music played by a generation raised on jazz as well as funk and
hip-hop, Acid Jazz used elements of all three; its existence as
a percussion- heavy, primarily live music played it closer to jazz
and Afro-Cuban than any other dance style, but its insistence on
keeping the groove allied it with funk, hip-hop and dance
music. The term itself first appeared in 1988 as both an American
record label and the title of an English compilation series which
reissued jazz-funk music from the '70s, called rare groove by the
Brits during a major mid-'80s resurgence.
A variety of acid jazz artists emerged during the late '80s and
early '90s: live bands such as Stereo Collective, Galliano and Jamiroquai
as well as studio projects like Palmskin Productions, Mondo
Grosso, Outside and United Future Organization.
general catch-all term describing virtually every type of blues
that can be played on a non-electric musical instrument. It embraces
a wide range of guitar and musical styles including folk, the
songster traddition, slide, fingerpicking, ragtime, and all of
the myriad regional strains (Chicago, Delta, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Texas, Piedmont, etc.) that thrived in the early days of the music's
gestation. But Acoustic Blues is not limited to merely guitar
music; its "acoustic" appellation being an elastic enough term
to also include mandolin, banjo, piano, harmonica, jug bands,
and other non-electric instruments including home made ones, like
the one string monochord bottleneck diddleybow.
describes the version of music emanating from the Windy City in
the years before the twin arrivals of Muddy Waters and electric
guitars changed everything. Chicago was recording central for
most blues recording artists of the 1930s and 1940s and most performers
were plugged into was became known as "the Bluebird Beat,"
an acoustic based progenitor of the later Chicago blues band lineup.
Its music is earmarked by what is usually described as a
"hokum style," heavy on lyrics that promote a light hearted atmosphere,
propelled by a jazz influenced beat and a more city derived
slant to it.
jazz is a combination of jazz improvising and rhythms from Cuba
and Africa; it is also known as Latin Jazz although several of its
practioners prefer the former term. There were some hints of Afro-Cuban
jazz in isolated cases during the 1920s and '30s (Jelly Roll Morton's
"Spanish tinge" in some of his more rhythmic piano solos, a few
Gene Krupa performances where he sought to include South American
rhythms and even in the Latin pop music of Xavier Cugat) but
one can really trace its birth to trumpeter-arranger Mario Bauza.
Bauza introduced trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie to the masterful Cuban
percussionist Chano Pozo (they teamed up during 1947-48 to create
innovative music before Pozo's death) and also persuaded Latin bandleader
Machito to use jazz soloists. During the late '40s Stan Kenton began
to integrate Latin Rhythms in his music and, with the rice in popularity
during the 1950s of Tito Puente and Cal Tjader, Afro-Cuban jazz
caught on as one of the most popular jazz styles. In more recent
times some groups have developed Afro-Cuban jazz beyond its boppish
roots, performing Monk and Coltrane tunes, adding funk to the mixture
and having more adventurous solos. The spirit of the music (a true
fusion between North, South and Central America) and an emphasis
on infectious rhythms are the keys.
Jazz differs from Free Jazz in that it has more structure in the
ensembles (more of a "game plan") although the individual impro-
visations are generally just as free of conventional rules. Obviously
there is a lot of overlap between Free Jazz and Avant-Garde; most
players in one idiom often play in the other "style," too. In
the best Avant-Garde performances it is difficult to tell when
compositions end and impro- visations begin; the goal is to have
the solos be an outgrowth of the arrangement. As with Free Jazz,
the Avant-Garde came of age in the 1960s and has continued almost
unnoticed as a menacing force in the jazz underground, scorned
by the mainstream that influences. Among its founders in
the mid- to late 1950s were pianist Cecil Taylor, altoist Ornette
Coleman and keyboardist-bandleader Sun Ra. John Coltrane
became the avant-garde's most popular (and influential) figure
and from the mid-1960s on the avant-garde innovators made a
major impact on jazz, helping to push the music beyond bebop.
word "ballad" often has two meanings: a lyrical and melodic piece
that can be sung, or simply any selection taken at a slow tempo.
In the "AMG" we generally use the former definition while the latter
can be said to be played at a "balled tempo." Although there were
sentimental ballads in the 1800s, the idiom came of age with
the rise of the great American popular song and such composers as
Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Cole Porter among
others. Even if there have been some standard ballads written since
1970 (only a few from the pop and rock fields are easily transferable
to jazz), the majority of the repertoire of jazz-influenced ballad
singers tends to date from the 1920-60 period.
Band refers to a jazz group of ten or more musicians, usually featuring
at least three trumpets, two or more trombones, four or more saxophones
and a "rhythm section" of accompanists playing some combination
of piano, guitar, bass, and drums. "Big band music" as a concept
for music fans is identified most with the swing era, although there
were large, jazz-oriented, dance bands before the swing era of the
1930s and 1940s, and large jazz-oriented concert bands after the
difficulties occur when music stores shelve recordings by all
large jazz ensembles as though it were a single style, despite
the shifting harmonic and rhythmic approaches employed by new
ensembles of similar instrumentation that have formed since the
By lumping the music of all large jazz bands together, marketers
overlook the different kinds of jazz that large groups have performed:
swing (Duke Ellington and Count Basie), bebop (Dizzy Gillespie),
cool (Gerry Mulligan, Shorty Rogers, Gil Evans), hard bop (Gerald
Wilson), free jazz (some of Sun Ra's work after the 1950s), and
jazz-rock fusion (Don Ellis' and Maynard Ferguson's groups of
the 1970s). Not all of them are "swing bands."
listeners consider "big band" to denote an idiom, not just an
instrumentation. For them, the strategies of arranging and soloing
that were established during the 1930s link all large jazz ensembles
more than the different rhythmic and harmonic concepts distinguish
those of one era, for example bebop, from those of another, for
example those of jazz-rock.
important consideration is that journalists and jazz fans of the
1930s and 1940s drew distinctions between bands that conveyed
the most hard-driving rhythmic qualities and frequent solo improvisations
and those that conveyed less pronounced swing feeling and improvisation.
