Art Works Blog

Notable Quotable: NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis on the difference between classical music and jazz

"Addressing improvisational music, which is considered jazz and the non-improvisational music, which is considered classical, I would say that the big difference for me was to be able to interpret what was already composed and written. How do you interpret it? Do you make this note short or shorter or longer? Do you phrase this melody because the harmony is rescinding and resolving? Do you hold onto that note a little longer and let it slide into the slot or what? So, you're interpreting as you read. You read more into the music than what's there. And jazz... you're composing and improvising, interpreting for the whole time you're playing. That's the big difference." -- NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis

Listen to part 1 of our conversation with Richard Davis here. And stay tune for part 2 coming this Thursday!

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