame you. That’s because this track is quite easily one of the most haunting pieces of music ever recorded. The lyrical content is just as compelling. Originally a poem penned in 1937 in protest of American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans.
Their influence can be heard in some of today’s biggest acts including Adele, Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Katie Melua, Jamie Cullum & Kendrick Lamar to name but a few.
Maybe it’s time to give Marmite a second chance too!