Jazz is the root of (most) music


5. Jan. 2006, 3:53

I was having a discussion with some fellow music lovers, and we came to decide that Jazz is at the root of most music. The beats, the melodies, the layout, the feel of the song - most of it all stems from early Jazz music. The only exceptions I can think of are Classical music, and some more abstract IDM or electronic music.

I say this in an entirely positive way, Jazz music is something i've always loved and something i've always listened to, and will continue to do so!

What are your thoughts on this? Where does music stem from for you?


  • Silev

    To justify your assertion, you have to have a pretty skewed definition of 'most music'. You must exclude all music made before the twentieth century, which includes an awful lot more than Classical; and all music from traditions less influenced by American culture, which is most of the world until at least 1960. Rock 'n' roll, the chief precursor of current rock, pop and dance music, developed out of the Blues. Although there has been considerable cross-fertilisation, Jazz and Blues are separate traditions, and both started around 1900 in the USA among the deracinated ex-slaves, derived from Afrcan roots and contemporary Christian music. Another parallel and connected thread is Carribean music, through Calypso, Ska, Reggae, Dub and Dancehall. There is also an undeniable influence, particularly on song structures, from pre-jazz white popular song - folk, Vaudeville, etc. Moroder was reputedly inspired by traditional German dance music (Oompah, if you like) when he started using the four-to-the-floor beat that characterises post-Disco dance music. I'm not denying that Jazz has influenced a lot of American and European music over the last century. It's audible to a greater or lesser extent in most rock, soul, R&B and so on; definitely in funk and all the breakbeat-based musical forms that followed from there; and later, more intellectual forms of jazz are behind many of the more 'out-there' bands, from Soft Machine and Can to Fantomas and Autechre. (I take it your definition of 'more abstract IDM or electronic' in this case includes the more process-based stuff, like Oval and Noto, rather than the more modern-Jazz-influenced music like Mouse On Mars or Matmos. Some, like Squarepusher and Amon Tobin, employ explicit jazz references.) But Jazz is by no means the sole or even principal root of most of these forms. So, for me, it's more complex. Music has evolved through a multitude of traditional lineages, and the crossovers between them. The most significant crossover for today's North American and European music occurred as a result of slaves being taken to the New World. The collision of various African cultures with European popular and religious music, and to a lesser extent that of the native Americans, resulted in Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Calypso, and the multitude of related and derived styles that bring us up to the state of the art.

    16. Jan. 2006, 1:01
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