Posts Tagged ‘Jazz Music’

Waktu pergi ke Singapore beberapa hari yang lalu, setelah makan malam di restaurant hotel aku jalan-jalan di sepanjang Orchard Road dan mampir ke sebuah toko buku dan musik bernama Borders. Tokonya termasuk sangat besar dan komplit. Yang dijual bukan hanya buku tetapi ada juga film-film dalam bentuk DVD dan musik dalam bentuk audio CD. Kebetulan lagi ada program sale atau diskon yang lumayan besar untuk beberapa produk buku, musik dan film.

Aku coba lihat ke bagian musik, ternyata banyak juga yang didiskon 25% dan perhatianku tertuju pada sebuah CD dari Charles Mingus yang belum pernah kulihat. Charles Mingus adalah seorang musisi jazz yang punya spesialisasi sebagai bass player yang cukup terkenal. Selain mengeluarkan album dengan namanya sendiri, Mingus juga sering membentuk kelompok ensemble/big band atau orchestra bersama beberapa musisi terkenal lainnya.

CD yang aku temui di toko Borders tersebut berjudul Charles Mingus: Music Written for Monterey, 1965 Not Heard…Played Live in Its Entirety at UCLA dan memiliki cover album seperti gambar di bawah ini.

Album tersebut terdiri dari 2 keping CD dengan total track sebanyak 19 buah. Dari 19 track tersebut, 8 buah track berupa speech (termasuk 1 opening speech di awal CD pertama). Sesuai dengan judulnya, album ini memang murni rekaman dari seluruh live performance, bahkan termasuk speech pada jeda antara satu komposisi dengan komposisi berikutnya.

Album Charles Mingus yang baru ini telah menambah koleksi album Mingus dan juga secara otomatis menambah jumlah koleksi seluruh album jazz yang aku miliki.

Sekarang saatnya menikmati komposisi Mingus… sampai jumpa.

Rileks dulu ah…

Bosan gak sih lama-lama ngomongin soal handphone atau ponsel melulu? So sekali-sekali kita bersantai dengan ngomongin tentang musik. Kalau tentang musik, di blog ini gak akan jauh-jauh dari musik jazz.

Sesuai judul, kali ini aku mau bikin tulisan tentang para penyanyi pop atau jenis musik lain yang bukan jazz tapi pernah mengeluarkan album yang berisi lagu-lagu jazz standard, baik itu benar-benar jazz (biasanya swing atau big band) ataupun dibuat dengan agak ngepop, mungkin untuk memperluas target pasar.

Apa itu Jazz Standard? Sebenarnya gak ada definisi resmi mengenai apa itu jazz standard, tapi secara umum bisa dikatakan sebagai lagu-lagu yang banyak dinyanyikan atau dimainkan oleh para musisi jazz dan dikenal secara luas di kalangan para musisi dan pencinta musik jazz, baik secara pertunjukan ataupun rekaman. Tidak ada juga daftar pasti lagu-lagu apa saja yang termasuk jazz standard, karena daftar inipun bisa berubah seiring dengan waktu.

Ada sebuah fakta yang cukup menarik di mana tidak semua lagu-lagu yang biasa dikatakan sebagai jazz standard ditulis oleh musisi jazz, tapi banyak yang berasal dari lagu-lagu popular (pop) — kebanyakan berasal dari Amerika sana — misalnya lagu-lagu yang berasal dari Tin Pan Alley (sebutan untuk koleksi lagu-lagu populer yang dipublikasikan oleh para produser rekaman dan musisi yang berdomisili di sekitar New York dan mendominasi lagu-lagu populer di Amerika pada akhir abad ke-19 dan awal abad ke-20), atau lagu-lagu dari pertunjukan musikal Broadway. Selain itu, sering juga terdapat persilangan antara musik blues dan musik pop pada lagu-lagu tersebut.

Jazz standard tidak melulu harus lagu-lagu yang dibawakan oleh seorang vocalist, bisa juga berupa instrumental. Tapi sesuai dengan judul post kali ini, tentunya dibatasi hanya pada lagu-lagu jazz standard vocal.

Kenapa memilih jazz standard? Menurutku karena ada anggapan yang secara tidak tertulis tapi sering diungkapkan secara tidak langsung oleh hampir sebagian besar musisi atau pencinta musik bahwa musik jazz memiliki kelas lebih tinggi dari musik lainnya, selain tentunya musik klasik (classical music).

Ada satu fakta menarik lainnya, yaitu bahwa para penyanyi pop atau jenis musik lain di luar jazz yang kemudian membuat rekaman berisi lagu-lagu jazz standard tersebut dilakukan pada saat kepopuleran mereka di genre musiknya mulai meredup atau secara kasar bisa dibilang sudah tidak laku lagi. Maka beralihlah mereka dengan merilis album jazz standard yang bisa jadi merupakan abum terakhirnya.

Siapa saja para penyanyi atau musisi tersebut? Sebut saja Sinead O’Connor, Sheena Easton, Rod Stewart, Barry Manilow, dan lain-lain yang daftar lengkapnya disertai dengan judul album dan lagu-lagunya akan dibuat di bawah ini.

Catatan lain bahwa khusus untuk Sinead O’Connor, Sheena Easton, dan Barry Manilow, aku punya albumnya (dalam bentuk CD) sehingga pernah mendengar langsung lagu-lagunya, tetapi untuk penyanyi lain hanya berupa daftar yang diambil dari internet tanpa pernah sekalipun mendengar lagunya.

