Why Jazz?


  • There is more variety in jazz than any other form of music.
  • Elderly citizens relate to jazz- many grew up with it when it was pop music, and the only pop music.
  • Jazz fuses with all other forms of music so naturally and ‘sexes’ it up.
  • You don’t have to understand jazz to enjoy it.
  • Jazz fosters innovation and creativity.
  • Jazz is a very social form of music … there is no age barrier, or generation gap. Young people still play forms of jazz today and get into the charts: Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Michael Buble, Jamie McCallum.
  • Jazz encourages and promotes freedom of choice.
  • The improvisational, poly rhythmic, complex harmonies and creative components in jazz offer therapeutic benefits impossible to ignore, and now for the first time, this is supported by scientific research. ( see below. *)
  • Jazz culture is respected, and you can dance to jazz
  • Jazz has minimized boundaries and maximized freedom for a hundred years. If it doesn’t change, it will continue to be re-invented.

Science and ALL THAT JAZZ ….

What science is showing us is that there are preserved networks that inform language through singing. And that the process of jazz improvisation is involved in many aspects of human behavior beyond those of a musical nature, and linked to ADAPTION TO CHANGING ENVIRONMENTS, PROBLEM SOLVING, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY …. THE USE OF NATURAL LANGUAGE. All of which are common behaviourial challenges in aged care. 

Music can also bypass the damaged areas of the brain and make new connections. In palliative care the patients breathing will entrain to the rhythm of the music. If you grew up in the west in particular, jazz music was a natural part of the cultural influence. The use of jazz influenced music is very effective in aged care and the dementias, but only when applied by an EXPERIENCED QUALIFIED MUSIC THERAPIST.
This recent scientific information confirms and supports my experiences in aged care music therapy over the last 10 years.

*Scientific research:
“No two jazz improvisations are identical (even in one song) This process of improvisation is involved in many aspects of human behavior beyond those of a musical nature, and linked to adaption to changing environments, problem solving, and most importantly… the use of natural language. All of which are unscripted behaviors that capitalize on the generative capacity of the brain. Musical jazz improvisation is an extraordinarily complex human behavior”
Charles J Limb and Allen R Braun ‘Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: an MRI study on jazz performance’

One of the things that set’s jazz apart from other musical styles is the value of a long career and the interest in the way that an artist’s music will change over the course of several years, or even many decades.

Drummer Pic

"Jazz means never playing the same thing once" drummer Shelly Manne

Jim live at Merimbula Jazz Festival