Jazz Appreciation Month: Celebrating the music born of people being brought together


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — April is Jazz Appreciation Month, and it was originally started by the Ella Fitzgerald Foundation, and culminates with a worldwide celebration of jazz the last day of April.

Jazz is often called “America’s music,” as it’s one of the first musical styles created in America. It came from a blending African music and European musical tradition: taking the syncopated rhythms and “blues” scales from African music, and the instrumentation and song forms from Europe.

“Jazz really has become, in a way it’s a lot like, visual art is,” said Bryan Bricco, the director of the Penfield High School Jazz Ensemble. “Jazz to the listener is going to take on a different meaning, from each person to each person, just the way a painting is going to effect each person differently.”

Almost a full century after the first jazz was ever heard, it’s still alive and well.

“It’s our motto is take jazz further and really what that means is going out and engaging with this music,” said Derrick Lucas, the music director for Jazz90.1, which is a community radio station with mostly volunteers, in the middle of their “Jazz Appreciation Month” pledge drive. “You’re a part of the community. So we often, we often promote people who are alive, who are coming to your town or can come to your town as well as the younger folks who are creating music today.”

90.1 plays the legacy artists that have inspired millions:

Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane,” Bricco said. “They’re the kind of artists get rediscovered with every generation.

To new artists, that are still making jazz today.

Snarky Puppy being an example,” Lucas said. “Is really captured a whole new generation of listeners; they brought them to the music of jazz, through their constant touring, as well as their really being an advocate for the music and social media.”

But what is most amazing about the swinging sonnets of jazz, is that the intersectionality of its origins, are still sound proud.

“You might listen to hip hop music. You might listen to your country music, contemporary pop music,” Bricco said. “That all is informed by some of the things that were happening in the early jazz music that stemmed from the twenties and thirties.”

“And jazz is all about that. Making people feel happiness and joy, and oftentimes even back in the forties or fifties where people would not come together from different backgrounds would for jazz. And that still happens today,” Lucas said.

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