Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American
communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and
Jazz is seen by many as 'America's classical music'.
Since the 1920s
Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form
of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent
traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds
European-American musical parentage with a
Jazz is characterized by swing and blue
notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz
has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in
African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well
as European military band music. Although the foundation of jazz is
deeply rooted within the black experience of the United States,
different cultures have contributed their own experience and styles to
the art form as well. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz
as "one of America's original art forms".
As jazz spread around the world, it drew on different national,
regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to many
New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s,
combining earlier brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine,
ragtime and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation. In the
1930s, heavily arranged dance-oriented swing big bands, Kansas City
jazz, a hard-swinging, bluesy, improvisational style and
Gypsy jazz (a
style that emphasized musette waltzes) were the prominent styles.
Bebop emerged in the 1940s, shifting jazz from danceable popular music
toward a more challenging "musician's music" which was played at
faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation. Cool jazz
developed near the end of the 1940s, introducing calmer, smoother
sounds and long, linear melodic lines.
The 1950s saw the emergence of free jazz, which explored playing
without regular meter, beat and formal structures, and in the
mid-1950s, hard bop emerged, which introduced influences from rhythm
and blues, gospel, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano
Modal jazz developed in the late 1950s, using the mode, or
musical scale, as the basis of musical structure and improvisation.
Jazz-rock fusion appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s, combining
jazz improvisation with rock music's rhythms, electric instruments,
and highly amplified stage sound. In the early 1980s, a commercial
form of jazz fusion called smooth jazz became successful, garnering
significant radio airplay. Other styles and genres abound in the
2000s, such as Latin and
1 Etymology and definition
2 Elements and issues
2.2 Tradition and race
2.3 Roles of women
3.1.1 Blended African and European music sensibilities
22.214.171.124 African rhythmic retention
3.1.2 "Spanish tinge"—the
Afro-Cuban rhythmic influence
126.96.36.199 African genesis
188.8.131.52 W. C. Handy: early published blues
184.108.40.206 Within the context of Western harmony
3.2.3 New Orleans
220.127.116.11 Swing in the early 20th century
3.2.4 Other regions
3.3 1920s and 1930s
3.3.2 Swing in the 1920s and 1930s
3.3.3 Beginnings of European jazz
3.4 1940s and 1950s
3.4.1 "American music"—the influence of Ellington
Cuban jazz (cu-bop)
Machito and Mario Bauza
Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo
18.104.22.168 African cross-rhythm
Cool jazz and West Coast jazz
3.4.6 Hard bop
3.4.7 Modal jazz
3.4.8 Free jazz
Free jazz in Europe
3.5 1960s and 1970s
3.5.1 Latin jazz
Cuban jazz renaissance
22.214.171.124 Afro-Brazilian jazz
3.5.3 Soul jazz
126.96.36.199 Pentatonic scales
188.8.131.52 Miles Davis' new directions
184.108.40.206.1 Bitches Brew
220.127.116.11.2 Herbie Hancock
18.104.22.168.3 Weather Report
3.5.7 Other trends
3.6.1 Resurgence of traditionalism
3.6.2 Smooth jazz
3.6.3 Acid jazz, nu jazz and jazz rap
Punk jazz and jazzcore
4 See also
7 External links
Etymology and definition
American jazz composer, lyricist, and pianist
Eubie Blake made an
early contribution to the genre's etymology
Albert Gleizes, 1915,
Composition for "Jazz"
Composition for "Jazz" from the Solomon R.
Guggenheim Museum, New York
The origin of the word jazz has resulted in considerable research, and
its history is well documented. It is believed to be related to jasm,
a slang term dating back to 1860 meaning "pep, energy". The
earliest written record of the word is in a 1912 article in the Los
Angeles Times in which a minor league baseball pitcher described a
pitch which he called a jazz ball "because it wobbles and you simply
can't do anything with it".
The use of the word in a musical context was documented as early as
1915 in the Chicago Daily Tribune. Its first documented use in a
musical context in
New Orleans was in a November 14, 1916
Times-Picayune article about "jas bands". In an interview with NPR,
Eubie Blake offered his recollections of the original slang
connotations of the term, saying: "When Broadway picked it up, they
called it 'J-A-Z-Z'. It wasn't called that. It was spelled 'J-A-S-S'.
That was dirty, and if you knew what it was, you wouldn't say it in
front of ladies." The American Dialect Society named it the Word
of the Twentieth Century.
Jazz is difficult to define because it encompasses a wide range of
music spanning a period of over 100 years, from ragtime to the
rock-infused fusion. Attempts have been made to define jazz from the
perspective of other musical traditions, such as European music
history or African music. But critic
Joachim-Ernst Berendt argues that
its terms of reference and its definition should be broader,
defining jazz as a "form of art music which originated in the United
States through the confrontation of the Negro with European music"
and arguing that it differs from European music in that jazz has a
"special relationship to time defined as 'swing'".
Jazz involves "a
spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation
plays a role" and contains a "sonority and manner of phrasing which
mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician". In the
opinion of Robert Christgau, "most of us would say that inventing
meaning while letting loose is the essence and promise of jazz".
A broader definition that encompasses different eras of jazz has been
proposed by Travis Jackson: "it is music that includes qualities such
as swing, improvising, group interaction, developing an 'individual
voice', and being open to different musical possibilities". Krin
Gibbard argued that "jazz is a construct" which designates "a number
of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent
tradition". In contrast to commentators who have argued for
excluding types of jazz, musicians are sometimes reluctant to define
the music they play. Duke Ellington, one of jazz's most famous
figures, said, "It's all music."
Elements and issues
Double bassist Reggie Workman, saxophone player Pharoah Sanders, and
Idris Muhammad performing in 1978
Although jazz is considered difficult to define, in part because it
contains many subgenres, improvisation is one of its key
elements. The centrality of improvisation is
attributed to the influence of earlier forms of music such as blues, a
form of folk music which arose in part from the work songs and field
African-American slaves on plantations. These work songs
were commonly structured around a repetitive call-and-response
pattern, but early blues was also improvisational. Classical music
performance is evaluated more by its fidelity to the musical score,
with less attention given to interpretation, ornamentation, and
accompaniment. The classical performer's goal is to play the
composition as it was written. In contrast, jazz is often
characterized by the product of interaction and collaboration, placing
less value on the contribution of the composer, if there is one, and
performer. The jazz performer interprets a tune in individual
ways, never playing the same composition twice. Depending on the
performer's mood, experience, and interaction with band members or
audience members, the performer may change melodies, harmonies, and
In early Dixieland, a.k.a.
New Orleans jazz, performers took turns
playing melodies and improvising countermelodies. In the swing era of
the 1920s–'40s, big bands relied more on arrangements which were
written or learned by ear and memorized. Soloists improvised within
these arrangements. In the bebop era of the 1940s, big bands gave way
to small groups and minimal arrangements in which the melody was
stated briefly at the beginning and most of the song was improvised.
Modal jazz abandoned chord progressions to allow musicians to
improvise even more. In many forms of jazz, a soloist is supported by
a rhythm section of one or more chordal instruments (piano, guitar),
double bass, and drums. The rhythm section plays chords and rhythms
that outline the song structure and complement the soloist. In
avant-garde and free jazz, the separation of soloist and band is
reduced, and there is license, or even a requirement, for the
abandoning of chords, scales, and meters.
Tradition and race
Since the emergence of bebop, forms of jazz that are commercially
oriented or influenced by popular music have been criticized.
According to Bruce Johnson, there has always been a "tension between
jazz as a commercial music and an art form". Traditional jazz
enthusiasts have dismissed bebop, free jazz, and jazz fusion as forms
of debasement and betrayal. An alternative view is that jazz can
absorb and transform diverse musical styles. By avoiding the
creation of norms, jazz allows avant-garde styles to emerge.
For some African Americans, jazz has drawn attention to
African-American contributions to culture and history. For others,
jazz is a reminder of "an oppressive and racist society and
restrictions on their artistic visions".
Amiri Baraka argues that
there is a "white jazz" genre that expresses whiteness. White jazz
musicians appeared in the early 1920s in the midwest and in other
areas throughout the U.S.
Bix Beiderbecke was one of the most
prominent. The Chicago School (or Chicago Style) was developed by
white musicians such as Eddie Condon, Bud Freeman, Jimmy McPartland,
and Dave Tough. Others from Chicago such as
Benny Goodman and Gene
Krupa became leading members of swing during the 1930s. Many bands
included both black and white musicians. These musicians helped
changed attitudes toward race in the U.S.
Roles of women
Ethel Waters sang "Stormy Weather" at the Cotton Club.
Betty Carter was known for her improvisational style and scatting.
Women jazz performers and composers have contributed throughout jazz
history. Although Betty Carter, Ella Fitzgerald, Adelaide Hall, Billie
Holiday, Abbey Lincoln, Anita O'Day, Dinah Washington, and Ethel
Waters were recognized for their vocal talent, women received less
recognition for their accomplishments as bandleaders, composers, and
instrumentalists. This group includes pianist
Lil Hardin Armstrong
Lil Hardin Armstrong and
Irene Higginbotham and Dorothy Fields. Women began playing
instruments in jazz in the early 1920s, drawing particular recognition
on piano. Popular musicians of the time were Lovie Austin, Sweet
Emma Barrett, Jeanette Kimball, Billie Pierce, Mary Lou Williams
When male jazz musicians were drafted during World War II, many
all-female bands took over. The International Sweethearts of
Rhythm, which was founded in 1937, was a popular band that became the
first all-female integrated band in the U.S. and the first to travel
with the USO, touring Europe in 1945. Women were members of the big
Woody Herman and Gerald Wilson. From the 1950s onwards many
women jazz instrumentalists became prominent, some sustaining lengthy
careers. Over the decades, some of the most distinctive improvisers,
composers and bandleaders in jazz have been women.
Jazz originated in the late 19th to early 20th century as
interpretations of American and European classical music entwined with
African and slave folk songs and the influences of West African
culture. Its composition and style have changed many times
throughout the years with each performer's personal interpretation and
improvisation, which is also one of the greatest appeals of the
Blended African and European music sensibilities
Congo Square in the late 1700s, artist's conception by E. W.
Kemble from a century later
In the late 18th-century painting The Old Plantation,
African-Americans dance to banjo and percussion.
By the 18th century, slaves gathered socially at a special market, in
an area which later became known as Congo Square, famous for its
By 1866, the
Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade had brought nearly 400,000 Africans
to North America. The slaves came largely from
West Africa and
Congo River basin and brought strong musical traditions
with them. The African traditions primarily use a single-line
melody and call-and-response pattern, and the rhythms have a
counter-metric structure and reflect African speech patterns.
An 1885 account says that they were making strange music (Creole) on
an equally strange variety of 'instruments'—washboards, washtubs,
jugs, boxes beaten with sticks or bones and a drum made by stretching
skin over a flour-barrel.
Lavish festivals featuring African-based dances to drums were
organized on Sundays at Place Congo, or Congo Square, in New Orleans
until 1843. There are historical accounts of other music and dance
gatherings elsewhere in the southern United States. Robert Palmer said
of percussive slave music:
Usually such music was associated with annual festivals, when the
year's crop was harvested and several days were set aside for
celebration. As late as 1861, a traveler in North Carolina saw dancers
dressed in costumes that included horned headdresses and cow tails and
heard music provided by a sheepskin-covered "gumbo box", apparently a
frame drum; triangles and jawbones furnished the auxiliary percussion.
There are quite a few [accounts] from the southeastern states and
Louisiana dating from the period 1820–1850. Some of the earliest
[Mississippi] Delta settlers came from the vicinity of New Orleans,
where drumming was never actively discouraged for very long and
homemade drums were used to accompany public dancing until the
outbreak of the Civil War.
