MEDFORD OREGON JAZZ FESTIVAL MARKETING POSSIBILITIES
A broader definition that encompasses all of the radically different eras of jazz has been proposed by Travis Jackson: he states that it is music that includes qualities such as swing, improvising, group interaction, developing an ‘individual voice’, and being open to different musical possibilities. An overview of the discussion on definitions is provided by Krin Gabbard, who argues that “jazz is a construct” that, while artificial, still is useful to designate “a number of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent tradition”. In contrast to the efforts of commentators and enthusiasts of certain types of jazz, who have argued for narrower definitions that exclude other types, the musicians themselves are often reluctant to define the music they play. Duke Ellington summed up this perspective by saying, “It’s all music”.
Importance of improvisation
While jazz is considered difficult to define, improvisation is consistently regarded as being one of its key elements. The centrality of improvisation in jazz is attributed to its presence in influential earlier forms of music: the early blues, a form of folk music which arose in part from the work songs and field hollers of the African-American workers on plantations. These were commonly structured around a repetitive call-and-response pattern, but early blues was also highly improvisational. Although European classical music has been said to be a composer’s medium in which the performer is sometimes granted discretion over interpretation, ornamentation and accompaniment, the performer’s primary goal is to play a composition as it was written. In contrast, jazz is often characterized as the product of group creativity, interaction, and collaboration, that places varying degrees of value on the contributions of composer (if there is one) and performers. Summarizing the difference, pianist Earl Hines remarked in a 1975 film that,
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