Pillbox

Sinful sounds to ‘jazz’ up your holiday

Credit: Courtesy of Molly Swartz Credit: Courtesy of Molly Swartz

Throughout history, many have considered music and love to be interchangeable facets of human life. Both can be considered forms of art — they are full of passion, satisfaction, and the purest forms of emotion. However, one may not consider Lil Wayne synonymous with romance, a prevailing concern that has revealed the genre-based hierarchy of what listeners consider to be romantic music. For many, jazz has established itself as the true musical language of love.

When it emerged on the music scene at the beginning of the 20th century as a derivation of ragtime, jazz was immediately popular. The original jazz musicians were obsessed with syncopation and improvisation, taking influence from both blues and ragtime artists. Throughout the decades, the genre evolved into several subgroups incorporating Latin fusion sway, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian beats, and even hip-hop influences.

Today, jazz is all about devilishly delicious riffs and sultry sounds. While classic musicians like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, and Ella Fitzgerald are always appreciated for their talent and reputation, modern artists are constantly emerging on the jazz scene. Michael Bublé has revolutionized the jazz world with his fresh voice and upbeat instrumentals. Diana Kralls’ sensual voice has gained her hordes of adoring fans, and her remakes of classic jazz songs are impressive and refreshing.

This Valentine’s Day, while dining over candlelight with your significant other or dancing cheek to cheek in the living room, consider a jazz-based soundtrack. The emotions of Miles Davis’ trumpet or Nina Simone’s low notes will bring out the passion in your sweetheart. If you’re dreaming of the perfect Valentine’s Day night, why not cook up some dinner, whip out the red tablecloth, and switch on the jazz? Nothing goes better with rose petals and red wine than a classic jazz playlist.

However, if you’d prefer to go out for a night on the town, Pittsburgh is a relatively unknown but respectable jazz hub. Consider taking your date out for dinner and following up the romantic meal with a visit to one of Pittsburgh’s many jazz clubs. Little E’s jazz club, located at 949 Liberty Ave., is a popular retreat for jazz enthusiasts. With nationally touring artists and local performers constantly playing shows, there is always something interesting to listen to. Little E’s will even be hosting a special Valentine’s Day feature with jazz vocalist Anqwenique making her venue debut.

Of course, there are plenty of other jazz venues and restaurants to explore within Pittsburgh, many of which can be found at www.jazz-pittsburgh.com. Operations like the Pittsburgh Jazz Society have dedicated themselves to preserving the Pittsburgh jazz community and have thrown large jazz celebrations all over the city.

This holiday, in the spirit of romance, incorporate some jazz into your schedule and revive the language of love in your life.