DC at Night

DC at Night

Friday, April 4, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ball Game with All That Jazz

Welcome to Flashback Friday. Each Friday we showcase a post that deals with days gone by or has appeared previously in The Prices Do DC. Today, we feature an entry about the connection between baseball and jazz. It's especially appropriate since today is the home opener for the Washington Nationals and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History is offering a special jazz exhibition.

Essayist Gerald Early once said: “When they study our civilization two thousand years from now, there will only be three things that Americans will be known for: the Constitution, baseball and jazz music. They’re the three most beautiful things Americans have ever created.” Whether or not you agree with those words, the next time you hear the word swing, you can think of two great, iconic American innovations.

Baseball and jazz both use swing as a noun and a verb, and in both fields swing involves time and timing. “But on a deeper level,” observed trombonist Alan Ferber, “baseball players and jazz musicians both strive for a perfect balance between disciplined practice and spontaneity.”
Both the game and the music were born in the United States. And their influences are known around the world. The sound emanating from the crack of the bat is as well loved as the long, soulful wail of a tenor saxophone. And significantly, both players require years of preparation, frequent practice, teamwork, motor memory and a high level of skill and expertise. The two all-American pursuits share other happy, historic connections. Both pursuits have relied heavily on 20th-century communications media to win audiences. And both have spread to many other countries.
Continue reading this article, which first appeared in Smithsonian. com

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