Learning to Play Jazz

Learning to Play Jazz

Born in the American South, Jazz is a music style unlike any other and learning to play jazz is different from any other style of music.  Jazz has its own distinct sound that you can recognize anywhere, but before you call yourself a jazz musician there are some things you need to learn first.

Pick Your Instrument

When it comes to jazz you have some options, you can choose piano, guitar, saxophone, trumpet or the drums.  All of these can be used to create the jazz sound.  You can start with piano and that will help you to learn the basic chords.  These basic chords can help you no matter what instrument you end up playing.  However a piano may not be practical.  Pick an instrument that you can practice on regularly and that you like.

Learn the Standards

The jazz standards can help familiarize you with jazz and how to play like you have been doing it for years.  With jazz standards you can learn chords and chord progressions in your journey to learn jazz.  Once you have an understanding of the standards and you can play a couple of them by heart it will help you tremendously in learning your instrument.

Playing by Ear

When it comes to jazz you need to have a basic understand of what it is you’re hearing.  If you want to play jazz then chances are you have been listening to the music for a while and you understand what it should sound like.  Take a second listen to some of your favorite songs, can you hear the different instruments?  Can you figure out which chords are being played?  Stop and pause a couple of bars into the song or use some software to slow it down, now break the songs apart until you can hear the chords.  When you get good at this you can learn to play songs by ear.

Learn the Language of Jazz

Jazz has its language and playing jazz means becoming fluent in that language.  The language consists of notes, chords and chord progressions that make jazz so incredible.  Learning jazz means you need to be patient and dedicated.  Jazz, for most is a life long  journey and you get to explore all the facets of jazz along your travels.

American Jazz Legends

American Jazz Legends

Jazz is music to the soul. It has a calming effect and has beautiful tones within it. Now jazz dates back in history and there are different styles and eras within it. Jazz has built a large legacy within the music industry that still impacts today. While all Jazz is great there is however a few musicians that stood out and seemed to alter Jazz music entirely. It can be hard when someone wants to know all about Jazz music, you wonder where exactly to start. I just mention a few of the iconic Jazz musicians and that seems to sum it up pretty good.

Louis Armstrong

Like for instance I would say Louis Armstrong is a jazz musician who cannot be ignored. This man has pure talent and was one of the top singers to have brought Jazz into the spotlight. Louis Armstrong became a legend and was inspiring to many other musicians to follow their dreams.

No one can forget his hoarse voice which was like no others and the infectious trumpet sound that captured everyone. Louis changed the focus of Jazz music to represent the individual rather than just a collection of music. Louis’s hot five and the hot seven bands ended up recording 55 records just in the time-frame of 1925 to 1928. Louis Armstrong is still a legend today and his inspiration still continues to focus on others.  Here is a sample of his fabulous music.

Duke Ellington

This jazz man is an admired composer that ended up in the history of American music. Duke has over 3000 songs that he wrote himself and some of his songs are still as popular as when the started like satin doll, in a mellow tone and it don’t mean a thing. Duke was another like Louis Armstrong that made an impact in the Jazz scene.

Ornette Coleman

Ornette was a major leader in the free jazz movement. Such a talent for playing the plastic saxophone by creating a powerful sound that was unique to everyone that heard it. He was well known for the record the shape of jazz to come which also made an influence in the world of jazz.

Nina Simone

Nina had a likeness for classical music like many among us and with her history being in pop and gospel she learnt to mix these influences into her own work of piano playing and Jazz singing. Nina had a deep voice which one of her biggest appeals. Nina’s piano talents were brought in on the earlier recordings like little girl blue.

While there are many American Jazz talents the above listed are the well-known musicians and singers that their inspiration and talent continues to inspire even the younger generations of the Jazz industry.