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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 brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
September 7, 2018





We have covered many of these aspects in previous Jazz Notes blogs. However, we are gaining new readers all the time as Jazz itself is attracting new fans every day as increasingly more people are seeking out music with substance and depth. This is why it’s helpful for us to revisit a discussion on what sets Jazz apart from other styles. It’s definitely in a world all its own.



New Jazz fans soon discover that listening to jazz is quite different than other styles of music. There’s so much to listen for and, like other art forms, the more you understand its history, content and structure, the more you can appreciate. On the other hand, no one should feel intimidated by Jazz or any kind of music. All that really matters is if you like or not – if it “inspires” you in some way or you feel emotionally moved by it.



As we listen to Jazz we can focus on its complex harmonies, intricate rhythms, creative arrangements and other compositional elements. And, its spontaneous nature, and use of improvisation by skilled musicians, is why Jazz is so exciting, especially when performed live. Live Jazz upholds its tradition and encourages its audience to be attentive and concentrate on what they’re hearing to fully appreciate what’s going on in “real time”.




Robert Glasper’s 2018 Release “R+R=Now”



Although Jazz can be very “free”, the music for the most part, is built upon the following basic structure. Most pieces start with an introduction, followed by the theme or “head”, then each musician will take turns with their solos, reinterpreting the melody, harmonies and rhythms of the theme.



Sometimes just the “melodic” instruments, such as the saxophone, trumpet, flute, etc. will solo, etc. Other times they’ll include the rhythm section, comprised of the piano/keyboards, bass and drums. After this developmental section of solos, the theme or “head” returns to close out the piece.



It is in the solos where we hear the most significant personal artistry in Jazz –  and that is the use of improvisation. No two solos are identical because the musicians are composing on the spot, usually playing off of the basic melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structure of the piece.



This is why it’s so important to be an attentive listener. If not, you miss the true essence of the music.



This is also why there is a certain code of listening behavior with live Jazz. Listeners are encouraged to show appreciation and applaud after each solo and sometimes within the piece itself.



Seasoned Jazz fans keep their conversations to a minimum out of respect for other audience members and for the musicians themselves who are spontaneously playing, composing and communicating with each other – in the moment.



In future blogs we will explore how Jazz has preserved the live listening experience.




Detroit Public Radio mainstay, Judy Adams, is a pianist, composer and musicologist who hosts a Jazz and contemporary music show on CJAM 99.1FM and guest hosts on WRCJ 90.9FM. She made her mark at WDET 101.9FM where she was program director and daily on-air music host for more than 30 years.



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The Dirty Dog brings together the musicians and guests in a way that creates a lasting impression and desire to come back.
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