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Grab your your most understated swag and do your best jitterbug because April is Jazz Appreciation Month! Known for being eternally cool, jazz is one of those genres of music that is hard to define or even describe; indeed, many experts argue on what should constitute a proper definition of jazz. Its influences? Its characteristic style? That oh-so-awesome improvisation? Jazz might also be considered true American music: the genre originates in the South (New Orleans, to be precise) in the very early 20th century from an African American interpretation of European music, finally becoming mainstream and popularized during the Roaring 20’s. Evolving from early ragtime and blues, jazz music branched into many different styles that are still considered to be part of the genre, from the undance-able bebop all the way up to the jazz-rock fusion of the 1970’s.
But this is what we love most about the art form of jazz, among many things. Feel like movin’ and groovin’ a bit? Play some big band or swing. Want to enjoy a glass of whiskey with some smooth tunes? Lounge jazz is your choice companion. How about something with a particular instrument? You got it: there’s piano jazz, bass jazz, saxophone jazz… Even classic jazz vocalists like Billie Holiday and the master himself Louis Armstrong and composers like Dizzy Gillespie each have their own brands of style different from the next and that represent the eras from which they spawned.
Join us in paying tribute to almost-forgotten greats like Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith: discover some old jazz and blues, take up a new favorite Pandora mix, and maybe try some fun jazz-inspired items like these to get you into a smooth mood!
Stir up some cool drinks to go with your cool jazz with aptly named Cool Jazz Guitar Ice Stirrers. Though guitars don’t seem to fit in with jazz music, it often took a back seat to the preferred trumpet, piano, and of course, vocals. European Jazz in the 1930’s often used guitar as a featured musical element, as did jazz fusions in the latter half of the century. Luckily, one need not know a single note: if you can turn off a faucet, fill a tray, and pop out guitar-shaped ice cubes with guitar necks for stirrers, you can use Cool Jazz stirrers.
Ahh, yes, drumsticks for drink stirrers with the toe-tappin’ sounds of swing or the easy tempo of bebop. Rhythm & Booze Stirrers take an instrument that had a heavy hand in the development of jazz and let you enjoy a sweet alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) libation with its main tool! Latin-inspired bossa nova also features drums in its jazz music but with a more infectious beat that might make you feel like you’re on a really funky elevator!
Smooth out that condensation from those drinks with 45 Record Coasters. When you think of old jazz music, doesn’t it always have those crackles and pops characteristic of vinyl records? Indeed, old dixieland and blues records have that fuzziness around the music and vocals that reminds us of the glory days of jazz, when it was actually considered immoral to listen, dance, or even like jazz at all. Media and public figures often embellished it as something harmful and completely deplorable to people and especially youngsters, with whom the genre was taking by storm. One newspaper even said jazz killed a British jazz composer, who actually died of a heart attack.
So turn off that Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and whatever you’re listening to and take some time to appreciate the vast rich sounds and free formed beats of jazz music– not to mention its rebellious nature! And check out Jazzradio.com for a wide variety of free jazz music channels, including our favorites, Timeless Classics and Sinatra Style. Take a listen below!