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Akhirnya Datang Juga…

Bukan bermaksud meniru judul sebuah acara TV sih, tapi memang kalimat di atas pas banget dengan si Hikaru yang akan gw omongin di sini. Setelah sekian lama menjadi rumor di mana-mana — di internet tentunya — dengan berbagai spekulasi mulai dari desain sampai fitur sampai positioning-nya, akhirnya terjawab sudah, bahwa Hikaru adalah sebuah  ponsel dalam jajaran seri Walkman yang diberi index W995. Index dengan 2 angka “9” setelah huruf W menunjukkan bahwa Hikaru adalah ponsel Walkman high-end, dan angka “5” menunjukkan bentuknya adalah slider.

Yup, Hikaru dengan desain slider yang keren, dibalut bahan metal hampir di seluruh bagian tubuhnya, diberi pernik unik berupa “special kickstand” — yaitu dudukan untuk meletakkan Hikaru dalam posisi yang enak untuk menonton video — memang merupakan ponsel Walkman kelas atas dengan dihadirkannya kamera 8.1 Megapixel autofocus, GPS built-in, WiFi dan sederet fitur kelas atas lainnya.

Gak usah berlama-lama… ini dia Press Release-nya :

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John Pizzarelli adalah seorang vokalis, gitaris, dan band-leader musik jazz yang sering membawakan lagu-lagu jazz standar, ballad dan cool jazz. Sampai tahun 2007, John Pizzarelli sudah merilis 22 album, yang berupa solo, trio, big-band, maupun berkolaborasi dengan artis jazz lain seperti George Shearing Quintet dan Bucky Pizzarelli (yang terakhir ini adalah ayah kandungnya, seorang gitaris jazz yang cukup terkenal).

Dari sekian banyak albumnya, album favoritku dari dulu sampai sekarang masih belum berubah, yaitu New Standards yang dirilis tahun 1993 di bawah label RCA. Album ini terdiri dari 15 track yang hampir seluruhnya merupakan original songs — belum pernah dibawakan oleh musisi lain sebelumnya — kecuali lagu Come-On-A My House yang merupakan aransemen ulang dari lagu yang pernah dibawakan oleh Rosemary Clooney maupun Ella Fitzgerald.


New Standards (1993, RCA)

Track Listing:
1. Fools Fall In Love
2. Oh How My Heart Beats For You (Swing)
3. Beautiful Moons Ago
4. I’m Your Guy
5. Come On-A My House
6. Beautiful Maria Of My Soul
7. I Only Want Some
8. I’m Alright Now
9. Just A Skosh
10. Why Do People Fall In Love
11. Hearts Like Mine Are Broken Every Day
12. Better Run Before It’s Spring
13. Give Me Your Heart
14. Look At Us
15. Oh How My Heart Beats For You (II)

Lebih lengkap mengenai John Pizzarelli dapat dilihat di website resminya : John Pizzarelli.

Berikut adalah beberapa video dari YouTube untuk lagu-lagu yang ada di album New Standards tersebut.


Just A Skosh :


Oh How My Heart Beats For You :

Rileks sebentar.

Beberapa video clip dan live video dari album terakhir Matt Dusk : Back In Town.

All About Me :




All About Me (Live) :




All About Me (Live in Halifax) :




Back In Town (Live – Version #1) :




Back In Town (Live – Version #2) :




Back In Town (Live in Aalborg) :




The Best Is Yet To Come (Live) :




A Million Kisses Late (Live) :




As Time Goes By (Live) :




Learnin’ The Blues (Live) :




The Way You Look Tonight (Live on TV) :




The Way You Look Tonight (Live in Highline Ballroom NY) :

Siapa sih Matt Dusk?

Pertama kali aku mendengar suara dan lagu Matt Dusk adalah sekitar awal tahun 2005, di MTV. Waktu itu ada video Matt Dusk menyanyikan lagu Two Shots of Happy, One Shot of Sad. Aku langsung tertarik mendengar suaranya yang enak didengar, hampir mirip dengan suara sang legenda Frank Sinatra, tapi memiliki gaya menyanyi dan improvisasi yang khas.

Lagu yang waktu itu dibawakannya memang tidak bernuansa jazz yang kental, tapi agak-agak “ngepop”. Meskipun demikian, dari aransemen dan gaya menyanyinya aku bisa merasakan bahwa jenis musik yang dibawakannya adalah fusion jazz di mana akar musik jazz-nya adalah sama seperti yang biasa dibawakan oleh Sinatra, yaitu swing.

Setelah mengunjungi beberapa toko kaset di Jakarta dan tanpa hasil, barulah aku tahu bahwa tidak ada album Matt Dusk sama sekali yang dijual di Indonesia. Akhirnya aku cari-cari di internet dan dari Amazon lah aku beli album Matt Dusk yang berjudul Two Shots secara online. Two Shots ternyata adalah album Matt Dusk pertama yang dirilis secara internasional. Sebelumnya, Matt Dusk pernah merilis beberapa album independen dan lokal Kanada.

Album Matt Dusk berikutnya yang dirilis secara internasional adalah Peace on Earth (mini album khusus lagu-lagu Christmas) dan Back In Town (album terakhir).

Menurut informasi dari Matt Dusk sendiri melalui forum di Matt Dusk Online, saat ini Matt Dusk sedang mengerjakan album baru yang direncanakan untuk dirilis pada tahun ini.

Berikut petikan biography dan discography Matt Dusk yang diambil dari www.mattduskonline.com :

Matt Dusk Biography

A Canadian Crooner

Born in Toronto, Ontario, in 1978, Matthew-Aaron Dusk showed promise as a musician from a young age. He was enrolled in the St. Michael’s Choir School (Toronto, ON) at the age of seven, where he spent eleven years studying classical music and opera. This area of focus changed significantly at the age of 18, when Matt was introduced to big band music, including singers like Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, and other jazz musicians.

