Musical cross-pollination

Is your toe tapping to your favourite tune on your iPod? There’s a high probability that the musicians involved in creating that music have been influenced by and possibly even studied as jazz musicians. There was a day when genres never mixed. But today we live in a culture of cross-pollination that is unprecedented in all of western history!

This is true in the Foothills too! Often, the finest musicians in our community are highly skilled in more than one genre. Foothills Philharmonic Chorus conductor Tim Korthuis is not only a highly skilled choral conductor, but has been the piano accompanist with performing groups and choirs around Okotoks, and was the rock ’n roll keyboard player for a popular ‘originals’ band in Calgary known as “Telli”. Foothills Philharmonic Vocal Jazz director, Shawn Lindenbach, is the 1st trumpet player in the Foothills Philharmonic Orchestra, and baritone in the FP Chorus and Chamber Chorus.

So, with substantial “cross-over”, what makes “jazz” jazz?

The roots of jazz music draw from spirituals, ragtime, Dixieland and folk. The broad category that emerged as jazz, included an ever widening range of genres… swing, bee bop, east coast and west coast. And the sponge that is this genre quickly embraced influences from Latin and Afro-Cuba cultures. There’s a poetic nicety in the generous way jazz now gives back to emerging music styles. Those original musicians were among the first to bend notes, syncopate rhythms, cross barlines and violate long standing rules for enunciation of lyrics and articulation of notes. There was an excitement and an energy to the harmonies, the power of the toe tapping rhythms, and there was and continues to be a strong appeal to the diverse styles that live under the broad umbrella of the category we call “jazz”. Jazz musicians “feel” and interpret and they improvise within well established musical boundaries.

You are invited to experience some of the more accessible expressions of the genre with the Foothills Philharmonic Vocal Jazz ensemble. Visit our webpage for concert information where genres will fuse, worlds will collide, and your toe will be sure to find inspiration!