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A brief history of Modern Jazz  

All of the featured sample tracks are taken from the CD This One's for Milt Jackson

In the early 1940's a group of New York based jazz musicians became disenchanted with the prevailing style of the time. These included Charlie Dizzy GillespieParker, Dizzy Gillespie, and The lonious Monk. They consciously strove to expand the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic possibilities of the music, thereby giving the music a greater sense of urgency and sophistication. This style became known as "Bebop".

Up to this time jazz musicians relied heavily on the show tunes of the day ie Track 4. However from now on they would create their own compositions

By the end of the decade trumpeter Miles Davis sought to create a more mellow and subdued style of jazz which would retain the complexities of bebop yet would also convey a more vocal and expressive mood. This came to be known as "Cool Jazz"

By the late 1950's musicians such as The Cannonball Adderley quintet, Art Blakey's jazz messengers and the Horace Silver quintet were influenced by the prayer meetings of the Baptist Church, and sought to introduce a strong blues influence into their compositions. This style is known as "Hardbop" Track 3

Miles DavisIn 1959 a new departure was ushered in by the introduction of Modal Jazz and the highly influential Miles Davis recording "Kind of Blue" This style is still prevalent to this day where the emphasis is placed on improvising on a selected group of notes called a scale rather than a series of harmonic chord changes
Track 1

About this time two other diverse influences arose. The Dave Brubeck Dave Brubeck Quartet Quartet experimented with various unusual time signatures, and the Modern Jazz Quartet expanded the structure of the music and paid great attention to programming, group interplay, dynamic shading and contrast, comparable to a classical string Quartet.

The John Coltrane Quartet was probably the most influential group of the1960s an era that saw a lot of experimental attempts to broaden the scope of the music,and established instrumental practices.
This was the era of the " Avante Garde" and Quartel Harmony.

The 1960's also saw a new style emerge known as the " Bossa Nova" or "Latin Jazz" (which has its origins in Brazil) The prolific composer Antonio Carlos Jobim helped define its characteristics, sophisticated harmonies, lyrical melodies, subtle rhythms and well defined structures. Track 2

Jazz Rock emerged in the 1970's and popularised Jazz to an unprecedented degree. Groups such as "Return to Forever" and "Weather Report" helped define this era which had a heavy dependence on synthesisers and electric instrumentation.

Jazz for the 80's and 90's has been a distillation and renewal of all the aforementioned styles and a reconfirmation of their validity and lasting appeal.



 
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