All that Jazz!

One of the biggest misconceptions about jazz music is that it evolved from the blues. While many styles of music do find its roots in blues, Jazz is a music that came from similar roots as blues but is something that evolved alongside blues. This difference is important. Being jazz musicians we do take a little umbrage to being lumped together with the blues in music stores on radio and at music festivals. Springing from the same fertile soil as the blues Jazz journeyed through ragtime and Dixieland picking up steam in the 40’s 50’s and 60’s adding in other musical influences from the 70’s 80’s a through to the 21st century.

Having said that; a decent knowledge of the blues is pretty much a requirement. The improvisation elements alone help with the key concepts ‘spontaneous composition’ that is the hallmark of jazz.

To play jazz we need to know all of our triads(major, minor, augmented and diminished) and the inversions. We need to know all our 4 part chords like the Major7, Dominant 7, Minor 7, Minor Major7, Minor 7 Flat 5, Diminished 7 as well as 6 chords 6 9 chords Suspended 4th and 9th chords. As well as all the chordal extensions that can go with all those chords like the flat, # and Natural 9, #11, Natural 13th etc. In all keys of course. Even if you don't play a harmonic (chord playing) instrument you need to know these chords
We learn about song forms A-B, A-A-B-A, Jazz blues changes, Rhythm Changes, Minor Jazz Blues Changes, 16 bar forms, etc.
As well as the many sub styles of jazz like west coast cool, Dixieland, bebop, modal, fusions etc.

Scale wise we need to know more scales and more ways to manipulate them as jazz music than all other styles of music combined.
Major scale and modes, harmonic and melodic minor scales and modes, the whole tone scale, diminished scales, all the altered dominant scales. Again in every key.
Remember all those chords I was saying we need to know no matter what our instrument is? Well we need to know all the arpeggios that match all those chords in all those keys.
Along the way we need to learn the songs .

It is no wonder we call music the gift of a lifetime!