The former were called "swing bands" or "hot bands" (for example,
Count Basie's and Duke Ellington's). The latter were called "sweet
bands" (for example, Wayne King's, Freddy Martin's, and Guy Lombardo's).
Although the big band era ended by 1946, there have been some
large orchestras used in jazz ever since if virtually none (other
than the Count Basie ghost band) operate on a full-time basis.
Nearly all are led by arrangers.
is a jazz piano style using two pulses stated by the left hand for
every beat and the 12-bar blues chord progression as its repertory.
The brief, continuously repeating patterns from the left hand give
the style its identity. It's jazz flavor comes from rhythmically
and melodically playful phrases improvised by the pianist's right
popularized during the late 1920s by Pinetop Smith, boogie-woogie
experienced a strong revival during the late 1930s and early 1940s
through the recordings of Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons, Pete
Johnson, Jimmy Yancey, Cripple Clarence Lofton, and Cow Cow Davenport.
This genre had considerable influence on accompaniment styles
in the popular music called rhythm & blues, as well as the
beginnings of rock 'n'roll.
known as bebop, bop was a radical new music that developed gradually
in the early 1940s and seemed to explode in 1945. The main difference
between bop and swing is that the soloists engaged in chordal (rather
than melodic) improvisation, often discarding the melody altogether
after the first chorus and using the chord as the basis for the
solo. Ensembles tended to be unisons, most jazz groups were under
seven pieces and the soloist was free to get as adventurous as possible
as long as the overall improvisation fit into the chord structure.
Since the musicians were getting away from using the melodies as
the basis for their solos (leading some listeners to ask "Where's
the melody?"), the players were generally virtuosos and some from
popular music a dancing audience, uplifting jazz to an art music
but cutting deeply into its potential commercial success. Ironically
the once-radical bebop style has become the foundation for all the
innovations that followed and now can be almost thought of the establishment
music. Among its key innovators were altoist Charlie Parker, trumpeter
Dizzy Gillespie, pianist Bud Powell, drummer Max Roach and pianist-composer
by the West Coast jazz, in the 1950s composer Antonio Carlos Jobim
helped to form a new music that blended together gentle Brazilian
rhythms and melodies with cool-toned improvising,; the rhythms are
usually lightly as 3-3-4-3-3 with beats 1,4,7,11 and 14 being accented
during every two-bars (played in 8/4 time).
Joao Gilberto's soothing voice perfectly communicated the beauty
of Jobim's music.
The late '50s film "Black Orpheus" helped to introduce Jobim's compositions
to an American audience and other important early exponents of bossa
nova were guitarist Charlie Byrd, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz (Byrd
and Getz teamed up for the highly influential Jazz/Samba) and housewife-turned-singer
Astrud Gilberto who, along with her husband Joao and Getz, made
"The Girl from Ipanema" a huge hit. The very appealing bossa nova's
popularity peaked in the mid-'60s but it has remained a viable music
up to the present time.
a musical style cabaret refers to two different aspects of music.
The "night clubs" were initially opened to provide a place for painters,
writers, musicians and other artists to gather, talk, perform
and experiment. The key to understanding cabaret as a style is that
the music was all experimental. Avant-garde styles, reactions to
(or against) current trends and conventions were formulated in the
cabarets. Other styles include the music that was performed in the
cabarets when these clubs received their repute for being associated
Cabaret music was considered bawdy, vampish, rhythmic and often
lewd considering the numerous lyrical double entendres. Melodic
lines could be smooth and soft when that form of stimulation was
wanted from and for the audience but most of the lines were memorable,
filled with motions and extended interval leaps. There were few
soft curves to these musical phrases. Cabaret music was intended
as an energized form of entertainment.
is the earliest aurally documented form of the blues. The classic
female blues singers of the 1920s were the first to get on record
and the first to have hits in the genre, subsequently reaching a
national audience and starting the first great push in recording
blues music of all styles. This strain generally features big voiced
female vocalists singing material with close connections to pop
music of the period (mid-'20s to early '30s), utilizing primarily
jazz backings, giving even the most gutbucket of performances a
more uptown air to them. The style of these women singers is loud,
brassy, sassy, and assertive with the occasional nascent feminist
sentiment being inserted into the lyrics from time to time.
all jazz from the 1920s can be described as "New Orleans Jazz" or
"Dixieland." The 1920s were a rich decade musically with jazz-influenced
dance bands and a gradual emphasis on solo (as opposed to collective)
improvisations. Whether it be the stride pianists, the increasingly
adventurous horn soloists or the arranged music that predates swing,
much of the jazz from this decade can be given the umbrella title
of "Classic Jazz." Some of the modern-day revivalists (many who
can be heard on the Stomp Off label) who look beyond the Dixieland
repertoire into the music of Fletcher Henderson, Clarence Williams
and Bix Beiderbecke (to name a few) can be said to be playing in
this open-ended style.
funk refers to a kind of jazz from the 1970s and 1980s in which
accompanists perform in the Black pop style of soul and funk music
while extensive solo improvisations ride atop. Instead of using
standard vocabularies of any modern jazz saxophonists (Charlie Parker,
Lee Konitz, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman), most saxophone improvisations
in this style use their own repertory of simple phrases that are
loaded with bluesy wails and moans.
