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This is the most frequent question listeners ask when listening to the Rob Levit Group. So... I came up with a few ideas on how I approach this music and hopefully it will help explain some things if you are unfamiliar with modern jazz.

Each composition starts out with a recognizable melody, usually carried by the saxophone. Can you identify it? Once this theme is played once or twice it is then kept as a reference point for the lead instrument to use while creating a solo. A good way to think about performance is like taking a trip.

Well, what do you need for a trip?

1) A Map-- In this case the map is the song. Each song has a melody. Think of the melody as the arrival and departure point. It happens at the beginning and end of the song. We try to hear it throughout the piece so we don't get lost.

2) Roads-- The road for us is the structure or form of the tune. Most of the time Jazz is not free form like a lot of people think. There is a set number of bars and chords. A clever soloist, like a clever driver, figures out different routes and side roads without losing the structure. After all, this could be dangerous! This internal compass involves having good rhythm and listening to others.

3) Drivers-- Each musician on stage takes turns driving. This is what style is all about. The guitar and saxophone are the primary drivers. Because our driving styles are different, we can take each song on a different route without spoiling the trip. Are we there yet!? So, the soloist shapes the speed and contour of the piece through IMPROVISATION. Improvisation is spontaneous decision-making using the sum total of our musical training. Rest assured, we have our learner's permit. This is what makes Jazz fun. The musicians and the audience never quite know what is coming next. This isn't for everybody but is really satisfying for all when the band is cookin'.

4) A Hot Car-- Commonly referred to as the RHYTHM SECTION. The bass and drums are like a purring engine that allows us flashy drivers to zip along. If the soloist pushes too hard, the rhythm section will not follow and support us. But, if we shift gears properly and take the curves gently, the jazz band will run like a well-oiled machine. A trademark of a great rhythm section is a feeling of propulsion. We call this SWING and it comes in many shapes and sizes. Occasionally, we like to let the drums and bass solo to show off their horsepower. However, we don't want them to take over like that Knightrider car!!

5) People to Visit-- A trip is no fun if you don't have anyone to share it with. That means that we want to share our journey with you -- THE AUDIENCE. If we drive too fast, don't wear our seatbelts, or rev our engine too much you will not want us back. So, we hope to take you on a nice and scenic trip with spectacluar views, a little excitement, and a few twists and turns to show off. This music is for you. Thanks for listening and hold on tight.

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