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In 1969, Davis fully embraced the electric instrument approach to jazz with In a Silent Way, which can be considered his first fusion album. Composed of two side-long suites edited heavily by producer Teo Macero, this quiet, static album would be equally influential to the development of ambient music. The minor pentatonic scale is often used in blues improvisation, and like a blues scale, a minor pentatonic scale can be played over all of the chords in a blues. The following pentatonic lick was played over blues changes by Joe Henderson on Horace Silver’s “African Queen” . Brazilian percussionists such as Airto Moreira and Naná Vasconcelos also influenced jazz internationally by introducing Afro-Brazilian folkloric instruments and rhythms into a wide variety of jazz styles, thus attracting a greater audience to them.
Jazz pianist, theorist, and educator Mark Levine refers to the scale generated by beginning on the fifth step of a pentatonic scale as the V pentatonic scale. In the studio, he all but abandoned his soprano to concentrate on the tenor saxophone. In addition, the quartet responded to the leader by playing with increasing freedom. The group’s evolution can be traced through the recordings The John Coltrane Quartet Plays, Living Space and Transition , New Thing at Newport , Sun Ship , and First Meditations . Perhaps the most respected Afro-cuban jazz combo of the late 1950s was vibraphonist Cal Tjader’s band. Tjader had Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza, and Willie Bobo on his early recording dates.
Others say jazz was born in 1895, the year Buddy Bolden started his first band. Still others say it happened in 1917, when Nick LaRocca and his Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first jazz record, “Livery Stable Blues.” But Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton had his own theory. He said, “It is evidently known, beyond contradiction, that New Orleans is the Cradle of Jazz, and I myself happen to be the inventor in the year 1902.”
W. C. Handy became interested in folk blues of the Deep South while traveling through the Mississippi Delta. In this folk blues form, the singer would improvise freely within a limited melodic range, sounding like a field holler, and the guitar accompaniment was slapped rather than strummed, like a small drum which responded in syncopated accents, functioning as another “voice”. Handy and his band members were formally trained African-American musicians who had not grown up with the blues, yet he was able to adapt the blues to a larger band instrument format and arrange them in a popular music form. Ragtime appeared as sheet music, popularized by African-American musicians such as the entertainer Ernest Hogan, whose hit songs appeared in 1895. Two years later, Vess Ossman recorded a medley of these songs as a banjo solo known as “Rag Time Medley”. Also in 1897, the white composer William Krell published his “Mississippi Rag” as the first written piano instrumental ragtime piece, and Tom Turpin published his “Harlem Rag”, the first rag published by an African-American.
However, in practice, he was incredibly dismissive of the new bebop style that emerged in the 1940s, which perhaps suggests that his views on the matter were a little more rigid and specific than that rather philosophical and open-ended quote might imply. Marsalis, who compared Miles Davis’ late-period embracing of pop music to “a general who has betrayed his country”, is clear on what he thinks jazz is and isn’t, making the case in an essay on his website. This initially controversial style dispensed with chord sequences and song structures in favour of a kind of bluesy, swinging chaos. Jazz in the 1910s and ‘20s was characterised by polyphonic collective improvisation played by a frontline that often featured a cornet or trumpet accompanied by a clarinet and trombone. It’s a deeply sophisticated music, and one which was created and nurtured by artists who wrought triumphant beauty out of suffering and oppression. For many (us included!), jazz was the most important artistic development of the 20th Century.
This movement included musicians such as Valery Ponomarev and Bobby Watson, Dennis Irwin and James Williams. Many of the big bands who were deprived of experienced musicians because of the war effort began to enlist young players who were below the age for conscription, as was the case with saxophonist Stan Getz’s entry in a band as a teenager. This coincided with a nationwide resurgence in the Dixieland style of pre-swing jazz; performers such as clarinetist George Lewis, cornetist Bill Davison, and trombonist Turk Murphy were hailed by conservative jazz critics as more authentic than the big bands. Key figures in this development were largely based in New York and included pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, drummers Max Roach and Kenny Clarke, saxophonist Charlie Parker, and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. This style entered full swing in France with the Quintette du Hot Club de France, which began in 1934. Much of this French jazz was a combination of African-American jazz and the symphonic styles in which French musicians were well-trained; in this, it is easy to see the inspiration taken from Paul Whiteman since his style was also a fusion of the two.