Dusk attended York University for a bachelor degree in music with a focus on jazz and popular music. Matt graduated with a BFA in 2002, and a year later was signed by Decca/Universal for the recording of his first major release album, “Two Shots”. The album featured many original songs, along with a few standards including “Fly Me To The Moon”, “Please, Please Me” (recorded in the slower more introspective version than that originally recorded by the Beatles), and “Two Shots”, a song originally penned by U2’s Bono in honor of Frank Sinatra. Originally scheduled for a 2003 release date, the release of Two Shots got pushed back to June 2004 when Matt and his management team got word of a new reality TV show appearing on the Fox Network called “the Casino”. The Casino (produced by the Mark Burnett (Survivor)), featured two “dot com” millionaires who ventured into the purchase and attempt at revitalizing Las Vegas’ Golden Nugget Casino. Matt Dusk was featured as the lounge singer at Zax lounge, trying to make it big by performing in the casino’s main showroom. Due to low ratings, the show was not re-signed for a second season, although the exposure Matt Dusk received as an artist, and for his new album was extremely beneficial.

Before signing with Decca/Universal, Matt Dusk recorded four independent albums (Live In Concert Volume I and II, Eggnog and Mistletoe, The Way It Is), and successfully managed his own band, “Matthew-Aaron Dusk and His Swingin’ Little Big Band”, performing up to twenty events per month in Toronto and surrounding area. Matt was also a featured artist on the internet music site, MP3.com, where he received over four hundred thousand spins/downloads of his songs, and even made it to number four out of the top forty with his rendition of “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.

Matt has performed in many locations, spanning the In the late summer and fall of 2004, Matt had an intensive tour scheduled for his album Two Shots throughout Canada and the United States. During this time he made a guest appearance on Canadian Idol, and finished his 2004 tour schedule with a surprise holiday CD release — “Peace on Earth”. Matt’s new mini-album featured six classic holiday songs, plus one penned by Dusk himself, “Christmas is Finally Here”. Matt concluded the year with two performances in Toronto, one at the Winter Garden Theatre, and the other at Nathan Phillips Square as the honorary guest for the 20 th annual New Year’s Eve bash.

In 2005 Matt continued his tour schedule with dates scheduled both nationally and internationally. In February 2005, Matt Dusk’s talent was recognized with a Juno Award Nomination in the category of “New Artist of the Year”. On June 13, 2006, Matt released his second major release with Decca/Universal, entitled “Back In Town”, featuring the single that made it to number one penned “All About Me”. Matt currently is on tour across Canada, with a rumoured tour schedule in the United States in early 2007.

Matt Dusk Discography

Independent Albums/MP3.com Downloads

Matthew-Aaron Dusk was very popular on the music downloads website “MP3.com”, and also released four independent albums prior to signing with Decca/Universal.

MP3.com Sessions/Unreleased
Track Listing :

  1. The Best Is Yet To Come
  2. We Are In Love
  3. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
  4. Steppin’ Out With My Baby
  5. I Could Write A Book
  6. Our Love Is Here To Stay
  7. It’s All Right With Me
  8. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off
  9. Empty Tables [removed from track listing in late 2001]
  10. Send In The Clowns [removed from track listing in late 2001]


Eggnog and Mistletoe

Track Listing :

  1. Introduction by Bobby Fontaine (‘Twas The Night Before Christmas)
  2. Santa Clause Is Coming To Town
  3. Sleigh Ride
  4. I’ll Be Home For Christmas
  5. O’ Little Town Of Bethlehem
  6. Christmas Festival
  7. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  8. Jingle Bell Rock
  9. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
  10. Silent Night
  11. Somewhere In My Memory (Home Alone)
  12. White Christmas
  13. Rocking Around The Christmas Tree
  14. The Christmas Song
  15. The First Noel
  16. Let It Snow


Live In Concert
Track Listing :

  1. Introduction by Bobby Fontaine
  2. Saturday Night
  3. I’ve Got You Under My Skin
  4. Let’s Fall in Love
  5. Guess I’ll Have To Hang My Tears Out To Dry
  6. Come Fly With Me
  7. Fly Me To The Moon
  8. Luck Be A Lady
  9. Witchcraft
  10. One For My Baby
  11. New York, New York
  12. Pennies From Heaven
  13. I’ve Got the World On A String
  14. Angel Eyes
  15. Chicago
  16. Summer Wind
  17. The Lady Is A Tramp


The Way It Is
Track Listing :

  1. I Won’t Dance
  2. Something’s Gotta Give
  3. If I Had You
  4. She’s Funny That Way
  5. Come Dance With Me
  6. Just One Of Those Things
  7. Nice Work If You Can Get It
  8. On The Street Where You Live
  9. I’m Confessin’ (That I Love You)
  10. I Thought About You
  11. Change Partners
  12. Tangerine
  13. Charade


Singles/Promotional Albums
A look at some very rare promotional items released with “Two Shots”. The rarest promotional CDs are stamped with “Two Shots, Release: September 2003”. The Two Shots album was pushed back for a July 2004 release to coincide with the airing of the Mark Burnett show “The Casino”.


