Jazz Is Not A Brand

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Jazz Is Not A Brand...  (please scroll down) 

People have been arguing about "what is jazz" for as long as it has existed. In my humble opinion it is simply the highest degree of the art form known as music. I say that as someone who has spent a long time studying it, listening to it and trying to play it. Just to be able to do it, not even be any good at it, a jazz musician has to develop a very wide range of musical skills. Much more so than in other forms of music. Amongst other things, they must master playing their instrument, to the point of being able to play anything at any moment, as they think of it. They must also develop a very good ear, have a thorough understanding of harmony, study the history of the music and the many different styles that it has included over the last 100 years and on top of all that, create. Compose. On the spot. Every time they play. One of the greatest misconceptions about jazz is that it is a "style" of music. It is not a style it is a process. There are as many different styles of jazz as there are styles of popular music in the last 100 years. Jazz is a way of playing music, not a style of music. And in that, it is fundamentally different to other music. In all other musical styles the musician spends hours/days/months practicing and learning a tune/part/piece. They then get together and rehearse with other musicians in a band/ensemble and put the part they have been practicing together with the other parts, and so the ensemble "rehearses". They do this (usually) until they have mastered the piece all together and then they perform. They walk on stage and play their part and the whole piece as close to the way they practiced it as possible. They try to recreate it exactly the same as it was in the rehearsal, when it was "right". By contrast a jazz musician walks on stage and has no idea what notes they are going to play. They have practiced, studied and (usually) memorised the melody, harmony and form of the piece, and they have rehearsed as a band to get comfortable with each other and have a rough structure to work within. But they don't know what they are going to play for their solos, which makes up a large percentage of the performance. They have to create/compose that in real time, as they play it. As the great Bill Evans put it "one minute's music, in one minute". In other forms of music a composer can spend 3 months composing a minute of music, working on it until it is "right". Then they hand it to a musician to perform it, who can then spend 3 months practicing it, working on it until it is "right". Then, and only then, is it performed. 6 months to create one minute of music. The jazz musician composes and plays the minute of music at the same time, in one minute. On the stage. In front of the audience. And so it is with great respect we should treat this art form and the artists who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of mastering it. 


How depressing it is then when we see jazz being used as some sort of brand make-over by corporate marketing departments to "sex up" an otherwise "unsexy" product. This website is here to show some examples of the blatant misappropriation of one of the highest art forms. 


Buster Birch (December 2013)


It is not jazz, it is an economical car. 

It is not jazz, it is a vacuum cleaner. 

It is not jazz, it is a case for an electronic diary.

It is not jazz, it is a child's toy that switches from being a car in to a robot. And back again. 

It is not jazz, it is after shave. 

It is not jazz, it is a dining chair. 

It is not jazz, it is a back pack. 

It is not jazz, it is a 2 door storage unit. 

It is not jazz, it is a ladies under garment. 

It is not jazz, it is a pair of curtains. 

It is not jazz, it is a pair of ear plugs. 

It is not jazz, it is an extendable table and chair collection. 

It is not jazz, it is a fibre optic otoscope. 

It is not jazz, it is a pair of ladies shoes. 

It is not jazz, it is a bath mat. 

It is not jazz, it is a portable radio. 

It is not jazz, it is a pair of mens trainers. 

It is not jazz, it is wallpaper. 

It is not jazz, it is a floor tile. 

It is not jazz, it is a bean bag. 

It is not jazz, it is a bathroom mirror. 

It is not jazz, it is a child's bed. 

It is not jazz, it is a corner computer desk. 

It is not jazz, it is a 24v energy inverter. 

It is not jazz, it is a fireplace. 

It is not jazz, it is a pair of ladies trousers. 

It is not jazz, it is luggage. 

It is not jazz, it is a towel. 

It is not jazz, it is a lightweight folding walking aid. 

It is not jazz, it is a toilet seat. 



UNBELIEVABLE!!! 

It is not jazz, it is a bag of apples. 

It is not jazz, it is a tent. 

It is not jazz, it is a video camera.

It is not jazz, it is a baby high chair. 

It is not jazz, it is a baby walker. 

It is not jazz, it is tea. 

It is not jazz, it is a sack for putting rubble in. 

No comment. 

A Jazz Messenger is a musician who played in Art Blakey's band, not a camera bag. 

It is not jazz, it is a blood glucose meter. 

It is not jazz, it is a hair curler tong. 

It is not jazz, it is an indian restaurant. 

Live jazz is the act of a jazz musician performing in front of an audience, as opposed to a recorded performance. It is not a slightly different after shave.