Category: Blog

Jazz Music: Its Origin and Inventor


There are no records, reports, or researches that directly point to one person as the creator or inventor of jazz music. There are, however, several individuals (from the 1800s and 1900s) who played a significant part in its eventual creation. Most of the influencers of jazz music, though, were from the African American community of the United States.

Jazz Origins

There is no exact definition of the origins of jazz in the United States. It is indicated in some sources and articles, however, that it was the African slaves who first combined music with a different kind of instrument to create jazz. They used their music along with the violin and other European instruments to create a distinct sound of music.



They are not considered the creators and inventors of jazz music, but they are acknowledged as influencers. Ernest Hogan (1895) and Scott Joplin (1899) popularized ragtime music, which became the precursor to improvisation.

Traveling Anytime Soon? Check Out the World’s Best Jazz Clubs


Jazz clubs are some of the most interesting places to spend time in, especially if you love music. There are jazz clubs in almost every corner of the world. So if you’re traveling anytime soon, you won’t have to worry about missing out on your supply of good live jazz music. Check out this list of some of the world’s best jazz clubs and start planning your travel itinerary now.

Manhattan, New York – Village Vanguard

Numerous review websites and articles site New York’s Village Vanguard as the best jazz club in the United States – and perhaps also in the world. The club is also one of the longest running. It was established and opened to the jazz loving public in 1935 by jazz promoter Max Gordon. After his death in 1989, Village Vanguard continued, with Gordon’s wife Lorraine staying on top of things. According to Business Insider, Village Vanguard is “the jazz mecca of the world.” It is where the greatest names in jazz play or has played. The club is located in a basement. It is not that spacious and is dimly lit (as are most jazz clubs), but the people still get inside in droves. Some of the big names in jazz who have played in the club are Bill Evans, Sonny Rollins, Jason Moran, and Joe Lovano.

New Orleans – Preservation Hall


What’s a list of the best jazz clubs if it does not include a New Orleans club? New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz, and the city happily embraces this fact. There are numerous jazz clubs in this colorful and lively city, but the best among them is Preservation Hall, which has been swinging things since 1961. It is where you will hear the best original sound of jazz, plus masterpieces by Louis Armstrong, in addition to jazz music you can stomp your feet with – such as those played by jazz bands.

San Francisco – SFJAZZ

What made SFJAZZ land on this list is its unique lineup of activities: educational programs, community outreach programs, a jazz program for high school students, and nightly jazz music performances. SFJAZZ is the home of the SFJAZZ Collective, which is a rotating group of jazz musicians who go to different places in San Francisco promoting jazz and art through the music and repertoire they create. Every night, jazz performers from various parts of the world go onstage to showcase their masterpieces. But one of SFJAZZ’s best features is the Jazz in the Middle program, which helps create opportunities for talented high school students. The students are trained, and so they can perform together onstage.

Lisbon – Hot Clube de Portugal

One of Europe’s oldest jazz clubs, Hot Clube de Portugal, was established in 1948, the club has featured memorable performances by some of jazz music’s legends: Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Count Basie, and Sarah Vaughan. The club was renovated after a fire in 2009 destroyed it. Hot Clube de Portugal can accommodate more or less 140 people.


Considered by many as the best jazz club in all of Europe, Bimhuis is not only a feast for the ears, but it is also a visual masterpiece. Its almost-transparent glass and iron building is perched on the riverside. It stands majestic, especially when lit up for the night. Once you get inside, you’ll be awed by the beautiful interiors. Seating is amphitheater style, which is perfect if you want to see the stage without distractions. The stage is complete with curtains that reveal the majestic Nemo Museum. All these visual plus the best live performances from some of the world’s most renowned jazz musicians makes Bimhuis a magical musical experience you wouldn’t want to forget.

Tokyo – Blue Note


The urban wonderland that is Tokyo is home to one of the world’s best jazz clubs – Blue Note. This high-end club is a symbol of Tokyo’s sophistication. The minute you step inside, you’ll feel at home despite its sleek and luxurious interiors and ambiance. Blue Note is actually an American franchise. As such, it stages some of the best live jazz performances that feature both international greats and local talents.

2016: The Year’s Five Best Jazz Albums


The year 2016 was an exciting one for the music industry; and for jazz music in particular, because of the many spectacular acts and performances. Here are five of the best jazz albums of 2016, by some of the most interesting jazz artists of the year.

