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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.
January 17, 2019





Is listening to Jazz a private or shared experience?



Communal music experiences have been around since the beginning of time and continue to exist in improvisational forms today such as Jazz, Folk, Contemporary Classical, Dance and World music, Hip Hop and other contemporary forms. However, except for these genre and live concerts, most of today’s music tends to be “personal” and not a shared experience.







In the past 100 years or so we’ve witnessed a dramatic change in how we hear music. With the advent of radio, television, records, the internet, CDs, MP3s, You Tube, ITunes, etc. we have more choices than ever before. At the same time the listening experience has become more detached and desensitized. It is more private and less of a group experience that usually brought people together.



These new devices bring us sounds – but they are still artificial copies of the real thing.  Live music is a uniquely personal and shared experience that can be meditative, and enriching in ways that can’t be felt with a recording. It allows the listeners to pick up on the natural overtones of the instruments, feel the artist’s emotions and watch how the music is being made in real time.



Listeners in a live audience share a communal experience with each other and with the musicians on stage with the energy flowing both ways as the musicians “play off the audience” sensing their emotional and physical reactions as well. As we have pointed out many times in “Jazz Notes”,  all music was live, in all of human history, until the last one hundred years or so.



Admittedly, new personal digital file formats that are dominating the listening choices, are creating mostly private and not shared experiences.



Is listening to Jazz a private or communal experience? Or is it both?



I think it is both because Jazz is often heard live and is an improvisational music genre both  lending themselves to listeners and the performers engaging in a shared communal experience which has become a rare musical treat in today’s highly technical world. Jazz is also enjoyed on recordings by many of its fans.





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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