Let us see how this giant musical style spread across subgenres from its native home of Louisiana. Let us identify what are the subgenres of Jazz. Jazz music is meant to be enjoyed. It is sensual music that soothes the mind, body, and soul. It is also a piece of hard music to master. To be an excellent Jazz player means to go to a Jazz school to know the necessary forms, theory, and improvisation techniques. And while it tends to be low-key, it is also a kind of music that widely scrutinizes due to its popularity. Pop music borrows heavily from Jazz, especially RnB and Dance. All RnB and Soul singers have basic to excellent understanding of the inner workings of Jazz music. That’s how they add spice and singing to their performance. So, with all its mystic and charm, let’s all go back to how Jazz started.
Subgenres Of Jazz: What Makes It Jazz?
While various musical types have their distinctive signature, Jazz is Jazz. You will know right away when it is Rock, Dance, hip-hop, etc. How you will see if it is Jazz? It emphasizes improvisation, and it has a distinctive scale called the Jazz scale. On the scale, it makes use of bending a note. When you say ben, it means you either turn it into a flat or sharp within the scape. Thus, this is called the ‘Blue note,’ and this is the same scale that Jazz and Blues music share.
That is why when you listen to a Jazz melody, you notice that it brings out a kind of feeling. It has a distinctive melody as compared to Classical music. It is also rhythmic, and it makes use of syncopation and also polyrhythms. That is why there is Jazz music that makes you feel like dancing, but you can’t dance to it. Hence, this is also the nature of the downbeat.
Jazz is divided into many, hence called the subgenres of jazz that make it hard for us to memorize them. Hence, concentrating on the major genres, and these are the most popular and most played genres of Jazz. Record labels also use them to distinguish them from each other. Labeling a piece of music and putting a genre on it is a marketing tool. It makes it easy for record labels to market the product to certain fans of that type of music. For example, if you are a Smooth Jazz fan, it is unlikely that you will be collecting Acid Jazz albums.
The Subgenres Of Jazz
- Acid Jazz – You can guess what it sounds like based on the name. The Rock movement influences the caustic and frenzy intensity of the music. Acid Jazz incorporates traditional Jazz and Modern Rock styles, creating a sound that is aggressive and also loud. You can look for artists like Ded Allen, Tony G, and Noah Peterson as examples.
- African Jazz – Unlike its American origin, African Jazz emphasizes the ethnic fusion of African folk spirituals and Jazz music. Thus, this is highly exciting, and it is also rooted in the grandparent of the music that is now known as Jazz music. Check out the works of Aster Aweke, David Saman, and George Lee as examples.
- Avantgarde Jazz – This is the type of Jazz that gave way to other types of Jazz like Smooth Jazz, Pop Jazz, Soul Jazz, etc. As the name implies, it is not afraid to experiment and introduce new ideas to Jazz. Check out artists like Andy McWain Quartet, Combat Astronomy, and Danny Sher
The future of Jazz is bright, with more artists cropping up everywhere. People are now into Jazz for its transformative and healing qualities.