Jam Session

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Thomas Nickerson
Glen Pearson
Music 015B
29 September 2012
57th Street Gallery – Jam Session
What is Jazz Music? “An academic definition of jazz would be: A genre of American music that originated in New Orleans circa 1900 characterized by strong, prominent meter, improvisation, distinctive tone colors & performance techniques, and dotted or syncopated rhythmic patterns.” To me jazz is so much more. I personally feel jazz is an expression of the an artist’s deep emotional connection to the rhythms of life and the search for their identity among life’s rollercoaster of experiences and possibilities, always ready to improvise to the ever changing environment. I think the most important thing about jazz is that it is America’s music. Reflecting its birthplace of Storyville, a small section near the French Quarter in New Orleans, jazz too has the influence of whites of English and French descent, Blacks and immigrants from the Caribbean and other European countries. After the closing of Storyville in 1917 jazz was further developed and refined in Chicago and New York.

I was formally introduced to jazz on Thursday September 27, 2012. All I knew about jazz was that it was a form of music. I didn’t really understand what jazz was. That was until I went with a fellow music student to a jam session at the 57th Street Gallery to review a live performance.

The Gallery was small but quaint. Not really a place you would expect to find a live music performance of any sort. There was no large stage with an elaborate lighting system with bright lasers reflecting off a disco ball or a huge surround sound system with speakers bigger than me, but there was a simple raised area with a piano, a drum set and a couple of microphones. Which I eventually found out, is all you need when it comes to playing a jam session of jazz. The walls were decorated with paintings of various famous musicians which I felt maybe gave a sense of inspiration to anyone who played there....
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