Posted by SY.
The last week of April in New York was influenced by a plethora of extraordinary music events dedicated to the International Day of Jazz and to the celebration of the Birthdays of Barbra Streisand, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald. Many gifted singers and musicians showcased their talents on various stages including Lincoln Center, Blue Note, and other Jazz & Blues halls and clubs.
What an extraordinary occasion to learn about blues & jazz and, if you’re lucky, to jam with some renown jazz musicians who gathered together to pay a tribute to music!!
During one of our ‘after-concert’ coffee hours the question: “Are Gospel music and Blues the same thing?” was asked.
While there is an evident distinction between Gospel Music and the secular solo Blues, Blues is also an important root of jazz music and to this day is considered to be an essential part of a jazz repertoire.
“Blues is many things: a musical form of bars and measures, a whole body of melodies and themes. It is a harmonic system. It is a system of call and response. It is a bunch of moans and groans, and shouts and cries, dissonance and consonance; and it can interface with music all over the world”. Wynton Marsalis in “Jazz, a History of American’s Music”
“The Blues is a feeling and when it hits you, it’s the real news.” – said Huddie Ledbetter (1888-1949) who was called the” King of the twelve –string guitar” and had a repertoire of some 500 songs.
I would also add that Blues is Improvisation – the ability to find a new fresh and radiant melody (motif) and avoid being repetitive, simple, ill-mannered or predictable. Developing the motif and improving voice is not something that is done overnight. Listening, practicing and respecting the standards of notorious Jazz Kings and Jazz Queens is a time-consuming but an awesome and luxurious entity. It is also important for jazz students, teachers or well-known jazzmen and jazzwomen to create new music that is in harmony with our recent time, human values and our hearts.