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Jazz" and "swing

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tagline was, "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing," and when asked by a reporter to define "Jazz" and "Swing" for him his response was; "We always say that 'jazz' is representative of American music...My definition of 'swing' is...that part of rhythm that causes a bouncy, buoyant terpsichorean urge...makes you want to dance and bounce about! 'Swing' today is a commercial label on the music itself, but we always thought it was an emotional element; we've always accepted it as that. It's something you feel with the music is played" (Rattenbury, 13). Although he was bestowed with a number of awards and honorary degrees by formal institutions, Ellington lacked any rigorous formal training in music and felt that this lacking was essential to his style as a musician to rebels against the musical forms and rules taught in institutions. When people asked him why he did not go and get a formal music education Ellington responded, "If I were to go and study I think I'd lose everything I had." He was not concerned with musical rule, rather with fusing his compositions with his emotion and feeling and conveying that with force to his audience; "concert pianist Don Shirley once commented: '[Ellington was] experimenting constantly with sound, and really enjoying the idea of contradicting the rules and regulations. Primarily because he didn't know any of 'em! And it worked'" (Rattenbury, 16). With his heavy blues and ragtime influences Ellington pushed jazz in a emotionally charged direction by refusing to even acknowledge the formal rules of music composition and creating the "Ellington Effect," while others, like Dave Brubeck, were also pushing jazz music through innovation, but in a different way.

Dave Brubeck was born into a musical family, with a music teacher as a mother and two older siblings already learning from her by the time he was born, thus he started playing music very early on in life, and naturally excelled. He had a formal education when he was young but decided against music, opting for dreams of being a livestock veterinarian at his family ranch instead, which is why he originally left for school. He soon learned that the sciences were not his strong suit and under the advising of the College of the Pacific in Stockholm, California, he started and excelled in a formal music education program. While learning classical music, however, Brubeck held firmly to his childhood love of popular jazz, which led him to play at a number of Jazz Clubs before entering the army to play in Europe as entertainment for the troops. He returned and began composing and recruiting musicians for his soon to be famous Dave Brubeck Quartet (www.pbs.org/brubeck.htm).



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