Jazz vs Classical


I'm always confused why certain people act like Jazz and Classical are different and say, one can only do one or the other.  Same harmony, same 12 notes, same instruments.  Jazz Players borrowed most of what they do from Classical harmonic movement and took it to a new century.  And now it has evolved into a lot of atonal playing, which was an obvious conclusion, but unfortunately when you get there you lose the audience.  People who come hear us play work hard, long weeks and just need some fun and entertainment sometimes. 

I taught at Crestwood Music Center in Eastchester for many years, before having to leave because of the Basie Band.  I taught Classical clarinet and Classical saxophone, scales, triads, harmony.  For those older students, we started jazz studies.  I started on Classical clarinet at age 10, and that was my main instrument, I added alto to join the Fox Chapel HS Stage Band in 10th grade.  I never found a good jazz teacher.  Joe Jones (high school band mate) had a jazz teacher, I was envious!  But like I said, in some countries there is a misconception about Classical music.  All jazz masters studied scores, harmonies, etude books, played classics and many like the prior (my home town) Pittsburgh Symphony Conductor Andre Previn played jazz and classical.   Wynton was not the first.  Benny Goodman didn't get lessons young, he learned from records, but when he was older and moved to NYC he studied with Franz Shoepp.  He recorded the Mozart Clarinet Concerto.  As my pop said, he never was able to completely capture the tonality of classical clarinet but he studied it.  

Jimmy Hamilton:  clean and precise on the clarinet.  Jimmy Hamilton was Classically trained: a student of Leon Russianoff, who considered him one of his most gifted students. Besides playing the clarinet, he was an arranger and had the privilege of being one of the only arrangers Duke Ellington used on a regular basis, the other one being, of course, Billy Strayhorn.  Lionel Hampton once told me "you have the sound on clarinet like the White boys...."  Now before you shout racism, coming from that time period, he meant, I had a sound on clarinet like Classically trained clarinet players which I did.  He pointed out many black players could not produce that sound.  

So I hope other world cultures will read about jazz history and classical history. I hope they will learn original cadenzas were the place where to soloist could show off, play his own solo; make a variation and improvisation of his own.  Improvisation is NOT NEW.  Most classical composers could sit at the piano or another instrument and "SPONTANEOUSLY COMPOSE" for hours.   Jazz is not making something up, it is the same concept with a different feel.   SPONTANEOUS COMPOSITION.  Jazz is classically AMERICAN!   (I'm accepting Skype Students, (worldwide) and wish to get back into teaching.  Please visit my Website, or contact me through Facebook)  signed The Jazz Boomer

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