Another influence came from the harmonic style of hymns of the church,
which black slaves had learned and incorporated into their own music
as spirituals. The origins of the blues are undocumented, though
they can be seen as the secular counterpart of the spirituals.
Gerhard Kubik points out, whereas the spirituals are
homophonic, rural blues and early jazz "was largely based on concepts
Virginia Minstrels in 1843, featuring tambourine,
fiddle, banjo and bones
During the early 19th century an increasing number of black musicians
learned to play European instruments, particularly the violin, which
they used to parody European dance music in their own cakewalk dances.
European-American minstrel show performers in blackface
popularized the music internationally, combining syncopation with
European harmonic accompaniment. In the mid-1800s the white New
Louis Moreau Gottschalk
Louis Moreau Gottschalk adapted slave rhythms and
melodies from Cuba and other Caribbean islands into piano salon music.
New Orleans was the main nexus between the Afro-Caribbean and
African rhythmic retention
The "Black Codes" outlawed drumming by slaves, which meant that
African drumming traditions were not preserved in North America,
unlike in Cuba, Haiti, and elsewhere in the Caribbean. African-based
rhythmic patterns were retained in the United States in large part
through "body rhythms" such as stomping, clapping, and patting juba
In the opinion of jazz historian Ernest Borneman, what preceded New
Orleans jazz before 1890 was "Afro-Latin music", similar to what was
played in the Caribbean at the time. A three-stroke pattern known
in Cuban music as tresillo is a fundamental rhythmic figure heard in
many different slave musics of the Caribbean, as well as the
Afro-Caribbean folk dances performed in
Congo Square and
Gottschalk's compositions (for example "Souvenirs From Havana"
Tresillo is the most basic and most prevalent duple-pulse
rhythmic cell in sub-Saharan African music traditions and the music of
the African Diaspora.
Tresillo. Play (help·info)
Tresillo is heard prominently in
New Orleans second line music and in
other forms of popular music from that city from the turn of the 20th
century to present. "By and large the simpler African rhythmic
patterns survived in jazz ... because they could be adapted more
readily to European rhythmic conceptions," jazz historian Gunther
Schuller observed. "Some survived, others were discarded as the
In the post-Civil War period (after 1865), African Americans were able
to obtain surplus military bass drums, snare drums and fifes, and an
African-American drum and fife music emerged, featuring
tresillo and related syncopated rhythmic figures. This was a
drumming tradition that was distinct from its Caribbean counterparts,
expressing a uniquely
African-American sensibility. "The snare and
bass drummers played syncopated cross-rhythms," observed the writer
Robert Palmer, speculating that "this tradition must have dated back
to the latter half of the nineteenth century, and it could have not
have developed in the first place if there hadn't been a reservoir of
polyrhythmic sophistication in the culture it nurtured."
Afro-Cuban rhythmic influence
African-American music began incorporating
Afro-Cuban rhythmic motifs
in the 19th century when the habanera (Cuban contradanza) gained
international popularity. Musicians from
Havana and New Orleans
would take the twice-daily ferry between both cities to perform, and
the habanera quickly took root in the musically fertile Crescent City.
John Storm Roberts states that the musical genre habanera "reached the
U.S. twenty years before the first rag was published." For the
more than quarter-century in which the cakewalk, ragtime, and
proto-jazz were forming and developing, the habanera was a consistent
African-American popular music.
Habaneras were widely available as sheet music and were the first
written music which was rhythmically based on an African motif
(1803). From the perspective of
African-American music, the
habanera rhythm (also known as congo, tango-congo, or
tango.) can be thought of as a combination of tresillo and the
backbeat. The habanera was the first of many Cuban music genres
which enjoyed periods of popularity in the United States and
reinforced and inspired the use of tresillo-based rhythms in
Habanera rhythm written as a combination of tresillo (bottom notes)
with the backbeat (top note) Play (help·info)
New Orleans native Louis Moreau Gottschalk's piano piece "Ojos
Criollos (Danse Cubaine)" (1860) was influenced by the composer's
studies in Cuba: the habanera rhythm is clearly heard in the left
hand. In Gottschalk's symphonic work "A Night in the Tropics"
(1859), the tresillo variant cinquillo appears extensively. The
figure was later used by
Scott Joplin and other ragtime composers.
Cinquillo. Play (help·info)
Comparing the music of
New Orleans with the music of Cuba, Wynton
Marsalis observes that tresillo is the
New Orleans "clave", a Spanish
word meaning 'code' or 'key', as in the key to a puzzle, or
mystery. Although technically the pattern is only half a clave,
Marsalis makes the point that the single-celled figure is the
New Orleans music.
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton called the
rhythmic figure the
Spanish tinge and considered it an essential
ingredient of jazz.
Main article: Ragtime
Scott Joplin in 1903
The abolition of slavery in 1865 led to new opportunities for the
education of freed African Americans. Although strict segregation
limited employment opportunities for most blacks, many were able to
find work in entertainment. Black musicians were able to provide
entertainment in dances, minstrel shows, and in vaudeville, during
which time many marching bands were formed. Black pianists played in
bars, clubs, and brothels, as ragtime developed.
Ragtime appeared as sheet music, popularized by African-American
musicians such as the entertainer Ernest Hogan, whose hit songs
appeared in 1895. Two years later,
Vess Ossman recorded a medley of
these songs as a banjo solo known as "Rag Time Medley". Also
in 1897, the white composer William H. Krell published his
"Mississippi Rag" as the first written piano instrumental ragtime
Tom Turpin published his "Harlem Rag", the first rag
published by an African-American.
The classically trained pianist
Scott Joplin produced his "Original
Rags" in 1898 and, in 1899, had an international hit with "Maple Leaf
Rag", a multi-strain ragtime march with four parts that feature
recurring themes and a bass line with copious seventh chords. Its
structure was the basis for many other rags, and the syncopations in
the right hand, especially in the transition between the first and
second strain, were novel at the time.
Excerpt from "Maple Leaf Rag" by
Scott Joplin (1899), seventh chord
resolution Play (help·info). The seventh resolves down
by half step.
African-based rhythmic patterns such as tresillo and its variants, the
habanera rhythm and cinquillo, are heard in the ragtime compositions
of Joplin, Turpin, and others. Joplin's "Solace" (1909) is generally
considered to be within the habanera genre: both of the
pianist's hands play in a syncopated fashion, completely abandoning
any sense of a march rhythm.
Ned Sublette postulates that the
tresillo/habanera rhythm "found its way into ragtime and the
cakewalk," whilst Roberts suggests that "the habanera influence
may have been part of what freed black music from ragtime's European
Main article: Blues
Play blues scale (help·info) or pentatonic
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre,
which originated in
African-American communities of primarily the
"Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from
their spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants and
rhymed simple narrative ballads.
The African use of pentatonic scales contributed to the development of
blue notes in blues and jazz. As Kubik explains:
Many of the rural blues of the
Deep South are stylistically an
extension and merger of basically two broad accompanied song-style
traditions in the west central Sudanic belt:
A strongly Arabic/Islamic song style, as found for example among the
Hausa. It is characterized by melisma, wavy intonation, pitch
instabilities within a pentatonic framework, and a declamatory voice.
An ancient west central Sudanic stratum of pentatonic song
composition, often associated with simple work rhythms in a regular
meter, but with notable off-beat accents (1999: 94).
W. C. Handy: early published blues
W. C. Handy
W. C. Handy at 19, 1892
W. C. Handy
W. C. Handy became intrigued by the folk blues of the Deep South
whilst traveling through the Mississippi Delta. In this folk blues
form, the singer would improvise freely within a limited melodic
range, sounding like a field holler, and the guitar accompaniment was
slapped rather than strummed, like a small drum which responded in
syncopated accents, functioning as another "voice". Handy and his
band members were formally trained
African-American musicians who had
not grown up with the blues, yet he was able to adapt the blues to a
larger band instrument format and arrange them in a popular music
Handy wrote about his adopting of the blues:
The primitive southern Negro, as he sang, was sure to bear down on the
third and seventh tone of the scale, slurring between major and minor.
Whether in the cotton field of the Delta or on the Levee up St. Louis
way, it was always the same. Till then, however, I had never heard
this slur used by a more sophisticated Negro, or by any white man. I
tried to convey this effect ... by introducing flat thirds and
sevenths (now called blue notes) into my song, although its prevailing
key was major ..., and I carried this device into my melody as
The publication of his "Memphis Blues" sheet music in 1912 introduced
the 12-bar blues to the world (although
Gunther Schuller argues that
it is not really a blues, but "more like a cakewalk"). This
composition, as well as his later "St. Louis Blues" and others,
included the habanera rhythm, and would become jazz standards.
Handy's music career began in the pre-jazz era and contributed to the
codification of jazz through the publication of some of the first jazz
Within the context of Western harmony
The blues form which is ubiquitous in jazz is characterized by
specific chord progressions, of which the twelve-bar blues progression
is the most common. Basic blues progressionions are based on the I, IV
and V chords (often called the "one", "four" and "five" chords). An
important part of the sound are the microtonal blue notes which, for
expressive purposes, are sung or played flattened (thus "between" the
notes on a piano), or gradually "bent" (minor third to major third) in
relation to the pitch of the major scale. The blue notes opened up an
entirely new approach to Western harmony, ultimately leading to a high
level of harmonic complexity in jazz.
Main article: Dixieland
The Bolden Band around 1905
The music of
New Orleans had a profound effect on the creation of
early jazz. The reason why jazz is mainly associated with New Orleans
is due to the slaves being able to practice elements of their culture
such as voodoo, and they were also allowed drums. Many early jazz
performers played in venues throughout the city, such as the brothels
and bars of the red-light district around Basin Street, known as
"Storyville". In addition to dance bands, there were numerous
marching bands who played at lavish funerals (later called jazz
funerals), which were arranged by the
European-American communities. The instruments used in marching bands
and dance bands became the basic instruments of jazz: brass, reeds
tuned in the European 12-tone scale, and drums. Small bands which
mixed self-taught and well-educated
African-American musicians, many
of whom came from the funeral procession tradition of New Orleans,
played a seminal role in the development and dissemination of early
jazz. These bands travelled throughout Black communities in the Deep
South and, from around 1914 onwards, Afro-Creole and African-American
musicians played in vaudeville shows which took jazz to western and
northern US cities.
Jelly Roll Morton, in Los Angeles, California, c. 1917 or 1918
In New Orleans, a white marching band leader named Papa Jack Laine
integrated blacks and whites in his marching band. Laine was known as
"the father of white jazz" because of the many top players who passed
through his bands (including George Brunies, Sharkey Bonano and the
future members of the Original
Dixieland Jass Band). Laine was a good
talent scout. During the early 1900s, jazz was mostly done in the
African-American and mulatto communities, due to segregation laws. The
red light district of Storyville,
New Orleans was crucial in bringing
jazz music to a wider audience via tourists who came to the port
city. Many jazz musicians from the
were hired to perform live music in brothels and bars, including many
early jazz pioneers such as
Buddy Bolden and Jelly Roll Morton, in
addition to those from
New Orleans other communities such as Lorenzo
Tio and Alcide Nunez.
Louis Armstrong also got his start in
Storyville and would later find success in Chicago (along with
others from New Orleans) after the United States government shut down
Storyville in 1917.
Buddy Bolden led a band who are often mentioned as one
of the prime originators of the style later to be called "jazz". He
New Orleans around 1895–1906, before developing a mental
illness; there are no recordings of him playing. Bolden's band is
credited with creating the big four, the first syncopated bass drum
pattern to deviate from the standard on-the-beat march. As the
example below shows, the second half of the big four pattern is the
Buddy Bolden's "big four" pattern Play (help·info)
Morton published "Jelly Roll Blues" in 1915, the first jazz work in
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton began his career in Storyville.