They draw upon traditions illustrated by sax solos on rhythm &
blues vocal recordings, such as those of King Curtis with the Coasters,
Junior Walker with the Motown vocal groups, and Dave Sanborn with
the Paul Butterfield Blues Band.
prominent figure in this genre is Grover Washington, Jr., who
often solos in a Hank Crawford-like style over funk accompaniments.
These instances com- prise his best-known recordings, though he
is also capable of playing other styles of jazz. The Jazz Crusaders
(Wilton Felder, Joe Sample) achieved wide popularity when they
changed their repertory to this approach during the 1970s and
dropped "Jazz" from their band name. A considerable portion of
music by Michael Brecker, Tom Scott, and their disciples uses
this approach, though they can also play in the jazz styles of
John Coltrane and Joe Henderson. Najee, Richard Elliott, and their
contemporaries also perform in this "contemporary funk" style.
From approximately 1971 to 1992, Miles Davis led bands in a sophisticated
variation of this style, though his saxophone soloists also drew
upon the methods of John Coltrane, and his guitarists also showed
modern jazz thinking and Jimi Hendrix influence. Much of contemporary
funk can also be classified as "crossover."
jazz refers to mainstream jazz performed in the '80s and '90s. Usually,
it is either a variation on classic, small group hard-bop or slick
fusion that concentrates on rhythms instead of improvisation. Often,
Contemporary jazz exhibits more rock and pop influences than traditional
hard-bop, but its bop origins are still quite evident.
the late 1940s and 1950s cool jazz evolved directly from bop. Essentially
it was a mixture of bop with certain aspects of swing that had been
overlooked or temporarily discarded. Dissonances were smoothed out,
tones were softened, arrangements became important again and the
rhythm section's accents were less jarring. Because some of the
key pacesetters of the style (many of whom were studio-musicians)
were centered in Los Angeles, it was nicknamed "West Coast Jazz."
Some of the recordings were experimental in nature (hinting at classical
music), while some overarranged sessions were bland but in general
this was a viable and popular style. By the late 1950s hard bop
from the East Coast had succeeded cool jazz although many of the
style's top players had long and productive careers. Among the many
top artists who were important in the development of Cool Jazz were
Lester Young, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Shorty Rogers
and Howard Rumsey (leader of the Lighthouse All-Stars).
catch-all term that delineates the depth and breadth of the first
flowering of guitar-driven blues, embracing both solo, duo, and
string band performers. The term also provides a convenient general
heading for all the multiple regional styles and variations (Piedmont,
Atlanta, Memphis, Texas, acoustic Chicago, Delta, ragtime, folk,
songster, etc.) of the form. It is primarily - but not exclusively
- a genre filled with acoustic guitarists, embracing a multiplicity
of techniques from elaborate fingerpicking to the early roots of
slide playing. But some country-blues performers like Lightnin'
Hopkins and John Lee Hooker were to later switch over the electric
guitars without having to drastically change or alter their styles.
the gradual decline of rock (from an artistic standpoint) starting
in the early 1970s, fusion (a mixture of jazz improvisations with
rock rhythms) began to become more predictable since there was less
input and inspiration from the rock world. At the same time, now
that it was proven that electric jazz could sell records, producers
and some musicians searched for other combinations of styles in
order to have big sellers. They were quite successful in making
their brand of jazz more accessible to the average consumer. Many
different combinations have been tried during the past two decades
and promoters and publicists enjoy using the phrase "Contemporary
jazz" to describe these "fusions" of jazz with elements of pop music,
R&B and world music. However, the word "crossover" (which describes
the intent of the performances as well as the usual results) is
more accurate. Crossover and fusion have been quite valuable in
increasing the jazz audience (many of whom end up exploring other
styles). In some cases the music is quite worthwhile, while in other
instances the jazz content is a relatively small part of the ingredients.
When the style is actually pop music with only an insignificant
amount of improvisation (meaning that it is largely outside of jazz),
the term "instrumental pop" applies best of all. Examples of crossover
range from Al Jarreau and George Benson vocal records to Kenny G.,
Spyro Gyra and the Rippingtons. All contain the influence of jazz
but tend to fall as much (if not more) into the pop field.
virtually all jazz groups prior to the rise of bebop in the early
to mid-'40s played for dancers, the term "dance bands" is used to
describe orchestras of the 1920s and '30s whose primary function
was to play background music for dancers rather than to serve as
vehicles for jazz improvisations. The more progressive dance bands
of the early to mid-'20s (such as those led by Paul Whiteman, Isham
Jones and Ben Selvin) left some room for short solos and by the
late '20s most of the less commercial dance bands had brief spots
in their arrangements for trumpeters and reed playersto solo after
the vocal refrain. The dance bands, although emphasizing the melody
and vocalists, were generally influenced by jazz and incorporated
elements of swing after the emer-gence of Benny Goodman in 1935
although they were often classified as "sweet" bands. After 1945,
dance orchestras became less common, were often tied to nostalgia
and were much less relevant to jazz.
the Dixieland revival (one could say fad) of the 1950s was eventually
overrun by amateurs, corny trappings (such as straw hats and suspenders)
and clichés, many musicians playing in that idiom grew to
dislike the term and wanted it to be changed to "traditional" or
"classic." But rather then blame the term or the style, it seems
more justifiable to separate the professionals from the poor imitators.
