How creativity is linked to jazz?


I am a jazz man. I am wondering if there is an actual term for it but I guess you get the picture. Love the music and play the saxophone. My favourite “cat”, the term of a jazz musician is definitely Miles Davis by far. A movie actually came out recently that recounts his life. Brilliant musically, Miles led a great life through his music as it evolved through the times echoing the changes in society and his musical journey.

You may begin to notice that something doesn’t add up. A saxophone player’s favourite jazz musician actually plays the trumpet. I have been asked why don’t I model myself after a sax player instead. Well, to be fair, I did try to pick up the trumpet. Thin lips and small cheeks didn’t really make it work out. Anyhow, Alexis, my music coach pointed that out several times as the sound I made with the trumpet didn’t really work out for all of us. The search for an instrument is a tough one but it has to be your “voice” that resonates with you. So after several changes moved on to a tenor saxophone. Stuck with Miles because of his milestone album Kind of Blue. One of THE records to get if you are a fan. His sheer creativity requires several listens and then you start to riff off it.

Jazz is all about improvisation and hence the link to creativity. What did I learn through the course of playing. Firstly, you need some basics as a a foundation, understanding the notes, chords, instrument’s range etc and then you are off to blend, piggy back or lead. The music flows and in essence though the song’s main thread could be the same, based on the musician’s talent, it could sound completely different. So start by getting a foundation in creativity, learn the tools, and then start to bend your mind.

Secondly, creativity is simple. Don’t over complication or over analyze.  Planning is good but over planning is not. Adaptation is the key word as the players within a band feed off each other and improvise as they go along to make better music.

Creativity transcends over what you do. Not necessarily. If you are a creative person, it doesn’t really mean that you are creative across everything you do. The safe option is always there or there was never the idea of employment it anyhow. The skill can be developed in the different facets.

Creativity tends to grow better at the start in safety. Give a good environment where people can fail, mess up and try again.When I played with my coach, the fear to mess up or not keep up was there. But let go of the fear and try. You’ll get better only if you try something new and figure out whether it works out.

Finally, listen and learn. You have to review and go through history. Learn from the mistakes and try to improve. That’s why I have been told by one musician that improvisation is improvised improvement. He is obviously not an English teacher. Of course, jazz at times has transcended to elevator music but if you don’t cast it into the background and listen carefully, you might actually like it. Enjoy the music here.

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6 thoughts on “How creativity is linked to jazz?

  1. Charles Limb on TED Talks discusses new research on neural differences between jazz or rap improvisers and classical performers. It’s always been one of my favorite talks and lends insight into some of the questions you asked.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will check that out. Always been intrigued about the shifts and changes as performers improvise during the jazz sets. Very intriguing. Trying to play within a set format is not for them. Somehow, it has to be linked to creativity and more importantly the speed at which the shifts in the music happening. Always been an admirer of Miles Davis.


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