Sp18. Jazz and Sex
➢ What does jazz have to do with sex?
Of course, addressing this question depends upon what one has in mind when referring to sex. There are many different meanings one might have in mind, and these are explored below.
- Biological sex refers to “a trait that determines an individual's reproductive function, male or female, in animals and plants that propagate their species through sexual reproduction. The type of gametes produced by an organism defines its sex. Commonly in plants and animals, male organisms produce smaller gametes (spermatozoa, sperm) while female organisms produce larger gametes (ova, often called egg cells). . . . During sexual reproduction, male and female gametes fuse to form zygotes that develop into offspring that inherit a selection of the traits of each parent.”
As far as these strictly biological aspects of sex are concerned, jazz has nothing to do with them since playing or listening to jazz music will not affect sexual evolution, nor influence how gamete production works. Jazz cannot determine an individual's reproductive functions either.
It is likely then that when someone is interested about the question of jazz and sex that they are thinking about jazz and sexiness, rather than jazz and sex per se. The definition for sexy is encountered and explored below.
Different meanings for sex
“Sex is the biological distinction of an organism between male and female.”
Sex may refer to:
Biology and behavior, including:
- Non-penetrative sex, or sexual outercourse.
- Sex drive or libido, a person's overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity.
- Sexual intercourse, also called copulation or coitus.
- Gender, the distinction between male and female or masculinity and femininity within an individual's gender identity.
- Mating types, a distinction of gametes, whether in anisogamous or isogamous species.
- Sexing, the act of discerning the sex of an animal.
- Sexual reproduction, a process of combining and mixing genetic traits, associated with the generation of new individuals, by means of meiosis and fertilization.
- Genetic recombination, the process of mixing genetic traits solely, occurring both in organisms with sexual or asexual reproduction.
If we forgo considering the above biologically oriented aspects to sex, what can be said about jazz music and sexiness?
➢ What makes something be sexy?
At Dictionary.com: sexy we find at least three modes of sexiness represented in the definitions given below, (S1) focused on sexual behavior, (S2) radiating sexuality, and (S3) excitingly glamorous.
- (S1) concerned predominantly or excessively with sex; risqué, e.g., a sexy novel.
- (S2) sexually interesting or exciting; radiating sexuality, e.g., the sexy supermodel on the cover of a magazine.
- (S3) excitingly appealing; glamorous, e.g., a sexy new car.
Other applications of sexy to objects include:
- Sexy art
- Sexy entertainment
- Sexy film and television
- Sexy literature
- Sexy music
- Sexy songs
What are some synonyms for sexy?
- hot, as in sexually arousing; lustful; attractive.
- racy, as in slightly improper or indelicate; suggestive; risqué; vigorous; lively; spirited.
- provocative, as in tending or serving to provoke; inciting, stimulating.
- seductive, as in tending to seduce; enticing; beguiling; captivating, e.g., a seductive smile. One seduces when one leads someone astray, as from duty, rectitude, or the like; corrupt; or persuades or induces them to have to have sexual intercourse; or leads or draws someone away from principles, faith, or allegiance; or when winning over; attracting, or enticing.
- sensual, as in pertaining the gratification of the senses or appetites; carnal; arousing or exciting the senses or appetites; or relating to the senses or physical sensation; sensory.
What are some categories that often get used in discussing sexy? These include clothing, music, romance, attractiveness, and eroticness.
What makes music sexy?
As we saw above, the concept of sexy covers many attributes besides just biological functions relating to reproduction. Given the three modes of sexiness: (S1) focused on sexual behavior, or those representing (S2) where something radiates sexuality, or as in (S3) with something being excitingly glamorous. Jazz music and performance, as well as the musicians themselves, can have all three of these (Ss).
A musician can move his, her, or their body to the rhythm of the music in sexually suggestive and seductive ways: pouting, smiling, gyrating, undulating, swinging and swaying. This would satisfy (S1) and (S2).
Since music often generates excitement while being experienced by an audience, the jazz performance can be glamorous, thrilling, attractive, stimulating, and alluring, thereby satisfying (S3).
What makes jazz sexy
Jazz is sexy for more than just its musical output. Often, the musicians themselves are considered sexy because of their talent, or fashion, good looks, charisma, personality, charm, or just plain coolness; in many cases, individual jazz superstars have all of these characteristics.
Examples of jazz superstars who exemplify such features include master showman Jelly Roll Morton (known as "the suit man from suit land"), super personality Louis Armstrong, the debonair Duke Ellington, the coolest Miles Davis, the powerful Frank Sinatra, enduring showman Tony Bennett, the incomparable Billie Holiday, major innovator Ornette Coleman, the always contemporary Mary Lou Williams, world musician Don Cherry, and the list never stops.
Examples of sexy jazz performances
Click on name to see and hear video performances of the song:
- Wikipedia: Sex, first paragraph. Accessed March 30, 2022.