From 1904, he toured with vaudeville shows around southern cities,
also playing in Chicago and New York City. In 1905, he composed his
"Jelly Roll Blues", which on its publication in 1915 became the first
jazz arrangement in print, introducing more musicians to the New
Morton considered the tresillo/habanera (which he called the Spanish
tinge) to be an essential ingredient of jazz. In his own words:
Now in one of my earliest tunes, "
New Orleans Blues," you can notice
the Spanish tinge. In fact, if you can't manage to put tinges of
Spanish in your tunes, you will never be able to get the right
seasoning, I call it, for jazz.
Excerpt from Jelly Roll Morton's "
New Orleans Blues" (c. 1902). The
left hand plays the tresillo rhythm. The right hand plays variations
on cinquillo. Play (help·info)
Morton was a crucial innovator in the evolution from the early jazz
form known as ragtime to jazz piano, and could perform pieces in
either style; in 1938, Morton made a series of recordings for the
Library of Congress, in which he demonstrated the difference between
the two styles. Morton's solos, however, were still close to ragtime,
and were not merely improvisations over chord changes as in later
jazz, but his use of the blues was of equal importance.
Swing in the early 20th century
Bottom: even duple subdivisions of the beat Top: swung
correlative—contrasting of duple and triple subdivisions of the beat
Play straight drum pattern (help·info) or Play swung
Morton loosened ragtime's rigid rhythmic feeling, decreasing its
embellishments and employing a swing feeling. Swing is the most
important and enduring African-based rhythmic technique used in jazz.
An oft quoted definition of swing by
Louis Armstrong is: "if you don't
feel it, you'll never know it." The New Harvard Dictionary of
Music states that swing is: "An intangible rhythmic momentum in jazz
... Swing defies analysis; claims to its presence may inspire
arguments." The dictionary does nonetheless provide the useful
description of triple subdivisions of the beat contrasted with duple
subdivisions: swing superimposes six subdivisions of the beat over
a basic pulse structure or four subdivisions. This aspect of swing is
far more prevalent in
African-American music than in Afro-Caribbean
music. One aspect of swing, which is heard in more rhythmically
complex Diaspora musics, places strokes in-between the triple and
New Orleans brass bands are a lasting influence, contributing horn
players to the world of professional jazz with the distinct sound of
the city whilst helping black children escape poverty. The leader of
New Orleans' Camelia Brass Band, D'Jalma Ganier, taught Louis
Armstrong to play trumpet; Armstrong would then popularize the New
Orleans style of trumpet playing, and then expand it. Like Jelly Roll
Morton, Armstrong is also credited with the abandonment of ragtime's
stiffness in favor of swung notes. Armstrong, perhaps more than any
other musician, codified the rhythmic technique of swing in jazz and
broadened the jazz solo vocabulary.
Sheet music for "Livery Stable Blues"/"Barnyard Blues" by the Original
Jazz Band, Leo Feist, Inc., New York, copyright 1917
Dixieland Jass Band made the music's first recordings
early in 1917, and their "Livery Stable Blues" became the earliest
released jazz record. That year,
numerous other bands made recordings featuring "jazz" in the title or
band name, but most were ragtime or novelty records rather than jazz.
In February 1918 during World War I, James Reese Europe's
"Hellfighters" infantry band took ragtime to Europe, then on
their return recorded
Dixieland standards including "Darktown
In the northeastern United States, a "hot" style of playing ragtime
had developed, notably James Reese Europe's symphonic Clef Club
orchestra in New York City, which played a benefit concert at Carnegie
Hall in 1912. The Baltimore rag style of Eubie Blake
influenced James P. Johnson's development of stride piano playing, in
which the right hand plays the melody, while the left hand provides
the rhythm and bassline.
In Ohio and elsewhere in the midwest the major influence was ragtime,
until about 1919. Around 1912, when the four-string banjo and
saxophone came in, musicians began to improvise the melody line, but
the harmony and rhythm remained unchanged. A contemporary account
states that blues could only be heard in jazz in the gut-bucket
cabarets, which were generally looked down upon by the Black
1920s and 1930s
Jazz Me Blues
Dixieland Jass Band performing "
Jazz Me Blues", an
example of a jazz piece from 1921
Problems playing this file? See media help.
The King & Carter Jazzing Orchestra photographed in Houston,
Texas, January 1921
From 1920 to 1933,
Prohibition in the United States
Prohibition in the United States banned the sale of
alcoholic drinks, resulting in illicit speakeasies which became lively
venues of the "
Jazz Age", hosting popular music including current
dance songs, novelty songs, and show tunes.
Jazz began to get a
reputation as being immoral, and many members of the older generations
saw it as threatening the old cultural values and promoting the new
decadent values of the Roaring 20s.
Henry van Dyke
Henry van Dyke of Princeton
University wrote, "... it is not music at all. It's merely an
irritation of the nerves of hearing, a sensual teasing of the strings
of physical passion." The media too began to denigrate jazz. The
New York Times used stories and headlines to pick at jazz: Siberian
villagers were said by the paper to have used jazz to scare off bears
when, in fact, they had used pots and pans; another story claimed that
the fatal heart attack of a celebrated conductor was caused by
In 1919, Kid Ory's Original Creole
Jazz Band of musicians from New
Orleans began playing in San Francisco and Los Angeles, where in 1922
they became the first black jazz band of
New Orleans origin to make
recordings. That year also saw the first recording by Bessie
Smith, the most famous of the 1920s blues singers. Chicago
meanwhile was developing the new "Hot Jazz", where King Oliver joined
Bix Beiderbecke formed The Wolverines in 1924.
Despite its Southern black origins, there was a larger market for
jazzy dance music played by white orchestras. In 1918, Paul Whiteman
and his orchestra became a hit in San Francisco, California, signing
Victor Talking Machine Company
Victor Talking Machine Company in 1920 and becoming the top
bandleader of the 1920s, giving "hot jazz" a white component, hiring
white musicians including Bix Beiderbecke, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey,
Frankie Trumbauer, and Joe Venuti. In 1924, Whiteman commissioned
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, which was premiered by his orchestra and
jazz began to be recognized as a notable musical form. Olin Downes,
reviewing the concert in The New York Times: "This composition shows
extraordinary talent, as it shows a young composer with aims that go
far beyond those of his ilk, struggling with a form of which he is far
from being master.... In spite of all this, he has expressed himself
in a significant and, on the whole, highly original form.... His first
theme ... is no mere dance-tune ... it is an idea, or several ideas,
correlated and combined in varying and contrasting rhythms that
immediately intrigue the listener."
After Whiteman's band successfully toured Europe, huge hot jazz
orchestras in theater pits caught on with other whites, including Fred
Waring, Jean Goldkette, and Nathaniel Shilkret. According to Mario
Dunkel, Whiteman's success was based on a "rhetoric of domestication"
according to which he had elevated and rendered valuable (read
"white") a previously inchoate (read "black") kind of music.
Whiteman's success caused blacks to follow suit, including Earl Hines
(who opened in The
Grand Terrace Cafe in Chicago in 1928), Duke
Ellington (who opened at the
Cotton Club in Harlem in 1927), Lionel
Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, Claude Hopkins, and Don Redman, with
Henderson and Redman developing the "talking to one another" formula
for "hot" Swing music.
Trumpeter, composer and singer
Louis Armstrong began his career in New
Orleans and became one of jazz's most recognizable performers.
Louis Armstrong joined the
Fletcher Henderson dance band for
a year, as featured soloist. The original
New Orleans style was
polyphonic, with theme variation and simultaneous collective
improvisation. Armstrong was a master of his hometown style, but by
the time he joined Henderson's band, he was already a trailblazer in a
new phase of jazz, with its emphasis on arrangements and soloists.
Armstrong's solos went well beyond the theme-improvisation concept and
extemporized on chords, rather than melodies. According to Schuller,
by comparison, the solos by Armstrong's bandmates (including a young
Coleman Hawkins), sounded "stiff, stodgy," with "jerky rhythms and a
grey undistinguished tone quality." The following example shows a
short excerpt of the straight melody of "Mandy, Make Up Your Mind" by
George W. Meyer and Arthur Johnston (top), compared with Armstrong's
solo improvisations (below) (recorded 1924). (The example
approximates Armstrong's solo, as it doesn't convey his use of swing.)
Top: excerpt from the straight melody of "Mandy, Make Up Your Mind" by
George W. Meyer & Arthur Johnston. Bottom: corresponding solo
Louis Armstrong (1924).
Armstrong's solos were a significant factor in making jazz a true
20th-century language. After leaving Henderson's group, Armstrong
formed his virtuosic Hot Five band, where he popularized scat
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton recorded with the
New Orleans Rhythm Kings in an
early mixed-race collaboration, then in 1926 formed his Red Hot
Also in the 1920s Skiffle, jazz played with homemade instruments such
as washboard, jugs, musical saw, kazoos, etc. began to be recorded in
Chicago, later merging with country music.
Swing in the 1920s and 1930s
Swing music and 1930s in jazz
Benny Goodman (1943)
The 1930s belonged to popular swing big bands, in which some virtuoso
soloists became as famous as the band leaders. Key figures in
developing the "big" jazz band included bandleaders and arrangers
Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington,
Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Glenn Miller, Artie
Shaw, Harry James, and Jimmie Lunceford. Although it was a collective
sound, swing also offered individual musicians a chance to "solo" and
improvise melodic, thematic solos which could at times be very complex
Swing was also dance music. It was broadcast on the radio "live"
nightly across America for many years, especially by
Earl Hines and
Grand Terrace Cafe Orchestra broadcasting coast-to-coast from
Chicago (well placed for "live" US time-zones).
Over time, social strictures regarding racial segregation began to
relax in America: white bandleaders began to recruit black musicians
and black bandleaders white ones. In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman
hired pianist Teddy Wilson, vibraphonist
Lionel Hampton and guitarist
Charlie Christian to join small groups. In the 1930s, Kansas City Jazz
as exemplified by tenor saxophonist
Lester Young marked the transition
from big bands to the bebop influence of the 1940s. An early 1940s
style known as "jumping the blues" or jump blues used small combos,
uptempo music and blues chord progressions, drawing on boogie-woogie
from the 1930s.
Beginnings of European jazz
As only a limited number of American jazz records were released in
Europe, European jazz traces many of its roots to American artists
such as James Reese Europe, Paul Whiteman, and Lonnie Johnson, who
visited Europe during and after World War I. It was their live
performances which inspired European audiences' interest in jazz, as
well as the interest in all things American (and therefore exotic)
which accompanied the economic and political woes of Europe during
this time. The beginnings of a distinct European style of jazz
began to emerge in this interwar period.
British jazz began with a tour by the Original
Jazz Band in
1919. In 1926,
Fred Elizalde and His Cambridge Undergraduates began
broadcasting on the BBC. Thereafter jazz became an important element
in many leading dance orchestras and jazz instrumentalists quickly
This distinct style entered full swing in France with the Quintette du
Hot Club de France, which began in 1934. Much of this
French jazz was
a combination of
African-American jazz and the symphonic styles in
which French musicians were well-trained; in this, it is easy to see
the inspiration taken from
Paul Whiteman since his style was also a
fusion of the two. Belgian guitar virtuoso Django Reinhardt
popularized gypsy jazz, a mix of 1930s American swing, French dance
hall "musette" and Eastern European folk with a languid, seductive
feel; the main instruments are steel stringed guitar, violin, and
double bass, and solos pass from one player to another as the guitar
and bass play the role of the rhythm section. Some music researchers
hold that it was Philadelphia's
Eddie Lang and
Joe Venuti who
pioneered the guitar-violin partnership typical of the genre,
which was brought to France after they had been heard live or on Okeh
Records in the late 1920s.
