Why Jazz?: A Concise Guide

By Kevin Whitehead

What used to be the 1st jazz checklist? Are jazz solos relatively improvised? How did jazz lay the foundation for rock and kingdom tune? In Why Jazz?, writer and NPR jazz critic Kevin Whitehead offers vigorous, insightful solutions to those and plenty of different attention-grabbing questions, providing an unique advisor for either beginner listeners and long-time fanatics.
geared up chronologically in a handy query and solution layout, this incredible source makes jazz obtainable to a vast viewers, and particularly to readers who have came across the tune bewildering or top left to the specialists. but Why Jazz? is even more than an informative Q&A; it concisely lines the century-old heritage of this American and international paintings shape, from its beginnings in New Orleans up throughout the present postmodern interval. Whitehead offers short profiles of the archetypal figures of jazz--from Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Wynton Marsalis and John Zorn--and illuminates their contributions as musicians, performers, and composers. additionally highlighted are the construction blocks of the jazz sound--call and reaction, rhythmic contrasts, customized functionality thoughts and improvisation--and dialogue of the way visionary musicians have reinterpreted those parts to repeatedly redefine jazz, ushering within the swing period, bebop, cool jazz, not easy bop, and the avant-garde. alongside the way in which, Why Jazz? offers beneficial plain-English descriptions of musical terminology and strategies, from "blue notes" to "conducted improvising." and in contrast to different histories which haphazardly disguise the stylistic branches of jazz that emerged after the Nineteen Sixties, Why Jazz? teams latter-day musical developments via decade, the higher to put them in historic context.
no matter if learn in self-contained sections or as a continuing narrative, this compact reference provides a trove of crucial details that belongs at the shelf of someone who is ever been drawn to jazz.

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Watt. Anthony Braxton. “ . . . solo alto, wind trios, two-horn quartets with bass and drums, immense band, 4 symphony orchestras . . . ” plus the saxophone quartet, the march “Opus 58,” and Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” are at the entire Arista Recordings of Anthony Braxton. Mosaic. Betty Carter, “Sounds (Movin’ On). ” December 1979 (25:19). at the viewers with Betty Carter. Verve. Ornette Coleman, “Ramblin’. ” October nine, 1959 (6:38). On swap of the Century. Atlantic. Miles Davis, “Masqualero. ” could 17, 1967 (8:53).

After the spacious jams on In a Silent approach in ’68 and Bitches Brew in ’69, Davis dived the entire method into busy electrical track in 1970, enjoying hippie palaces Fillmore East and West. The crunchy distortion of sideman Chick Corea’s electrical piano seemed like Cecil Taylor in overdrive. To be heard above loud keyboards, Wayne Shorter all started enjoying soprano sax with a concentrated, nasal tone reminiscent of Coltrane’s. a hundred • why jazz? Davis’s early ’70s funk gave different jazz musicians disguise to plug in, however it disgusted many longtime enthusiasts.

Bored with bop’s virtuoso steeplechases, he desired to simplify. In Paris in 1957, after disbanding his quintet, he improvised a soundtrack to Louis Malle’s moody film noir Elevator to the Scaffold. Davis requested his accompanists to only play a few chords for him to improvise over, with out a formal subject. He was once inching towards a brand new kind. In 1958, Davis reunited his outdated quintet, plus alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. the subsequent yr, his quest for simplicity culminated within the most renowned and so much analyzed jazz album ever, form of Blue.

Manhattan: Pantheon, 1984. Daniels, Douglas Henry. Lester Leaps In: The existence and instances of Lester “Pres” younger. Boston: Beacon, 2002. Giddins, Gary. Satchmo. manhattan: Doubleday, 1988. Gushee, Lawrence. Pioneers of Jazz: the tale of the Creole Band. manhattan: Oxford, 2005. Hasse, John Edward, ed. Ragtime: Its heritage, Composers and track. long island: Schirmer, 1985. Russell, Ross. Jazz variety in Kansas urban and the Southwest. 1973. Reprint, Berkeley: college of California Press, 1983. Schuller, Gunther. Early Jazz: Its Roots and Musical improvement.

Natural bebop is gorgeous yet serious. the quick tempos have been onerous, and people astringent unison melodies begged to be harmonized, orchestrated. Cool jazz softened up bop, yet no longer in a nasty method. Cool developed on a number of fronts. Bop’s complicated chords sped through in speedy sequences. yet big-band chief Claude Thornhill and his arranger and disciple Gil Evans enjoyed these chords for his or her personal sake, for the elegant mixture of pressure and calm while, in a thirteenth chord, all of the notes of a scale sound instantly. Thornhill had really expert for years in impressionist chords that hung within the air like clouds; his quiet subject was once known as “Snowfall.

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