Most nightclubs want to have a crowded place every night, which can be difficult if they don’t have multiple musicians to help keep the flair alive. If you are considering jazz singers for a show or gig, you may be wondering how to judge their abilities. Jazz is a difficult music genre to define because they use a lot of polyrhythms, improvisation, swung notes and syncopation. Learning what those terms mean can help you choose a singer that will fit your needs and your ideas about what they should be able to do.
Polyrhythms are typically two different rhythms that conflict with each other. They typically don’t seem to be similar in any way and can be throughout the piece of music or a single disruption. One of the rhythms is considered an irrational rhythm and the other is played simultaneously. Typically, the music is polyrhythmic and not a singer. However, singers should be able to sing with a polyrhythmic song.
Improvisation, also known as improv, is where musicians play whatever they feel will add something unique to the piece. Singers will typically improvise words or make up the words to the song, allowing each show to be slightly different than the time before. There are typically norms for jazz improvisation, so ask the singer if they are comfortable with this.
Swing is a type of jazz that was very popular and is starting to be popular again. In order for swing to be swing, swung notes are used by the musicians. Finding musicians for your event may be your first step to find out whether they will play swing or another version of the genre. If swing will be used, make sure the singer can sing along if words will accompany the piece or let them know that they will not be singing the entire time.
Syncopation uses many rhythms to make the song seem off-beat. While this may sound strange to many, it is used a lot in the jazzy numbers to create an irregular flow. Most dance music uses syncopation in some form or another, especially in contemporary and popular pieces. Singers may sing on the off-beat or on the beat though the musicians will typically play off-beats throughout the piece. Most jazz singers can handle syncopation, but it can be helpful to ask before hiring them.