The genre of jazz is one which holds specific music theories and techniques that are known to distinguish the genre from other forms of music. When attending the performance of the CSS Jazz Ensemble for the fall semester, there was the ability to hear the distinguishing features of jazz and the relationships which these had to the overall genre of music…
The ensemble that was used for the jazz performance was based on the contemporary style of jazz that formed from big band. This was inclusive of the rhythm section that drove forward the different pieces of music by keeping the beat to each of the songs. This was followed by the brass and saxophone sections that balanced out a stronger sound to the ensemble. The sections interchanged different solo forms while holding the melody or the harmonies that were used throughout each of the pieces. This combination of factors then provided a different approach to the music played while developing a specific sound that made a stronger statement to the different pieces that were played. The blend of instrumentation created a louder sound through each of the pieces while making a bold statement with the melodies and with the more dissonant harmonies that were a part of the performance. The style of jazz that was played consisted of more classical forms, such as from the 1950s – 1970s. There was a combination with some contemporary pieces; however, all were based on the level of the performance that was a part of the ensemble. The first piece that was heard was a jazz standard called “Invitation.” This was followed by a second standard also known as a blues standard by Jerry Lewis and which was well – known for being associated with a contemporary Hollywood video scene. This was followed by other standards, such as George Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me.” The standards continued as a main part of the jazz ensemble and approach taken toward the music. There were distinct melodies that were a part of the styles used, as opposed to more new age and contemporary styles that has more experimentation and breaks the rules of jazz. This was done because of the performers that were a part of the stage and the approaches which were used in conducting the ensemble. The more contemporary songs included more dissonance with the harmonies and distinguished sounds that were combined with the melodies to create the right type of effect. The jazz ensemble was able to build the right approach to the music by combining the melody and harmony of more classical styles to build a strong foundation with the music that was played. An important part of the performance was with the improvisation that was a part of the performance. The improvisation was defined by soloists that had a 16 bar section on average for a solo. This rotated between different instruments, such as the piano, trumpet or trombone. Each individual was able to create their own interpretation of the music by using their own melodic lines or approaches. The improvisation that was heard could associate strongly with the chord structure and harmonies that were behind the jazz pieces. When listening to the solos, it could be heard that the changes in chordal structure was what led the ensembles. Each of the soloists would have a scale or set of notes that went around the chords played in the background. When these changed, the improvisation also altered into a different chordal structure and scale that was played. There wasn’t a distinguished melody by the improvisation and most stayed within the most comfortable range of the instrument to create the necessary sound. The strengths of the ...
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