Jazz Improvisation Combo Fall Concert
The performance in this concert was by talented jazz improvisers, who mainly performed traditional combo jazz from the hardbop period. They also played new jazz compositions, in addition to the original compositions.
- The Music Experience
a) Instruments used to create the music
The jazz band incorporated different musical instruments in their performance. These instruments were mainly horn players, bass instruments, percussion, and chordal instruments. These specifically included trumpets, saxophones, violins, drum sets, trombones, and double basses. All these were core to the whole performance and blended to result in a soothing classical sort of performance, which was thrilling.
b) The Singers
In this group performance, there was a mixture of both sexes, therefore observing the aspect of gender balance. In total, there were about seven men and two women. All the men worked on instrumentation, while the two women were mainly involved with the vocalization. These women vocalists employed the alto tone in their different solo presentations. This number is quite appropriate for a jazz band as there is maximization in both instrumentation and vocalization, thereby balancing the music performance.
c) Singers’ Arrangement on Stage
The performers were not arranged in any special style. The men playing the instruments performed while standing, except the one man on the drums, who performed while sitting. There arrangement on stage did not exhibit any scenery and there was nothing special about it. This portrayed calmness in the performance, which is good; but also to some extent was boring, due to the lack of spontaneity in the performers’ positioning on stage.
The performers, unlike in most pop culture performances, did not dress in special or striking apparel. Instead, they all spotted casual-official wear. The men simply dressed in semi-official shirts and pants. On the other hand, the women were dressed in simple, small dresses, which however, were brightly coloured. This presented a big extent of simplicity in the performance, going by the simple fashion choice of the performers for this specific concert. Somehow, such simplicity is common in classical music.
e) Dance and Rhythmic Movements
The whole performance was void of dance and movements. The musicians, while playing the instruments maintained their positions and did not dance to a single tune. However, the women vocalists exhibited slight body movements during their actions. This lack of dance moves made the performance to be more soul-minded, shifting focus from the body, due to lack of rigorous physical movements.
- The Music and Lyrics
a) Kind of Music Presented
The music presented was purely jazz music. Each composition was played in its own unique way to avoid repetition of compositions; this is a characteristic of jazz music. The performers frequently altered melodies, tones, and harmonies deliberately. This created in the audience a different feeling and experience, which was exciting.
b) Nature of the Music Pieces
There was a mixture of long and short music pieces. However, the short pieces were more than long pieces. This mixture of pieces allowed for breaks on the performers’ side and on the audience side as well, thus breaking the monotonous element that could have been present with only one type of piece.
c) Organization of the Concert
The concert was mainly performed by a jazz group, which undertook different approaches in their performance. Instrumental pieces took a greater part of the concert. There was a combination of long and short pieces of different music pieces. On the other hand, there were two main vocal presentations by the two women in the band. These solo presentations were accompanied by instrumentations. The solo presentation made the concert deviate from instrumentation, therefore presenting to the audience a new experience of vocalization. This was essential in striking a balance between vocalization and instrumentation, as well as breaking the monotony of pure instrumentation.
d) Description of the Music
The music was simple, rhythmic, and flowed harmoniously. The musical instruments were well played, with great expertise, to bring out a perfect rhythm. There was no repetition of music pieces, as each one was unique. Thus, the music was engaging and did not give room for deviation of the concentration of the audience.
e) Nature of Lyrics
The solo vocals done by the women comprised lyrics in the English language. These were mainly poetical, integrated with everyday speech. The rhythm was slow, while the tone was equally low. This experience was like listening to a kind of music that spoke to the soul. This is due to the lyrics meaning, and the way they were articulated and performed.
f) Music Classification
This was a perfect example of a classical jazz presentation. The music was classic, smooth, and soothing. One word, the performance set an easy, soothing and relaxed mood.
- Context of the Music
In this concert, a variety of music from different composers was performed. However, I will focus on my favourite music piece that was played, which was “Careless Whispers.” Only the instrumentation of this piece was played without the vocals.
George Michaels, born in 1964, originally wrote this piece of music, when he was twenty. Michael came up with this music one day while working as a cinema usher in Watford. He claims to have composed the saxophone riff of the music while he was on a bus heading back home (“bio”).
b) Creation Period of the Music
Michael created this music in 1984. During this period, Michael was part of the Whimp! Band in UK, and had just started his music career. This was the first single of Michael.
c) Composer’s Life in Relation to the Music
Although Michael has argued that this music does not relate to his life, and that it was just a random piece, one may think otherwise. First, Michael’s life was full of controversies, mainly regarding his sexual orientation, which he hid for many years. If this music is closely analysed, one can find out that it addresses an aspect of Michael’s life.
d) Historical Events During Composition Period
There was no major historical event at the time of this music composition, which relates to the music. Nonetheless, this is sad music, at least going by the confession of most people, in addition to the lyrics. However, Michael confessed that this music had no connection whatsoever to his emotional development or life experiences. It was just some random music he composed, but he is amazed how many people came to love it, though he did not put all his efforts in the piece (“bio”).
e) Function of the Music
This music primarily addresses infidelity in relationships, including the guilt borne by the cheating partner, even if their partners do not discover them, knowing that one day, their partners will acknowledge their infidelity. This music was therefore purposed to serve different functions other than religious ones, including concert performance, and for general listening.
“bio.” George Michael Biography. nd. Web. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
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