In the words of Irving Mills, "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing." That simple, if exaggerated, sentiment might well sum up what the musical genre of jazz is all about. There's something infectious about hearing Take Five or I Got Rhythm—that indefinable something that makes you want to tap a toe or snap a finger.
The type of music that qualifies as jazz is a bit hard to pin down. One observer has said that jazz encompasses elements such as: swing, improvisation, and group interaction. Jazz had its birth in the American south, especially in New Orleans, where the African culture was meeting and coming to terms with European tradition in music. Jazz has roots in the blues, as well as in the work songs and field hollers of plantation workers. Whatever else it is, jazz is most certainly based on improvisation—the art of creating music "on the fly." This is one of the elements that gives jazz its excitement.
While the arrangements you'll hear from the Chorale this weekend are technically not improvised (they are written on a page of music), we do think you'll get the sense of vitality that jazz music offers. And if you're looking for authentic improvisation . . . well, that's where The Groove Merchants come in! My good friend and colleague Howie Whitaker has brought together this fine jazz combo just for the occasion. I know you'll love what they bring to this concert! And yes—much of it is created on the fly!
We hope you'll join us this weekend—Friday at 8:00 p.m. or Saturday at 3:00 p.m.—at College Church in Wheaton. Tickets will be available at the door—we'll hope to see you there!
Music Director, Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale