SMOOTH JazzIt’s pretty boppin’ sweet

The last few months of the school year often prove to be a weary time for high school students. With many projects due, A.P. testing, standardized tests, and Prom drama, students of Ames High have had to turn to a multitude of sources to calm their every day jitters. One interesting stress reliever that has been growing in popularity recently is listening to Smooth Jazz. “It makes me feel relaxed and chill,” junior Anne Todey said. This is understandable as most smooth jazz songs have a slow tempo, about 90 to 105 beats per minute, and are instrumental pieces. Despite this “down tempo” beat of slow jazz, it also has an upbeat effect on listeners. “It makes me feel happy,” senior Curtis Mayberry said. “I try to listen to it about two times a week.” Smooth Jazz originated in the mid to late 1970s when artists began mixing a variety of music styles. This type of music uses various instruments. Normally the tenor or soprano saxophone or the guitar takes the melody line creating a smooth and light tone. Smooth Jazz has been influenced by funk, pop, and R&B. Many people have expressed confusion as to how Smooth Jazz differs from other types of jazz. One way is that it places less of an emphasis on and applies more focus to the main melody of the tune. Smooth Jazz is also instrumentally based. This is not necessarily true about other types of jazz. “Smooth Jazz is like relaxing background music as opposed to old ladies with gruff voices singing about their lives,” senior Alan Moss said. Despite the fact that some students at Ames High are aware of and interested in Smooth Jazz, others have yet to be exposed to its majesty. This can, however, be easily changed, as there are many excellent artists out there. For example, the Grammy winning group Fourplay is a popular Smooth Jazz recording group. They draw their inspiration from their jazz roots. Other Smooth Jazz artists include saxophonists David Sanborn and Warren Hill, guitarist George Benson, and pianists Bradley Joseph and Joe Sample. Smooth Jazz is an amazing genre of music that has a profound effect on lots of people. Its popularity at Ames High is in large part a result of its tendency to relax those otherwise stressed out students.