Graeme Francis - Percussion Performance and Education
High Standards: Pop Music Gets Jazzed
Is jazz popular music? The quick answer is likely “no” - it certainly doesn’t match Katy Perry or Drake in concert ticket sales, right? But since the early 1900's, popular music has served as a platform for the development of that most American of art forms: jazz. From early jazz standards adopted from Broadway and Hollywood, known collectively as the “great American songbook”, to adaptations of songs by The Beatles, Nirvana, and Radiohead in more recent years, jazz musicians have continued to use popular music as a medium for creative expression, one which keeps the art form relevant and vital. We believe that because of jazz's important role as a continued reflection of current tastes and trends in the broader music community, it’s important that we continue to highlight this connection between popular music and jazz music. The presentation is framed as a multimedia experience, combining a discussion of the ways in which jazz artists have reinterpreted popular music throughout the 20th century with performances by my jazz trio throughout the presentation, showcasing the versatility of popular music throughout the past century.