The only pure American form of art, as it has been often called, jazz, is making a huge comeback nowadays. Born at the eve of the 20th century in North America, Jazz soon became, like other musical styles, a way of life, an expression of thoughts. Saxophone jazz was one of America’s first cultural expressions that had no racial, religious or national boundaries. That’s why, today, it is studied and viewed upon as a phenomenon of democracy, and considered to have had an important role in the foundation of modern American society, one where equality is held as a banner flag, whilst discrimination is steadily being eliminated.
And although it is a “pure American art”, jazz music is not born out of the void. The genre took traits from the traditional music of several other cultures, including classical European, African folk music or blues. In fact, that’s what made jazz such a culturally soaked musical genre; being a close knitting of many races, cultures and nations, it became the true expression of the American identity.
And whereas in those days, jazz was only popular between the walls of North America, today it has broken these boundaries and achieved international recognition. Wherever part of Europe or Asia you go, there’s bound to be a jazz-specific restaurant or a club where a live saxophone jazz band cheers or “blues” up the atmosphere, accordingly.
The saxophone, being the main instrument used by jazz as a form of expression, no doubt had a part in all of the above. Regarding the various models of this instrument used in jazz, the tenor is without a doubt, the predominant one. However, the alto and the soprano also have their fair role in jazz orchestras and bands. Even more so, in the 1960s, in the jazz-rock era, the alto, baritone or soprano have been increasingly used by almost all saxophone jazz players. Other family members of the saxophone family were not so lucky however and now, the sopranino or contrabass are rarely used (or manufactured for that matter).
It doesn’t take a big fan of American culture to enjoy jazz. Its various styles reach from blue to merry and can find their way into every music lover’s heart almost instantly. Today, besides being studied as a musical genre, saxophone jazz is also studied as a history lesson. This tells more of a form of art than a thousand words.
Check out this playlist of authentic Jazz music featuring some of the greatest saxophonists ever.
Listen to some contemporary smooth Jazz music.
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