Developer: Ryan Soulard
Back when I was in high school and I was a big band geek, being involved in the Jazz band was one of my favorite times of the year. After a bunch of months trying to be strict about adhering to a routine and a specific set of sounds and notes, whether it was from marching band songs with a certain rhythm or a concert piece with a very subtle yet delicate balance in not just playing notes but sounding them out, jazz was the best departure from that, precisely for the fact that it allowed me to stretch my limbs a little, musically.
The entry depicts a common scenario for many old school jazz listeners – the idea of removing a treasured jazz record from its sleeve and playing it on the record, enjoying how a piece was played, and more importantly, improvised upon. With jazz, the structure of the music allows for a bit of variation on detail, as musicians explore outside of the base melody to make personal tweaks and changes, resulting in a musical rendition unique to them. It’s especially impressive with smooth jazz, the genre the developer chose for this entry, as the more subdued tone makes for less bombastic improvisations – all of which are no less impressive for being done.
This entry also reminds me that music itself is an ever-evolving set of expressions, even if they’re offshoots of other such genres. Jazz came from blues, which itself came from something else, which itself…well, you get the idea. The fact of the matter is that jazz is just one step in the continuously forking genres that are music, whether popular or more niche, and jazz, with all its ability to change and evolve within the piece itself, is the embodiment of that persistently changing set of aural expressions that we call notes, music, and song. It’s a reminder that not everything has to be cut and dry, that there are always ways to do things differently and make them better, and that there are always ways to expand one’s mind by appreciating those variations. Smooth jazz just happens to be a nice little reminder of that that sounds pleasing.