April 24th National Arbor Day

Celebrate the last Friday of April, today is the day we honor trees. Actually, we honor the planting of trees. It is sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation and began in 1872. The Latin word for tree is Arbor. I love trees. I can’t tell one from the other nor can I tell you their names. There are the obvious ones like the Apple tree or an Oak but for the most part, I just appreciate them for being a tree. It’s roots, no pun intended, began when American’s started moving west and came to the vast sections of treeless land. As they settled the people planted trees for numerous reasons, food, shade, oxygen, shelter are just among a few.

How to celebrate – Plant a tree today. Visit a forest. Help save the rain forest.

April Jazz Appreciation Month

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. “One of America’s original art forms.”  It began in New Orleans during the late 19th century primarily out of the African-American culture and has grown to many other aspects over the last one hundred plus years.  Jazz makes use of improvisation, poly rhythms, syncopation and swing.  The actually term “Jazz” was first used in 1916 with the American Dialect Society claiming it would be the “word of the twentieth century.”

There are many forms of jazz.  The first coming out of New Orleans somewhere around 1910.  This used French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime and blues as it’s foundation.  It was relatively quickly accepted, and then altered.  In the 1930’s Kansas City Jazz added swing to it’s formula and Gypsy Jazz used the waltz to it’s take. During the 1940’s, Bebop became popular as it was a style of jazz that felt good and could be danced to.  Cool jazz also made its debut in the 1940’s using linear melodic lines to calm things down a bit.

Free Jazz became popular in the 1950’s.  It featured no regular meter and perhaps began to get a little complicated for the average listener.  Hard Bop also came in the 1950’s using a mix of R&B, Gospel and the Blues.  The 50’s also introduced Modal Jazz, using musical scales as its foundation.

In the 1960’s-70’s, Jazz-Rock Fusion came on the scene, pretty self-explanitory.  It did have a major influence in the rock artists that developed over the decades.  By 1980, Smooth Jazz became the sexy, romantic version of all the above.  Now in the new millineum the trend seems to be to either Latin Jazz or Afro-Cuban Jazz.  It obviously mixes the latin beat and flair with all the technics of jazz aquired over the years.

So how to celebrate, well listen to some jazz of course… and if I might suggest a personal friend, Mickey Carroll is one of the best around.

mickey_carroll

Tune your radio station in your car to a jazz station and get a different perspective of life, or go to a club and listen to some Smooth Jazz live.