1940s and 1950s
"American music"—the influence of Ellington
Duke Ellington at the Hurricane Club (1943)
By the 1940s, Duke Ellington's music had transcended the bounds of
swing, bridging jazz and art music in a natural synthesis. Ellington
called his music "American Music" rather than jazz, and liked to
describe those who impressed him as "beyond category." These
included many of the musicians who were members of his orchestra, some
of whom are considered among the best in jazz in their own right, but
it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most popular jazz
orchestras in the history of jazz. He often composed specifically for
the style and skills of these individuals, such as "Jeep's Blues" for
Johnny Hodges, "Concerto for Cootie" for
Cootie Williams (which later
became "Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me" with Bob Russell's lyrics),
and "The Mooche" for
Tricky Sam Nanton
Tricky Sam Nanton and Bubber Miley. He also
recorded songs written by his bandsmen, such as Juan Tizol's "Caravan"
and "Perdido", which brought the "Spanish Tinge" to big-band jazz.
Several members of the orchestra remained with him for several
decades. The band reached a creative peak in the early 1940s, when
Ellington and a small hand-picked group of his composers and arrangers
wrote for an orchestra of distinctive voices who displayed tremendous
Main article: Bebop
See also: List of bebop musicians
Thelonious Monk at Minton's Playhouse, 1947, New York City
Earl Hines 1947
In the early 1940s, bebop-style performers began to shift jazz from
danceable popular music toward a more challenging "musician's music."
The most influential bebop musicians included saxophonist Charlie
Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, trumpeters Dizzy
Gillespie and Clifford Brown, and drummer Max Roach. Divorcing itself
from dance music, bebop established itself more as an art form, thus
lessening its potential popular and commercial appeal.
Gunther Schuller wrote:
... In 1943 I heard the great
Earl Hines band which had Bird in it and
all those other great musicians. They were playing all the flatted
fifth chords and all the modern harmonies and substitutions and Dizzy
Gillespie runs in the trumpet section work. Two years later I read
that that was 'bop' and the beginning of modern jazz ... but the band
never made recordings.
Dizzy Gillespie wrote:
... People talk about the Hines band being 'the incubator of bop' and
the leading exponents of that music ended up in the Hines band. But
people also have the erroneous impression that the music was new. It
was not. The music evolved from what went before. It was the same
basic music. The difference was in how you got from here to here to
here ... naturally each age has got its own shit.
Since bebop was meant to be listened to, not danced to, it could use
faster tempos. Drumming shifted to a more elusive and explosive style,
in which the ride cymbal was used to keep time while the snare and
bass drum were used for accents. This led to a highly syncopated music
with a linear rhythmic complexity.
Charlie Parker, Tommy Potter, Miles Davis,
Max Roach (Gottlieb 06941)
Bebop musicians employed several harmonic devices which were not
previously typical in jazz, engaging in a more abstracted form of
Bebop scales are traditional scales with an
added chromatic passing note; bebop also uses "passing" chords,
substitute chords, and altered chords. New forms of chromaticism and
dissonance were introduced into jazz, and the dissonant tritone (or
"flatted fifth") interval became the "most important interval of
Chord progressions for bebop tunes were often taken
directly from popular swing-era songs and reused with a new and more
complex melody and/or reharmonized with more complex chord
progressions to form new compositions, a practice which was already
well-established in earlier jazz, but came to be central to the bebop
Bebop made use of several relatively common chord progressions,
such as blues (at base, I-IV-V, but often infused with ii-V motion)
and 'rhythm changes' (I-VI-ii-V) - the chords to the 1930s pop
standard "I Got Rhythm." Late bop also moved towards extended forms
that represented a departure from pop and show tunes.
The harmonic development in bebop is often traced back to a
transcendent moment experienced by
Charlie Parker while performing
"Cherokee" at Clark Monroe's Uptown House, New York, in early 1942:
I'd been getting bored with the stereotyped changes that were being
used, ... and I kept thinking there's bound to be something else. I
could hear it sometimes. I couldn't play it.... I was working over
'Cherokee,' and, as I did, I found that by using the higher intervals
of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately
related changes, I could play the thing I'd been hearing. It came
Gerhard Kubik postulates that the harmonic development in bebop sprang
from the blues and other African-related tonal sensibilities, rather
than 20th-century Western art music as some have suggested:
Auditory inclinations were the African legacy in [Parker's] life,
reconfirmed by the experience of the blues tonal system, a sound world
at odds with the Western diatonic chord categories.
eliminated Western-style functional harmony in their music while
retaining the strong central tonality of the blues as a basis for
drawing upon various African matrices.
Samuel Floyd states that blues were both the bedrock and propelling
force of bebop, bringing about three main developments:
A new harmonic conception, using extended chord structures that led to
unprecedented harmonic and melodic variety.
A developed and even more highly syncopated, linear rhythmic
complexity and a melodic angularity in which the blue note of the
fifth degree was established as an important melodic-harmonic device.
The reestablishment of the blues as the music's primary organizing and
As Kubik explained:
While for an outside observer, the harmonic innovations in bebop would
appear to be inspired by experiences in Western "serious" music, from
Claude Debussy to Arnold Schoenberg, such a scheme cannot be sustained
by the evidence from a cognitive approach.
Claude Debussy did have
some influence on jazz, for example, on Bix Beiderbecke's piano
playing. And it is also true that
Duke Ellington adopted and
reinterpreted some harmonic devices in European contemporary music.
West Coast jazz would run into such debts as would several forms of
cool jazz, but bebop has hardly any such debts in the sense of direct
borrowings. On the contrary, ideologically, bebop was a strong
statement of rejection of any kind of eclecticism, propelled by a
desire to activate something deeply buried in self.
Bebop then revived
tonal-harmonic ideas transmitted through the blues and reconstructed
and expanded others in a basically non-Western harmonic approach. The
ultimate significance of all this is that the experiments in jazz
during the 1940s brought back to
African-American music several
structural principles and techniques rooted in African traditions
These divergences from the jazz mainstream of the time initially met
with a divided, sometimes hostile, response among fans and fellow
musicians, especially established swing players, who bristled at the
new harmonic sounds. To hostile critics, bebop seemed to be filled
with "racing, nervous phrases". But despite the initial friction,
by the 1950s, bebop had become an accepted part of the jazz
Cuban jazz (cu-bop)
Machito (maracas) and his sister Graciella Grillo (claves)
Machito and Mario Bauza
The general consensus among musicians and musicologists is that the
first original jazz piece to be overtly based in clave was "Tanga"
(1943), composed by Cuban-born
Mario Bauza and recorded by
his Afro-Cubans in New York City. "Tanga" began as a spontaneous
descarga (Cuban jam session), with jazz solos superimposed on
This was the birth of
Afro-Cuban jazz. The use of clave brought the
African timeline, or key pattern, into jazz. Music organized around
key patterns convey a two-celled (binary) structure, which is a
complex level of African cross-rhythm. Within the context of
jazz, however, harmony is the primary referent, not rhythm. The
harmonic progression can begin on either side of clave, and the
harmonic "one" is always understood to be "one". If the progression
begins on the "three-side" of clave, it is said to be in 3-2 clave. If
the progression begins on the "two-side", its in 2-3 clave.
Clave: Spanish for 'code,' or key,' as in the key to a puzzle. The
antecedent half (three-side) consists of tresillo. The consequent half
consists of two strokes (the two-side). Play (help·info)
Bobby Sanabria mentions several innovations of Machito's Afro-Cubans,
citing them as the first band: to wed big band jazz arranging
techniques within an original composition, with jazz oriented soloists
utilizing an authentic
Afro-Cuban based rhythm section in a successful
manner; to explore modal harmony (a concept explored much later by
Miles Davis and Gil Evans) from a jazz arranging perspective; and to
overtly explore the concept of clave counterpoint from an arranging
standpoint (the ability to weave seamlessly from one side of the clave
to the other without breaking its rhythmic integrity within the
structure of a musical arrangement). They were also the first band in
the United States to use the term "Afro-Cuban" as the band's moniker,
thus identifying itself and acknowledging the West African roots of
the musical form they were playing. It forced New York City's Latino
African-American communities to deal with their common West
African musical roots in a direct way, whether they wanted to
acknowledge it publicly or not.
Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo
Dizzy Gillespie, 1955
Mario Bauzá introduced bebop innovator
Dizzy Gillespie to Cuban conga
drummer and composer Chano Pozo. Gillespie and Pozo's brief
collaboration produced some of the most enduring
standards. "Manteca" (1947) is the first jazz standard to be
rhythmically based on clave. According to Gillespie, Pozo composed the
layered, contrapuntal guajeos (
Afro-Cuban ostinatos) of the A section
and the introduction, while Gillespie wrote the bridge. Gillespie
recounted: "If I'd let it go like [Chano] wanted it, it would have
Afro-Cuban all the way. There wouldn't have been a
bridge. I thought I was writing an eight-bar bridge, but...I had to
keep going and ended up writing a sixteen-bar bridge." The bridge
gave "Manteca" a typical jazz harmonic structure, setting the piece
apart from Bauza's modal "Tanga" of a few years earlier.
Gillespie's collaboration with Pozo brought specific African-based
rhythms into bebop. While pushing the boundaries of harmonic
improvisation, cu-bop also drew from African rhythm.
with a Latin A section and a swung B section, with all choruses swung
during solos, became common practice with many Latin tunes of the jazz
standard repertoire. This approach can be heard on pre-1980 recordings
of "Manteca", "A Night in Tunisia", "Tin Tin Deo", and "On Green
Mongo Santamaria (1969)
Mongo Santamaria first recorded his composition
"Afro Blue" in 1959. "Afro Blue" was the first jazz standard
built upon a typical African three-against-two (3:2) cross-rhythm, or
hemiola. The song begins with the bass repeatedly playing 6
cross-beats per each measure of 12/8, or 6 cross-beats per 4 main
beats—6:4 (two cells of 3:2). The following example shows the
original ostinato "Afro Blue" bass line; the slashed noteheads
indicate the main beats (not bass notes), where you would normally tap
your foot to keep time.
"Afro Blue" bass line, with main beats indicated by slashed noteheads.
John Coltrane covered "Afro Blue" in 1963, he inverted the metric
hierarchy, interpreting the tune as a 3/4 jazz waltz with duple
cross-beats superimposed (2:3). Originally a B♭ pentatonic blues,
Coltrane expanded the harmonic structure of "Afro Blue."
Perhaps the most respected
Afro-cuban jazz combo of the late 1950s was
vibraphonist Cal Tjader's band. Tjader had Mongo Santamaria, Armando
Willie Bobo on his early recording dates.
1940s in jazz
1940s in jazz and 1950s in jazz
In the late 1940s, there was a revival of Dixieland, harking back to
New Orleans style. This was driven in large part by
record company reissues of jazz classics by the Oliver, Morton, and
Armstrong bands of the 1930s. There were two types of musicians
involved in the revival: the first group was made up of those who had
begun their careers playing in the traditional style and were
returning to it (or continuing what they had been playing all along),
such as Bob Crosby's Bobcats, Max Kaminsky, Eddie Condon, and Wild
Bill Davison. Most of these players were originally
Midwesterners, although there were a small number of New Orleans
musicians involved. The second group of revivalists consisted of
younger musicians, such as those in the
Lu Watters band, Conrad Janis,
Ward Kimball and his
Firehouse Five Plus Two
Firehouse Five Plus Two
Jazz Band. By the
late 1940s, Louis Armstrong's Allstars band became a leading ensemble.
Through the 1950s and 1960s,
Dixieland was one of the most
commercially popular jazz styles in the US, Europe, and Japan,
although critics paid little attention to it.
