Answer the questions and make them in essay
Jazz is one of the world’s great musical forms. Evolving from a combination of blues, spirituals, and gospel music it has its origins in the Black experience of slavery and displacement. There is a good argument that it is the only truly uniquely American musical form. As the Jazz Reach website explains: “Jazz music has achieved great stature throughout the world as an indigenous American art form and truly unique musical amalgamation. At its best, jazz contains the ideal balance of individual expression and collective cooperation and puts into aesthetic action, our highest democratic ideals and aspirations. Jazz also serves as a unifying force, bridging cultural, religious, ethnic and economic differences. It reflects the highest levels of human artistic expression and is inspired by the widely diverse experiences and peoples that comprise our collective cultural identity.” At the same time, as they also point out, jazz frequently struggles for the kind of mainstream media space and exposure given to more immediately obvious forms such as pop, r’n’b, rock, and country & western. However, because of its foundations in the deepest expression of the human experience and its profoundly collaborative nature it can “provide people of all ages with a more sophisticated understanding of ourselves and our national character. Because jazz uniquely translates the human experience into rhythm and tune, dialogue on the many facets of this musical tradition offers a particularly rich and versatile educational and cultural opportunity.”
In view of the comments and quotes above, please respond to the following questions:
1. Consider the venue for the performance of the Jazz Reach show. To what extent does the environment determine or influence the way we approach this kind of performance?
2. What criteria do you consider when trying to critically assess a performance like that of Jazz Reach? How appropriate is a theatre such as this one for an evening of jazz (as opposed to classical for instance)?
3. If we read a book, watch a film, or even look at a painting we might feel comfortable in trying to assess what it is about (ie. things such as themes or the values and beliefs being expressed). Is it possible to approach music – and specifically jazz – similarly?
4. What is “jazz”? How important is it for us to know something about the background or history of a particular type or genre of music for us to fully enjoy and/or understand it?
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