Have you observed the trend in the music industry lately? So much rock, pop, rhythm & blues, and alternative music are in the music mainstream. They belong to the contemporary music genre that continuously evolves over time. Sadly, there are genres or music styles that seem no longer significant and almost forgotten due to the modern interest of the music industry. An example is jazz.
The historical origin of jazz dates back from classical late eighteenth to early nineteenth century. Jazz is a mixture of African American and European music traditions and was fondly used in rituals and entertainment. The uniqueness of jazz music relies on its improvision element, which means the music produced does not rely on a a standard tune but through the mood, impressions, and feelings of the artist.
Jazz music played using the piano became popular during the late nineteenth century in the Southern American states. The piano was the customary instrument used in duets and stage performances during those times and so it was integrated with jazz by those who were familiar with the music. Jazz pianists are expected to make extemporaneous music aside from the basic jazz chords and rhythms. The youth of today’s generation should be reintroduced to this kind of music because jazz is a huge part of the beginnings of Western art music. I assume most of you are not familiar with the famous jazz pianists who popularized the best jazz songs. And so I’ll introduce to you two of the best jazz pianists of all time. I hope you’ll find time to listen to their songs and appreciate the splendor of jazz music.
First on my list is Fred Hersch. Up to date, Hersch remains one of New York’s finest musicians. His music collection of jazz rhythm entitled Forward Motion was known as “a manifesto of contemporary jazz” in New York City. Although he created music through the inspiration of legendary music icons Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, and Louis Armstrong, Hersch made his own unique music and shared his talents in public through joining orchestras, where he played the piano. His magnificence was written and published in the New York Times with a feature titled Giant Steps: The Survival of a Great Jazz Pianist.
Another influential jazz pianist is Toshiko Akiyoshi, a Japanese woman. Her love for music and jazz piano came naturally when she was introduced to Western classical music through piano lessons at age seven. Her inspirations were Teddy Wilson and Bud Powell. It was in 1953 when she had a big break to be part of the “Jazz at the Philharmonic” concert in Japan. Despite the racial and gender discrimination during her time, she proved that nothing could stop her live her dream. She became Japan’s leading and highest paid jazz pianist in 1955 and later on moved to the United States to learn more about jazz piano under a scholarship.