Friday, January 12, 2007

Jazz in the Air

I will admit to being one of those people who took the phrase "Ravel's music was influenced by jazz" as a truism, and therefore never looked into it properly. [Maurice Ravel is shown in this photo sitting next to a young Stravinsky.] I finally got curious, and largely with the help of Arbie Orenstein's brilliant bio, learned a bit about Ravel's use of modal and other special scales, syncopation, and "blue notes". Still, I was surprised not to find particular pieces that used jazz thematically throughout; rather, as Orenstein puts it, "Jazz was in the air" in Paris, and seeped subtly into Ravel's style.

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