It was Lester Young who first coined the word “Cool” into the world of music and it sure caught on! It was Lester’s way to express his approval and/or his appreciation to a particular tune and/or a particular artist. “The Pres,” as Lestor Young was also known, worked very hard along with his fellow Jazz musicians to set a high bar for those who followed. They established a concrete/solid representation of the word “Cool” and made it stick! Its all about originality and creativity, those are the main components of being “Cool.” Jazz musicians set the standard and responsibly backed it up with their uncanny ability to play their instruments in their own unique style.
The power of improvisation clearly separates a great musician from an ordinary good musician, there’s simply no place to hide. Jazz musicians are allowed to, or to be more exact, they are encouraged to play as they feel, in their own individual manner and with no time limit place upon them. As a result of this, you get a scenario where multiple “Cool” musicians are playing a particular tune together but improvising on their own terms and with no time restraint. Its amazing to hear all the improvising between the musicians, how they do it without stepping on each other. Of course for this to work, the musicians must have the discipline and the utmost respect for each other in order to freely orchestrate their own version of any particular song. Jazz music actually had a difficult time when it began, as music aficionados did not consider it to be original music. You see, the Jazz musicians would take a standard song and improvise it in their own manner. This type of performing a song is called a “Jam Session” and as we all know, Jazz musicians invented this form of playing. This is what Jazz music is all about, so if you are a newcomer, this is what you must understand. You must give it a chance and you will love it!
Here’s Miles Davis with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb , playing “All Blues.”:
A musical atmosphere of this magnitude puts enormous pressure on any musician involved, as they must be really talented to keep up. But in the same respect, if they are willing to adjust to a more free form technique of playing, then they will substantially improve to a point where they master their instrument to the fullest. The end result of recording music in a Jam Session styled manner is a “One-Time” unique version of a specific song and with no specific time restriction placed on it. This works as well for the listeners, as they are immensely rewarded with the highest quality of music, its a Win-Win situation! That’s what Jazz music brings to the table and no other genre of music can do so.
Here’s a great example of a “Live” recording that was made in 1964 by Charles Mingus and company:
What an honor to be exposed to such quality music, wow! Jazz musicians were very anti-establishment for the music industry and always will be. Listen to those Jazz “Cats” they’re playing a jam session and the song is 10 minutes long, lol! That’s why Jazz fanatics are so “Cool” themselves, they understand how privileged they are to have the opportunity to hear such innovative musicians. Not to mention, they can tell immediately how good a musician is because they heard the best! It doesn’t get any “Cooler” than this folks!
There is a troubling problem though and its having access to it. For this particular reason I started Jazz Con Class Radio, choose which way you would like to hear the broadcast and enjoy it!
Although the word “Cool” has expanded outside of music, its level of gratification still remains “Cool.” By the way, “The Prez” also coined the words “Hip,” “Homeboy,” “Crib,” “Dig” and many more. Here’s more Jazz terminology which you probably use on a daily basis and probably were not aware of. Jazz is definitely the “Coolist!”
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