1. Archlight by Julian Lage

A former child prodigy, Julian Lage is one of the most respected and admired modern jazz guitar players. In the album Archlight, he performs different tracks that are inspired by and a tribute to some of his early 20th-century electric guitar favorites. You will hear traces of Les Paul, some Chet Atkins, and George Barnes. Lage also uses a “Telecaster” in the album, one that’s created by Dan Strain. It gives off a slightly “old electric guitar sound.”


2. Shift by Logan Richardson

Logan Richardson is a saxophonist and Shift is way of paying tribute to his musical roots that go all the way to Kansas City. The tracks on the album range from chamber jazz to a more modern piece, his version of the popular Bruno Mars song “Locked Out of Heaven.” Richardson displays his skills and range on this album, which can be distinctly described as daring and out-of-the-box. What makes the album even more interesting is the fact that it brings together modern jazz favorites Pat Metheny (guitar), Jason Moran (piano), Nasheet Waits (drums), and Harish Raghavan (bass).

3. The Way We Play by Marquis Hill

If you love Chicago and its jazz music, you will enjoy Marquis Hill’s The Way We Play. The 29-year-old trumpeter, who was dubbed by The New York Times as a “dauntingly skilled trumpeter,” plays jazz music that combines modern musical elements with the classic, particularly one that reminds you of Chicago. The album contains tracks and concepts that are as creative as can be. For instance, there is a beautiful rendering of the Chicago Bulls Theme (Michael Jordan days), as well as uniquely creative interpretations of jazz favorites by Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver, among others. The tracks showcase the young musician’s innovative artistry, combining classic elements of Chicago jazz with some futuristic and abstract remakes. One of the best tracks in the album is Hill and singer Christie Dashiell’s passionate version of “My Foolish Heart,” which was popularized by Ned Washington and Victor Young.


4. Escape Velocity by Theo Croker

Theo Croker is a graduate of the Oberlin College Conservatory. He is also the grandson of Doc Cheatham, a respected, popular, and award-winning Dixieland trumpeter. Croker followed the footsteps of his grandfather as a trumpeter. He is also a singer, composer, and arranger. At 16 years old, he moved to Jacksonville, Florida to enroll at The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts. This was when his talent started getting noticed. Eventually, the young musician caught the eye of the Ritz Theater’s director. Croker was tasked to compose music for a 17-piece band, in which he was also the lead. His first album entitled The Fundamentals came out in 2006. Young as he is, he has already played with and alongside respected musicians such as Billy Hart, Marcus Belgrave, and Benny Powell. Award-winning composer and recording artist Donald Byrd describes Croker as a “phenomenal instrumentalist.” Escape Velocity features the young musician and DVRK FUNK (his group) performing a variety of exceptional acoustic and electronic jazz.

5. Culcha Vulcha by Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy is perhaps the only one on this list that is an ensemble. This instrumental group, which is based in Brooklyn, likes to improvise. They like experimenting with different music genres. Group leader Michael League describes Snarky Puppy as “a pop band that improvises a lot, without vocals.” The group’s first album came out in 2006, and it was called The Only Constant. They won the 2014 for Best R&B Performance, their first ever, along with Lalah Hathaway. Their 2015 album Sylvia is the recipient of the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Their newest album, Culcha Vulcha, is a musical trip that features New Orleans parade rhythms, percussions, Mediterranean music, and psychedelic funk. Each track is rendered more powerfully creative by the group’s signature orchestral groove.

Jazz 101: Tips for Those Who Want to Learn Jazz


Jazz music is a creative fusion of everything that’s good about music. It has rhythm, style, and improvisation, among others. Even if you’re playing a cover, you can make it sound like an original. Jazz is magical journey into the world of music. It can be quite complicated, too, so if you’re trying to learn how to sing or play jazz music, you’ll have a lot of things to consider.

To help you out, here are some tips that you might find useful.

Musical Skills  

Playing jazz music will require you to have basic musical skills. You don’t have to be an expert, but it is important that you know and practice the fundamentals of this music genre. There are three things you need to focus on here: basic scales, the 7th chords, and the instruments.

The first thing you need to do is familiarize the natural minor scales, the major scale, as well as the Mixolydian scale and the Dorian minor scale. These are the basic sounds that you’ll hear in jazz. Additionally, you’ll also need to understand and familiarize these scales because they can be used for improvisation.

Second, you should know how to construct chords. The most important of these is the 7th chords, which has several varieties. This is what you need if your goal is to achieve jazz harmony in the easiest way possible.