Two Shots (UK Promo CD)
Track Listing :

  1. Please Please Me
  2. Two Shots
  3. Windows
  4. Cold As Ice
  5. The Theme From Loaded Gun
  6. Don’t Go Looking
  7. Miracle
  8. Wish You Well
  9. Precious Years
  10. Lonely Road
  11. Always
  12. Every Mother’s Son
  13. Five


Windows


Two Shots Sampler

Two Shots Promo (1)

Two Shots Promo (2)

Miracle

Track Listing:

  1. Miracle (Radio Mix)
  2. Five
  3. Miracle (Album Version)


Please Please Me

Major Releases
Matt Dusk has released three independent albums with Decca/Universal.
Album variations exist for :
“Two Shots” releases (North America, United Kingdom, Asia Version)
“Back In Town” releases (Canadian, Canadian iTUNES, International, Holland, USA, Japan)



Two Shots (North American Release Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad
  2. Miracle
  3. Cold As Ice
  4. Lonely Road
  5. The Theme From Loaded Gun
  6. Don’t Go Looking
  7. Fly Me To The Moon
  8. Please Please Me
  9. Precious Years
  10. Always
  11. Every Mother’s Son
  12. Five
  13. Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad [Hot Nugget Remix]


Two Shots (UK Release Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad
  2. Miracle
  3. Windows
  4. Cold As Ice
  5. Lonely Road
  6. The Theme From Loaded Gun
  7. Don’t Go Looking
  8. Fly Me To The Moon
  9. Wish You Well
  10. Always
  11. Please Please Me
  12. Beyond The Sea
  13. Precious Years
  14. Every Mother’s Son
  15. Five


Two Shots (Asia Release Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Two Shots Of Happy, One Shot Of Sad
  2. Miracle
  3. Windows
  4. Cold As Ice
  5. Lonely Road
  6. The Theme From Loaded Gun
  7. Don’t Go Looking
  8. Fly Me to the Moon
  9. Wish You Well
  10. Always
  11. Please Please Me
  12. Beyond The Sea
  13. Precious Years
  14. Every Mother’s Son
  15. Five

Bonus VCD:

  1. Cool Yule (Audio)
  2. Christmas Blues (Audio)
  3. Please Please Me (Video)
  4. Two Shots (Video)


Peace On Earth
Track Listing :

  1. Christmas is Finally Here
  2. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
  3. Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy
  4. Silent Night
  5. Christmas Blues
  6. Cool Yule
  7. Marshamallow World (Roasted Mix)


Back In Town (Holland Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Back In Town
  2. All About Me
  3. The Best Is Yet to Come
  4. More
  5. As Time Goes By
  6. Learnin’ The Blues
  7. Besame Mucho (Duet with Janne Schra)
  8. A Million Kisses Late
  9. Where Were You When
  10. Get Me To The Church On Time
  11. Who’s Got The Action
  12. On The Street Where You Live
  13. April Moon
  14. History Repeating (The Quietmoney Mix)

Bonus CD:

  1. Five (Bonus Track)
  2. Fly Me To The Moon (Bonus Track)
  3. Please Please Me (Bonus Track)
  4. Always (Bonus Track)
  5. Two Shots (Bonus Track)


Back In Town (International Release Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Back In Town
  2. All About Me
  3. The Best Is Yet To Come
  4. As Time Goes By
  5. Learnin’ The Blues
  6. Besame Mucho
  7. A Million Kisses Late
  8. Where Were You When
  9. Get Me To The Church On Time
  10. Who’s Got The Action
  11. On The Street Where You Live
  12. April Moon
  13. History Repeating (The Quietmoney Mix)


Back In Town (iTunes Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Back In Town
  2. All About Me
  3. The Best Is Yet To Come
  4. More
  5. As Time Goes By
  6. Learnin’ The Blues
  7. A Million Kisses Late
  8. Where Were You When
  9. Get Me To The Church On Time
  10. Who’s Got The Action
  11. On The Street Where You Live
  12. April Moon
  13. History Repeating
  14. Besame Mucho (iTunes pre-order only)
  15. All About Me (iTunes pre-order only)


Back In Town (Canadian Release Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Back In Town
  2. All About Me
  3. The Best Is Yet To Come
  4. More
  5. As Time Goes By
  6. Learnin’ The Blues
  7. A Million Kisses Late
  8. Where Were You When
  9. Get Me To The Church On Time
  10. Who’s Got the Action
  11. On The Street Where You Live
  12. April Moon
  13. History Repeating (Hidden Bonus Track)


Back In Town (USA Release Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Back In Town
  2. All About Me
  3. The Best Is Yet To Come
  4. The Way You Look Tonight
  5. More
  6. As Time Goes By
  7. Learnin’ The Blues
  8. Get Me To The Church On Time
  9. Who’s Got The Action
  10. On The Street Where You Live
  11. A Million Kisses Late
  12. Where Were You When


Back In Town (Japanese Release Version)
Track Listing :

  1. Back In Town
  2. All About Me
  3. The Best Is Yet To Come
  4. More
  5. As Time Goes By
  6. Learnin’ The Blues
  7. A Million Kisses Late
  8. Where Were You When
  9. Get Me To The Church On Time
  10. Who’s Got The Action
  11. On The Street Where You Live
  12. April Moon
  13. Besame Mucho (Japan Bonus Track)


Compilation CDs
Matt Dusk’s music has appeared on various compilation albums, including holiday songs on various Jazz compilation CDs. Songs performed by Dusk appear on a CD entitled “Kings of Swing” CD.



Tribute To The Kings Of Swing Volume I

Track Listing :

  1. Sing, Sing, Sing
  2. Moonlight Serenade
  3. Bie Mir Bist Du Shon
  4. Let’s Dance
  5. I’ve Heard That Song Before
  6. Begin the Beguine
  7. All Or Nothing At All – featuring Matt Dusk
  8. I’ll Never Smile Again – featuring Matt Dusk
  9. Carioca
  10. I’m Getting Sentimental Over You
  11. Sunnyside Of The Street
  12. Stardust
  13. Chattanooga Choo Choo
  14. Marie
  15. S’ Wonderful
  16. It Don’t Mean A Thing – featuring Matt Dusk


The Apprentice: Crooner Collection

Track Listing :