Dixieland, a style that overlaps with New Orleans jazz and classic
jazz, has also been called "Chicago jazz" because it developed to
an extent in Chicago in the 1920's. Most typically the framework
involves collective improvisation during the first chorus (or, when
there are several themes, for several choruses), individual solos
with some riffing by the other horns, and a closing ensemble or
two with a four bag tag by the drummer being answered by the full
group. Although nearly any song can be turned into Dixieland,
there is a consistent repertoire of forty or so songs that have
been proven to be consistently reliable. Despite its decline
in popularity since the 1950s, Dixieland (along with the related
classic jazz and New Orleans jazz idioms) continues to flourish
as an underground music.
genre combines two basic schools under one general heading.
The first and most notable consist of disciples of the Piedmont
school (primarily of the East Coast area's main Piedmont style)
who had relocated along the East Coast by the early to mid 1950s
and ended up comprising much of that city's early blues revival
scene in the mid 1960s. The second consists of both electric R&B
artists and modern performers hailing from the area working in a
variety of styles indigenous to the overall genre itself.
term is used for musicians from the 1950s on who often utilize strong
folk melodies as vehicles for solos. They tend to keep their ears
open to musical developments in other countries (world music), emphasize
quieter volumes and break down boundaries between jazz and seemingly
unrelated genres. Examples of folk-jazz include som of the music
of Jimmy Giuffre, Tony Scott (post-1959), Paul Horn, Paul Winter
and Oregon. Folk-jazz was a direct influence on new age.
Funk is a mixture of avant-garde jazz with funky rhythms. When Ornette
Coleman formed Prime Time in the early '70s, he had a "double quartet"
(comprising two guitars, two electric bassist and two drummers plus
his alto) performing with freedom tonally but over eccentric funk
rhythms. Three of Ornette's sidemen (guitarist James "Blood" Ulmer,
bassist Jamaaladeen and drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson) have since
led free funk groups of their own and free funk has been a major
influence on the music of the M-Base players including altoist Steve
Coleman and Greg Osby.
and swing stylists improvise melodically and bop, cool and hard
bop players follow chord structures in their solos. Free jazz was
a radical departure from past styles for typically after playing
a quick theme, the soloist does not have to follow any progression
or structure and go in any unpredictable direction. When Ornette
Coleman largely introduced Free jazz to New York audiences (although
Cecil Taylor had preceded him with less publicity), many of the
bop musicians and fans debated about whether what was being played
would even qualify as music; the radicals had become conservatives
in less than 15 years. Free jazz, which overlaps with the avant-garde
(the latter can utilize arrangements and sometimes fairly tight
frameworks), remains a controversial and mostly underground style,
influencing the modern mainstream while often being ignored. Having
dispensed with many of the rules as far as pitch, rhythm and development
are the success of a Free jazz performance can be measured by the
musicianship and imagination of the performers, how colorful the
music is and whether it seems logical or merely random.
word "fusion" has been so liberally used during the past quarter-century
as to become almost meaningless. Fusion's original definition was
best: a mixture of jazz improvisation with the power and rhythms
of rock. Up until around 1967 the worlds of jazz and rock were nearly
completely separate. But 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 forces. By
the early 1970s, fusion had its own separate identity as a creative
jazz style (although sneered upon by many purists) and such major
groups as Return to Forever, Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra
and Miles Davis' various bands were playing high-quality fusion
that mixed together some of the best qualities of both jazz and
rock. Unfortunately as it became a money-maker and as rock
declined artistically from the mid-'70s on, much of what was labelled
fusion was actually a combination of jazz with easy-listening pop
music and lightweight R&B crossover. The promise of fusion to
an extent went unfulfilled although it continues to exist today
in groups such as Tribal Tech and Chick Corea's Elektric Band.
is a sub-set of soul-jazz, one that is injected with the blues and
concentrates on the rhythm. It is a funky, joyous music, where everything
in the performance is there to establish and maintain the groove.
There's a steady beat to the music, whether it's uptempo funk or
slow blues. Usually, groove is performed by small combos that feature
guitar, organ, bass and drums. Horns, especially saxophones, can
be featured, but sometimes the presence of too many horns moves
the music too close to hard-bop, which tends to be cerebral. Groove
is emotional and physical, hitting your soul. In many ways, it's
almost spiritual, since everyone is working collectively for the
greater good, and, at its best, it locks into rhythms that are nearly
hypnotic. Groove always has funky rhythms, bluesy vamps and, usually,
gospel overtones to the playing. There a re solos, but they are
worked into the overall feeling, the overall groove of the music,
and in the end, that's what counts with groove.
some history books claim that hard bop arose as a reaction to the
softer sounds featured in cool jazz, it was actually an extension
of bop that largely ignored West Coast jazz. The main differences
between hard bop and bop are that the melodies tend to be simpler
and often more "soulful," the rhythm section is usually looser with
the bassist not as tightly confined to playing four-beats-to-the-bar
as in bop, a gospel influence is felt in some of the music, and
quite often the saxophonists and pianists sound as if they are familiar
with early rhythm and blues. Since the prime time period of hard
bop (1955-70) was a decade later than bop, these differences were
a logical evolution and one can think of hard bop as bop of the
'50s and '60s. By the second half of the 1960s, the influence of
the avant-garde was being felt and some of the more adventurous
performances of the hard bop stylists (such as Jackie McLean and
Lee Morgan) fell somewhere between the two styles. With the rise
of fusion and the sale of Blue Note (hard bop's top label) in the
late 1960s, the style fell upon hard times although it was revived
to a certain extent in the 1980s. Much of the music performed by
the so called Young Lions during the latter decade (due to other
influences altering their style) can be said to play modern mainstream,
although some groups (such as the Harper Brothers and T.S. Monk's
Sextet) have kept the 1960s idiom alive.
classified under this style is commercially-oriented music with
minimal improvisation or creative risks. The music is characterized
as generic and short in duration with simplified themes with little
or no development. Major proponents of instrumental pop are Herb
Alpert, Chuck Mangione, Kenny G., Acker Bilk, Boots Randolph and
seemingly self explanatory, the jazz blues genre is somewhat misleading.
