Cigar Lifestyle

Cigar Artisans – The Imperfect Art: A Tribute To Jazz

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Lost in today’s world of pop songs and endless remakes is, perhaps, one of the purest representations of music in the world: Jazz. The word is actually a blanket term that is used to broadly describe a variety of distinctive styles: Bebop, Big Band Swing, Avant-Garde, Acid, Punk and Smooth are just a few of the iterations of the jazz family.

While newcomers to the genre may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of variety, it is important to realize that all jazz styles have common threads. Improvisation, syncopation (a variety of off-beat rhythms), and blue notes are the pillars of most jazz music you will hear. If it sounds a little confusing, that’s because jazz itself is a style of music that was never meant to be pinned down in one definition. And that is the essence and beauty of jazz. Perhaps one of the best quotes about the genre is by the great jazzman Louis Armstrong: “What we play is life.”

3623_Animation_1076_assetID_988.png

Though sometimes disputed, most purists believe that the origins of jazz are rooted in the black communities in the early 20th century Southern United States. The music was born out of an amalgamation of African, European and American musical traditions.

3624_Animation_1077_assetID_990.png

The coming of the Jazz Age really announced the genre to the general population. Jazz sprouted up in many places: churches, at community gatherings, and even salons as other influences like Afro-Cuban rhythmic motifs were brought in from Havana and New Orleans. Like the makeup of the United States, jazz is a true melting pot of influences. The decadence and new values of the Roaring ’20s were perfectly portrayed by two popular musicians of the era: Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson. (Call out: quick bios) Jazz became a sort of “rebel music” that polarized the young generation from the old. Gone were the days of restrictive, conservative music; improvisation and dance tunes were now prevalent throughout the land.

3625_ModalView_1078_assetID_992.png

From there, the evolution of jazz was so sudden and quick that it became hard to pin down; dozens of off-shoots began to be heard across the country. The snowball effect was incredible – Jazz became representative of a million different dialects and experiences that were unique to the musicians playing the notes themselves.

In 1956, a young trumpeter named Miles Davis recorded a couple of tracks with noted producer Gil Evans and released the seminal album The Birth of the Cool. The title wasn’t just an important-sounding name; The Birth of the Cool is widely appreciated as one of the pioneer recordings of the cool jazz era. Davis and Evans would go on to be one of the most prolific pairings in the history of music.

3627_Animation_1079_assetID_994.png
3627_Animation_1080_assetID_996.png

The birth of Cool Jazz, the break from up-tempo swing and decadence that had marked the genre prior, was a reflection of what were now more somber times. And that’s one of the true beauties of jazz. It evolves and adopts the themes of the day; it is a true reflection of the era. The Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s was responsible for a larger focus on African-style compositions. The 80s were marked with a style that was more akin to the funk and hip-hop music genres that were gaining in popularity.

Other, more obscure styles like acid and punk jazz also came about. After almost a century of existence, jazz had already morphed into a beautiful myriad of styles that was already too deep to define. Today, the jazz world remains an avant-garde musical construction: the use of electronic instruments and similar influences are very evident in modern jazz recordings.

3629_Animation_1081_assetID_998.png

Many are of the opinion that jazz is still best seen live at a club. The experience of seeing a band that is so completely in sync with one another – while improvising most of the notes – is truly something to behold. Jazz clubs are found throughout the country with each one offering a completely unique flavor. Jazz is expressionist art at its finest; a truly unique genre that will evolve for years to come.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Zack Barangan

Zack Barangan

Zack Barangan is the editor of the Montecristo Social Club. Previously, he has written for Esquire magazine, Men’s Fitness, and other lifestyle publications. Zack is based in New York City. His favorite cigar is the VegaFina Fortaleza 2.

Show all Zack Barangan's Articles
cigar advisor news-gran habano persian king mod type 60 cigar release-cover photo

CIGAR NEWS: Gran Habano Releasing Persian King Type-Mod 60 Cigar

Reading Time: 2 minutes Schedule to arrive in late May of this year, the Gran Habano Persian King Type-Mod 60 is the fourth and newest member of the label’s Persian King selections. The Nicaraguan puro is also rolled to a very unusual figurado shape. Learn more about it here.

Read More
cover of introvert's guite to the cigar social life by cigar advisor

2021 CA REPORT: The Introvert’s Guide to the Cigar Social Life

Reading Time: 6 minutes Smoking cigars can be way more enjoyable when shared among the company of others. Whether you’re a shut-in or just don’t have the opportunity to commune with your fellow cigar smokers that often, here are some of the best ways available to get out of the house for your next cigar.

Read More
2021 Best Father's Day Cigar Gifts Guide Cigar Advisor Cover

2021 CA Report: The Advisors’ 2021 Father’s Day Cigar Gift Guide

Reading Time: 8 minutes If your Dad smokes cigars, we’ve got the hottest Father’s Day Cigar gifts of 2021. Cigars, gift sets, a new humidor, or a replacement cigar lighter or cutter – these are the gifts Dad will keep for sure!

Read More
now_smoking 0910

#Nowsmoking: Highclere Castle Corona

Reading Time: < 1 minute Where it’s at: Impeccably crafted with a silky Connecticut wrapper. Bold, black pepper notes leap out of the gate. Settles into a creamy, earthy smoke with a long, crisp, peppery finish. A layer of tart fruit enters midstream with a light cedary note. A very refined slam-dunk for smokers who crave spicy cigars.

Read More