whose roots are in the elements of African
music, and its beginning is in the music of
the slaves in the United States.
Except elements of African rhythms, early jazz drew on Creole bands educated
in the European classical tradition, spirituals, marching bands, ragtime,
and the blues.
Buddy Bolden (1877-1931),
a legendary cornet player, but with not a single note of his playing survives
on record, was probably the first real "Jazz player", as he was
the first who combined the different musical elements (the blues, embellishments
on the melody of a tune and the rhythm emphasis) to create a new music.
This music is characterized by using highly syncopated
and jumpy, unstable rhythms.
is rich and influenced by trends like impressionism
and use of ancient modes.
Jazz puts emphasis on improvisation
- a player inventing the musical piece in the course of performance
and without planning.
jazz, wind instruments are accepted as melodic instruments, and the rhythm
instruments - piano, guitar, double bass, drums - provide accompaniment
(although often contribute to improvisations customary in this style).
Jazz is the art of interpretation,
and pre-written arrangements are rarely played. Most performers
play pieces known to every jazz musician ("standards"), whereas
the curious part is the one-time performance, full of improvisation and
includes a new interpretation for each and every ensemble and player.
The religious music that set the foundations to jazz
is called the "spirituals".
These beautiful and moving religious songs were sung by the new-Christian
slaves and gave hope for a better future in the promised land of freedom.
Songs that talked about the daily troubles from the life of the African
American brought about the gloomy Blues,
that combined the "blue notes" - a diminution of thirds and sevenths
in the key - and became its trademark. In fact, the blues is the secular
counterpart of the spirituals. B.B. King and
John Lee Hooker are two of the greatest blues
There are different styles in jazz, such as the Swing
- a floating, usually orchestral style, made by artists like Duke
and Count Basie
into a sophisticated, well-processed style, especially during the
time of the "Big Bands".
among jazz's giants, gave it its dignified dimension, and became the messenger
of jazz around the world, with jazz hits such as "What
a wonderful world" and "Hello Dolly".
- an originally pianist style invented by Scott
("The Entertainer"), and the jumpy
of Charlie Parker
and Miles Davis.
Nowadays, the innovative style of "fusion"
is very popular. Composers like Chick Corea
("Spain"), ensembles like "Weather
Report" and players like Michael Brecker
and the Marsalis Brothers mix diverse musical
influences into complex, interesting jazz performances.
Some important composers of classical music also combined
elements of jazz in their work. Particularly known are Gershwin's
many works ("Rhapsody is Blue",
and the opera
about the life of black people "Porgy
and Bess"), and Stravinsky's
("Concerto Ebony for a Jazz Orchestra").
The rebel and protest songs of black people in the US.
They spoke of biblical subjects and following Christ, but in fact were
songs of hope for liberation from bondage, and after emancipation - songs
of hope for improvement in the life of the black people in racist America.
Spirituals like "Swing low, sweet chariot"
and "Go down Moses" became known
by vocal ensembles like Fisk Jubilee Singers
Main figures: singers as Marian Anderson and
The music of sorrow and suffering of African Americans,
both vocal and instrumental. The most persistent characteristic of the
blues is a twelve-bar pattern and a slow tempo and the name is related
to the “blue notes,” i.e., the third and seventh scale degrees which are
used either natural or flatted. The form was popularized in the 1910s by
composer W.C. Handy,
with songs like "Memphis Blues",
"St. Louis Blues" and "Basin
Street Blues". In the early 1960s, the blues was discovered
by Rock musicians, such as Jimi Hendrix,
and Eric Clapton.
They have used the blues as a foundation for offshoot styles, but also
continued to create traditional blues.
Main figures: John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and
B.B. King and singers like Bassie Smith and Billie Holliday
An early written, unimprovised, jazz predecessor usually
performed on the piano.
Its names means "rhythm of tears or rags", due to the lack of
uniform rhythm. Began during the 1880-1900 period, mainly by Scott
from St. Louis - ragtime's greatest composer
and player with famous pieces, such as "The
and "Maple Leaf Rag". This style
mixed aspects of marches
and classical music, such as a syncopated two-beat rhythm with a melody
line, and had a great influence on the earlier forms of jazz (with the
presence of blues and improvisation).
