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Opened in 2008, The Dirty Dog is one of the premiere destinations in the United States for world class Jazz and cuisine. It combines the charm of an English-style pub with intimacy and meticulous attention to detail and hospitality.
THE DIRTY DOG JAZZ CAFE BLOG
The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
July 31, 2018

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Charlie Parker and Miles Davis at the Three Deuces in New York, circa 1945. Both artists were not only the key architects of the highly improvisational Jazz form, BeBop, but also two of the top improvisers in the history of Jazz.  Photo: YouTube.com

 

 

Getting the most out of Jazz, involves listener participation, because the more we hear the more we can appreciate. This is also because Jazz is considered a “higher” musical art form, with its complex melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements, and use of improvisation.

 

 

I like to think of it as “improve-isation”, where artists rework structural elements of a piece such as the melody, chord progressions, etc. The musicians create “on the spot”, in real time, making each performance a unique experience.

 

 

Most of the time there is a theme that one is improvising off of. This is usually the main melody which is what fuels most solos. It is a central idea or phrase that is often repeated throughout the piece. Some artists also improvise off of rhythmic patterns or other compositional elements as well. These are things to listen for initially. Concentrating on these themes is what guides the listener through the improvisation.

 

 

Although improvisation is spontaneous it still involves tools and special techniques musicians utilize to reconstruct the music. Sometimes the theme is played with different modes or scales. Some artists will alter the phrasing by keeping the general frame work the same but changing the beginning and ending of the phrase.

 

 

Jazz improvisational styles also vary from group to group and from musician to musician. Some artists leave elements of the theme intact, allowing it to shine through the improvisation, while others favor a more abstract, formless approach. Each type of Jazz also seems to favor a different approach to improvisation as well. Traditional Jazz favors a more conservative approach while contemporary Jazz  often encourages the musicians to be more adventurous and experimental.

 

 

The attentive listener will be able to hear the alterations in the thematic material enough to appreciate the musician’s individual interpretation of the music. Most of the “pop” music today doesn’t contain these compositional complexities. But it is this intellectual and artistic depth that attracts us to the Jazz experience in the first place. It’s also what gives Jazz its lasting appeal.

 

If you want to hear a great Jazz improviser, check out the music of Charlie Parker, known as one of the top improvisers in the history of Jazz.

 

 

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Charlie Parker / Photo: The Daily Beast.com

 

Charlie Parker, (August 29, 1920 – March 12, 1955), also known as Yardbird and Bird, was an American Jazz saxophonist and compose, known as one of the most proficient improvisors of the idiom. He was a highly influential Jazz soloist and a leading figure in the development of Bebop, a form of Jazz characterized by and intense use of improvisation with fast tempos, virtuosic technique and advanced harmonies. Parker was a blazingly fast virtuoso, and he introduced revolutionary harmonic ideas including rapid passing chords, new variants of altered chords, and chord substitutions. Excerpted fromWikipedia.

 

 

 

 

Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a trained pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM.

 

 

 

 

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