Many jazz musicians have roots in the blues, with several of them
providing their own interesting hybrids of the form. Its major proponents
are blues performers who have integrated jazz stylings into their
work, with surprisingly successful results. Some of these artists
work both sides of the fence (vacillating between hard blues and
jazzier sounds), while others utilize the genre as their principal
stylistic distinction. Embracing everything from honking tenor saxophonists
to big band singers to cocktail piano stylings, the style still
has room to grow and enter a more contemporary phase.
fusion - which is jazz played with rock is essentially rock-based
songs played with jazz flourishes and jazz impro- visations. When
the two genres first developed in the late '60s, the genres were
nearly identical; during the early '70s they began to branch away
from each other and jazz-rock became known as a slightly more commercial
version of fusion.
a slang word meaning (as in "don't jive me," or don't mess with
me), also became associated with a type of vocalizing popularized
in the 1930s and '40s by Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, Slim Gaillard,
Leo Watson and Harry "The Hipster" Gibson, among others. Connected
musically to swing, jive featured its singers making up nonsense
syllables and humorous words, some of which are adopted by the youth
of the swing era.
form refers to an uptempo, jazz-tinged style of blues that first
came to prominence in the mid- to late '40s. Usually featuring a
vocalist in front of a large horn-driven orchestra or medium sized
combo with multiple horns, the style is ear-marked by a driven rhythm,
intensely shouted vocals, and honking tenor saxophone solos- elements
now associated with rock 'n' roll. The lyrics are almost always
celebratory in nature, full of braggadocio and swagger. With less
reliance on guitar work (which was usually confined to the rhythm
section) than other styles, jump blues was the bridge between the
older styles of blues- primarily those in a small band context -
and the big band jazz sound of the 1940s.
all the post-swing styles, Latin jazz has been the most consistently
popular and it is easy to see why. The emphasis on percussion and
Cuban rhythms make the style quite dance-able and accessible. Essentially
it is a mixture of bop-oriented jazz with Latin percussion. Among
the pioneers in combining the two styles in the 1940s were the big
bands of Dizzy Gillespie and Machito, and the music (which has never
gone out of style) has remained a viable force through the 1990s,
played most notably by the bands of Tito Puente and Poncho Sanchez.
The style has not changed much during the past 40 years but it still
communicates to today's listeners. Latin jazz is also sometimes
called Afro-Cuban Jazz, a term preferred by Mario Bauza and Ray
for "macro-basic array of structured extemporization," M-Base was
developed by altoist Steve Coleman and Greg Osby, tenor saxophonist
Gary Thomas and various other young associates (including singer
Cassandra Wilson) in the 1980s. An extension of Ornette Coleman's
free funk (although with a greater use of space and dynamics), M-Base
often features crowded and noisy ensembles, unpredictable funk rhythms
and an entirely new logic in soloing that owes little to bebop.
Although the leaders of M-Base have since gone their separate ways
(occasionally regrouping in different combinations), the influence
of the music can be heard in the playing of some of the more adventurous
term "mainstream" was coined by critic Stanley Dance to describe
the type of music that trumpeter Buck Clayton and his contemporaries
(veterans of the swing era) were playing in the 1950s. Rather than
modernize their styles and play bop or join Dixieland bands (which
some did on a part-time basis in order to survive), the former big
band stars (which included such players as Coleman Hawkins, Lester
Young, Harry "Sweets" Edison and Roy Eldridge, among many others)
jammed standards and riff tunes in smaller groups. Mainstream, which
was fairly well documented in the 1950s, was completely overshadowed
by other styles in the '60s and its original players gradually passed
away. However, with the rise of tenor saxophonist Scott Hamilton
and trumpeter Warren Vache in the 1970s and the beginning of the
Concord label (which emphasized the music), mainstream has made
a comeback that, with its hints of both bop and Dixieland, survives
up to this day.
electric blues is an electric mixture, a subgenre embracing both
the old, the new and something that falls between the two. Some
forms copy the older styles of urban - primarily offshoots of the
electric Chicago band style - right down to playing the music on
vintage instruments and using replications of amplifiers from the
period. It is also a genre that pays homage to those vintage styles
while sismultaneously recasting them in contemporary fashion. It
can also be the most forward looking of all blues styles, embracing
rock beats and pyrotechnics, and enlivening the form with funk rhythms
and chord progressions that expand beyond the standard three usually
heard in blues.
a piano and horn-driven style, New Orleans R&B is the next step
over from its more bluesier practitioners. There's a cheerful good
naturedness to the style that infuses the music with a good time
feel, no matter how somber the lyrical text may be. The music itself
utilizes a distinctively "lazy" feel, with all of its somewhat complex
rhythms falling just a hair behind the beat, making for what is
known as "the sway."
