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"Jazz singing is much more than a craft. Like jazz playing, it is – as Valerie Wilmer put it – as serious as your life. And sure, there are gradations in capacities, but to merit being called a jazz singer you have to have something to say – your own story – as it moves you then and there."


AUTHOR: NAT HENTOFF
From the article, Krall and Monheit Jazz Singers, at JazzTimes.com

Kitty Margolis and Susan Rancourt. Bud Spangler, Alison Miller, and Susan Rancourt. Two friends and Susan Rancourt. Clairdee and Avotcja. Benny Green and Frankye Kelly.
Kurt Elling and Susan Rancourt. Kate McGary, Susan Rancourt, and Mike Clark. Frankye Kelly

A Bit of Background of What Jazz Is
Jazz is a musical art form characterized by blue notes, syncopation, swing, call and response, polyrhythms, and improvisation. As the first original art form to emerge from the United States of America, jazz has been described as "America's Classical Music".

In jazz and blues, blue notes are notes sung or played at a lower pitch than those of the major scale for expressive purposes. Typically the alteration is less than a semitone, but this varies among performers.

In music, syncopation is the stressing of a normally unstressed beat in a bar or the failure to sound a tone on an accented beat. For example, in 4/4 time, the first and third beats are normally stressed. If, instead, the second and fourth beats are stressed and the first and third unstressed, the rhythm is syncopated. Also, if the musician suddenly does not play anything on beat 1, that would also be syncopation.  Playing a note ever-so-slightly before or after a beat is another form of syncopation because this produces an unexpected accent.

A Swing or Swung note is a rhythmic device, also known as a shuffle note; it is an augmentation of the initial note in a pair and diminution of the second. The style of playing music with these notes is known as swing or shuffle.

Notes which are not swung are straight notes (no shuffle). A swing rhythm can be thought of as composed of swung notes.

In music, a call and response is a succession of two distinct phrases usually played by different musicians, where the second phrase is heard Polyrhythm is the simultaneous sounding of two or more independent rhythms. A simple example of a polyrhythm is 3 evenly-spaced notes against 2, with the 3-beat pattern being faster than the 2-beat pattern, so that they both take the same amount of time

In West African cultures, call and response is a pervasive pattern of democratic participation -- in public gatherings in the discussion of civic affairs, in religious rituals, as well as in vocal and instrumental musical expression. It is this tradition that African bondsmen and women brought with them to the New World and which has been transmitted over the centuries in various forms of cultural expression -- in religious observance; public gatherings; even in children's rhymes; and, most notably, in African-American music in its myriad forms and descendents including: gospel, blues, rhythm and blues, jazz and jazz extensions.

These forms also possibly influenced the evolution of call and response in the ancient Indian Classical Music technique of Jugalbandi.

Improvisation is the act of making something up as it is performed. This term is usually used in the context of music, theater or dance. 

Source:  These definitions are from Wikipedia.com, the free encyclopedia.

 

JAZZ LINKS

Clubs & Event Listings:
kuumbwajazz.org
rasselasjazzclub.com
sanjosejazz.org
yoshis.com

Information on Jazz:
allaboutjazz.com
bachddsoc.org
jazzfoundation.org
jazziz.com
jazzreview.com
jazzschool.com
stanfordjazz.org
thebebopshop.com

RANCOURT'S NOTES

Bay Area Musicians
It's a privilege to talk with jazz cats who have kept the tradition alive and cookin'. I have a lot to learn and their generosity is greatly appreciated."

"I am grateful to the clubs in the Bay Area that support developing artists. Through them, I've had the privilege of sharing the band stand with some of the Bay Area's best jazz musicians. They have been, without exception, kind, supportive and encouraging."

To name a few:
Earl Davis, trumpet
Ben Flint, piano
Frederick Harris, piano
Vince Latiano, drums
Mark Levine, piano
Al Marshall, drums
Dave K. Mathews, keyboard
Michael O’Neil, sax
Kelly Park, piano
Randy Porter, piano
Don Prell, bass
Glenn Richman, bass
Andrew Speight, sax
Dana Stevens, tenor sax
Rocky Tatarelli, tenor sax
John Wiitala, bass
Ed Williams, bass

"Kelly's Jazz Club provides an amazing venue for performing with top notch musicians and for high quality recording. Kelly and I recently recorded a solid two-set gig so that I could make my first CD available: Susan Rancourt: Live At Kelly's”.

One funny story behind the CD is that, “God Bless The Child” was not originally on the set list. We got an encore request for that tune. While I'm always prepared, I'm also adventurous. I turned to the guys and said, “Let's do it”. What you hear on the CD is the first time I'd ever sung the song and it turned out to be a very popular cut!

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