  1. I’ve Got The World On A String – Frank Sinatra
  2. Who’s Got the Action? – Dean Martin
  3. With Plenty Of Money And You – Tony Bennett
  4. Big Spender – Peggy Lee
  5. Sunday In New York – Dean Martin
  6. A Lot Of Livin’ To Do – Nancy Wilson
  7. Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald
  8. On The Street Where You Live – Nat King Cole
  9. Let Me Off Uptown – Mel Torme
  10. Los Angeles Blues – Peggy Lee
  11. New York’s My Home – Sammy Davis Jr.
  12. The Good Life – Bobby Darin
  13. You Can’t Make Money Dreamin’ – Johnny Mercer
  14. For the Love of Money – Matt Dusk (featuring Donald Trump)


First Daughter Soundtrack

Source : MattDuskOnline

Matt Dusk’s official website : www.mattdusk.com

Thanks to Jeff at MattDuskOnline

Jazz Music

Posted: 30 December 2007 in Music
Tags: , , , ,

JAZZ

Jazz is a kind of music that has often been called the only art form to originate in the United States. The history of jazz began in the late 1800’s. The music grew from a combination of influences, including black American music, African rhythms, American band traditions and instruments, and European harmonies and forms. Much of the best jazz is still written and performed in the United States, but musicians from many other countries are making major contributions to jazz. Jazz was widely appreciated as an important art form in Europe before it gained such recognition in the United States.

One of the key elements of jazz is improvisation the ability to create new music spontaneously. This skill is the distinguishing characteristic of the genuine jazz musician. Improvisation raises the role of the soloist from just a performer and reproducer of others’ ideas to a composer as well, and it gives jazz a fresh excitement at each performance.

Another important element of jazz is syncopation. To syncopate their music, jazz musicians take patterns that are even and regular and break them up, make them uneven, and put accents in unexpected places.

The earliest jazz was performed by black Americans who had little or no training in Western music. These musicians drew on a strong musical culture from black life. As jazz grew in popularity, its sound was influenced by musicians with formal training and classical backgrounds. During its history, jazz has absorbed influences from the folk and classical music of Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world. The development of instruments with new and different characteristics has also influenced the sound of jazz.

The Sound of Jazz

Jazz may be performed by a single musician, by a small group of musicians called a combo, or by a big band of 10 or more pieces. A combo is divided into two sections: a solo front line of melody instruments and a back line of accompanying instruments called a rhythm section. The typical front line consists of one to five brass and reed instruments. The rhythm section usually consists of piano, bass, drums, and sometimes an acoustic or electric guitar. The front-line instruments perform most of the solos. These instruments may also play together as ensembles. A big band consists of reed, brass, and rhythm sections.

The rhythm section in a combo or big band maintains the steady beat and decorates the rhythm with syncopated patterns. It also provides the formal structure to support solo improvisations. The drums keep the beat steady and add interesting rhythm patterns and syncopation. The piano or sometimes a guitar plays the chords or harmonies of the composition. The bass outlines the harmonies by sounding the bottom notes of the chords, on the strong beats of each bar. Any of the rhythm instruments, especially the piano, may also play solo during a performance.

The Brass

The principal brass instruments of jazz are the trumpet, the cornet, and the slide trombone, but the French horn, the valve trombone, the baritone horn, the flügelhorn, and even electronic trumpets have been used in jazz performances.

The cornet and trumpet are melody instruments of identical range, but the cornet is more mellow and the trumpet more brassy. Most jazz performers today use the trumpet. The slide trombone blends with the trumpet. The typical brass section of a big band consists of four or five trumpets and three trombones.

Jazz trumpeters and trombonists frequently use objects called mutes to alter or vary the sound of their instrument. The player plugs the mute into the bell (flared end) of the instrument or holds it close to the bell.

The Reeds

The clarinet and saxophone are the principal reed instruments of jazz. The flute, though technically a woodwind, is often classified as a reed in jazz. It is used especially as a solo instrument.

Both the clarinet and saxophone families range from soprano to bass. Only the soprano clarinet has been universally used in jazz. In early jazz, it was an equal member of the front line with the trumpet or cornet and the trombone. The clarinet eventually gave way to the saxophone, which is capable of much greater volume. Four members of the saxophone family the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones are regularly employed in jazz. A typical reed section in a big band is made up of one or two alto saxophones, two tenors, and a baritone. Musicians often “double” by playing two or more reed instruments, such as an alto saxophone and a tenor saxophone, during a performance.

Drums

Drums were familiar to black Americans dating back to the days of slavery. These early percussion instruments played a vital role in the development of jazz.

As jazz grew, the drum set evolved until one drummer could play more than one percussion instrument at the same time. The invention of a foot-operated bass-drum pedal and pedal-operated cymbals freed the drummer’s hands to play other percussion instruments, such as snare drums, tom-toms, cowbells, and wood blocks. Another important invention was a wire brush, used in place of a drumstick or mallet to produce a more delicate sound on drums and cymbals. Today, a jazz drummer may use electronic percussion instruments that create an almost infinite variety of sounds and reproduce them accurately at virtually any volume.

The Piano

Since the earliest days of jazz, the piano has served both as a solo instrument and as an ensemble instrument that performs as part of the rhythm section. Today, other keyboard instruments, including electronic organs, electric pianos, and synthesizers controlled by a keyboard, may substitute for pianos.

The Guitar

The guitar, like the piano, is capable of playing both chords and melodies. In the early days of jazz, these two instruments, along with the banjo, were often substituted for one another. Later, however, the guitar and banjo were most often used in the rhythm section in addition to the piano. The banjo eventually disappeared from almost all later forms of jazz. Jazz musicians have used the acoustic guitar in ensembles and as a solo instrument since jazz’s earliest days. The electric guitar emerged in jazz in the late 1930’s to add sustained notes, greater volume, and new sounds and effects to jazz.