Cool jazz and West Coast jazz
Main article: Cool jazz
Jazz at the Philharmonic
Jazz at the Philharmonic announcement, 1956
In 1944, jazz impresario
Norman Granz organized the first
Jazz at the
Philharmonic concert in Los Angeles, which helped make a star of Nat
"King" Cole and Les Paul. In 1946, he founded Clef Records,
Canadian jazz pianist
Oscar Peterson in 1949, and merging
Clef Records with his new label
Verve Records in 1956, which advanced
the career of
Ella Fitzgerald et al.
By the end of the 1940s, the nervous energy and tension of bebop was
replaced with a tendency toward calm and smoothness with the sounds of
cool jazz, which favored long, linear melodic lines. It emerged in New
York City and dominated jazz in the first half of the 1950s. The
starting point was a collection of 1949 and 1950 singles by a nonet
led by Miles Davis, released as the
Birth of the Cool
Birth of the Cool (1957). Later
cool jazz recordings by musicians such as Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck,
Bill Evans, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, the Modern
Jazz Quartet, and Gerry
Mulligan usually had a lighter sound that avoided the aggressive
tempos and harmonic abstraction of bebop.
Cool jazz later became strongly identified with the West Coast jazz
scene, as typified by singers Chet Baker, Mel Tormé, and Anita O'Day,
but it also had a particular resonance in Europe, especially
Scandinavia, where figures such as baritone saxophonist Lars Gullin
Bengt Hallberg emerged. The theoretical underpinnings of
cool jazz were laid out by the Chicago pianist Lennie Tristano, and
its influence stretches into such later developments as bossa nova,
modal jazz, and even free jazz.
"Take The 'A' Train"
This 1941 sample of Duke Ellington's signature tune is an example of
the swing style.
Excerpt from a saxophone solo by Charlie Parker. The fast, complex
rhythms and substitute chords of bebop were important to the formation
This hard blues by
John Coltrane is an example of hard bop, a
post-bebop style which is informed by gospel music, blues, and work
"Birds of Fire"
This 1973 piece by the
Mahavishnu Orchestra merges jazz improvisation
and rock instrumentation into jazz fusion
This 2000 track by
Courtney Pine shows how electronica and hip hop
influences can be incorporated into modern jazz.
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Main article: Hard bop
Hard bop is an extension of bebop (or "bop") music which incorporates
influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music and blues, especially
in the saxophone and piano playing.
Hard bop was developed in the
mid-1950s, coalescing in 1953 and 1954; it developed partly in
response to the vogue for cool jazz in the early 1950s and paralleled
the rise of rhythm and blues. Miles Davis' 1954 performance of
"Walkin'" at the first
Newport Jazz Festival
Newport Jazz Festival announced the style to
the jazz world. The quintet
Art Blakey and the
fronted by Blakey and featuring pianist
Horace Silver and trumpeter
Clifford Brown, were leaders in the hard bop movement along with
Main article: Modal jazz
Modal jazz is a development which began in the later 1950s which takes
the mode, or musical scale, as the basis of musical structure and
improvisation. Previously, a solo was meant to fit into a given chord
progression, but with modal jazz, the soloist creates a melody using
one (or a small number of) modes. The emphasis is thus shifted from
harmony to melody: "Historically, this caused a seismic shift
among jazz musicians, away from thinking vertically (the chord), and
towards a more horizontal approach (the scale)," explained
pianist Mark Levine.
The modal theory stems from a work by George Russell. Miles Davis
introduced the concept to the greater jazz world with Kind of Blue
(1959), an exploration of the possibilities of modal jazz which would
become the best selling jazz album of all time. In contrast to Davis'
earlier work with hard bop and its complex chord progression and
Kind of Blue
Kind of Blue was composed as a series of modal sketches
in which the musicians were given scales that defined the parameters
of their improvisation and style.
"I didn't write out the music for Kind of Blue, but brought in
sketches for what everybody was supposed to play because I wanted a
lot of spontaneity," recalled Davis. The track "So What" has only
two chords: D-7 and E♭-7.
Other innovators in this style include Jackie McLean, and two of
the musicians who had also played on Kind of Blue:
John Coltrane and
By the 1950s, Afro-
Cuban jazz had been using modes for at least a
decade, as much of it borrowed from Cuban popular dance forms which
are structured around multiple ostinatos with only a few chords. A
case in point is Mario Bauza's "Tanga" (1943), the first Afro-Cuban
jazz piece. Machito's Afro-Cubans recorded modal tunes in the 1940s,
featuring jazz soloists such as Howard McGhee, Brew Moore, Charlie
Parker, and Flip Phillips. However, there is no evidence that Davis or
other mainstream jazz musicians were influenced by the use of modes in
Afro-Cuban jazz, or other branches of Latin jazz.[clarification
Main article: Free jazz
John Coltrane, 1963
Free jazz, and the related form of avant-garde jazz, broke through
into an open space of "free tonality" in which meter, beat, and formal
symmetry all disappeared, and a range of world music from India,
Africa, and Arabia were melded into an intense, even religiously
ecstatic or orgiastic style of playing. While loosely inspired by
bebop, free jazz tunes gave players much more latitude; the loose
harmony and tempo was deemed controversial when this approach was
first developed. The bassist
Charles Mingus is also frequently
associated with the avant-garde in jazz, although his compositions
draw from myriad styles and genres.
The first major stirrings came in the 1950s with the early work of
Ornette Coleman (whose 1960 album Free Jazz: A Collective
Improvisation coined the term) and Cecil Taylor. In the 1960s,
exponents included Albert Ayler, Gato Barbieri, Carla Bley, Don
Cherry, Larry Coryell, John Coltrane, Bill Dixon, Jimmy Giuffre, Steve
Lacy, Michael Mantler, Sun Ra, Roswell Rudd, Pharoah Sanders, and John
Tchicai. In developing his late style, Coltrane was especially
influenced by the dissonance of Ayler's trio with bassist Gary Peacock
and drummer Sunny Murray, a rhythm section honed with
Cecil Taylor as
leader. In November 1961, Coltrane played a gig at the Village
Vanguard, which resulted in the classic Chasin' the 'Trane, which Down
Beat magazine panned as "anti-jazz". On his 1961 tour of France, he
was booed, but persevered, signing with the new
Impulse! Records in
1960 and turning it into "the house that Trane built", while
championing many younger free jazz musicians, notably Archie Shepp,
who often played with trumpeter Bill Dixon, who organized the 4-day
"October Revolution in Jazz" in Manhattan in 1964, the first free jazz
A series of recordings with the Classic Quartet in the first half of
1965 show Coltrane's playing becoming increasingly abstract, with
greater incorporation of devices like multiphonics, utilization of
overtones, and playing in the altissimo register, as well as a mutated
return to Coltrane's sheets of sound. In the studio, he all but
abandoned his soprano to concentrate on the tenor saxophone. In
addition, the quartet responded to the leader by playing with
increasing freedom. The group's evolution can be traced through the
John Coltrane Quartet Plays, Living Space and
Transition (both June 1965),
New Thing at Newport (July 1965), Sun
Ship (August 1965), and
First Meditations (September 1965).
In June 1965, Coltrane and 10 other musicians recorded Ascension, a
40-minute-long piece without breaks that included adventurous solos by
young avante-garde musicians as well as Coltrane, and was
controversial primarily for the collective improvisation sections that
separated the solos.
Dave Liebman later called it "the torch that lit
the free jazz thing.". After recording with the quartet over the next
few months, Coltrane invited
Pharoah Sanders to join the band in
September 1965. While Coltrane used over-blowing frequently as an
emotional exclamation-point, Sanders would opt to overblow his entire
solo, resulting in a constant screaming and screeching in the
altissimo range of the instrument.
Free jazz in Europe
A shot from a 2006 performance by Peter Brötzmann, a key figure in
European free jazz
Free jazz quickly found a foothold in Europe, in part because
musicians such as Ayler, Taylor,
Steve Lacy and
Eric Dolphy spent
extended periods there, and European musicians Michael Mantler, John
Tchicai et al. traveled to the U.S. to experience American approaches
firsthand. A distinctive European contemporary jazz (sometimes
incorporating elements of free jazz but not limited to it) flourished
because of the emergence of highly distinctive European or
European-based musicians such as Peter Brötzmann, John Surman,
Krzysztof Komeda, Zbigniew Namysłowski, Tomasz Stanko, Lars Gullin,
Joe Harriott, Albert Mangelsdorff, Kenny Wheeler, Graham Collier,
Michael Garrick and Mike Westbrook, who were anxious to develop new
approaches reflecting their national and regional musical cultures and
contexts. Since the 1960s, various creative centers of jazz have
developed in Europe, such as the creative jazz scene in Amsterdam.
Following the work of veteran drummer
Han Bennink and pianist Misha
Mengelberg, musicians started to explore free music by collectively
improvising until a certain form (melody, rhythm, or even famous song)
is found by the band.
Kevin Whitehead documented the free
jazz scene in Amsterdam and some of its main exponents such as the ICP
(Instant Composers Pool) orchestra in his book New Dutch Swing. Since
Keith Jarrett has been prominent in defending free jazz from
criticism by traditionalists. British scholar Stuart Nicholson
has been prominent in arguing that European contemporary jazz's
identity is now substantially independent of American jazz and follows
a different trajectory.
1960s and 1970s
1960s in jazz
1960s in jazz and 1970s in jazz
Main article: Latin jazz
Latin jazz is the term used to describe jazz which employs Latin
American rhythms and is generally understood to have a more specific
meaning than simply jazz from Latin America. A more precise term might
be Afro-Latin jazz, as the jazz subgenre typically employs rhythms
that either have a direct analog in Africa or exhibit an African
rhythmic influence beyond what is ordinarily heard in other jazz. The
two main categories of
Latin jazz are Afro-
Cuban jazz and Brazilian
In the 1960s and 1970s, many jazz musicians had only a basic
understanding of Cuban and Brazilian music, and jazz compositions
which used Cuban or Brazilian elements were often referred to as
"Latin tunes", with no distinction between a Cuban son montuno and a
Brazilian bossa nova. Even as late as 2000, in Mark Gridley's Jazz
Styles: History and Analysis, a bossa nova bass line is referred to as
a "Latin bass figure." It was not uncommon during the 1960s and
1970s to hear a conga playing a Cuban tumbao while the drumset and
bass played a Brazilian bossa nova pattern. Many jazz standards such
as "Manteca", "On Green Dolphin Street" and "Song for My Father" have
a "Latin" A section and a swung B section. Typically, the band would
only play an even-eighth "Latin" feel in the A section of the head and
swing throughout all of the solos.
Latin jazz specialists like Cal
Tjader tended to be the exception. For example, on a 1959 live Tjader
recording of "A Night in Tunisia", pianist
Vince Guaraldi soloed
through the entire form over an authentic mambo.
Cuban jazz often uses
Afro-Cuban instruments such as congas,
timbales, güiro, and claves, combined with piano, double bass, etc.
Cuban jazz began with Machito's Afro-Cubans in the early 1940s,
but took off and entered the mainstream in the late 1940s when bebop
musicians such as
Dizzy Gillespie and
Billy Taylor began experimenting
with Cuban rhythms.
Mongo Santamaria and
Cal Tjader further refined
the genre in the late 1950s.
Although a great deal of Cuban-based
Latin jazz is modal, Latin jazz
is not always modal: it can be as harmonically expansive as post-bop
jazz. For example,
Tito Puente recorded an arrangement of "Giant
Steps" done to an
Afro-Cuban guaguancó. A
Latin jazz piece may
momentarily contract harmonically, as in the case of a percussion solo
over a one or two-chord piano guajeo.
Guajeo is the name for the typical
Afro-Cuban ostinato melodies which
are commonly used motifs in
Latin jazz compositions. They originated
in the genre known as son. Guajeos provide a rhythmic and melodic
framework that may be varied within certain parameters, whilst still
maintaining a repetitive - and thus "danceable" - structure. Most
guajeos are rhythmically based on clave (rhythm).
