Jazz – The Punk Of An Era

Festival International de Jazz de Montreal

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Festival International de Jazz de Montreal
Festival International de Jazz de Montreal

The History of Jazz

Jazz has been around for about 100 years, originating in the African-American communities of New Orleans.

The word Jazz may have originated from the 1860 slang term “jasm” or “jas” which means energy.  It is more likely “jass” which had a sexual connotation, just remove the first letter if your curious.

Why would the readers of Montreal Rocks care about Jazz?  

I believe that to fully appreciate today’s music, you have to look back at its origins.  

Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane all had addiction problems with drugs and alcohol.  

Chet Baker
Chet Baker

One of my favourite artist of the time period is Chet Baker, who combined hard drugs with soft jazz.

Zoot Suit
Zoot Suit

Yes, Jazz was the punk rock of that era.  1920’s youth would dress in bold zoot suits and flapper outfits and listen to this “devil’s music” their parents hated.  

Plop those same parents in a Slayer show and they would probably have the scare of their lives!  

It’s unfortunate that Jazz was tainted by these perceptions and lifestyles that rock and roll still imitate.  

To me, Jazz is a tug-of-war between tension and release.  It’s a living organism that is shared by a band, allowing each to shine with their solo journeys, before returning the melody to the next player.  

The Montreal Jazz Festival, now in it’s 39th year, is to walk the path through the history of music.  From the Dixiland style of New Orleans Jazz right up to the use of samplers with Kimbra, there is much to explore in between.

I don’t like all types of Jazz, but to experience something I don’t normally listen to is to expand my musical palette.  

I invite all Montreal Rocks listeners, whether fans of mellow Indie, EDM or Metal to walk around the closed off streets and try to find hints of your favourite songs within the Jazz performances that Montreal will host from the 28th of July to the 7th of July, 2018.

There is plenty to see and experience, without spending a dime.  

The event will end on the TD Stage with The War on Drugs, not to be missed Saturday July 7th at 9h30 PM (Free).  

Other bands that are less Jazz-like are Ben Harper July 3rd ($), Bonobo July 5th ($), George Thorogood July 1st ($), Jain July 6th, ($), Kimbra July 6th ($), Megative July 6 (Free) at 9 PM and 11 PM, Metronomy/We Are Wolves June 29 ($) & Ziggy Marley September 19th ($). 

I’m sure I’m missing a bunch, but get out of your comfort zone, unplug the earbuds and walk around soaking it in.  Summer is short…Jazz it up! 

Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music.  You can follow him on InstagramTwitter and YouTube.     

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