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.