Jazzing it up!

Posted on May 26, 2010 in Media and Culture

With Gen Y discovering newer and better genres of music everyday, Jazz was discovered by the elite first, and is now trickling down to Gen Y.

Jazz originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States from a confluence of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th century American popular music.

The genre has given some classical hits and singles like, what a wonder full world – Louis Armstrong, dream a little dream of me – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Georgia on my mind – Ray Charles & The Count Basie Orchestra, be my baby – the Ronnetes, fly me to the moon Frank Sinatra.

It has also been an inspiration for many other genres of music including ‘rock n roll’. Elvis Presley was particularly inspired by jazz and blues, the influence of which can be clearly seen in his songs like ‘I can’t help falling in love’, ‘jailhouse rock’, etc.

While jazz is a very well established genre in the west, the genre is slowly gaining some value in India, though it can hardly be called ‘popular’. In an article in ‘All About Jazz’ by Colin D’ Cruz, jazz routes are traced back to India. He says, “Jazz is a musical improvisation, right? Indian classical music is improvisation, still right? Indian classical music has been around for more than two thousand years. The Americans discovered Jazz less than a hundred years ago.”

In India the first jazz festival was organized in 1992 and was revived 11 years later in November 2003 where it brought some of the world’s best jazz artists on the same platform. It has continued since then as an annual event.

In India jazz fusion bands like the Big Indian Band and Jazz Junction and artists like Colin D Cruz are more popular. However not many artists in the genre` have been able to achieve much success and the Indian jazz scenario is largely dominated by foreign bands.

Jazz clubs in India are beginning to grow. Jazz Junction performs every Saturday night at the Orchid hotel’s rooftop restaurant ‘Mostly Grills’ in Mumbai. The Pune Jazz Club organizes the occasional live event at Shisha Cafe, Koregaon Park but it meets every third Sunday of the month at Max Mueller Bhawan, much like the Chennai Jazz Club which meets at the Chennai Max Mueller Bhawan. Goan jazz musicians have always been at the forefront of the jazz scene in India and “Jazz Goa” makes sure they stay in the limelight. A jazz festival is a part of Bangalore’s popular annual cultural festival ‘Bangalore Habba’. Delhi which is full of jazz loving diplomats has various five star hotels featuring local and international bands.

Jazz however remains to be popular amongst the Indian masses.

Are you a jazz fan? Drop in a line about your feelings for the genre in the comments section below or drop us an email at [email protected] and we will be happy to interact :)

image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anirudhkoul/3695401461/

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