The vocals can run the full emotional gamut from laid back crooning
to full throated gospel shouting, while the horn lines provide a
perfect droning backdrop. Enlivened by Caribbean rhythms, an unrelenting
party atmosphere, and the distinctive "second'line" strut of the
Dixieland music so indigenous to the area, there's nothing quite
as intoxicating as the sound of Crescent City R&B.
earliest style of jazz, the music played in New Orleans from about
the time that Buddy Bolden formed his first band in 1895 until Storyville
was closed in 1917 unfortunately went totally unrecorded. However,
with the success of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917 and
the many performances documented in the 1920s, it became possible
to hear what this music sounded like in later years. Ensemble-oriented
with fairly strict roles for each instrument, New Orleans jazz generally
features a trumpet or cornet providing a melodic lead, harmonies
from the trombone, countermelodies by the clarinet and a steady
rhythm stated by the rhythm section (which usually consist of piano,
banjo or guitar, tuba or bass and drums). This music is a direct
descendant of marching brass bands, and although overlapping with
Dixieland, tends to de-emphasize solos in favor of ensembles featuring
everyone playing and improvising together. Due to its fairly basic
harmonies and the pure joy of the ensembles, it is consistently
the happiest and most accessible style of jazz.
genre that runs through the entire history of the music itself,
this embraces everything from ragtime, barrelhouse, boogie- woogie,
and smooth West Coast jazz stylings to the hard-rocking rhythms
of Chicago blues.
blues refers to a regional substyle characteristic of African-American
musicians of the south-eastern United States. Geographically, Piedmont
refers to the foothills of the Appalachians west of the tidewater
region and the Atlantic coastal plain stretching roughly from Richmond,
VA, to Atlanta, GA. Musically, Piedmont blues describes the shared
style of musicians from Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, as
well as others from as far afield as Florida, West Virginia Maryland
and Delaware. It refers to a wide assortment of aesthetic values,
performance techniques, and shared repertoire rooted in common geographical,
historical, and sociological circumstances.
The Piedmont guitar style employs as complex fingerpicking method
in which a regular, alternating thumb bass pattern supports a melody
on treble strings. The guitar style is highly syncopated and is
closely related to an earlier string-band tradition integrating
ragtime, blues, and country dance songs. It's excellent party music
with a full, rock-solid sound.
has become increasingly difficult to categorize modern jazz. A large
segment of the music does not fit into any historical style, is
not as rock-oriented as fusion or as free as the avant-garde. Starting
with the rise of Wynton Marsalis in 1979, a whole generation of
younger players chose to play an updated variety of hard bop that
was also influenced by the mid-'60s Miles Davis Quintet and aspects
of free jazz. Since this music (which often features complex chordal
improvisations) has become the norm for jazz in the 1990s, the terms
"modern mainstream" or "post-bop" are used for everything from Wallace
Roney to John Scofield and symbolize the electric scene as jazz
enters its second century.
big band music is music for listening, with denser, more modernistic
arrangements than the earlier, more dance-oriented big band styles,
with more room to improvise. Major proponents of this style were
Gil Evans, Stan Kenton, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Cal Massey, Frank Foster,
Carla Bley, George Gruntz, David Amram, Sun Ra, and Duke Ellington.
out of jump blues in the late '40s, R&B laid the groundwork
for rock 'n' roll. R&B kept the tempo and the drive of jump
blues, but its instrumentation was more sparse and the emphasis
was on the song, not improvisation. It was blues chord changes played
with an insistent backbeat. During the '50, R&B was dominated
by vocalists like Ray Charles and Ruth Brown, as well as vocal groups
like the Drifters and the Coasters. Eventually, R&B metamorphized
into soul, which was funkier and looser than the pile-driving rhythms
not really jazz (ragtime does not have improvisation or the feeling
of the blues), this early style (which was at its prime during 1899-1915)
was a strong influence on the earlier forms of jazz. Best-known
as a piano music, ragtime (which is totally written-out) was also
performed by orchestras. Its syncopations and structure (blending
together aspects of classical music and marches) hinted strongly
at jazz and many of its melodies (most notably "Maple Leaf Rag")
would be played in later years by jazz musicians in a Dixieland
which was the most popular jazz style of the 1960s, differs from
bebop and hard bop (from which it originally developed) in that
the emphasis is on the rhythmic groove. Although soloists
follow the chords as in bop, the basslines (often played by an organist
if not a string bassist) dance rather than stick strictly
to a four-to-the-bar walking pattern. The musicians build their
accompaniment around the bassline and, although there are often
strong melodies, it is the catchiness of the groove and the amount
of heat generated by the soloists that determine whether the performance
is successful. Soul-jazz's roots trace back to pianist Horace Silver
whose funky style infused bop with the influence of church and gospel
music along with the blues.
Other pianists who followed and used similar approaches were Bobby
Timmons, Junior Mance, Les McCann, Gene Harris (with his Three Sounds)
and Ramsey Lewis. With the emergence of organist Jimmy Smith in
1956 (who has dominated his instrument ever since), soul-jazz organ
combos (usually also including a tenor, guitarist, drummer and an
occasional bassist) caught on and soulful players including Brother
Jack McDuff, Shirley Scott, Jimmy McGriff, Charles Earland and Richard
"Groove" Holmes, along with such other musicians as guitarists Grant
Green, George Benson and Kenny Burrell, tenors Stanley Turrentine,
Willis "Gator" Jackson, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, David "Fathead" Newman,
Gene "Jug" Ammons, Houston Person, Jimmy Forrest, King-Curtis, Red
Holloway and Eddie Harris and altoist Hank Crawford were soul-jazz
stars. Despite its eclipse by fusion and synthesizers in the 1970s,
soul-jazz has stayed alive and made a healthy comeback in recent
the golden age of the American popular song (dating from around
1915-60), a couple dozen very talented composers wrote a countless
number of flexible song that were adopted (and often transformed)
by creative jazz musicians and singers. Often originally written
for Broadway shows and Hollywood films, many of these works (generally
32-bars in length) have been performed and recorded a seemingly
infinite number of times including "Body and Soul," "Stardust" and
" "All the Things You Are." Such composers as Jerome Kern, Irving
Berlin, George Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael, Cole Porter,
Richard Rodgers, Harry Warren, Fats Waller and Duke Ellington along
with other talents supplied the jazz and pop music worlds with what
must have seemed like an endless supply of gems. Called standards
(which means that they caught on as a permanent part of the jazz
and pop music repertoire), the songs differ from less flexible "originals"
that are often put together for a record date and then quickly forgotten.
