JAZZ: Tapping the rhythm section

Jazz usually has a juicy beat that you can feel. A basic difference between swing and a stiffer beat stems from the placement of accents. People who're unfamiliar with jazz often clap on the first and third beat in every group of four. Jazz audiences, by contrast, usually emphasize two and four, with a looser, swing feeling that dates back to gospel music in African-American churches.

Although some jazz encompasses complex or irregular rhythms that may escape the tap of your foot, most jazz retains a steady beat embellished by the drummer and other players. If jazz is tough for you to appreciate, its rhythms offer the easiest point of access. You don't have to know a lot of theory to connect with this exciting energy.

Here are some tips to follow to begin feeling the rhythm of jazz:


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