On one of the evenings, I opted to go to a local club which has a live jazz band that performs every mid-week. The club invites different jazz groups to come and entertain the revelers, and the groups that perform at the club have perfected their art in playing jazz music since there is usually a significant following based on the number of patrons who visit the establishment every week when they perform. The compositions are unique based on the role of the different musicians and the assortment of particular musical combos that come into play based on the jazz group. The music performance was not only the highlights of the session but the atmosphere created by the intertwining of the smooth jazz performances and the ambient lighting that also comprised of low lighting coupled with the candlelit tables that offered a perfect opportunity for revelers to relax and enjoy the performances.
One of the fascinating aspects of music played is the addition of duos in the performances which made the music performances lively and very interesting. In the duo performance, the duet played the song "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday, which is classical jazz. The performance by the duos made the song very easy to hear which also facilitated the opportunity to dissect the performance by the artists. In playing the song, two people were playing the piano which played the beats that facilitated the introduction to the performance(Baxter-Moore and Kitts 16). Once the song began to play, I was able to notice some very distinct sounds that were slowly picking in the background. As the song played smoothly and the group sang to the lyrics, I could identify some right-hand melody that resonated well with the instruments(Baxter-Moore and Kitts 17), and this provided a very playful rhythm sound to the performance.
After the first performance, there was another group that stepped onto the stage which was a duet, and they had a tenor sax and a piano. Their performance was one of the best of the night based on the manner in which the crowd was able to chant alongside their performance and the many cheers. The song by the duet provided mysterious and eerie tones based on the use of minor keys by the group as they played(Schäfer e0151634). The song presented an antiphony aspect which was associated with the involvement of the group with the crowd which entailed a call and response performance as they sang the piece and this was very evident at the beginning of the performance. During the performance, I was able to notice a slight clashing especially due to the involvement of the minor keys in the notes which were distributed across the performances by the duet(Baxter-Moore and Kitts 16). Despite the clashing, the group was able to maintain a rhythm that kept the crowd moving their heads in unison with the performance. The duet was very well coordinated in their piece since we were able to hear pieces of each of the instruments which included playing the piano and the sax. In the use of the saxophone, there was one particular technique that I was able to notice during the performance which was the repeating of arpeggios(Schäfer e0151634). In the application of this feature in the performance by the duet, the piano would pick a strong high pitch at one instance then it would die down again which made their piece adopt a unique tune. As the song played, one would notice an edgy sound that was associated with the performance(Baxter-Moore and Kitts 17) which got my attention and that of the others in the crowd. The music maintained a smooth transition as it approached its climax which was followed by a sudden stop and resounding applause from the crowd in the club.
The next piece involved a duet who were using a tenor saxophone and a trumpet. The presentation was impressive since we had not gotten the opportunity to enjoy some trumpet performance up to that point of the night. The song began slowly with momentary pitches from the trumpet which was on a low tone, and the song appeared not to pick as much. There was a slight piano playing in the background that offered a baseline for the duet. The tenor saxophone began to pick at a controlled tone not to lose the smooth rhythm that seemed to be the element of the performance(Baxter-Moore and Kitts 18). As the tenor saxophone led the performance, the trumpet followed with a steadier tone compared to the quick succession pitches that marked the beginning of the performance. From the wat the duet was able to synch the performance of the tenor sax and the trumpet, I was able to get a melancholy feel of the performance(Schäfer e0151634). The general presentation by the use of the two instruments was a depressing sound due to the way the duet played. The tenor sax and the trumpet kept overlapping each other as they kept going back and forth with a continuous increase in the pitch.
Towards the end of the live jazz performance, there was a duet who performed the song “I heard it Through the Grapevine." The duet appeared on stage with their preferred instrument of choice a piano and bass. The opening pitch was from the bass which commenced by using very strong plucks which highlighted the melody(Baxter-Moore and Kitts 21). The bass continues for a while as it gets rougher with time and the piano picks as the duet try and establish a rhythm to their piece. The bass and the piano maintained a rhythm which adopted a 4/4 time mainly on the left hand while the bass kept playing the chords 1 and 3 with the right side(Schäfer e0151634). The use of the bass and the piano gave the piece a unique touch of soul and blues. There was repealed bass lines (Ostinato) which were accompanied with deep beats that facilitated head nods and t-p of the feet(Baxter-Moore and Kitts 18). As the jazz song progresses and it approaches the end of the presentation, the piano starts to take charge by playing the right-hand chords only. The artist begins to freestyle as he uses his right hand which is highlighted by the repetition of the various notes and scales. The piano maintains the use of bottom chords and fast scales, and it starts to soften as the music fades towards the ends of the piece which is associated with ritardando(Baxter-Moore and Kitts 21), where the is a gradual, systematic lowering of the tempo.
Attending the jazz performance in the local club was a unique performance with highlights based on the instrumentation choices by the groups. The pieces highlighted in this paper comprised the use of different combos such as the piano and bass, the tenor saxophone and trumpet, and the piano and tenor sax. There was the use of ritardando in the transition from one piece to the other which made the performances memorable.
Baxter-Moore, Nick, and Thomas M. Kitts. The Live Concert Experience: An Introduction. Taylor & Francis, 2016.
Schäfer, Thomas. “The Goals and Effects of Music Listening and Their Relationship to the Strength of Music Preference.” PloS One, vol. 11, no. 3, 2016, p. e0151634.