The "Ellington Effect"
Edward Kennedy (Duke) Ellington
Features of Jazz
The most salient characteristic is improvisation—group and solo.
Most jazz has a rhythm section: bass, drums, also guitar, piano. The function of the rhythm section is to provide a cusion of rhythm that propels the music forward so that it swings; to propel the energy forward.
Most jazz has a metronomical underlying pulse, with syncopated and additive rhythm.
Most jazz has a reliance on popular song forms, dance, and blues.
Most jazz has tonal harmonic organization, synthetic scales, and blues scales for melodic material.
Most jazz has special performance practice techniques, attack/decay characteristics, phrasing.
Most jazz is performer oriented or performer/composer oriented.
Swing: Accurate timing of notes
Specific type of accentuation and inflection with which the notes are played or sung.
Continuity with which the notes are linked.
The two together -- improvisation and swing --
create an equilibrium between two aspects of music;
create a cognitive tension out of which great musicians create a sense of swing.
The "Great Person Theory"