You don’t have to be the biggest jazz fan to appreciate the way all instruments come together to create a complex and beautiful harmony. It’s no wonder jazz music has evolved to become one of the most popular genres of music in the present day. Here are 10 fun facts about jazz that you probably knew never….
1. Jazz music originally started out as pop
In the 19th century jazz was orginally thought of as pop. This is because it was widely associated with dance music, party music and upbeat tones. ‘Pop’ and ‘popular music’ are both used interchangeably. So its no suprise that during this period in time jazz was seen as pop as it was undoubtedly the most popular genre of music at this time. Almost every bar would be playing jazz and people would booging until late hours! Jazz music was assicoated with dance and party music. It’s now seen more as a sophisticated and established genre of music depiste its roots actually being the opposite.
2. The very popular and used term ”’hipster” actually derived from jazz music.
The term ”hispter” came from a term ”jazz cats” which most people will probably be familiar with. The term was used to describe cool jazz musicans that created smooth musical harmonies and were the best in society at the time. If you were called a ”jazzcat” you were seen as an elite jazz musician. You were always out in the late hours of the night at popular bars with big crowds. Eventually they started being call a hepcat, which went on to hepster. Then the term ”hispter” was created
3. Jazz artists regularly use secret hand and body signals throughout performances
If you’ve ever watched a jazz performance live before, you’ve probably never noticed this. There’s a lot going on in a jazz performance, along with all the booging. It’s very common that jazz musicans will use secret hand and body signals to communicate with each other during thier performances. This is the easy way to communicate over the loud music and crowds. So if you watch closely next time, you’ll see nods, finger points and feet stomping. Each movement indicates something different. For example, a finger pointed at the head means its time to play the ”head”. The jazz world has its very own sign language!
4. No one actually knows how jazz music got called ”jazz”
There is no record in history of how jazz music got its name. The only thing we know is that jazz used to be called ‘jass’. And somewhere along the way its named was changed to become more appealing. Who, when and where this name changed remains a mystery. But it stuck!
5. Jazz musicians switch off a part of their brain when they perform improvisation
All jazz musicans will agree that a part of their brain switches off during improvisation. This probably sounds strange to the average person… surely you will need to use more brain cells to improvise right? Well actually no. It’s how they connect and freeflow with the music. It’s actually been proven that the dorsolateral prefrontal and lateral orbital regions that help our thought processes switch off during improvisation. And the medial profrontal cortex turns on instead. This part of the brain is what helps long term memory. So many musicans are playing from memory with little thought process behind their next move. It allows the music to flow naturally and almost effortlessly. Of course, this comes from years of practice. So only highly skilled jazz musicans will fully master improvision.
6. Jazz is making a huge comeback
Well this might not be suprising fact to some people, it’s most definitely a fact. Jazz music is on the rise once again and very present in contemporary music. It use to be viewed as a elegant, sophisticated and upper-class genre of music for a specific audience. But it’s now being integrated into present day pop. For example, artists such as Kendrick Lamar now uses jazz undertones in their music. His song ‘For Free’ which was released in 2015 has a genre of contemporary soul, hip-hop/rap and jazz. There is many jazz insipired hip hop songs now.
7. Jazz music has been proven to increase serotonin levels
Yes, that’s right, listening to jazz music can make you happy. Its also relaxes you by slowing your heart rate which lowers blood pressure. We suspect this is due to its unlifting and incredible harmonies. It’s been proven that people who listen to jazz are 26% less depressed than people who don’t. So if you’re feeling down, you know what to do! Put on some jazz music and boost your mood.
8. Jazz music can improve creativity and productivity greatly
If boosting your serotonin levels wasn’t enough, listening to jazz musics for 20 mins or more can massively impact your creativity. Scientists discovered that listening to jazz at work can improve creativity and productivity by up to 20%. This is because the sounds created brain waves that can produce those light bulb moments that everyone loves. It can inspire new perspectives, ideas and solutions. If you want more specifics, fundamentally jazz switches on the theta brain waves (4-8 hertz). This is the most creative brain wave.
9. If jazz didn’t exist, many dance styles wouldn’t either
Jazz is responsible for the birth of many dance styles, such as the Charleston, tango, black bottom and the trot. All of these dance styles were hugely popular in American during history and this was all because of jazz music. This is because most dance halls in American only existed for tango and waltz. In fact, dance halls really weren’t very popular initally. But the creation of jazz music influenced many more dance halls to open up as people started to enjoy a boogie in the evenings. Eventually new dancing styles were created as the popularity of dancing grew and new styles were created consistenly.
10. Jazz is the most hybrid forms of music
Jazz presents the most hybrid form of music with a mixture of many different brass instruments. Not only can jazz be performed with many different elements mixing together to make beautiful harmony. But it also is very spontaneous and improvised often. There are no so many different types of jazz music. Such as bebop, trad, bossa nova jazz, dixieland, free jazz, soul jazz, free jazz and many more sub-genres.