What I Learned About Different Jazz Styles

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I think the biggest difference between Jazz and other types of music is improvisation. Improvisation is the process of performing free works by solo instruments in the established chord progression and structure, so we can often see solo improvisations on the stage by jazz musicians while other musicians just follow the solo musician's performance phrase to accompany, and respond to the next solo, which is also the “Call & Response” feature we often mentioned in Jazz.

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Many people say that jazz is hard to understand. All the musicians have a good time on the stage, but the audience listened to music with wonder. But after learning this course, I got a lot of knowledge about Jazz helping me to enjoy Jazz music. In my opinion, Jazz-Rock Fusion is the easiest understanding style we learned. In short, Jazz-Rock Fusion is a combination of more than two basic styles of jazz. Therefore, compared with other types of jazz, Jazz-Rock Fusion is more approachable. After its rise from the 1960s, it was often used in pop and rock music, and later Jazz-Rock Fusion added more musical elements, such as Latin, electronic, etc., so most of the listeners actually could better understand it.

In the lesson of Jazz-Rock Fusion, we also learned Acid Jazz. I was interested in its name. After I learned about it, I knew that the “Acid” doesn’t mean the taste of acid. 'Acid' is also a pseudonym of psychedelic drug LSD, so the word'Acid' here should be more like the meaning of 'psychedelic'. Compared to Cool jazz, Acid Jazz has a more rhythmic feeling, and musicians have added a lot of singing to it so that the tracks can be used to dance and balance the Cool Jazz which was considered too flat and straight at the time.

The story begins in the mid-1980s when Gilles Peterson was a ballroom DJ on a Sunday afternoon at a ballroom in London. Peterson's favorite types of music include jazz, funk, and soul. He selects more grooved songs from these music styles to play on the dance floor. This is not a very special invention, because in the 1960s and 1970s before Disco's popularity, the ballroom was originally used jazz, funk, soul music to dance. However, the popularity of the 'Acid House' in the London Ballroom from 1987 has given the retro dance music Peterson played a different meaning. The dancers swarmed to the ballroom on the weekends and danced all night long in the heavy rhythm of psychedelic house music. And on Sunday afternoon, dancers are almost at the end of their holiday, so they were especially like to consume the last holiday time and energy in the retro dance music which has refreshing and warm magic played by Peterson.

Some people think to say Gilles Peterson invents Acid Jazz is not fair, because this kind of music has existed for a long time. Before Peterson, many DJs played similar pieces of music, but they used another weird name 'rare groove' to call that music. I kindly agree with them, because the style are not new. Peterson just combined many styles together and created a new name for the assembly. I tried to summarize the simple definition of Acid Jazz: the rhythm is closer to Funk, the percussion is more Latin style, and the speed is about 88 to 116 beats per minute. 

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