In many forms of entertainment there are genres. In all types of genre in all types of forms many people feel like they don’t need to explore the other side. For example, in movies, people may be fine with adventure, romance, and comedy but not others like horror, sci-fi, or fantasy. Similar to my main idea in my post from last week, I think a huge and important part of life is experiencing new things and opening yourself up to new ideas and opinions.

When we talk about music it almost seems like things are even more limited. It matters where you live, how much money you have, and even what kind of mood you were in when you first started listening to it. We could tie this to things like stereotypes or just by having a completely innocent dislike of a certain genre but I think that the biggest influence that decides the kind of music that we like is our parents or important role models in our early lives. The early lives part is especially important since we are so impressionable when we are young. Think of all the things you learned early in life. Manners, habits, and music choice are some of the first ones that I think of. Of course there will be exceptions, whether it be a rebellious act or if the child just isn’t exposed to their guardian’s music taste often. Personally, I listened to hip-hop everyday on the radio when my mom drove me to school and that is why I am still a fan of it today. Over time, many people try different things and find out that they wished they had tried sooner. Even I’ll admit that I don’t listen to country just because of the things that people who don’t even listen to country will tell me.

The question behind what makes people like certain types of music is a hard question to answer and pinpoint as there are so many factors that attribute to the decision. I’m sure that many of you have heard stories of how music has changed people’s lives for the better, I ask you to search for other types of music. It doesn’t have to be drastic but by just peering through the door can yield thousands of opportunities.

P.S. I’m listening to music to help me write this.

Joe Satriani: the greatest guitarist you’ve never heard of

Experts believe the guitar was invented in 16th century Spain – with four strings and reasonably small and acoustic. And it really didn’t change much for the next 450 years.

The last 50 years? That’s an entirely different story, as electricity and musical geniuses like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Eddie Van Halen raised the bar for guitars and their masters.

But there seems to be one common thread through this modern renaissance of guitar, and he may be the greatest axeman you’ve never heard of.

Continue reading “Joe Satriani: the greatest guitarist you’ve never heard of”

Music and Life

In high school I was given two choices, participate in sports or do band for the next four years. I chose band because my instructor had told me that I was a good musician and would become much better with more practice. Of course any sports coach could have told me the same but his words really stuck a chord with me because I didn’t have many role models in life that persuaded or encouraged me to keep doing things. I also agreed to this because I had been in sports since I was much younger and band was something new. I think that this was one of the best decisions I have made so far because it helped me meet new people, learn more about myself, and increase my knowledge and appreciation of all kinds of music, even those that I personally don’t listen to.  This became much more apparent when I started jazz band. It was a lot different than normal concert band because of the rhythms and style that are associated with it but it was unique and is the reason why I remember a good amount of the songs we played like Straight No Chaser, Fables of Faubus, and Alamode, to name a few. Even though I loved Jazz, it took me until my senior year when I really started appreciating it and the history behind it. The big names like Louis Armstong and Miles Davis were huge inspirations and encouraged me to keep practicing when I was discouraged. Because of this I was able to perform well during my first solo in jazz. Even though I had doubts about myself, all I had to do was remember the fundamentals and things that I remembered when listening to interviews from famous jazz performers. This solo was very important to me because it was one of the first times in band where I could express myself directly to the audience.

Overall, I think that it is extremely important that you take risks in your life and open different doors that you haven’t gone through yet. All of the best experiences in life are found, not given.

Kind of Blue: A New Shade of Jazz

Blues. Bebop. Swing, ragtime, blue-note, scat, big band, improv, boogie-woogie, syncopation, groove, dixieland, dissonance, funk. All of these refer to a vase range of music known as jazz. Although jazz is not as prominent in our society today, its development paved the way for much of the music we currently enjoy, and just as rock and roll had pioneers like Elvis and The Beetles, jazz too had its champions. Now let’s start by taking a peek at jazz in the 1940’s.

As jazz has been around for around 40 years, it has had time to develop and evolve into bebop. This fast-paced, wild form of jazz is a new step away from the previous dance-music style. Without these restrictions, the musicians were able to experiment and thrive. Complex rhythms, dissonant harmonies, and intense improvised soloing are just a few of bebop’s new features.

Of course, with this new world of possibilities come musicians trying to push its limits. This brings us to the bebop legend, Charlie Parker. You want to hear what bebop was all about? Go check out Charlie Parker. But our story goes a bit further.

(Seriously, look him up sometime. He is phenomenal.)

It’s 1945, and a young trumpet player named Miles Davis arrives in New York. He goes on to play with Parker for a few years. After awhile, bebop eventually runs out of steam, leaving Miles looking for what to do next. Later in the 1950’s, and  after the death of Parker, Davis’ friend, George Russell, comes to him with the answer. He alters the rhythmic and harmonic constructs that have been dominant thus far to his will. From Russell’s new concepts, the album Kind of Blue is born. The album had a laid-back, smooth feel unlike any before it. This was the biggest game-changer yet for the genre, and it took the world by storm. Even today, Rolling Stone magazine has Kind of Blue at 12 in its list of the top 500 greatest albums of all time.

Thank you for taking this brief little tour of jazz in the 40’s and 50’s. Just remember, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. Look them up, listen, enjoy.