The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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The actual documentation of jazz, in historiographic treatments of the subject, has been sketchy and in many cases based on false premises. In order to set down jazz on paper and submit it to the microscope, the critic first must be sure that every nuance of the musician s phrasing has been correctly captured, for these are the subtleties without which some jazz, on paper, might he in­distinguishable from "pop music" (the songs and lush orchestras rooted in the mythical Philistine wasteland of Tin Pan Alley). Second, he must be equipped with a natural feeling for the tex­ture of jazz improvisation and an understanding of its harmonic substructure.
Academically equipped classical musicians examining jazz have tended at times to adopt the benign attitude of a deity inspecting the human animal from a haven in Olympus. To many of them, the following example (Ex. 1) would be meaningless.
To any jazz musician the above is instantaneously recogniz­able. Though it does not show a single note of music and consists simply of chord symbols and diagonal strokes (each standing for