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What Is a Jazz Musician?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2016
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A jazz musician is a person who creates or composes jazz music, which is a specific genre of music that dates back to the early 20th century. This style of music has a very distinctive sound, though an exact definition can be difficult to form. Jazz has elements of other types of music such as blues and ragtime, and a jazz musician is likely to have extensive knowledge of and skill in playing these types of music. The musician may be a jazz singer or a musician who plays a musical instrument.

If a person makes a living off of playing music, he or she is generally considered to be a professional. Professional musicians often travel around the world or around specific regions of the world to spread their music, promote an album, or simply play shows to get paid. Other musicians may play as a hobby. Proficiency in playing this genre of music is the main defining point of becoming a jazz musician, regardless of whether the musician is making a living off the practice.

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It is not uncommon for a jazz musician to form a band with other musicians. Each member of the band will either sing or play an instrument, and all the musicians in the band will play together to form a distinct sound. Playing together takes a significant amount of skill and practice, even more so than playing alone, since timing becomes crucial in ensuring a quality sound overall. A jazz band or group may consist of two or more members; vocalists are usually a part of the group, as are drummers. Guitarists may play in the band, as can bassists, pianists, saxophonists, trumpeters, and so on.

Subgenres of the jazz genre have developed over the years; nu-jazz and acid jazz combine modern elements such as synthesizers with more traditional sounds to create an entirely different jazz sound overall. Smooth jazz is a mellow style of jazz that creates relaxing sounds for the listener. Jazzcore, on the other hand, combines elements of jazz music with elements of heavy metal. Punk jazz combines jazz sounds with punk rock music, which creates a heavier, more frenetic sound; this is directly the opposite sound as smooth jazz, though it is lively like some traditional forms of jazz.

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donasmrs
Post 7

There are various types of jazz music like classic jazz, bebop and swing. I think most people know how they are different. We've all heard these main types.

But aside from these, there are also hot jazz, cool jazz. There are even types according to where jazz is played like Chicago style, New Orleans style, etc. This is where it gets a little confusing for most people who don't know about jazz in detail.

I think that the fact that there are so many different types actually shows how popular jazz is. If it wasn't popular and if there weren't so many musicians interested in and playing jazz, there wouldn't be so many types.

SarahGen
Post 6

@Feryll-- I don't agree with you. Music can and is categorized because all music follows certain trends. So they can be grouped on the type of sound, rhythm used, etc.

ZipLine
Post 5

There is a cafe I frequent often and they have different jazz musicians performing almost every day of the week. Sometimes it's professional groups, but those who haven't yet made a name for themselves play too. The owner only cares about good, quality music and is willing to give newcomers a chance. I think that's great. I enjoy jazz but I've come to love it more since hearing many artists perform at this cafe. Jazz has got to be one of the most soothing, meaningful music genres out there. It's a great music for unwinding and having an easy night out.

Laotionne
Post 4

If you want to hear top notch jazz music then you need to go to New Orleans. That is the home of the best jazz music the world has to offer. I'm sure some people will disagree with this, but the city is known for the local jazz bands and jazz artists.

Feryll
Post 3

I can relate to the first paragraph in this article where is talks about how it can be difficult to define exactly what jazz music is. Then you read the last paragraph and you read about the different types of jazz that have blended with other forms of music and then you begin to understand why it is virtually impossible to say exactly what defines any type of music.

I know critiques and music producers try to put every piece of recorded music into some category, so it is easier to market and easier to define, but the truth is that music is just music. When you start trying to label it, you're limiting the music and the artists who make it.

mobilian33
Post 2

I thought jazz artists and blues artists were the same. I thought jazz and blues were just different names for the same music. They sound a lot alike to me, and I guess that makes sense because as this article says, some parts of jazz actually came from blues music.

Sporkasia
Post 1

I'm not a big fan of jazz music and jazz bands in general, but I do enjoy the smooth jazz as mentioned in the final paragraph. Normally, I prefer classical music to jazz because I find the classical more relaxing. However, smooth jazz is softer than regular jazz and I like it almost as much as the traditional classical music I listen to. So now when I tire of classical, I turn on a smooth jazz radio station.

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