Since the rise of rock, the pop music world has been a much less
fertile area for jazz players to "borrow" material from and, although
many of the old standards are still performed, jazz musicians and
singers have had to rely much more on original material during the
past three decades.
is a style of jazz piano playing in which the pianist's left hand
maintains a continuous pulse in groups of four beats by percussively
playing a bass note on the first and third beats and a chord on
the second and fourth beats. The right hand improvises melodies
and harmonies, and the result resembles a very energetic one-man
band. It was performed by immensely talented pianists who were able
to control the piano with a power and virtuosic force previously
unknown in popular music. The style originated in New York before
the 1920s, as pianists took ragtime ad began developing new, more
swinging styles. Major proponents were James P. Johnson, Willie
"The Lion" Smith, and Joe Sullivan, who, in turn, went on to be
influential themselves. Art Tatum and Ralph Sutton, for instance,
were both influenced by Fats Waller.
New Orleans jazz has improvised ensembles, when jazz started becoming
popular in the 1920s and demand was growing for larger dance bands,
it became necessary for ensembles to be written down, particularly
when a group included more than three or four horns. Although swing
largely began when Louis Armstrong joined Fletcher Henderson's Orchestra
in 1924 and Don Redman began writing arrangements for the band that
echoed the cornetist's relaxed phrases, the swing era officially
started in 1935 when Benny Goodman's Orchestra caught on. Swing
was a major force in American popular music until the big band era
largely ended in 1946. Swing differs from New Orleans jazz and Dixieland
in that the ensembles (even for small groups) are simpler and generally
filled with repetitious riffs while in contrast the solos are more
sophisticated. Individual improvisations still paid close attention
to the melody but due to the advance in musicianship, the solo flights
were more adventurous.
The swing musicians who continued performing in the style after
the end of the big band era (along with later generations who adopted
this approach) can also be said to be playing "mainstream." Among
the many stars of swing during the big band era were trumpeters
Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, Harry James and Roy Eldridge, trombonists
Tommy Dorsey and Jack Teagarden, clarinetists Benny Goodman and
Artie Shaw, tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and
Ben Webster, altoists Johnny Hodges and Benny Carter, pianists Teddy
Wilson, Art Tatum, Earl Hines, Count Basie and Nat King Cole, guitarist
Charlie Christian, drummers Gene Krupa and Chick Webb, vibraphonist
Lionel Hampton, bandleader Glenn Miller and singers Billie Holiday,
Ella Fritzgerald and Jimmy Rushing.
geographical subgenre earmarked by a more relaxed, swinging feel
than other styles of blues, Texas Blues encompasses a number of
style variations and has a long, distinguished history. Its earliest
incarnation occurred in the mid-'20s, featuring acoustic guitar
work rich in filigree patterns, almost an extension of the vocals
rather than merely a strict accompaniment to it. This version of
Texas blues embraced both the songster and country-blues traditions,
with its lyrics relying less on affairs of the heart than in other
forms. The next stage of development in the region's sound came
after World War II, bringing forth a fully electric style that featured
jazzy, single-string soloing over predominantly horn-driven backing.
The style stays current with a raft of regional performers primarily
working in a small combo context.
stream (a term invented by composer Gunther Schuller in 1957) essentially
means a mixture of jazz and classical music. Most attempts at fusing
the two very different idioms have been at best mixed successes
with string sections weighing down jazz soloists.
Paul Whiteman in the 1920s, tried to (in his own words) "make a
lady out of jazz" and alternated between symphonic string sections
and classic jazz solos. Strings were used in some swing bands in
the 1940s (most inventively by Artie Shaw and Stan Kenton's dissonant
works of 1950-51), but in all cases the added musicians were merely
reading their parts and backing the improvisers. Starting with Charlie
Parker in 1949 jazz players recorded now and then while joined by
strings but it was not until the mid- to late '50s that more serious
experiments began to take place. Schuller, John Lewis, J.J.
Johnson and Bill Russo were some of the more significant composers,
attempting to bridge the gap between jazz and classical musics.