Guajeos are one of the most important elements of the vocabulary of
Afro-Cuban descarga (jazz-inspired instrumental jams), providing a
means of tension and resolution and a sense of forward momentum,
within a relatively simple harmonic structure. The use of multiple,
contrapuntal guajeos in
Latin jazz facilitates simultaneous collective
improvisation based on theme variation. In a way, this polyphonic
texture is reminiscent of the original
New Orleans style of jazz.
Cuban jazz renaissance
For most of its history, Afro-
Cuban jazz had been a matter of
superimposing jazz phrasing over Cuban rhythms. But by the end of the
1970s, a new generation of New York City musicians had emerged who
were fluent in both salsa dance music and jazz, leading to a new level
of integration of jazz and Cuban rhythms. This era of creativity and
vitality is best represented by the Gonzalez brothers Jerry (congas
and trumpet) and Andy (bass). During 1974–1976, they were
members of one of Eddie Palmieri's most experimental salsa groups:
salsa was the medium, but Palmieri was stretching the form in new
ways. He incorporated parallel fourths, with McCoy Tyner-type vamps.
The innovations of Palmieri, the Gonzalez brothers and others led to
Cuban jazz renaissance in New York City.
This occurred in parallel with developments in Cuba The first
Cuban band of this new wave was Irakere. Their "Chékere-son" (1976)
introduced a style of "Cubanized" bebop-flavored horn lines that
departed from the more angular guajeo-based lines which were typical
of Cuban popular music and
Latin jazz up until that time. It was based
on Charlie Parker's composition "Billie's Bounce", jumbled together in
a way that fused clave and bebop horn lines. In spite of the
ambivalence of some band members towards Irakere's Afro-Cuban
folkloric / jazz fusion, their experiments forever changed Cuban jazz:
their innovations are still heard in the high level of harmonic and
rhythmic complexity in
Cuban jazz and in the jazzy and complex
contemporary form of popular dance music known as timba.
Naná Vasconcelos playing the Afro-Brazilian Berimbau
Brazilian jazz such as bossa nova is derived from samba, with
influences from jazz and other 20th-century classical and popular
music styles. Bossa is generally moderately paced, with melodies sung
in Portuguese or English, whilst the related term jazz-samba describes
an adaptation of street samba into jazz.
The bossa nova style was pioneered by Brazilians
João Gilberto and
Antônio Carlos Jobim
Antônio Carlos Jobim and was made popular by Elizete Cardoso's
recording of "Chega de Saudade" on the
Canção do Amor Demais
Canção do Amor Demais LP.
Gilberto's initial releases, and the 1959 film Black Orpheus, achieved
significant popularity in Latin America; this spread to North America
via visiting American jazz musicians. The resulting recordings by
Charlie Byrd and
Stan Getz cemented bossa nova's popularity and led to
a worldwide boom, with 1963's Getz/Gilberto, numerous recordings by
famous jazz performers such as
Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, and
the eventual entrenchment of the bossa nova style as a lasting
influence in world music.
Brazilian percussionists such as
Airto Moreira and Naná Vasconcelos
also influenced jazz internationally by introducing Afro-Brazilian
folkloric instruments and rhythms into a wide variety of jazz styles,
thus attracting a greater audience to them.
Main article: Post-bop
Bill Evans at the
Montreux Jazz Festival
Montreux Jazz Festival with Marc Johnson on bass and
Philly Joe Jones
Philly Joe Jones on drums, July 13, 1978
Post-bop jazz is a form of small-combo jazz derived from earlier bop
styles. The genre's origins lie in seminal work by John Coltrane,
Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie
Hancock. Generally, the term post-bop is taken to mean jazz from the
mid-sixties onwards that assimilates influences from hard bop, modal
jazz, the avant-garde and free jazz, without necessarily being
immediately identifiable as any of the above.
Much post-bop was recorded for Blue Note Records. Key albums include
Speak No Evil
Speak No Evil by Shorter; The Real McCoy by McCoy Tyner; Maiden Voyage
Miles Smiles by Davis; and
Search for the New Land
Search for the New Land by Lee
Morgan (an artist who is not typically associated with the post-bop
genre). Most post-bop artists worked in other genres as well, with a
particularly strong overlap with the later hard bop.
Main article: Soul jazz
Soul jazz was a development of hard bop which incorporated strong
influences from blues, gospel and rhythm and blues to create music for
small groups, often the organ trio of Hammond organ, drummer and tenor
saxophonist. Unlike hard bop, soul jazz generally emphasized
repetitive grooves and melodic hooks, and improvisations were often
less complex than in other jazz styles. It often had a steadier "funk"
style groove, which was different from the swing rhythms typical of
much hard bop.
Horace Silver had a large influence on the soul jazz style, with songs
that used funky and often gospel-based piano vamps. Important soul
jazz organists included Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith and Johnny Hammond
Smith, and influential tenor saxophone players included Eddie
"Lockjaw" Davis and Stanley Turrentine.
There was a resurgence of interest in jazz and other forms of
African-American cultural expression during the Black Arts Movement
and Black nationalist period of the 1960s and 1970s. African themes
became popular, and many new jazz compositions were given
African-related titles: "Black Nile" (Wayne Shorter), "Blue Nile"
(Alice Coltrane), "Obirin African" (Art Blakey), "Zambia" (Lee
Morgan), "Appointment in Ghana" (Jackie McLean), "Marabi" (Cannonball
Adderley), "Yoruba" (Hubert Laws), and many more. Pianist Randy
Weston's music incorporated African elements, such as in the
large-scale suite "Uhuru Africa" (with the participation of poet
Langston Hughes) and "Highlife: Music From the New African Nations."
Both Weston and saxophonist
Stanley Turrentine covered the Nigerian
Bobby Benson's piece "Niger Mambo", which features Afro-Caribbean and
jazz elements within a West African
Highlife style. Some musicians,
including Pharoah Sanders, Hubert Laws, and Wayne Shorter, began using
African instruments such as kalimbas, bells, beaded gourds and other
instruments which were not traditional to jazz.
During this period, there was an increased use of the typical African
12/8 cross-rhythmic structure in jazz. Herbie Hancock's "Succotash" on
Inventions and Dimensions
Inventions and Dimensions (1963) is an open-ended modal 12/8
improvised jam, in which Hancock's pattern of attack-points, rather
than the pattern of pitches, is the primary focus of his
improvisations, accompanied by
Paul Chambers on bass, percussionist
Osvaldo Martinez playing a traditional
Afro-Cuban chekeré part and
Willie Bobo playing an
Abakuá bell pattern on a snare drum with
The first jazz standard composed by a non-Latino to use an overt
African 12/8 cross-rhythm was Wayne Shorter's "Footprints"
(1967). On the version recorded on
Miles Smiles by Miles Davis,
the bass switches to a 4/4 tresillo figure at 2:20. "Footprints" is
not, however, a
Latin jazz tune: African rhythmic structures are
accessed directly by
Ron Carter (bass) and Tony Williams (drums) via
the rhythmic sensibilities of swing. Throughout the piece, the four
beats, whether sounded or not, are maintained as the temporal
referent. In the example below, the main beats are indicated by
slashed noteheads, which do not indicate bass notes.
Ron Carter's two main basslines for "Footprints" by Wayner Shorter
(1967). The main beats are indicated by slashed noteheads.
The use of pentatonic scales was another trend associated with Africa.
The use of pentatonic scales in Africa probably goes back thousands of
McCoy Tyner perfected the use of the pentatonic scale in his
solos, and also used parallel fifths and fourths, which are
common harmonies in West Africa.
The minor pentatonic scale is often used in blues improvisation, and
like a blues scale, a minor pentatonic scale can be played over all of
the chords in a blues. The following pentatonic lick was played over
blues changes by
Joe Henderson on Horace Silver's "African Queen"
Jazz pianist, theorist, and educator Mark Levine refers to the scale
generated by beginning on the fifth step of a pentatonic scale as the
V pentatonic scale.
C pentatonic scale beginning on the I (C pentatonic), IV (F
pentatonic), and V (G pentatonic) steps of the scale.[clarification
Levine points out that the V pentatonic scale works for all three
chords of the standard II-V-I jazz progression. This is a very
common progression, used in pieces such as Miles Davis' "Tune Up." The
following example shows the V pentatonic scale over a II-V-I
V pentatonic scale over II-V-I chord progression.
Accordingly, John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" (1960), with its 26 chords
per 16 bars, can be played using only three pentatonic scales.
Coltrane studied Nicolas Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic
Patterns, which contains material that is virtually identical to
portions of "Giant Steps". The harmonic complexity of "Giant
Steps" is on the level of the most advanced 20th-century art music.
Superimposing the pentatonic scale over "Giant Steps" is not merely a
matter of harmonic simplification, but also a sort of "Africanizing"
of the piece, which provides an alternate approach for soloing. Mark
Levine observes that when mixed in with more conventional "playing the
changes", pentatonic scales provide "structure and a feeling of
Miles Davis in 1989
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the hybrid form of jazz-rock fusion
was developed by combining jazz improvisation with rock rhythms,
electric instruments and the highly amplified stage sound of rock
musicians such as
Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa.
Jazz fusion often uses
mixed meters, odd time signatures, syncopation, complex chords, and
According to AllMusic:
...until around 1967, the worlds of jazz and rock were nearly
completely separate. [However, ...] as rock became more creative and
its musicianship improved, and as some in the jazz world became bored
with hard bop and did not want to play strictly avant-garde music, the
two different idioms began to trade ideas and occasionally combine
Miles Davis' new directions
In 1969, Davis fully embraced the electric instrument approach to jazz
with In a Silent Way, which can be considered his first fusion album.
Composed of two side-long suites edited heavily by producer Teo
Macero, this quiet, static album would be equally influential to the
development of ambient music.
As Davis recalls:
The music I was really listening to in 1968 was James Brown, the great
guitar player Jimi Hendrix, and a new group who had just come out with
a hit record, "Dance to the Music", Sly and the Family Stone... I
wanted to make it more like rock. When we recorded
In a Silent Way
In a Silent Way I
just threw out all the chord sheets and told everyone to play off of
Two contributors to
In a Silent Way
In a Silent Way also joined organist Larry Young
to create one of the early acclaimed fusion albums: Emergency! by The
Tony Williams Lifetime.
Bitches Brew (1970) album was his most successful of this era.
Although inspired by rock and funk, Davis' fusion creations were
original and brought about a new type of avant-garde, electronic,
psychedelic-jazz, as far from pop music as any other Davis work.
Herbie Hancock (a Davis alumnus) released four albums in the
short-lived (1970–1973) psychedelic-jazz subgenre:
Crossings (1973), and Sextant (1973). The rhythmic background was a
mix of rock, funk, and African-type textures.
Musicians who had previously worked with Davis formed the four most
influential fusion groups:
Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra
emerged in 1971 and were soon followed by
Return to Forever
Return to Forever and The
Weather Report's self-titled electronic and psychedelic Weather Report
debut album caused a sensation in the jazz world on its arrival in
1971, thanks to the pedigree of the group's members (including
percussionist Airto Moreira), and their unorthodox approach to music.
The album featured a softer sound than would be the case in later
years (predominantly using acoustic bass with Shorter exclusively
playing soprano saxophone, and with no synthesizers involved), but is
still considered a classic of early fusion. It built on the
avant-garde experiments which
Joe Zawinul and Shorter had pioneered
Miles Davis on Bitches Brew, including an avoidance of
head-and-chorus composition in favour of continuous rhythm and
movement – but took the music further. To emphasise the group's
rejection of standard methodology, the album opened with the
inscrutable avant-garde atmospheric piece "Milky Way", which featured
by Shorter's extremely muted saxophone inducing vibrations in
Zawinul's piano strings while the latter pedalled the instrument. Down
Beat described the album as "music beyond category", and awarded it
Album of the Year in the magazine's polls that year.
