.. used a lot more in jazz combos. Bebop totally redefined the way to improvise in a song, and it is full of creative and unique musical ideas, also called “licks”. Famous people such as the saxophonist Charlie Parker, the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, and the drummer Max Roach created bebop during the 40s and the Postwar Decades, which was definitely a big leap for jazz. This style of jazz is less restricted, and improvisation involved longer phrases, more choruses, and more emotions. Modal jazz, also called free jazz, has no rules at all.
It was created during the late 50s through the 70s. Improvisation has ultimate freedom and so does the songs. A famous trumpeter named Miles Davis helped created modal jazz by arranging songs so certain parts of each song would be kept in the same key, chord, and mode for up to 16 measures. This allowed the improvisor to have more freedom. John Coltrane, a tenor saxophonist and composer, had participated in the bebop period by composing the complex and famous song “Giant Steps”. Later he composed songs which were for modal jazz, such as “My Favorite Things”. Jazz began to fall in the late 60s when younger audiences were exposed to soul music and rock.
Jazz musicians developed fusion, a combination of jazz and rock, to gain back the interest of the nation. Once again Miles Davis participated, totally changing his style to record and play in fusion bands. From the 80s to the present all forms of jazz are coming back, each one influencing the other. People such as Pat Methany have composed songs which involve ideas from bebop, swing, fusion, and other mixtures of the many styles of jazz. Currently the most influencing form of jazz is bebop.
These many forms of jazz will never disappear as long as their musical ideas are implemented into new songs. Of those who contribute the most to jazz, the musicians themselves have done the most. Buddy Bolden, the first jazz legend, contributed to jazz by leading the first jazz bands and influencing many others to lead bands or compose. He was considered the first jazz trumpeter, and he was a very driving, rhythmic, and emotional player who was an inspiration to all jazz musicians. Benny Goodman contributed to jazz by helping to start the Swing Era of jazz.
He played clarinet in the big bands he lead, and he improvised amazingly. He went from rags to riches very quick, and other than jazz he appreciated classical a lot. Louis Armstrong contributed to jazz by being one of the first virtuoso improvisors. He also sang very well, with the perfect attitude and tone for each song he sang in. Art Tatum was a very famous soloist who played the piano.
He helped develop stride piano. Tatum accomplished much in his life, with many recordings. What made him famous was for his virtuosity on the piano, just like Louis Armstrong was on the trumpet. Billie Holiday was a leading singer among many in the 1930s. She was very talented in taking regular songs and jazzing them up or making them “blue”.
She worked with many famous people such as the saxophonist Lester Young and the composer Count Basie. Duke Ellington was one of the most respected figures in jazz. He was a composer, conductor, and pianist in the 20s through the 60s. As he led famous jazz bands, usually big bands, he composed many jazz standards, such as the song “Take the A-Train” and “Sophisticated Lady”. Ellington went to Carnegie Hall and conducted the first 9 annual concerts. Count Basie was another popular bandleader, but from the 30s to the early 80s.
His band was always known for being a big band with many good soloists, such as the saxophonist Lester Young. He was also a great pianist, whose style was thought to be elegant and graceful. Charlie Parker was the ultimate king of bop, the style created in the 40s. He was a saxophonist with a talent for improvising. There was a story once that when he first started playing, Parker decided to play with a band.
Parker really messed up during the performance and everyone ridiculed him. Even the drummer threw his symbol at him. So Parker went home, practiced 11 to 15 hours a day for 3 to 4 years, and came back to the same place he performed that embarrassing night. Parker blew everyone away. His improvising was creative beyond anyone’s imagination, and so were the songs he composed.
Usually he played very fast songs, and Parker himself played so fast that no one could see his fingers. He had totally redefined improvising in jazz. Dizzy Gillespie was another bopper like Charlie Parker, but he played the trumpet. Dizzy improvised exactly in the same style as Parker, and the two of them often were in a combo together. Miles Davis was a man of many styles.
He was first influenced with bebop, and he improvised on the trumpet with a “cool” style soon to be copied by many other musicians. Later in his life he was influenced by rock, and he helped develop fusion. John Coltrane was a tenor saxophonist and composer. Appearing famous in the 50s and 60s, Coltrane was known for his awesome soloing on the tenor sax and the complexity of the songs he wrote. He wrote the songs “Giant Steps” and “A Love Supreme”.
Interpretation of jazz has been questioned many times. What distinguishes it from other types of music? It could be explained in this quote: “The conventional symbols could, in other words, indicated in a general way what should be played, but could not indicate (precisely) how it should be played” (Pleasants 32). This means that what is shown as music on the paper is not exactly what should be played. You are allowed to change the music a little, speed it up or slow it down, or articulate it different. One important factor in jazz is rhythm. The musicians do not always play directly on the beat or tempo.
Players can be “on top” of the beat, which means ahead of the beat, or play “laid back”, which is to play behind the beat. Improvisation is another factor of jazz which separates it from other styles of music. The standard way to improvise in jazz is to keep the original melody in mind while improvising and invent a new melodic line. “Free form” or “free improvisation” is when a person’s improvising is only restricted that he/she improvises related to the musical sounds of the other musicians. Basically when improvising you are allowed to play anything you want to, to show off your talent and abilities to please the audience. Another important factor of jazz is syncopation. Syncopation is to place an accent or extend the note value of a weak beat. Syncopation may give a song better feeling and movement, basically improving the feel of the song.
The form of jazz, when related to notes, scales, and modes, is very complex. Songs can be in any key, including any pitch of any octave, and the song may be built on many complex music scales and modes. Chord progressions, where certain chords are played in order, can also be complex, such as the II-V-I progression. Jazz has unlimited possiblilties since it is not so restricted to certain scales, notes, or sounds. Jazz’s interpretation can only go so far, since it splits into many different styles.
Here is another person’s idea of jazz: Jazz, then, is not a composer’s art. The particular melody and harmonies which formed the basis of a performance, improvised or arranged, are of secondary importance. Rather jazz is the art of the performer, the performing ensemble, the arranger. And the quality of the art is dependent upon their creative ideas. (Ulrich 449) Jazz still has a even better future to come, and it will develop into a even greater influence than it is now.
Jazz will never have an echo, where people reminisce about the old times. It has survived for a very long time, and the musicians and styles of jazz will continually change the interpretation of jazz itself. People will even to have to get more specific when they say they love jazz, but variety is good. Variety in jazz allows many to express their feelings and musical ideas. Without it, variety in the world of music would drastically reduced.