The Bass

The bass plays the roots of the harmonies. The musician normally plucks a double bass. The rhythm section may substitute a brass bass, such as a tuba or Sousaphone. When an electronic organ is used, the organist can play the bass part with foot pedals on the instrument. Electric bass guitars have been incorporated into some jazz ensembles, primarily those that play a “fusion” of jazz and rock music.

Other Instruments

Nearly every Western musical instrument and many non-Western instruments have been used in jazz at one time or another. The vibraphone, an instrument similar to the xylophone, and the violin deserve special mention. The vibraphone has been especially popular in combos. The violin has had only a few notable soloists in jazz, possibly because its volume could not match the power of trumpet or trombone in ensemble, but, throughout jazz history there have been some violinists who have skillfully adapted this basically classical music instrument to jazz. Modern amplification and sound manipulation devices have given the violin new and exciting possibilities as a jazz instrument.

The History of Jazz

The Roots of Jazz

The folk songs and plantation dance music of black Americans contributed much to early jazz. These forms of music occurred throughout the Southern United States during the late 1800’s.

Ragtime, a musical style that influenced early jazz, emerged from the St. Louis, Missouri, area in the late 1890’s. It quickly became the most popular music style in the United States. Ragtime was an energetic and syncopated variety of music, primarily for the piano, that emphasized formal composition.

The blues is a form of music that has always been an important part of jazz. The blues was especially widespread in the American South. Its mournful scale and simple repeated harmonies helped shape the character of jazz. Jazz instrumentalists have long exploited the blues as a vehicle for improvisation.

Early Jazz

Fully developed jazz music probably originated in New Orleans at the beginning of the 1900’s. New Orleans style jazz emerged from the city’s own musical traditions of band music for black funeral processions and street parades. Today, this type of jazz is sometimes called classic jazz, traditional jazz, or Dixieland jazz. New Orleans was the musical home of the first notable players and composers of jazz, including cornetists Buddy Bolden and King Oliver, cornetist and trumpeter Louis Armstrong, saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet, and pianist Jelly Roll Morton.

Jazz soon spread from New Orleans to other parts of the country. Fate Marable led a New Orleans band that played on riverboats traveling up and down the Mississippi River. King Oliver migrated to Chicago, and Jelly Roll Morton performed throughout the United States. Five white musicians formed a band in New Orleans, played in Chicago, and traveled to New York City, calling themselves the Original Dixieland Jass Band (the spelling was soon changed to “Jazz”). This group made the earliest jazz gramophone recordings in 1917. Mamie Smith recorded “Crazy Blues” in 1920, and recordings of ragtime, blues, and jazz of various kinds soon popularized the music to a large and eager public.

The 1920’s

The 1920’s have been called the golden age of jazz or the jazz age. Commercial radio stations, which first appeared in the 1920’s, featured live performances by the growing number of jazz musicians. New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City were all important centers of jazz.

A group of Midwest youths, many from Chicago’s Austin High School, developed a type of improvisation and arrangement that became known as “Chicago style” jazz. These musicians included trumpeters Jimmy McPartland and Muggsy Spanier; cornetist Bix Beiderbecke; clarinetists Frank Teschemacher, Pee Wee Russell, Mezz Mezzrow, and Benny Goodman; saxophonists Frankie Trumbauer and Bud Freeman; drummers Dave Tough, George Wettling, and Gene Krupa; and guitarist Eddie Condon. They played harmonically inventive music, and the technical ability of some of the players, especially Goodman, was at a higher level than that of many earlier performers.

In New York City, James P. Johnson popularized a new musical style from ragtime called stride piano. In stride piano, the left hand plays alternating single notes and chords that move up and down the scale while the right hand plays solo melodies, accompanying rhythms, and interesting chordal passages. Johnson strongly influenced other jazz pianists, notably Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Fats Waller, and Teddy Wilson.

Fletcher Henderson was the first major figure in big band jazz. In 1923, he became the first leader to organize a jazz band into sections of brass, reed, and rhythm instruments. His arranger, Don Redman, was the first to master the technique of scoring music for big bands. Various Henderson’s bands of the 1920’s and 1930’s included such great jazz instrumentalists as Louis Armstrong and saxophonists Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins.

Armstrong made some of his most famous recordings with his own Hot Five and Hot Seven combos from 1925 to 1928. These recordings rank among the masterpieces of jazz, along with his duo recordings of the same period with pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines. Armstrong also became the first well-known male jazz singer, and popularized scat singing ¾ that is, wordless syllables sung in an instrumental manner.

During the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, jazz advanced from relatively simple music played by performers who often could not read music to a more complex and sophisticated form. Among the musicians who brought about this change were saxophonists Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, and Johnny Hodges; the team of violinist Joe Venuti and guitarist Eddie Lang; and pianist Art Tatum. Many people consider Tatum the most inspired and technically gifted improviser in jazz history.

The Swing Era

The swing era flourished from the mid-1930’s to the mid-1940’s. In 1932, Duke Ellington recorded his composition “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing.” “Swing“ was soon adopted as the name of the newest style of jazz. Swing emphasizes four beats to the bar. Big bands dominated the swing era, especially those of Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and Duke Ellington.

Benny Goodman became known as the “King of Swing.” Starting in 1934, Goodman’s bands and combos brought swing to nationwide audiences through ballroom performances, recordings, and radio broadcasts. Goodman was the first white bandleader to feature black and white musicians playing together in public performances. In 1936, he introduced two great black soloists pianist Teddy Wilson and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton. Until then, racial segregation had held back the progress of jazz and of black Americans in particular. In 1938, Goodman and his band, and several guest musicians, performed a famous concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Their performance was one of the first by jazz musicians in a concert hall setting.