Famous composers in the 20th century, such as Stravinsky
(in his "Ragtime for 11 instruments")
("The creation of the world") integrated
ragtime into their works.
Main figures: Scott Joplin and James P. Johnson
Derived from ragtime
in New York
in the early 1920s, a style with more syncopated bass line. Mostly played
by virtuoso pianists, who resembled one-man bands by immensely fast playing
Main figures: Willie "the Lion" Smith,
James P. Johnson and Fats Waller
The traditional jazz being played by white musicians,
in the 1920s in Chicago. Also called "New
Orleans jazz", "Chicago jazz" and "Classic jazz",
this style usually demonstrates collective improvisations
during choruses. In the 1950s, Dixieland had a revival by many groups of
amateur jazz musicians.
Main figures: the "Original Dixieland
/ New Orleans Jazz
New Orleans jazz as it emerged
and into the 1930s is a descendant of the marching brass bands. The New
Orleans Jazz, which overlaps with Dixieland, did not tend to emphasize
solos in favor of group playing and common improvising. When the center
of Jazz music had shifted up north, from New Orleans to Chicago,
the most important jazz musician ever, Louis Armstrong,
was summoned up north by Joe "King" Oliver
and opened jazz from the blues to a more swinging style with sophisticated
Main figures: Louis
Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton
and Joe "King" Oliver
The "Big band" jazz music of the 1930's (through
WWII) was with written arrangements, rather repetitious riffs and sophisticated
solos. There were very popular ensembles of ten or more musicians in three
sections: saxophone, brass, and rhythm. This style of jazz is particularly
identified with Benny Goodman's
Main figures: Fletcher Henderson, Chick Webb,
Benny Goodman, Duke
Ellington and Count Basie.
Complex jazz style developed in the early 1940s by saxophonist
pianist Thelonious Monk
and trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie.
This school of jazz believed in innovation in harmony, rhythm and apects
of performance practice. The bebop is characterized by improvised solo
performances in dissonant and complex patterns, often by accentuation of
the second and fourth beats in each four-four measures and by the twelve-bar
“blues” phrase structure, and sometimes by the singing of nonsense syllables.
Main figures: Charlie
Parker, Thelonious Monk
and Dizzy Gillespie
A mixture of bop with some aspects of swing (less dissonant,
softened tones and accents on the rhythm section). In this style, as in
the swing, musicians put arrangements in the center again. It was nicknamed
"West Coast jazz" since most leaders of this genre were centered
in Los Angeles. Some instrumentations, such
as the ones made by Gil Evans
and Miles Davis,
started to include non-traditional instruments such as tubas and French
Main figures: Lester Young, Bill Evans, Gerry
Mulligan, Miles Davis and
Progressive / Modal Jazz
General term for "modern jazz," which covers
various bop and post-bop styles, including the more meditative and looser
'modal jazz', of improvisation based on a series of modes rather than chord
changes. Modal jazz clearly emphasized the importance of melodic ideas
in improvisations, thus freed up the soloists from the chord structures
of bebop. Miles Davis
was one of the first musicians who played 'modal jazz'.
Main figures: Miles
Davis and John
Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans
Since the late 1960s, the fusion became a popular jazz
style. The fusion is a hybrid of jazz improvisation with rock rhythms and
energies. Miles Davis
with his album 'Bitches Brew', Herbie
with his popular jazz-funk album 'Headhunters',
and other influential musicians fused rock rhythms with jazz structures
and by that introduced jazz to a new set of audiences.
Main figures: Miles
Davis, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. Groups
like 'Weather Report' and 'The Mahavishnu Orchestra'
Free Jazz (sometimes known
From the 1950's to the 1960's, some musicians, lead by
Ornette Coleman, took jazz in more exploratory
and avant garde directions. They extended considerably or totally abandoned
traditional forms, melody, harmony, and rhythm. Although free jazz expanded
the tonal and harmonic palette of listeners, it never won huge public success.
Main figures: Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry and