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A History of Jazz

Ragtime Late 1800s


One of the earliest musical styles that contributed to the development of Jazz. Formed around 1890s It was played by black people Blend of European classical styles and African American Harmony and Rhythm. incorporated into cakewalks (dances) and music. None of the early music was recorded. Ben Harney was a well known rag time musician. There is speculation as to who published the first composition though. It was brief lived, its popularity lasting around 20 years. Formed an essential ink between earlier negro music, European (Classical Music) and Jazz. Defined by revolutionary use of Syncopation Had a boom chick bass chord pattern and right hand playing a syncopated tune. Composer Scott Joplin Maple Leaf Rag 1899 Entertainer

Blues 1900s 1920s


As with Ragtime, Blues had an important influence on Jazz Music Highly expressive, predominantly vocal tradition Songs expressed stories and emotions of African-Americans, many of whom were slaves, at the beginning of the 20th Century Not just a type of music, but state of mind and way of life for AfricanAmericans 12 Bar chord progression chords 1, 4 and 5 Instruments like Guitar, Piano, Harmonica were used a lot. Saxophone, trumpet often imitate vocal effect beding pitches, rasping and creating growl of voice. Performers Bessie Smith, Lemon Jefferson

Folk Blues 1900 1920

New Orleans 1910 Dixieland


Happy Music Consisted of small bands Front line tune trumpet or cornet, Clarinet would play fast improvisation over the top as a counter melody, Trombones would play underneath to answer the tune, Lots of sliding. Piano played the chords or banjo keeping the rhythm. Tuba used as bass, then taken over by Double bass. Drums were then sometimes used often too overpowering in recordings 2/4 rhythm oom pah pah Composers Original Dixieland Jazz Band / Wild Bill Davidson and the Commodores.

Hot Jazz 1920s (Early Big Band)


Link between Dixieland and Big band Swing Solos embellished melody with improvisation, but still using a melodic structure Solos built up to a climax Rhythm section consisted of drums, bass, banjo or guitar Combined Ragtime syncopation with popular tempos e.g march style. Larger bands and orchestras took hold With advance of recording technologies it started to spread across countries Composer Louis Armstrong Hot Fives and Hot Sevens

Chicago Style Boogie Blues Classic Jazz and Blues 1920s mid 1940s
Breeding ground for many players Characterised by harmonic arrangements High technical ability players Chicago style Jazz furthered improvised music Composers Eddie Condon, Benny Goodman

Swing 1930s 1940s (Big Band Boom)


Generally early big band arrangements were as follows Melody played by entire band in unison or harmony, soloists improvised based on tunes melody, style and chord progression, melody then restated in sometimes a varied setting. Structure is very tight More formal and usually less improvised overall Collective sound but with chance for individual musicians to improvise melodic, thematic solos. Could sometimes be complex. Derived from New Orleans Jazz robust and invigorating Jazz groups were mostly Big Biands and consisted of sections e.g 4 trumpets, 4 trombones and four reeds saxophones/ clarinets, drums, guitar, piano and bass Techniques such as call and response one section would play a riff and another would repeat. Lots of riffs or musical, phrases repeated allot. Very popular and danceable Nearly died in late 1950s. Made a comeback in mid 1990s fuelled by retro trends in dance.

Invention of Microphone in 1935 changed the way vocalists approached singing with Big Band Composers Glen Miller In the mood Duke Ellington

Be-Bop 1940s (Bop)


Great contrast to Swing and Big Band Smaller jazz ensembles, more opportunity for solo improvisation Much more complex melodies, close harmonies, dissonant Chords, unconventional chromaticism, accents in melodies More emphasis on the role of the rhythm section Quick tempos Irregular phrase lengths interesting to listen to but unsuitable for dancing Reaction against white musicians taking over in Swing. Black musicians used Be-Bop to show off how technically sound they were. Scat used here. Be-bop named after nonsense syllables used in Jazz Recognisable through not being able to whistle melody, hard driving drums Musicians Charlie Parker, Dizzie Gillespie

Rhythm and Blues 1940s 1960s

Cool Jazz Late 1940s 1960s (West Coast Jazz)


Reaction against Be-bop More subtle, moody, muted and restrained than be-bop Smoothed out misture of swing and be-bop Laid back beat Tones back to harmonic and softened dynamics Ensemble arrangements regained importance Many innovations cam from Los Angeles West Coast Jazz Unusual time signatures e.g. 5/4 Performers Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Chet Baker

Hard Bop 1955 1970


Extension of Be-bop interrupted by cool jazz More soulful melodies than Be-Bop, borrowing from Rhythm and Blues and Gospel themes Rhythm section is sophisticated and more diverse than Be-Bop Emerged again in 1990s as a major influence By Mid 1960s it split into Post Bop, Modal Jazz and Soul Jazz. Performers Horace Silver - Pianist

Latin Influences

Soul 1960s 1970s

Free Jazz 1960s


Sometimes referred to as Avante Garde Experimental, provocative Some shed even the ensemble arrangement structure giving it a totally free impulse experience High dgree of dissonance Pitch and tone quality manipulated by players to create squeaks on their instruments Sounds from non western traditions India, China, Africa sometimes used. Collective improvisation all players improvise at the same time, without a chord progression framework was common. Organised Chaos Not widely accepted by the public Angry edge reflection of turbulent 1960s? Performers Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane

Fusion (Jazz Rock) 1970s Present


Combines Jazz improvisation and chord progressions with the rhythms of rock Unusual time signatures, complex harmonies, improvisation. More electronic than acoustic now, featuring synthesisers, electric bass, electric guitar, electronically processed woodwind and brass instruments. Lots of percussion Rhythm section plays a series of syncopated repeated notes to create the groove over which a vocalist and other instruments play the tune, improvised solos and accompaniment figures.

African / Indian influences