Other major bands of the swing era included those led by Benny Carter, Bob Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Earl Hines, Andy Kirk, Jimmie Lunceford, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Chick Webb, and, toward the end of the period, Stan Kenton. The bands in Kansas City, Missouri, especially the Count Basie band, had a distinctive swing style. These bands relied on the 12-bar blues form and riff backgrounds, which consisted of repeated simple melodies. They depended less heavily on written arrangements, allowing more leeway for rhythmic drive and for extended solo improvisations.

Boogie-woogie was another jazz form that became popular during the 1930’s. Chiefly a piano style, it used eight beats to the bar instead of four. Boogie-woogie featured the traditional blues pattern for most themes. The music had an intense quality that created excitement through the repetition of a single phrase. Albert Ammons, Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, and Pinetop Smith were among its most important artists.

Jazz vocalists came into prominence during the swing era, many singing with big bands. Many fine jazz singers emphasized popular songs. These singers included Mildred Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nat “King” Cole, Carmen McRae, and Sarah Vaughan. Blues singing at its best can be heard in recordings by Jimmy Rushing, Jack Teagarden, Joe Turner, and Dinah Washington. In addition to singing, Nat “King” Cole was a superb jazz pianist and Jack Teagarden was a great jazz trombonist.

Bebop

In the early 1940’s, a group of young musicians began experimenting with more complicated chord patterns and melodic ideas in a combo setting. The group included trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, pianists Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and drummers Kenny Clarke and Max Roach. The style they developed was bebop or bop.

Most bop musicians had an exceptional technique. They played long, dazzling phrases with many notes, difficult intervals, unexpected breaks, and unusual turns in melodic direction. On slower tunes, they displayed a keen ear for subtle changes of harmony. Only extremely skilled musicians were able to play bebop well, and only sophisticated listeners at first appreciated it.

In bebop performances, musicians usually played an intricate melody, followed with long periods of solo improvisation, and restated the theme at the end. The bassist presented the basic beat for the group by plucking a steady, moving bass line. The drummer elaborated the beat with sticks or brushes on cymbals, snare drum, and tom-tom. The bass drum was reserved for unexpected accents called “bombs.” The pianist inserted complex chords at irregular intervals to suggest, rather than state, the complete harmonies of the piece.

Hard Bop

Bebop was followed in the 1950’s by hard bop, or funky, jazz. This form emphasized some of the traditional values of jazz derived from gospel and blues music, including rhythmic drive, uninhibited tone and volume, and freedom from restricting arrangements. The hard bop leaders were drummer Art Blakey and pianist Horace Silver. Blakey led a combo called the Jazz Messengers from the mid-1950’s until his death in 1990. The Jazz Messengers served as training ground for many of the greatest soloists in jazz history. Trumpeter Clifford Brown and drummer Max Roach were co-leaders of another outstanding hard bop combo.

Cool Jazz

Cool jazz originated in the works of such musicians as tenor saxophonist Lester Young, who starred with Count Basie, and guitarist Charlie Christian, who played with Benny Goodman. In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, these musicians made changes in the sound and style of jazz improvisation. For example, they softened the tones of their instruments, used syncopation more subtly, and played with a more even beat.

In 1948, tenor saxophonist Stan Getz recorded a slow, romantic solo of Ralph Burns’s composition “Early Autumn” with the Woody Herman band. This work profoundly influenced many younger musicians. In 1949 and 1950, a group of young musicians that included trumpeter Miles Davis, alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, and arranger Gil Evans recorded several new compositions. These recordings emphasized a lagging beat, soft instrumental sounds, and unusual orchestrations that included the first successful use of the French horn and the tuba in modern jazz. The recordings, with Davis as leader, were later released as “The Birth of the Cool.”

During the 1950’s, many combos became identified with the cool movement. Some of the most successful combos were the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, the Modern Jazz Quartet, and the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

The Spread of Jazz

In the 1940’s and 1950’s, the sophisticated forms of bebop and cool jazz began to gain wide acceptance among intellectuals and college students. Jazz concerts became popular. Groups of jazz stars made a series of international tours called Jazz at the Philharmonic. The international growth of jazz resulted in many successful overseas tours by U.S. bands.

The introduction of the 33-1/3 rpm long-playing (LP) record, which was first produced commercially in 1948, also helped spread the popularity of jazz. For 30 years, jazz recordings had been limited to 78 rpm records that restricted performances to about 3 minutes in length. The LP allowed recorded performances to rum many minutes. The LP also permitted a number of shorter performances to be issued on a single record.

During the 1950’s, musicians in other countries began to improve greatly as jazz performers as they were exposed to performances by American musicians through recordings and concerts. Sweden, France, Germany, Japan, and other countries developed players and composers whose work compared favorably with that of the leading Americans. The first non-American jazz musicians to influence Americans were Belgian-born guitarist Django Reinhardt in the late 1930’s, and George Shearing, a blind, English-born pianist who went to live in the United States in 1947.

In 1954, the first large American jazz festival was held at Newport, Rhode Island. Since then, annual festivals also have been held in Monterey, California, U.S.A.; New York City; Chicago; Nice, France; Montreux, Switzerland; Warsaw, Poland; Berlin, Germany; and many other locations throughout the world. These festivals have featured almost all of the most popular jazz musicians and have introduced many extended concert works by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, John Lewis, and others.

The U.S. government began to use jazz as an instrument of international goodwill in 1956. The U.S. Department of State sponsored tours of the Near and Middle East and Latin America by a big band led by Dizzy Gillespie. In 1962, Benny Goodman toured the Soviet Union as part of a cultural exchange program.

New Directions

Beginning in the 1950’s, jazz became even more experimental. Jazz music began to feature nontraditional instruments, such as French horn and bass flute. Jazz musicians began to take an interest in non-Western music, especially the modes (different arrangements of scales), melodic forms, and instruments of Africa, India, and the Far East.

