What Is Jazz - Two Musicians Make Jazz Easy

Noah Baerman and Kris Allen talk about the basics of Jazz music.

Slideshow
<< Previous
0 of 1 Images
Next >>
Kris Allen & Noah Baerman.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Kris Allen.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Noah Baerman.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Kris Allen.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Noah Baerman.
Photo:Chion Wolf
Noah Baerman's song for Colin McEnroe. (Click on image to enlarge.)
Noah Baerman
What Is Jazz - Two Musicians Make Jazz Easy
Download Audio
Audio Playlist
What Is Jazz - Two Musicians Make Jazz Easy

I once heard a story about Liza Minelli talking to a fellow singer about her approach to a song called "Bobo's Bar and Grille." It's a Kander and Ebb song and not one of their really memorable ones. Anyway, it turned out that Minelli had an explanation, a motivation, a strategy for how to sing every word of the song. And when she got to the end of all that she said: "Or" --dramatic exhalation of cigarette smoke -- "you could just sing the damn thing." Actually, she said something a little more colorful than "damn thing."

That sums up, for me, a fundamental tension in music -- listening to it or performing it. You can do a lot of thinking about it or you can just get into it at a fairly instinctual level. And nowhere is this tension more evident than in jazz. A lot of us just like jazz without necessarily knowing anything about straight aids or trading fours. We were not told there would be math. Does there need to be?


Noah Baerman will be at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts & Cultural Center in Middletown on Thursday, May 24th at 7:30pm.
He'll also be at Castle Street Cafe in Great Barrington, MA, on Saturday, July 21st at 8pm.

Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.


  

Comments

MESSAGE FROM KIM:

The best advice on listening to jazz (based on the effect I get when I pass it on) comes from a combination of Wynton Marsalis and my high school music teacher: You have to go inside. You can't really get it by listening from the outside of it. Let it invite you in. Go inside and get between the instruments. Listen to what each one is saying to the other. Follow the conversation.

Listening to jazz for form can be interesting, but I think it's akin to tracking your moves while having sex. It can focus you too much on performance and distance you from the experience.

EMAIL FROM JACK:

If you can get Chion Wolf to sing some vocals over the FIRST version of the delightful improvisation toward the end of today's show, you'll have a nice alternative theme song. (Like the female caller, I disliked the second version and detested your guests' initial offering.)

EMAIL FROM FRANCES:

Colin – Would just like you to know that I thought your guest’s closing piece was hauntingly beautiful.