Third, you have to familiarize yourself with all the instruments jazz musicians use. Again, you don’t have to be an expert; you just have to have basic information about it. You have to have basic knowledge about each instrument so you’ll also gain a better understanding of jazz music and how it is played or interpreted.


Research Everything That You Can About the History of Jazz

Even if you have no intention of becoming a master or of performing jazz music professionally, you still need to know and understand its origins. Find time to research about the most important aspects of jazz history. Doing so will greatly help you understand jazz, especially since it has an interesting history. This is where you can learn about the different jazz styles that came out one after the other. To get started, search for sources – videos – online. There are a lot of them.

Listen to a Lot of Jazz Music

If you are seriously considering learning how to play jazz music, you have to listen to a lot of jazz music. Don’t listen to just one or two, or even three; listen to as many artists as you can. You have a long list of excellent jazz musicians to choose from. Some examples are the great Louis Armstrong, the legendary Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock, and Stan Getz. You may have a difficult time looking for their music in iTunes, but you can always go and check their albums at the record store. Or, you can download from reliable music sites.

Learn Jazz Standards

Just like the lessons you were taught in school, you need to learn the basic jazz tunes. While it is nowhere near what basic is, jazz standards are certainly a good starting point for anyone who intends to learn how to play the music. Jazz standard is the usual repertoire of musicians who regularly play in bars and clubs. Learning and familiarizing these tunes will not only give you a better understanding of the music but will also help you learn how to communicate with other jazz musicians. Jazz standards are also good practice material for chord progressions.


Practice Playing With Other Jazz Musicians

Once you’ve familiarized and practiced playing jazz standards, you can move on and start practicing with other jazz musicians. Although it is not required, choosing the musicians you practice with can help a lot. It is important that the musicians you interact with understand what you want to achieve and are like-minded. This will create a general atmosphere of congeniality and respect – for each other and for one another’s artistry.

When you’ve accomplished all these steps, find a good mentor or teacher who is willing to help you study and continuously learn. Studying, continuous learning and practice are the best weapons to mastering jazz music.

Three Jazz Musicians You Should Listen To


Jazz music is relaxing. It is something you would want to listen to at the end of a long and stressful day. It calms your soul. The cool sounds of the instruments can wash away your anxieties. The experience becomes even more comforting when you choose to listen to the best jazz musicians.

If you want to spend an afternoon or evening listening to soothing jazz music, the first thing you should consider is your choice of musicians. Nothing beats the experience of listening to the masters and some of jazz music’s most talented and most promising. They may not be as popular as the jazz greats, but they are definitely talented and deserve to be appreciated and praised. Here are three jazz musicians you should listen to. You may know some of them already, but many are still not familiar with them or their music.


Gregory Porter

Born in California, this singer-songwriter has been in the music industry for more than 20 years. Dubbed as “The Next Great Male Jazz Singer” by NPR Music, Porter left his sunny hometown and moved to New York City. This was the break he needed as his career started creating waves after he began performing at St. Nick’s Pub. He has several albums to his credit. Porter is a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal for Liquid Spirit, his 3rd album.


Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding was born in Portland, Oregon and started displaying her musical skills when she joined the Chamber Music Society of Oregon. Spalding played the violin. In 2006, the talented musician released her first album, Junjo, which generated a lot of buzz in the American jazz music scene. The album also received good reviews from critics. She is the recipient of some Grammy awards and holds the distinction of being the first jazz musician to receive the Grammy Awards for Best New Artist, which was awarded to her in 2010. Aside from singing, Spalding also plays the cello and the bass.


Jamison Ross

New Orleans resident Jamison Ross started getting involved in music very early in his young life as he performed at the church of his grandfather. This young drummer has an extensive resume that includes awards and a long list of jazz greats he has worked and performed with, including Carmen Lundy (singer) and Jon Batiste. His first album was released in 2015.

Jazz Dance: Similarities with Jazz Music and Ballet Dance


Jazz music is innovative and unpredictable. Musicians who play or sing jazz music are some of the best in the world. They are creative, disciplined, and technically adept. Jazz music requires a lot of patience, too, especially if you are still learning it. This is why it complements jazz dance.

Jazz Dance and Jazz Music

Jazz makes use of the techniques and rhythms of jazz music to create movements or dances. The music is one of the reasons people like watching jazz dance performances. Like jazz music, jazz dance is lively, fun, and unpredictable. Like jazz musicians and singers, jazz dancers are given the freedom to interpret and perform the steps and movements according to their preferences and understanding of the music and its message. In other words, jazz dancers can improvise in the same manner that jazz musicians and singers can.


