Jazz music, although already overpowered by the pop and rock genre, is still popular worldwide. It’s mostly performed in hotels, lofts, and in any other “chill” places. The thing about jazz music is that it just makes you feel at ease mainly because it’s very pleasant to the ears.
During the early years, jazz is considered as a difficult genre to define but improvisation is tagged as one of the major elements of jazz music. Improvisation, to note, is a very difficult activity. It refers to the whole creative immediate touch to the composition itself. It merges “performance with communication of emotions and instrumental technique as well as spontaneous response to other musicians.” Hence, improvisation is done in a spontaneous way – no rehearsals, no scripts, just the power of one’s creative musicality.
Right now, jazz has a lot of sub-genres. From bebop to hard bop to jazz fusion to jazz-rock fusion and the list goes on incessantly. Musicians have found a way to further improve this genre and to put their creative touches to their own jazz compositions.
There are millions of jazz performers worldwide. Louis Armstrong was one of the best jazz artists of all time. There’s also Miles Davis, Harry Connick, Mario Bauza, and a lot more.
These guys have surely proven how their musicality, passion, and creativity can influence an industry.
Chaka Khan, Yvette Marie Stevens in real life, was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 23, 1953. She is an American singer-composer famous for her monicker as the “Queen of Funk”.
This Grammy winner got her love of music from her grandmother who used to sing jazz songs when she was a child. At eleven, Khan already started performing as the vocalist of an all-female singing group named Crystalettes. Because of her singing jobs, she decided to drop out of high school and began to perform all over Chicago. In one of her performances, she was spotted by a group called Rufus and was later asked to join the band.
In the year 1973, Rufus produced their album, featuring their extraordinary rendition of Stevie Wonders’ “Maybe Your Baby” from his album Talking Book. The group’s first ever Grammy award was credited for their breakthrough hit, “Tell Me Something Good.”
Because of Khan’s star quality and charisma, the band gained its reputation and eventually garnered their own identity. Khan was famous for her outfits that showed her midriff, Nevertheless, her powerful vocals and her sense of style even helped them gain more followers. Rufus’ songs were mostly composed by the group with only a few exceptions.
This is why the band became a signature name in the music industry during that time. Not all musicians can create lyrics and arrange music. Khan was also noted for her collaborations with other musicians such as guitarist Tony Maiden.
Khan signed a solo contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1978. But despite her solo career, she still was a part of Rufus. It was also during the same year when Khan released her solo debut album featuring the hit “I’m Every Woman” written by Ashford and Simpson. The album gained its platinum record in just a number of weeks for selling over a million copies.
Khan’s successful first album made her focus on her solo career. However, in the coming year, Khan reunited with Rufus for an album. Later on, the name Chaka Khan flourished all over the globe. Her songs became hits and billboard staples. Her performances were always considered extraordinary. She was a true blue artist, a passionate musician, and a legend in the jazz genre.
Up to now, Khan’s songs are still celebrate all over the world. Despite the rise of new musicians, Khan’s contributions and legacy are still incomparable.
The following are the Grammy awards gained by Khan all throughout her career:
1975 “Tell Me Something Good” (as Rufus) Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group Or Chorus
1984 Chaka Khan Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
“Ain’t Nobody” (as Rufus) Best R&B Performance by a Duo Or Group With Vocal
“Be Bop Medley” (with Arif Mardin) Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices
1985 “I Feel For You” Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
1991 “I’ll Be Good To You” (with Ray Charles) Best R&B Performance by a Duo Or Group With Vocal
1993 The Woman I Am Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female
2008 “Disrespectful” (with Mary J. Blige)
Funk This Best R&B Album