Musician Dave Wave has released a video where he plays the top piano riffs of jazz tunes from 1899 to 1964 in 100 seconds. He performs hits like Scott Joplin‘s “Maple Leaf Rag,” “One O’Clock Jump” by Count Basie, Herbie Hancock‘s “Cantaloupe Island,” and more.
What is a riff?
A riff is thematic and serves as the main musical idea for a (section of a) song. Often it’s repeated and developed, sometimes with variations, sometimes in different keys, but always recognizable as the same main musical idea. Because a riff is a main theme for a song, it often becomes inextricably associated with that song– if you heard the riff out of context, you’d associate it with the song. If the song is a hit, the riff becomes quotable, and anyone else who plays the riff is making an allusion to the original song.
— D Wave (@Dave_Wave_) October 7, 2016