After getting an e-mail from a concerned student who bought Jazz 101 and was questioning why it focused primarily on the “12 bar blues” instead of “jazz,” I wanted to shed some light on blues’ connection to jazz and how there wouldn’t be jazz as we know it without blues.
“From the perspective of musical structure, jazz as we know it would not exist without the blues. The
twelve-bar blues chorus, with its familiar harmonic structure and narrative form, was the single most
popular template for early jazz improvisation, as compact yet profound in its way as the sonnet proved to
be in the realm of poetry.”
Did you hear that?
Blues is to jazz what the sonnet proved to be to poetry.
(Note from Wikipedia: A sonnet is a poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes, in English typically having ten syllables per line… popularized during Shakespeare’s lifetime.)
If you’re interested in Jazz 101, check out the information site here.
P.S. – I recommend looking some of these songs up on youtube to really bring to life what the article is referencing.
- 12-Bar Blues You Can Use!
- Hear And Play Jazz 101: How To Play Jazz 8th Notes and Blues Scale Syncopation
- Hear and Play Jazz 101: Secret Blues Lick 1
- Hear and Play Jazz 101: Blues Scale Fingering Techniques
- Hear and Play Jazz 101: How To Count While Playing Blues Form With Left Hand
- Jazz Greats: 16 video clips from the world’s best jazz musicians
- 12-Bar Blues Chord Pattern