Weather Report's subsequent releases were creative funk-jazz
Although some jazz purists protested against the blend of jazz and
rock, many jazz innovators crossed over from the contemporary hard bop
scene into fusion. As well as the electric instruments of rock (such
as electric guitar, electric bass, electric piano and synthesizer
keyboards), fusion also used the powerful amplification, "fuzz"
pedals, wah-wah pedals and other effects that were used by 1970s-era
rock bands. Notable performers of jazz fusion included Miles Davis,
Eddie Harris, keyboardists Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, and Herbie
Hancock, vibraphonist Gary Burton, drummer Tony Williams (drummer),
violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, guitarists Larry Coryell, Al Di Meola, John
McLaughlin, and Frank Zappa, saxophonist
Wayne Shorter and bassists
Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke.
Jazz fusion was also popular in
Japan, where the band
Casiopea released over thirty fusion albums.
According to jazz writer Stuart Nicholson, "just as free jazz appeared
on the verge of creating a whole new musical language in the 1960s ...
jazz-rock briefly suggested the promise of doing the same" with albums
such as Williams' Emergency! (1970) and Davis' Agharta (1975), which
Nicholson said "suggested the potential of evolving into something
that might eventually define itself as a wholly independent genre
quite apart from the sound and conventions of anything that had gone
before." This development was stifled by commercialism, Nicholson
said, as the genre "mutated into a peculiar species of jazz-inflected
pop music that eventually took up residence on FM radio" at the end of
Main article: Jazz-funk
By the mid-1970s, the sound known as jazz-funk had developed,
characterized by a strong back beat (groove), electrified sounds
and, often, the presence of electronic analog synthesizers. Jazz-funk
also draws influences from traditional African music, Afro-Cuban
rhythms and Jamaican reggae, notably Kingston bandleader Sonny
Bradshaw. Another feature is the shift of emphasis from improvisation
to composition: arrangements, melody and overall writing became
important. The integration of funk, soul, and R&B music into jazz
resulted in the creation of a genre whose spectrum is wide and ranges
from strong jazz improvisation to soul, funk or disco with jazz
arrangements, jazz riffs and jazz solos, and sometimes soul
Early examples are Herbie Hancock's Headhunters band and Miles Davis'
On the Corner
On the Corner album, which, in 1972, began Davis' foray into jazz-funk
and was, he claimed, an attempt at reconnecting with the young black
audience which had largely forsaken jazz for rock and funk. While
there is a discernible rock and funk influence in the timbres of the
instruments employed, other tonal and rhythmic textures, such as the
Indian tambora and tablas and Cuban congas and bongos, create a
multi-layered soundscape. The album was a culmination of sorts of the
musique concrète approach that Davis and producer
Teo Macero had
begun to explore in the late 1960s.
Jazz continued to expand and change, influenced by other types of
music such as world music, avant garde classical music and rock and
Jazz musicians began to improvise on unusual instruments, such as
the jazz harp (Alice Coltrane), the electrically amplified and wah-wah
pedaled jazz violin (Jean-Luc Ponty) and the bagpipes (Rufus Harley).
In 1966 jazz trumpeter
Don Ellis and Indian sitar player Harihar Rao
founded the Hindustani
Jazz Sextet. In 1971, guitarist John
Mahavishnu Orchestra began playing a mix of rock and jazz
infused with East Indian influences. In the 1970s the ECM record label
began in Germany with artists including Keith Jarrett, Paul Bley, the
Pat Metheny Group, Jan Garbarek, Ralph Towner, Kenny Wheeler, John
Taylor, John Surman, and Eberhard Weber, establishing a new chamber
music aesthetic which featured mainly acoustic instruments,
occasionally incorporating elements of world music and folk.
Main article: 1980s in jazz
In 1987, the
United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives and Senate passed
a bill proposed by Democratic Representative
John Conyers Jr.
John Conyers Jr. to
define jazz as a unique form of American music, stating:
... that jazz is hereby designated as a rare and valuable national
American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and
resources to make certain it is preserved, understood and promulgated.
It passed in the House of Representatives on September 23, 1987, and
in the Senate on November 4, 1987.
Resurgence of traditionalism
The 1980s saw something of a reaction against the fusion and free jazz
that had dominated the 1970s. Trumpeter
Wynton Marsalis emerged early
in the decade, and strove to create music within what he believed was
the tradition, rejecting both fusion and free jazz and creating
extensions of the small and large forms initially pioneered by artists
Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, as well as the hard bop of
the 1950s. It is debatable whether Marsalis' critical and commercial
success was a cause or a symptom of the reaction against Fusion and
Free Jazz and the resurgence of interest in the kind of jazz pioneered
in the 1960s (particularly modal jazz and post-bop); nonetheless there
were many other manifestations of a resurgence of traditionalism, even
if fusion and free jazz were by no means abandoned and continued to
develop and evolve.
For example, several musicians who had been prominent in the fusion
genre during the 1970s began to record acoustic jazz once more,
Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Other musicians who had
experimented with electronic instruments in the previous decade had
abandoned them by the 1980s; for example, Bill Evans, Joe Henderson,
and Stan Getz. Even the 1980s music of Miles Davis, although certainly
still fusion, adopted a far more accessible and recognisably
jazz-oriented approach than his abstract work of the mid-1970s, such
as a return to a theme-and-solos approach.
The emergence of young jazz talent beginning to perform in older,
established musicians' groups further impacted the resurgence of
traditionalism in the jazz community. In the 1970s, the groups of
Betty Carter and
Art Blakey and the
Jazz Messengers retained their
conservative jazz approaches in the midst of fusion and jazz- rock,
and in addition to difficulty booking their acts, struggled to find
younger generations of personnel to authentically play traditional
styles such as hard bop and bebop. In the late 1970s, however, a
resurgence of younger jazz players in Blakey's band began to occur.
This movement included musicians such as
Valery Ponomarev and Bobby
Dennis Irwin and James Williams. In the 1980s, in addition to
Wynton and Branford Marsalis, the emergence of pianists in the Jazz
Messengers such as Donald Brown, Mulgrew Miller, and later, Benny
Green, bassists such as Charles Fambrough,
Lonnie Plaxico (and later,
Peter Washington and Essiet Essiet) horn players such as Bill Pierce,
Donald Harrison and later
Javon Jackson and
Terence Blanchard emerged
as talented jazz musicians, all of whom made significant contributions
in later 1990s and 2000s jazz music.
Jazz Messengers' contemporaries, including Roy Hargrove,
Wallace Roney and
Mark Whitfield were also influenced
by Wynton Marsalis's emphasis toward jazz tradition. These younger
rising stars rejected avant-garde approaches and instead championed
the acoustic jazz sound of Charlie Parker,
Thelonious Monk and early
recordings of the first
Miles Davis quintet. This group of "Young
Lions" sought to reaffirm jazz as a high art tradition comparable to
the discipline of classical music.
In addition, Betty Carter's rotation of young musicians in her group
foreshadowed many of New York's preeminent traditional jazz players
later in their careers. Among these musicians were
alumni Benny Green,
Branford Marsalis and Ralph Peterson Jr., as well
as Kenny Washington, Lewis Nash, Curtis Lundy, Cyrus Chestnut, Mark
Shim, Craig Handy, Greg Hutchinson and Marc Cary,
Taurus Mateen and
Geri Allen.
Blue Note Records's O.T.B. ensemble featured a rotation of young jazz
musicians such as Kenny Garrett, Steve Wilson, Kenny Davis, Renee
Rosnes, Ralph Peterson Jr., Billy Drummond, and Robert Hurst.
A similar reaction[vague] took place against free jazz. According to
the very leaders of the avant garde started to signal a retreat from
the core principles of Free Jazz.
Anthony Braxton began recording
standards over familiar chord changes.
Cecil Taylor played duets in
concert with Mary Lou Williams, and let her set out structured
harmonies and familiar jazz vocabulary under his blistering keyboard
attack. And the next generation of progressive players would be even
more accommodating, moving inside and outside the changes without
thinking twice. Musicians such as David Murray or
Don Pullen may have
felt the call of free-form jazz, but they never forgot all the other
ways one could play
African-American music for fun and profit.
Pianist Keith Jarrett—whose bands of the 1970s had played only
original compositions with prominent free jazz elements—established
his so-called 'Standards Trio' in 1983, which, although also
occasionally exploring collective improvisation, has primarily
performed and recorded jazz standards.
Chick Corea similarly began
exploring jazz standards in the 1980s, having neglected them for the
Main article: smooth jazz
David Sanborn, 2008
In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called "pop
fusion" or "smooth jazz" became successful, garnering significant
radio airplay in "quiet storm" time slots at radio stations in urban
markets across the U.S. This helped to establish or bolster the
careers of vocalists including Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan,
and Sade, as well as saxophonists including Grover Washington Jr.,
Kenny G, Kirk Whalum, Boney James, and David Sanborn. In general,
smooth jazz is downtempo (the most widely played tracks are of
90–105 beats per minute), and has a lead melody-playing instrument
(saxophone, especially soprano and tenor, and legato electric guitar
Newsweek article "The Problem With
Stanley Crouch considers Miles Davis' playing of fusion to be a
turning point that led to smooth jazz. Critic Aaron J. West has
countered the often negative perceptions of smooth jazz, stating:
I challenge the prevalent marginalization and malignment of smooth
jazz in the standard jazz narrative. Furthermore, I question the
assumption that smooth jazz is an unfortunate and unwelcomed
evolutionary outcome of the jazz-fusion era. Instead, I argue that
smooth jazz is a long-lived musical style that merits
multi-disciplinary analyses of its origins, critical dialogues,
performance practice, and reception.
Acid jazz, nu jazz and jazz rap
Acid jazz developed in the UK in the 1980s and 1990s, influenced by
jazz-funk and electronic dance music.
Acid jazz often contains various
types of electronic composition (sometimes including Sampling (music)
or a live DJ cutting and scratching), but it is just as likely to be
played live by musicians, who often showcase jazz interpretation as
part of their performance.
Jazz-funk musicians such as
Roy Ayers and
Donald Byrd are often credited as the forerunners of acid jazz.
Nu jazz is influenced by jazz harmony and melodies, and there are
usually no improvisational aspects. It can be very experimental in
nature and can vary widely in sound and concept. It ranges from the
combination of live instrumentation with the beats of jazz house (as
exemplified by St Germain, Jazzanova, and Fila Brazillia) to more
band-based improvised jazz with electronic elements (for example, The
Cinematic Orchestra, Kobol and the Norwegian "future jazz" style
pioneered by Bugge Wesseltoft, Jaga Jazzist, and Nils Petter Molvær).
Jazz rap developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s and incorporates
jazz influences into hip hop. In 1988,
Gang Starr released the debut
single "Words I Manifest", which sampled Dizzy Gillespie's 1962 "Night
in Tunisia", and
Stetsasonic released "Talkin' All That Jazz", which
sampled Lonnie Liston Smith. Gang Starr's debut LP No More Mr. Nice
Guy (1989) and their 1990 track "
Jazz Thing" sampled Charlie Parker
and Ramsey Lewis. The groups which made up the Native Tongues Posse
tended toward jazzy releases: these include the Jungle Brothers' debut
Straight Out the Jungle (1988), and A Tribe Called Quest's People's
Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990) and The Low End
Theory (1991). Rap duo Pete Rock & CL Smooth incorporated jazz
influences on their 1992 debut Mecca and the Soul Brother. Rapper
Guru's Jazzmatazz series began in 1993, using jazz musicians during
the studio recordings.
