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Articles on Jazz

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Robotic orchestra conductor ‘Yumi’ performs on stage with the Orchestra Filarmonica di Lucca in Italy in 2017. Laura Lezza/Getty Images

Why improvisation is the future in an AI-dominated world

Machines have been getting better at mimicking improvisation. But can this distinctly human process serve as a bulwark against the mechanization of life and art?
This is not a wok: Japanese musician Natsuki Tamura explores sounds at an online global festival of improvisation, IF 2020. (Ajay Heble/IF 2020)

3 lessons from musical improvisation to help navigate 2021

Improvisation asks us to trust that surprise will teach us something. As we enter a new year and a post-pandemic landscape, musical improvisation offers inspiration.
Duke Ellington leads his orchestra in a rehearsal in Coventry, England, on Dec. 2, 1966. Associated Press

Duke Ellington’s melodies carried his message of social justice

From spirituals about the trials of slavery to the fight for civil rights and the modern rhythms of swing music, Duke Ellington told a story about black life that was both beautiful and complex.
At some point, jazz went from the music of youthful rebellion to that of the cultured elite. Freedom Master/shutterstock

Did academia kill jazz?

Jazz used to be experienced on a dance floor. But over time, it became something to dissect and analyze.

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