Creatively Boundless


Contemporary Jazz – AJ Allen by ajallen92
July 21, 2009, 6:22 pm
Filed under: Features

A few days ago I started a Pandora station in search of, what I consider to be, Contemporary Jazz. I figured that adding elements of both Amy Winehouse (jazzy pop) and A Tribe Called Quest (jazzy hip-hop) would help me to reach a happy medium. I feared finding the top 40 pop artists that are too often worshiped in the modern music culture. On the pop end I found myself listening to Sara Bareilles and Norah Jones both who use jazzy elements in their music more often than one would think. On the hip-hop end I found myself listening to more Tribe Called Quest, The Roots, Black Star, and the Fugees (with some of Lauryn Hill’s solo work). On the Jazz end I heard, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Sam Cooke, and even Frank Sinatra.

One of the artists that really stood out to me was Adele. Her influences, Etta James and Jill Scott, add a soulful element to her music which iTunes classifies as pop. She is not the first British pop artist with a soulful voice; in fact her voice is reminiscent of Joss Stone’s but they differ in their musical styles. Adele does an amazing cover of Sam Cooke’s “That’s It, I Quit, I’m Movin On,” through which she shows her outstanding abilities as an artist. After listening to this I thought to myself that this is the Contemporary Jazz that I was searching for because of its ability to be representative of both modern music and the soulful music of Sam Cooke’s time.

“That’s It, I Quit, I’m Movin On” – Sam Cooke

“That’s It, I Quit, I’m Movin On” – Adele’s Cover

While listening to my music, I noticed that some of today’s pop artists have in fact made attempts to connect with the music of the past. I knew that all music is a result of music in a prior era and that music has evolved. Regardless, I thought that the majority of today’s pop artists had lost touch with the past and therefore the quality of their music had deteriorated. Through my listening experience the last few days I discovered that not all pop music has deviated too far from its roots. Songs like Norah Jones’ “Don’t Know Why” and Corine Bailey Rae’s “Til it Happens to You” show a logical progression or evolution from one era to another. Finally, I discovered that Jazz of yesterday has evolved into the Pop & R&B of today, and that the artists of today still appreciate the music of their predecessors.

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