In the late 1950’s, John Lewis, musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet, worked with classical musician and composer Gunther Schuller to write and play orchestral works that combined elements of modern jazz and classical concert music. Stan Kenton also played this so-called third stream music when he toured the United States with a 40-piece orchestra.

Also during this period, pianist George Russell developed a jazz theory of modes. In 1959, the Miles Davis combo, with pianist Bill Evans and saxophonists John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, recorded compositions and improvised solos based on modes rather than on patterns of chords.

In 1960, saxophonist Ornette Coleman reshaped the thinking of younger jazz musicians when he recorded the album Free Jazz with a double quartet. In this recording, Coleman discarded harmony, melody, and regular rhythms. He substituted unstructured improvisation played atonally (in no definite key). Pianist Cecil Taylor and bassist Charles Mingus conducted similar atonal experiments.

In the 1960’s, the influence of the music of India entered jazz through the adaptations of John Coltrane. Jazz musicians also began to use more unusual meters, such as 5/4, 7/4 and 9/8.

Fusion

In the 1970’s, many musicians blended jazz and rock music into fusion jazz. Fusion combined the melodic and improvisation aspects of jazz with the rhythms and instruments of rock. Electronic music played an important part in fusion. Jazz pianists began exploring the increased sound potential of synthesizers. Horn and string players began to use electronics to intensify, distort, or multiply their sounds. Many well-known jazz musicians gained new popularity by playing fusion. Some of the best-known fusion musicians were guitarist George Benson, trumpeters Donald Byrd and Miles Davis, pianist Herbie Hancock, and two combos, Weather Report and the Mahavishnu Orchestra.

At the same time, many veteran jazz musicians retained their popularity by leading groups that played in the swing, bebop, and cool styles. These leaders included Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Gerry Mulligan, and Oscar Peterson.

The Late 1900’s

During the 1980’s, a number of young jazz musicians returned to mainstream jazz. Mainstream jazz includes elements of the swing, cool, and bebop styles. The most widely acclaimed young musician of the 1980’s was trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, a performer of both jazz and classical music. Marsalis plays with brilliant technique and tone. He and his brother, saxophonist Branford Marsalis, have led excellent hard bop combos.

Many young musicians continued to forge ahead with fusion groups. Two of the most widely respected fusion artists are the brothers trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonist Michael Brecker. In addition, Jane Ira Bloom displays a mastery of the soprano saxophone and the synthesizer.

In the 1980’s, some so-called New Wave musicians adopted minimalism, a style that often repeats simple patterns for long periods of time. Trombonist George Lewis has experimented with combinations of free jazz, synthesized sound, African rhythms, and unusual horn techniques. Another trombonist of dazzling technique is Ray Anderson. Bebop, rock, popular, free, and various mixtures are all blended in his recordings. One group, the World Saxophone Quartet, omitted the rhythm section while preserving most of the other traditional rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic elements of jazz.

Today, jazz continues to feature a variety of styles. Many musicians play in historic styles such as swing and bebop. Others seek a more experimental approach. For example, the Art Ensemble of Chicago blends free jazz, African costumes and makeup, exotic instruments, and surprise techniques into theatrical musical events. Ornette Coleman’s group, Prime Time, mixes free and fusion jazz in new and interesting ways.

Electronics technology is gaining a greater role in jazz music. Such young jazz composers as Michael Daugherty are demonstrating that live musicians can interact creatively with computer-generated sound.

By the early 1990’s, a new generation of young jazz musicians had emerged, inspired by the commercial and artistic success of Wynton Marsalis. Young musicians who have gained critical praise include saxophonists Scott Hamilton and Christopher Hollyday, pianist Marcus Roberts, trumpeters Philip Harper and Roy Hargrove, trombonist Dan Barrett, and guitarist Howard Alden.

RAGTIME

Ragtime is a kind of music that uses strongly syncopated melody and a regular accented accompaniment. Originally a piano rag had a regular rhythmic bass for the left hand and a highly complex melody for the right hand. The term ragtime gradually came to be applied to early forms of jazz, such as Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”

BLUES

Blues is a kind of music that developed in America from the various musical expressions of blacks who were taken to the country as slaves during the 1600’s. The earliest ancestors of the blues were work songs and field hollers, a musical form of communication among the slaves. The blues was a vocal music at first. Through the years, musicians began to accompany blues singers, and many blues compositions came to be performed chiefly by instrumentalists. The blues is an extremely flexible type of music, and various musicians have created highly individual styles of performing it. The blues contributed greatly to the development of jazz and popular music.

Traditional blues is played in a 12-bar form that is divided into three sections of four bars each. Most blues lyrics consist of several three-line stanzas. The second line of each stanza repeats the first, and the third line expresses response to the first two. Many blues lyrics reflect loneliness or sorrow, but others declare a humorous or defiant reaction to life’s troubles.

The blues started to become popular in the early 1800’s. During that period, a band leader named W.C. Handy began to adapt various traditional black folk tunes into songs that won wide popularity. Handy’s compositions include “Memphis Blues” (1912) and “St. Louis Blues” (1914). In the 1920’s, Bessie Smith emerged as the most powerful of the classic blues singers. Other well-known blues singers have included Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, and Ma Rainey. Instrumental blues, particularly the trumpet work of Louis Armstrong, also gained prominence. In the 1930’s, boogie-woogie, a style of piano blues, became popular.Almost all important jazz musicians have been skilled in performing the blues, including Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Jack Teagarden. Such musicians have been included variations of the standard blues pattern in their music. Some classical music and many compositions of rock music and folk music also reflect the influence of the blues.