Ask the experts — be they documentarian Ken Burns or Wikipedia — "What is jazz?" and you may come away confounded. No one can quite say. Even the word's etymology is fuzzy, pertaining perhaps to "pep," to baseball, or to the scent of jasmine so prevalent in N'awlins brothels. Such a fog of uncertainty becomes jazz, in that it is the most mutable of musical forms. It could encompass big-band orchestration (see Duke Ellington), small chamber ensembles (Modern Jazz Quartet), or even act like a rock band ('70s-era Miles). Jazz emulates and celebrates a true sense of democracy through group improvisation, where all... More >>>