Most musical forecasters in the mid-'50s would have predicted that
jazz's next phase would involve a fusion of sorts with classical
music but the rise of the avant-garde (which as a spontaneity
and an extrovertism that most pseudo-classical works lack) largely
ended the Third Stream movement before it came close to catching
on beyond academic circles. Since its heyday in the late 1950s,
there have been occasional Third Stream projects ranging from significant
successes (such as Eddie Daniel's "Breakthrough" CD for GRP) to
some that sound closer to pompous muzak. Although the movement never
really became a major force, it still has potential.
the term "traditional jazz" has been used for everything from Dixieland
to the current straightahead jazz scene, "trad" was the name for
the form of New Orleans jazz that flourished in the United Kingdom
during the 1950s and '60s. Similar in style and sound to Dixieland,
the best trad bands developed their own repertoire and distinctive
approach to playing the happy music. The most popular bands were
led by trumpeter Kenny Ball (who had a major hit in "Midnight in
Moscow") and trombonist Chris Barber and such stars as Humphrey
Lyttelton, Ken Colyer and Monty Sunshine kept the scene alive and
well, at least until the Beatles caught on.
pop refers to post-big band and pre-rock 'n' roll pop music. Traditional
pop drew from a repertoire of songs written by professional songwriters
and were performed by a vocalist that was supported by either an
orchestra or a small-combo. In Traditional pop, the song is the
key, and although the singer is the focal point, this style of singing
doesn't rely on vocal improvisations like jazz singing does. Traditional
pop can also refer to the orchestra leaders and arrangers that provided
the instrumental settings for vocalists.
descriptive phrase, urban blues, was first used starting in the
early part of the 20th century to differentiate between the more
uptown sentiments pervasive to the style and the cruder, more rural
stylings of "country" blues artists. This term was later used in
the 1940s to describe a type of sophisticated blues written bout
the vagaries of city life, its lyrics alternately dealing with romantic
strife and the innumerable good times to be easily obtained in an
urban area. Always city derived, the music is always earmarked by
pronounced styling to smooth supper club style vocals.
is considerably different than Traditional pop, which is largely
comprised of standards and performed by skilled singers like Sinatra
and Bennett. Vocal-pop is considerably lighter, falling somewhere
between pop and easy listening. Vocal pop's heyday was in the late
'50s and early '60s before rock 'n' roll had completely infiltrated
all areas of popular record making. In those days, clean-cut groups
like the Four Freshmen sang sweet, romantic and innocent songs that
were given lush productions and arrangements. Vocal-pop primarily
consisted of similar groups and sounds, the material lighter than
Traditional pop, but sonically it had more in common with those
standards than it did work with rock.
is the art of writing lyrics to fit recorded instrumental solos,
many of which end up being tongue twisters. Eddie Jefferson was
the first important vocalese lyricist in the late '40s, although
a 1929 record released for the first time in 1996 finds Bee Palmer
singing words set to Bix Beiderbecke's solo on "Singing the Blues,"
Jefferson's words to Gene Ammons "Red Top" and Charlie Parker's
"Parker's Mood" resulted in a pair of hits for King Pleasure (who
also wrote some fine vocalese on his own). Vocalese reached his
highest peak with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross during 1957-62,
a group featuring the genius of vocalese Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross
(famous for "Twisted") and Dave Lambert.
In later years Hendricks led the Hendricks Family (which revived
many of the Lambert, Hendricks & Ross classics) and Manhattan
Transfer sometimes used vocalese. Although it has rarely advanced
beyond bop (other than Eddie Jefferson's successful transformations
of "Freedom Jazz Dance" and "Bitches Brew"), vocalese is still used
as an option by today's jazz singers.
piano-based and jazz-influenced than anything else, the West Coast
style of blues is, in actuality, the California style, with all
of the genre's main practitioners coming to prominence there, if
not actual natives of the state in particular. In fact, the state
and the style played host to a great many post-war Texas guitar
expatriates and their jazzy, T-Bone Walker style of soloing would
become an earmark of the genre.
The genre also features smooth, honey toned vocals, frequently crossing
into "urban blues" territory.
The West Coast style was also home to numerous jump-blues practitioners,
as many traveling bands of the 1940s ended up taking permanent residence
there. Its current practitioners work almost exclusively in the
standard small West Coast Jazz. Main proponents: Charles Brown,
Pee Wee Crayton, Lowell Fulson, and Percy Mayfield.
fusion refers to a fusion of Third World music, or just :world
music" with jazz, specifically:
1) Ethnic music that has incorporated jazz improvisations (for
example, Latin-jazz). Frequently, only the solos are improvised
jazz. The accompaniments and compositions are essentially the
same as the ethnic music.
2) Jazz that has incorporated limited aspects of a particular
non-Western music. Examples include performances of Dizzy Gillespie's
"A Night in Tunisia"; music on some of the 1970s quartet recordings
by Keith Jarrett's quartet and quintet on Impulse, in which Middle
Eastern instruments and harmonic methods are modified and used;
some of Sun Ra's music from the 1950s into the 1990s, in which
African rhythms are incorporated; some of Yusef Lateef's recordings
that feature traditional Islamic instruments and methods.
3) New musical styles that result from distinctly original ways
of combining jazz improvisation with original ideas and the instruments,
harmonies, compositional practices, and rhythms of an existing
ethnic tradition. The product is original, but its flavor still
reflects some aspects of a non-jazz, ethnic tradition. Examples
include Don Cherry's band Codona and Nu, some of John McLaughlin's
music from the 1970s and the 1990s that drew heavily on the traditions
of India, some of Don Ellis' music of the 1970s that drew upon
the music of India and Bulgaria, work by Andy Narrell in the 1990s
that melds the music and instruments of Trinidad with jazz improvisations
and funk styles.
fusion jazz did not first occur with modern jazz, and its trends
are not exclusive to American jazz. For instance, Polynesian music
was fusing with Western pop styles at the beginning of the twentieth
century, and its feeling attracted some of the earliest jazz musicians.
Caribbean dance rhythms have been a significant part of American
pop culture throughout the twentieth century, and, since jazz
musicians frequently improvised when performing in pop contexts,
blends have been occurring almost continuously. Django Reinhardt
was melding the traditions of Gypsy music with French impressionist
concert music and jazz improvisation during the 1930s in France.