Like jazz music, jazz dance has a past directly connected with African cultures. While jazz music is said to originate from New Orleans’ African American communities, jazz dance traces its early days to the vernacular dance of the African Americans that came out in the latter part of the 1800s to the mid-1900s. Pre-1950s jazz dance was known as a dance imported from African cultures by slaves. Later on, though, after the 2nd World War, jazz dance became synonymous with tap dance because the latter used jazz music.

Over the years, jazz dance evolved and slowly became a fusion of other dance styles. It now has elements of swing, Charleston, boogie, lyrical dance, and hip-hop, among many others. Eventually, it also became synonymous with ballet.

Jazz Dance and Ballet

Even if it is not set to jazz music, ballet dancing has a strong connection with jazz dance.

Jazz dancers have the freedom to experiment with their movements and choreography. Ballet is more disciplined in this aspect, especially since ballet dancers are trained to control their movements. Both dance styles, however, share some forms or moves. For instance, in jazz dance, dancers execute straddle split leaps and pirouettes, which are basic ballet movements. Jazz dance movements, on the other hand, are often used in contemporary ballet performances. Likewise, both styles require a lot of balancing, particularly in tiptoes, leaps, fast turns, and kicks.


Nowadays, one of the most popular dancing styles is jazz ballet, which combines ballet movements with jazz moves. The dance is set to modern jazz.

An Introduction to the Jazz Guitar Scale


A guitar scale is something like a guide to those who want to play the guitar properly. If you do not know how to use the scale, you won’t be able to make good music – or guitar music that your listeners will understand. For a jazz musician, the jazz guitar scale is essential. It is what he uses as a guide for playing.

The First Step

The first step for those who are trying to learn how to play the guitar is to learn how to read and understand chords. These chords are symbolized by the letters G, D, E, and F, and so on. Even then; even if you’ve already familiarized and learned how to use the chords, it will all be for nothing if you do not understand and know how to play the scales. One of the most important aspects of music, the tone, can be perfectly achieved through proper use of the scales.


Three Categories

Scales are classified into three categories: major, melodic minor, and harmonic minor. These are basic jazz scales that you use as a guide to creating good music. These are also the first scales that you need to familiarize and learn. Once you know how to use them, you will be able to improve and enhance sounds and melodies, especially in instances when you want to improvise for a particular audience.

Specific Jazz Scales

Apart from the three basic jazz scale categories, you also have to learn everything that you can about specific jazz scales. This term refers to scales that are developed primarily for jazz music. These specific jazz scales include the major bebop (first mode of major scale), minor bebop (Dorian mode, 2nd major-scale mode), dominant bebop (eighth-note scale), Lydian dominant scale (4th mode), and harmonic minor bebop (for improvisation, eighth-note scale).


These are just the basic things you need to know about jazz guitar scales, especially if you’re still trying to learn how to play. This is required information because, again, it can help make guitar playing easier and can help you in terms of understanding and learning how to use chords. Most of all, jazz guitar scales are important because they help give that distinct sound jazz music is known for. If you have no idea how you can use them properly, your audience will not understand and appreciate the music you are creating.

5 Important Things You Need to Learn About Jazz Music


Although it is basically American, jazz music has a lot influences from different cultures. Jazz music is quite complex, and this stems from the fact that it has many identities and characteristics. With improvisation being a major element of every jazz masterpiece, it is one of the musical genres that embrace innovation wholeheartedly. Apart from this, there are many interesting facts that you have yet to know about. Here are some of them.


Jazz started its journey to the limelight towards the end of the 19th century through a musician named Scott Joplin. His style was called ragtime. This was the time in history when thousands were moving and immigrating to the United States, and New York was everyone’s number one choice. The immigrants brought with them various types of music, including waltz and quadrille. These variations, which Joplin mixed with the music of the black community, are what paved the way for the creation of ragtime jazz.

New Orleans Jazz

In the early part of the 20th century, blues music combined with music from the classically trained of New Orleans. This helped create the jazz community of the city. Blues music became popular in New Orleans in no time.

Blues singers were responsible for the proliferation of early jazz music, not only in New Orleans but also in places like Chicago and New York. This paved the way for the start of the Jazz Age.


Jazz Music Characteristics

There are three elements or characteristics that make jazz music what it is. These are syncopation, blue notes or melodic freedom, and improvisation. Among the three, the most important is improvisation because it is what gives jazz music its unique sound, including syllables that often do not make sense. Improvisation is also about wordless singing. Nonsense syllables and wordless singing are more commonly known as scatting or scat singing.

