To label Jazz music as a single genre is somewhat misleading; the term encompasses everything from old-school Jazz standards to the throaty and altogether unique styling of Amy Winehouse – Electro-Jazz and Gypsy-Jazz bring a new sound to the genre, while Modern Jazz impresario, Jamie Cullum, adds his own Jazz twist to perfectly executed covers of Pop songs, standards and everything in between.
Because of the diversity of music which exists within the genre, it’s a brilliant bet as entertainment for any event that you’re planning with a wide range of people in the audience; not only is it a widely loved type of music in general, but it’s also not one that many people have a sincere objection to – it’s pretty inoffensive.
Jazz music is, for its upbeat tempo and modern connotations, an older genre than you might at first imagine; it first came into being in the African-American community in New Orleans towards the end of the 19th century. This first iteration drew heavily on the brass bands for which the city is most famous, as well as ragtime traditions and African musical styles including blue notes. It was in the 1920‘s, however, that Jazz really hit the mainstream and became acceptable and even fashionable in the circles moved in by upper class white people; the roaring twenties were a decade of excess and hedonism, and Jazz was a genre that embodied that – unconstrained by the limitations of the musical establishment, improvisation was encouraged and it was the perfect music to dance to.
In fact, many of the decade’s most famous dances including the Foxtrot and the Charleston were danced to Jazz tunes, and it is often considered one of the most important cultural contributions that African-American culture has made in the 20th century; later in the century, the Avant-Garde nature of the original Jazz performers morphed into an altogether more mainstream style – that of swing music. In the 1940‘s and 50‘s, it was the Pop music of the day, with big band musicians among the most famous in the world, though it had a more pronounced reliance on sheet music; Swing Music was one of the genres which immediately preceded the emergence of The Beatles and must surely be seen as an influence.
As with all musical styles, fashions do change and in more recent years many smaller tendrils of the genre have emerged and their popularity ebbs and flows; while no one style can be said to dominate, many exist and are popular among different audiences. Artists like Jamie Cullum and Norah Jones who combine the 2 musical styles of Pop and Jazz have found fame and brought Jazz to a new audience, but niche Avant-Garde Jazz has also flourished.
This plethora of musical styles is part of what makes Jazz such a popular genre as easy-listening background music at all sorts of events; it’s easy on the ear, good for dancing to and offers guests something a little bit different from what they may have been expecting. It’s been a particularly popular choice in recent years for musically inclined couples tying the knot, for whom a band comprised of sixth-formers or a cheesy DJ won’t quite cut the mustard.
One choice of musical guest with a really wide appeal is Robert Davi, an accomplished Jazz artist; he has collaborated with legendary producer, Phil Ramone, on an album that made it into the top ten of the traditional Jazz album charts.
It’s not the only string to his bow though – while Davi has been incumbent at the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas since 2012 with his Spirit of Sinatra show, he’s just as well known for his career as a Hollywood actor; appearing in classics like The Goonies, Die Hard and License to Kill, he’s worked alongside Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra, making him a real all-rounder.
The native New Yorker is sure to prove a real draw if you choose to book him as a musical guest for your next soirée, appealing not only to Jazz aficionados but equally to film buffs; the Robert Davi agent in London is MN2S, so get in touch to book him for your next event if it’s an artist with wide appeal you’re looking for.