Though jazz rap had achieved little mainstream success, Miles Davis'
Doo-Bop (released posthumously in 1992) was based around
hip hop beats and collaborations with producer Easy Mo Bee. Davis'
Herbie Hancock also absorbed hip-hop influences in the
mid-1990s, releasing the album
Dis Is Da Drum
Dis Is Da Drum in 1994.
Punk jazz and jazzcore
John Zorn performing in 2006
The relaxation of orthodoxy which was concurrent with post-punk in
London and New York City led to a new appreciation of jazz. In London,
the Pop Group began to mix free jazz and dub reggae into their brand
of punk rock. In New York,
No Wave took direct inspiration from
both free jazz and punk. Examples of this style include Lydia Lunch's
Queen of Siam, Gray, the work of James Chance and the Contortions
(who mixed Soul with free jazz and punk) and the Lounge
Lizards (the first group to call themselves "punk jazz").
John Zorn took note of the emphasis on speed and dissonance that was
becoming prevalent in punk rock, and incorporated this into free jazz
with the release of the Spy vs. Spy album in 1986, a collection of
Ornette Coleman tunes done in the contemporary thrashcore style.
In the same year, Sonny Sharrock, Peter Brötzmann, Bill Laswell, and
Ronald Shannon Jackson
Ronald Shannon Jackson recorded the first album under the name Last
Exit (free jazz band), a similarly aggressive blend of thrash and free
jazz. These developments are the origins of jazzcore, the fusion
of free jazz with hardcore punk.
Main article: M-Base
Steve Coleman in Paris, July 2004
M-Base movement started in the 1980s, when a loose collective of
African-American musicians in New York which included Steve
Coleman, Greg Osby, and Gary Thomas developed a complex but
In the 1990s, most
M-Base participants turned to more conventional
music, but Coleman, the most active participant, continued developing
his music in accordance with the
Coleman's audience decreased, but his music and concepts influenced
many musicians, according to pianist Vijay Iver and critic Ben
Ratlifff of The New York Times.
M-Base changed from a movement of a loose collective of young
musicians to a kind of informal Coleman "school", with a much
advanced but already originally implied concept. Steve Coleman's
M-Base concept gained recognition as "next logical step"
after Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman.
Since the 1990s, jazz has been characterized by a pluralism in which
no one style dominates, but rather a wide range of styles and genres
are popular. Individual performers often play in a variety of styles,
sometimes in the same performance. Pianist
Brad Mehldau and The Bad
Plus have explored contemporary rock music within the context of the
traditional jazz acoustic piano trio, recording instrumental jazz
versions of songs by rock musicians.
The Bad Plus
The Bad Plus have also
incorporated elements of free jazz into their music. A firm
avant-garde or free jazz stance has been maintained by some players,
such as saxophonists
Greg Osby and Charles Gayle, while others, such
as James Carter, have incorporated free jazz elements into a more
Harry Connick Jr.
Harry Connick Jr. began his career playing stride piano and the
dixieland jazz of his home, New Orleans, beginning with his first
recording when he was ten years old. Some of his earliest lessons
were at the home of pianist Ellis Marsalis. Connick had success
on the pop charts after recording the soundtrack to the movie When
Harry Met Sally, which sold over two million copies. Crossover
success has also been achieved by Diana Krall, Norah Jones, Cassandra
Wilson, Kurt Elling, and Jamie Cullum.
A number of players who usually perform in largely straight-ahead
settings have emerged since the 1990s, including pianists Jason Moran
and Vijay Iyer, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, vibraphonist Stefon
Roy Hargrove and Terence Blanchard, saxophonists
Chris Potter and Joshua Redman, clarinetist
Ken Peplowski and bassist
Although jazz-rock fusion reached the height of its popularity in the
1970s, the use of electronic instruments and rock-derived musical
elements in jazz continued in the 1990s and 2000s. Musicians using
this approach include Pat Metheny, John Abercrombie,
John Scofield and
the Swedish group e.s.t.
In 2001, Ken Burns's documentary
Jazz was premiered on PBS, featuring
Wynton Marsalis and other experts reviewing the entire history of
American jazz to that time. It received some criticism, however, for
its failure to reflect the many distinctive non-American traditions
and styles in jazz that had developed, and its limited representation
of US developments in the last quarter of the 20th century.
The mid-2010s have seen an increasing influence of R&B, hip-hop,
and pop music on jazz. In 2015,
Kendrick Lamar released his third
studio album, To Pimp a Butterfly. The album heavily featured
prominent contemporary jazz artists such as Thundercat and
redefined jazz rap with a larger focus on improvisation and live
soloing rather than simply sampling. In that same year, saxophonist
Kamasi Washington released his nearly three-hour long debut, The Epic.
Its hip-hop inspired beats and R&B vocal interludes was not only
acclaimed by critics for being innovative in keeping jazz
relevant but also sparked a small resurgence in jazz on the
African American portal
List of jazz genres
List of jazz musicians
List of jazz standards
List of jazz venues
List of jazz venues in the United States
List of jazz venues
List of jazz festivals
Bibliography of jazz
Timeline of jazz education
Jazz (Henri Matisse)
Jazz Origins in
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long and had previously been banned in the South by whites. Other
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sixteenth & eighth note rather than rest.
Wynton Marsalis states that tresillo is the
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far more consistently than into white popular music, despite Latin
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^ Mauleón (1999: 4), Salsa Guidebook for
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Spanish silver to Congo Square. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books.
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to the Mambo. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.
^ Roberts, John Storm (1999: 40). The Latin Tinge. Oxford University
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Jazz provides two separate entries: blues,
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widespread musical form (p. 131).
^ "The Evolution of Differing
Blues Styles". How To Play
Archived from the original on 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2008-08-11.
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Bontemps: foreword by Abbe Niles. Macmillan Company, New York; (1941),
pp. 99, 100 (no ISBN in this first printing).
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^ Gridley, Mark C. (2000).
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– see External Links below.
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preferring 'Negro' or 'American' music. He claimed there were only two
types of music, 'good' and 'bad' ... And he embraced a phrase coined
by his colleague Billy Strayhorn – 'beyond category' – as a
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Charlie Parker quoted by
Gerhard Kubik (2005). "Bebop: A Case in
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Jazz Harmonic Practices" (critical
essay), Black Music Research Journal 22 March. Digital.
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^ Joachim Berendt. The
Jazz Book. 1981, p. 16.
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suite, consisting of five movements.
Mario Bauza and his Afro-Cuban
Orchestra. Messidor CD (1992).
^ Peñalosa 2010, p. 56
^ Peñalosa 2010, pp. 131–136
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Album Kind of Blue". Muscal Quarterly. 95 (1): 15–35.
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meter, but with notable off-beat accents ... reaches back perhaps
thousands of years to early West African sorgum
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Jackson, MI: University Press of Mississippi.
^ Gridley, Mark C. (2000: 270).
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^ "... circular and highly complex polymetric patterns which preserve
their danceable character of popular Funk-rhythms despite their
internal complexity and asymmetries ..." (Musicologist and musician
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^ Blumenfeld, Larry (11 June 2010). "A Saxophonist's Reverberant
Sound". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 January 2018. It's hard to
overstate [Coleman's] influence. He's affected more than one
generation, as much as anyone since John Coltrane...It's not just that
you can connect the dots by playing seven or 11 beats. What sits
behind his influence is this global perspective on music and life. He
has a point of view of what he does and why he does it.
^ Ratliff, Ben (14 June 2010). "Undead Jazzfest Roams the West
Village". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 January 2018. His
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musicians and build a new vernacular have had a profound effect on
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Jazz Articles: Steve Coleman: Vital
Information". Jazztimes.com. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
^ "What Is M-Base?". M-base.com. Retrieved June 5, 2011.
^ In 2014 drummer Billy Hart said that "Coleman has quietly influenced
the whole jazz musical world," and is the "next logical step" after
Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman. (Source: Kristin
E. Holmes, Genius grant saxman
Steve Coleman redefining jazz, October
09, 2014, web portal Philly.com, Philadelphia Media Network) Already
in 2010 pianist
Vijay Iyer (who was chosen as "
Jazz Musician of the
Year 2010" by the
Jazz Journalists Association) said: "To me, Steve
[Coleman] is as important as [John] Coltrane. He has contributed an
equal amount to the history of the music. He deserves to be placed in
the pantheon of pioneering artists." (Source: Larry Blumenfeld, A
Saxophonist's Reverberant Sound, June 11, 2010, The Wall Street
Journal) In September 2014, Coleman was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship
(a.k.a. "Genius Grant") for "redefining the vocabulary and vernaculars
of contemporary music." (Source: Kristin E. Holmes, Genius grant
Steve Coleman redefining jazz, October 09, 2014, web portal
Philly.com, Philadelphia Media Network)
^ a b Bush, John. "Harry Connick, Jr". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 January
^ Louis Gates Jr. (host), Henry (July 17, 2010). "Branford Marsalis
and Harry Connick Jr.". Finding Your Roots (DVD). Season 1. Episode 1.
To Pimp a Butterfly
To Pimp a Butterfly (Media notes). Interscope Records.
^ Russell Warfield (May 5, 2015). "The Epic". drownedinsound.com.
Retrieved October 12, 2017.
Litweiler, John (1984). The Freedom Principle:
Jazz After 1958. Da
Capo. ISBN 0-306-80377-1.
Joachim Ernst Berendt, Günther Huesmann (Bearb.): Das Jazzbuch. 7.
Auflage. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2005,
Burns, Ken, and Geoffrey C. Ward. 2000. Jazz—A History of America's
Music. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Also: The
Jazz Film Project, Inc.
Levine, Mark (1995). The
Jazz theory book. Petaluma, Calif.: Sher
Music. ISBN 1-883217-04-0.
Cooke, Mervyn (1999). Jazz. London: Thames and Hudson.
ISBN 0-500-20318-0. .
Carr, Ian. Music Outside: Contemporary
Jazz in Britain. 2nd edition.
London: Northway. ISBN 978-0-9550908-6-8
Collier, James Lincoln. The Making of Jazz: A Comprehensive History
(Dell Publishing Co., 1978)
Dance, Stanley (1983). The World of Earl Hines. Da Capo Press.
ISBN 0-306-80182-5. Includes a 120-page interview with Hines plus
Miles Davis (2005). Boplicity. Delta Music plc. UPC
Downbeat (2009). The Great
Jazz Interviews: Frank Alkyer & Ed
Enright (eds). Hal Leonard Books. ISBN 978-1-4234-6384-9
Elsdon, Peter. 2003. "The Cambridge Companion to Jazz, Edited by
Mervyn Cooke and David Horn, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
2002. Review." Frankfürter Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft
Giddins, Gary. 1998. Visions of Jazz: The First Century. New York:
Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507675-3
Gridley, Mark C. 2004. Concise Guide to Jazz, fourth edition. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-182657-3
Nairn, Charlie. 1975. Earl 'Fatha' HInes: 1 hour 'solo' documentary
made in "
Jazz Club, Washington DC, for ATV, England,
1975: produced/directed by Charlie Nairn: original 16mm film plus
out-takes of additional tunes from that film archived in British Film
Institute Library at bfi.org.uk and http://www.itvstudios.com: DVD
copies with Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library [who hold The Earl Hines
Collection/Archive], University of California, Berkeley: also
University of Chicago, Hogan
Jazz Archive Tulane University New
Louis Armstrong House Museum Libraries.
Peñalosa, David (2010). The Clave Matrix;
Afro-Cuban Rhythm: Its
Principles and African Origins. Redway, CA: Bembe Inc.
Schuller, Gunther (1968). Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical
Development. New York: Oxford University Press. New printing
Schuller, Gunther. 1991. The Swing Era: The Development of Jazz,
1930–1945. Oxford University Press.
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