Different Types of Jazz Music

Jazz music is a vast musical universe. You can listen to a wide variety of this music genre. It may be difficult to mention or count everything, but there are some that are worth mentioning because of their popularity. This includes Latin jazz fusions, Dixieland jazz, gypsy jazz, Bossa Nova jazz, acid jazz, free jazz, and soul jazz, among countless others.


The Best Jazz Musicians and Personalities

Over the years (or decades), the world of jazz music has created a lot of masters. These musical personalities are looked up to and respected by the music community because they helped put jazz on the world musical map. Additionally, these jazz musicians also inspired people from different walks of life and different parts of the world. Some of the best jazz musicians are Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Charles Mingus, Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, and Max Roach. Singer Louis Armstrong is also one of those who helped use his voice to promote jazz music around the world.

The above mentioned are only several of the important facts that you need to learn about jazz music, especially if you listen to it, or if you have plans of learning how to play it. Jazz music is distinctive, stylish, innovative, and beautiful in every sense.

5 Tips On Buying The Best Turntable Record Players For Your Home Studio


If you are a collector of the best record players, you know how hard it is to choose which one is the best due to numerous choices available. Don’t worry because there are some tips that you can take advantage of when you are choosing the right player that is perfect in your home studio. Check out the best tips and get your hands on the right turntable record player.

1.    Search the internet

Make use of the web as you can find a lot of people who are selling great turntable record players. You can also find numerous items at different prices. It is the best place to look for a record player than just asking around because it can cost so much more. At this point, Google is the perfect place for you to look for the best player based on what are the features you are looking for.

2.    Compare the prices well

Due to numerous choices available on the internet, make sure you will be able to compare the prices. It is essential so that you will be able to get the best deal. The prices will not be the same so make sure you can get the lowest price available for the record player of your choice. You’ll be surprised to see that some items can be so expensive. I’d recommend for you to look something that is not entirely under a collector’s item category as it can cost you so much more.


3.    Prioritize the features you want

There are a lot of turntables available, and it comes with different specs. Before making a purchase, set your priorities on which are the features you want and you will use. It is the best way so that you will be able to narrow down your choices and get the best price for it. There will be a lot of turntables that may seem to have a good price but lacks the other features of the player, and that is the reason why it is highly important that you already know what you want before searching for it.

4.    Visual aspect

People who love to listen to music from a turntable record player are more inclined to the art behind it. We know that with all the applications available today, it is easy to listen to all kinds of songs, but there is something different when you make use of a turntable. The specs are not all that matters when you are trying to buy a turntable. The looks matter as well so make sure to find an item that is in an exquisite condition.

5.    Get your money’s worth

Getting the most expensive player or the cheapest one doesn’t necessarily mean that you got the best deal possible. Make your money’s worth, and you can do that if you can find a player good enough to fit your needs based on the features and specs of the player you purchased.

You just have to be cautious when choosing the turntable to want. Follow the tips, and you should not have any problem in getting a player for your home studio.

Three Characteristics of a Good Jazz Improviser


Jazz is not jazz if there is no improvisation. It is what jazz music is all about. This is also what makes jazz interesting, unpredictable, and unique. You never know what you’re going to get, especially during live shows in hotels, bars, and other similar venues. Improvisation is not something you rehearse. It comes naturally to all good jazz musicians. There are specific characteristics, however, that make jazz musicians different from others. Here are three of those qualities.

1. They never take the basic tools of music for granted.

If you’re expecting mind blowing secrets like how to play the saxophone without breathing, you are definitely not in the right place. The best improvisers never fail to go back to the basics, the fundamentals. Things like scales, long tones, single chord progression, and time matter a lot to them. They do not dwell on the complicated but acknowledge that everything starts with the fundamentals. And this includes discipline, mental preparedness, work ethics, and proper technique. Being a good improviser is more than just musical acrobatics and complicated harmonies. It is about creating and weaving musical phrases that evoke emotions.


2. They don’t know all the tunes, but they make the most out of them.

Yes, some musicians and improvisers do not know every tune there is in the musical book. But they do not allow this to hamper their style and performance. Instead of cramming and panicking, they simply listen to the melody, find the interval, and identify chord progression and then they immediately know what to do – what to play and how to play it. It’s like turning music to magic.


3. They never stop learning. They continuously find ways to improve their artistry.

The best improvisers believe that learning is a continuous cycle. It is a lifelong process. They also believe that continuous learning is essential, especially if the goal is to improve their artistry.