Hello! I’m delighted to have been accepted into the KSSU family. My name is Devan Kortan, and I will be your resident Jazz fanatic as long as the station will have me around. I am a freshman and avid Jazz musician. The reason I introduce myself is to tell you this: Jazz isn’t scary. It is my understanding that most people don’t like Jazz because they don’t have a clear idea of what Jazz is.
Let’s start on the surface. Jazz is and always will be an American art form. It, in fact, was America’s original dance music. Swing dancing was all the rage from the 1920’s to the early 1950’s when rock ‘n’ roll took over. Even today swing dancing is wildly popular with millennials; Sacramento’s Midtown Stomp is packed every Friday night.
Ok, let’s go a little deeper. Jazz, like any other art form, is a way to express oneself. Every musician has their own sound and different ideas as to how they want to play, but at the same time, Jazz is about working together and collaborating to create a harmonious outcome. What really irks me is when somebody says, “The musicians are all doing their own thing.” It could not be more the opposite. Each musician is listening very intently to one another, searching in the music some way they can respond and communicate to make the music sound more cohesive.
In the same vain as collaboration, because of its history, Jazz is all about breaking barriers. It is about coming together, no matter your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation etc. It is about all people creating something fun. Jazz should always, whether it be for the listener or player, and I repeat always be fun. Let me put it this way, no one pursues a life in Jazz because it is a lucrative career option. So Jazz should be played and listened by people who want to.
So I hope that clears a few things up. I don’t expect you to like jazz or listen to it, but I do expect you to acknowledge it for what it really is. Jazz is awesome and has real potential to create world peace.
In the immortal words of Louis Armstrong, “Jazz is played from the heart. You can even live by it. Always love it.”
Devan Kortan is a DJ with KSSU the station you should be listening to right now.