Classical musicians are still subservient to the music. The
jazz musician must shape the music in his own way and put his own stamp on it.
Unlike his classical contemporaries, he can change some notes, rhythms, add
inflections, etc - literally take the music to a new place. In short, classical
music is European and Jazz is American.
Perhaps ragtime could be both classical and jazz. Yet, like jazz and popular
music it seems too visceral and fun loving to be classical music. And it has not
functioned that way. Even if ragtime at its best was high-class, it was
high-class whorehouse music. Scott Joplin and Jelly Roll Morton were
sportin' house pianists-that's where ragtime is
To play jazz, you must tell a story (few classical musicians would say