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Where did Modern Jazz Come From?

• Consistent and Constant development throughout jazz history

• Gioia makes distinction between jazz development and African Music (i.e. West African Griots as serving as historical data passed down through oral tradition)

• Jazz players, “ embraced a different mandate accepting their role as entertainers and pursing experimentation..........”

• Is Modern Jazz (i.e Bebop) a development of happenstance, or was it deliberately orchestrated? This is what we intend to discover!



• The name we give to the first style developed in modern jazz

• Favored small combos ( one two horns plus a rhythm section of piano, bass, drums and sometimes guitar) instead of big bands; no longer concerned with dance music; extremely virtuosic and fast

• AABA and Blues forms still used, as well as other popular song forms borrowed from Tin Pan Alley and other pop sources

• Rhythmically, favored traditionally weak beats ( in a 4- beat measure, beats 2 and 4)


Charlie Parker

• 1920-1955, born in Kansas City
• Not a prodigy on saxophone! Humiliated at a jam session by the drummer ( the famous Jo Jones) hurling a crash cymbal at Parker’s feet to get him to stop playing. This experience motivated him to improve

• Began using heroine as a teenager, and his drug usage haunted his life and career, eventually leading to his death

• He has an artistic epiphany in 1940, that the extended harmonies of chords could be used in improvisation. This new technique set Parker apart from all of his contemporaries. ( In-class demonstration) ( Honeysuckle Rose)

• Parker also drew inspiration from an impressive amount of musicians of his day.


Dizzy Gillespie

• John Bucks Gillespie, 1917-1993, from South Carolina

• Regarded as one of the greatest trumpet players of all time, and an extremely important figure in the development of the emerging bebop style

• As with Parker, Gillespie learned through experiences similar to cutting and jam sessions

• Formal music training from 1933, along with piano studies and experimentation in harmony

• Through interactions with several bandleaders and mentor ship from Mario Bauza , Dizzy learned to hone his technique, attitude on stage, and (important later in his career) began experimenting with Afro-Cuban music


Miles Davis’ Early Career

Miles Dewey Davis III, 1926-1991

• one of the most famous trumpeters of all time, at one point dubbed “ the prince of Darkness” because of his demeanor, and eventually “ the Epitome of Cool” in the 1960s with the birth of cool jazz

• Earliest recordings include “ Donna Lee”, with Charlie Parker

• Very affluent family, chose to study at the julliard School, the. Dropped out to shadow Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie

• He would go on to be the cutting edge of every major jazz development until his death


West Coast Jazz

• Though swing music was historically popular in California (i.e. Benny Goodman at the Palomar), the emerging revival of trad jazz helped to start a new style on the West Coast. It was not necessarily Trad, but was supported by musicians nostalgic for an older sound

• Simultaneously, Trad Jazz becomes popular overseas in Europe ( still popular today)

• The emerging styles on the West Coast US in turn develop into a distinct style, one that sounded in stark contrast to the frantic sounds of Bebop

• Example: Yerba Buena Jazz Band


Birth of The Cool

• 1946-7 Album, Named after the fact by the marketing dept. at Capitol records

• In contrast to the defined sections of a Big Band, Miles wanted his group to feel like one section as in a symphony orchestra. “ I looked at the group like it was a choir”

• Critics however, likened this album to an artistic link to classical and impressionist music, not to jazz. Foreshadowing to the concept of Third stream


Third Stream

• A term coined by Gunther schuller

• Refers to the marriage of jazz and classical genres in a seamless way. he effectively described the music by ruling out what the music is and isn’t

• It is not - a classical musician playing a jazz song
- a Jazz musician playing the jazz version of a classical song

• It is - a type of music that exhibits traits of both jazz and classical genres
- a progressive style includes both improv. And experimentation


Cool Jazz Meets Bosss Nova

• Bossa Nova was developing in the late 1940s and early 1950s in Brazil ( particularly Rio de Janeiro), by composers and performers including Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gillberto , Astrud Gillberto, and Luis Bonfá.

• considered a very “ cosmopolitan” music, and with the help of tenor saxophonist Stan Getz became a phenomenon in the Untied States

• “ Desfinado,” “ Corcovado,” “Garota de Ipanema”

• Complicated chords and melodies, but soft lyrical style, slow tempo, and soothing groove ( perfect for Cool Jazz!)



Somewhat related to the “Trad” movement, but Traditionalism is a direct response to the free jazz movement.

• Through the concept of traditionalism, mainstream jazz eventually came to mean the bebop and trad influenced jazz styles that were promoted by performers and historians beginning around the 1970s. (i.e. Wynton Marsalis)

• Armstrong, Ellington, Basie, Parker, Gillespie, Evans, and even Mingus were considered part of this traditionalist movement

• These styles, often performed by musicians on recordings of an older era, became commercially successful in the early 1970s and seemed to validate the Traditionalist movement

• Today, many re-released recordings by notable musicians are the result of this movement


Wynton Marsalis

• Born Oct. 18, 1961 in Louisiana
• Very quick rise to fame, being
recognized as both a classical and jazz virtuoso by his early 20s, and winning multiple Grammy awards before age 30

• Though he is an accomplished performer, his later work would include an intense study of jazz history.

• Today, he is the musical director at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the director of jazz studies at the Juilliard School.

• Though he experimented with free jazz and progressive jazz, the music that most interested him was New Orleans and tracing the African American roots of jazz.


Postmodernism in Jazz

• Jazz Postmodernists felt compelled to display a talent and understanding of many stylistic trends. It was often unpredictable to attend a concert by a postmodernist. Begins in 1970s (same decade as Traditionalism)

• If Traditionalism stood out for its exclusionist sentiments, Postmodernism stood out for its inclusiveness.

• One of the most notable groups associated with this movement was the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)


AACM ( aka Chicago Arts Ensemble)

• Organization began in Chicago in 1965 with the purpose of helping progressive musicians find rehearsal space, performance opportunities, and other forms of professional support

• Early recordings of the AACM focused largely on free jazz, and this style remained an important element in the group

• Instead of “hot” solos, the AACM focused on developing episodic and highly developed improvisations, with the purpose of interacting with the entire group throughout each member’s solo (a different interpretation of collective improvisation?)

• Anthony Braxton (saxophonist, composer) is an example of the many influential musicians associated with the AACM

• Ray Anderson (Trombonist, Composer, Educator) another example. Director of Jazz Studies at Stony Brook University.


Free Jazz

Free Jazz: a style emerging in a late 1950s that included little or no directions for the musicians, instead of relying on a deeper level of interaction between musicians with the absence of written music

Example: Coltrane, “ A love Supreme”
Ornette Coleman “ Free Jazz”



A style in which vocalist put words to Jazz standards that previously did not include the lyrics. Many vocalese records focused on what were considered songs in the traditional anthology of jazz records


Kind of blue

Miles Davis



Use of the half-step ( smallest distance between two notes in Western music)