History of jazz

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The history of jazz spans almost 150 years.

Prehistory (19th century)

“Suddenly it was there, this most widespread, this magical music of the 20th century. Suddenly she stepped out of the brightly sunlit and yet miserably gloomy pubs, dubious dance halls, disreputable caves of vice and crime in the 'deep south' of the USA, which, like a wounded lion, licked the wounds that the civil war and civil war had inflicted on it who hardly thought seriously of putting an end to the cruel oppression of blacks. But how and when did the music later called 'jazz' end up in this oppressive environment? Was that really your home? Where did she come from? After all, who gave it the name 'Jazz'? Anyone who wants to delve into the past of this music is faced with question after question. They have often been answered and yet have remained unanswered. Nobody has veiled them, but what comes from an oppressed people, a slave class, has a very difficult time finding its way into history. [...] Only one thing is certain (as an American jazz story states): Without slavery [...] in the USA there would be no jazz. "

- Kurt Pahlen : The great history of music

There was a street music tradition in the southern United States in the second half of the 19th century . The brass bands , black and white marching bands, played on various occasions. The black brass bands were mainly influenced by blues and Creole music and mixed these influences with European musical tradition. The music of these so-called “ marching bands ” is called archaic jazz today . He lacked individual improvisation and swing, although the "easy" cycle times (2 + 4) were already emphasized there. It has found a continuation in today's old-time jazz , but - outside of New Orleans  - it is mainly cultivated by white musicians.

The Olympia Brass Band , a marching band

Ragtime (English: ragged time , "torn time") was created around 1890 : This was a piano style defined in notated pieces in which the left hand replaces the rhythm section of a band (bass and percussion guitar ). There was no improvisation there either; but the tension between a continuous quarter beat and the syncopated “torn” melody already gave rise to a kind of swing . The main composer of this style was Scott Joplin , whose most famous rag -  The Entertainer  - became popular again with the film Der Clou (1973).

Already less fixed and "jazz moderate" played Jelly Roll Morton in New Orleans , which to have "invented jazz in 1902" asserted by himself. He was a great composer of blues , blues songs, ragtimes, stomps , and a pre-eminent and flamboyant pianist, but his proven role in jazz was with his bands in the 1920s, not as an inventor. Likewise, Nick LaRocca claimed to be the "Creator of Jazz". But his assertion is also doubted by jazz research . Buddy Bolden was the main representative of the early New Orleans jazz, probably still related to ragtime . Based on his model, jazz is likely to have been developed by a large number of bands and musicians between 1900 and 1915, also outside of New Orleans, for example in Memphis .

It's a popular question as to whether or not jazz was invented in New Orleans. There is no absolutely valid answer to this question. The pre-forms of this style of music were found in several parts of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. New Orleans was a melting pot riddled with contrasts. Some jazz historians say jazz was born (not "invented") in New Orleans and raised in Chicago and New York.

When the first well-known bands left New Orleans around 1915, they should have contributed to popularizing jazz beyond the Mississippi in the USA. It is possible that bands that set out for other cities around 1910 already played jazz-like, but it wasn't until 1914 that the bands also called themselves jass or jazz bands, so they appeared with the self-confidence that they were representing a new genre of music: for example Pedro Stacholy's Cuban Jazz band (possibly as early as 1914) in Havana , Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland in 1915 in Chicago or Stein's Dixie Jass Band in 1916 , and in 1915 the Black and Tan Orchestra went to California with the trumpet virtuoso Buddy Petit.

Origin of the word "jazz" and oldtime jazz (since 1900)

Jazz record from the first half of the 1920s

The word "jazz" probably first appeared in 1913 when a game played by the San Francisco Seals baseball team was criticized by a newspaper reporter. "Jazz" was used synonymously for lively or enthusiastic: "The poor old Seals have lost their 'jazz' and don't know where to find it" (The pitiful Seals have lost their 'Jazz' and cannot find it again). A few days later an editor of the same newspaper reflected on the attributes of jazz: “This remarkable ... word ... means something like life, strength, energy, flurry of spirit, fun, verve, attraction, vigor, masculinity, courage, happiness. Oh what's it about - JAZZ. ”The first musical evidence for the word jazz is found in the Chicago Daily Tribune of July 11, 1915 in connection with a syncopated rag by Art Hickman. The term was then carried over from baseball to the newly developing musical style.

The categorization of different jazz styles and their chronological assignment is difficult. The boundaries between the styles of hot and old-time jazz are fluid, and the point in time when they were created cannot be clearly defined. In many cases it is hardly possible to speak of the dominance of a style during a certain period. The following list therefore only offers a few rough guidelines:

Wilbur Sweatman's Down Home Rag was recorded in 1916 in two versions that already show some of the characteristics of jazz: The Versatile Four , directed by the banjo player Gus Haston, recorded the piece in January 1916 (in England); in December 1916, Sweatman followed with his own recording. On February 26, 1917, the " Original Dixieland Jass Band ", composed of white musicians by trumpeter Nick LaRocca, made the recordings that in 1917 were considered the first jazz record by the public. In addition to free riders like the Borbee's Jass Orchestra , other performers quickly followed in Arthur Fields , Sweatman and Earl Fuller . On November 12, 1925, Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five made the first recordings: the instrumentalists' solos partially replaced the collective improvisation of early jazz.

The (“white”) Dixieland was generally played a little faster and with more notes and accents in the melodies than the (“African American”) New Orleans Jazz. Of course, there are slow and calm pieces in both jazz styles. The best example of this is the 1928 recording of West End Blues . The piece was written by Joe King Oliver and performed by Louis Armstrong and his newly formed studio band, the Hot Five . In addition, the Chicago jazz style emerged in the 1920s. Local amateurs played the New Orleans jazz of the pros from the south. He was reshaped according to the skills. It was here that the saxophone played an important role in jazz for the first time . It was originally a military instrument and was invented in 1840.

As early as 1928, jazz was so popular in Europe that the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main founded the world's first jazz class; her teacher will be Mátyás Seiber . After 1950, especially in Great Britain, traditional jazz emerged from a lively cultivation of the traditional varieties of jazz . This Dixieland Revival is u. a. associated with the names Chris Barber , Acker Bilk , Ken Colyer , Rod Mason , Monty Sunshine and the Dutch Swing College Band .

Swing (since 1928)

The swing era from the late 1920s to the mid-1940s (in Europe until the late 1940s) is jazz's most successful period with audiences. The newly created swing had its breakthrough in the 1930s. After Black Friday 1929, the sales of the record industry fell from 100 million pieces per year to 6 million. But the medium of radio found its way into the USA and with it swing. Bands with white musicians popularized the music that African Americans had played and heard years before. The most important associated African American swing dance was called Lindy Hop . American youth were crazy about this freaky dance style and fast swing. During the economic depression of the 1930s, an unprecedented youth culture of happiness and freedom that was not understood by the older generation flourished. The style of music thus became the predominant popular and light music.

Django Reinhardt and Duke Ellington in November 1946. Photo: William P. Gottlieb

Bandleaders like Duke Ellington , Count Basie , Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw become stars. Duke Ellington and his orchestra have been involved in the Cotton Club for many years . The performances of the big bands attract a huge audience; Swing is the popular dance music of this time. From a special form of swing, the Kansas City Jazz , the rhythm & blues develops . With the founding of the Quintette du Hot Club de France by Django Reinhardt , Europe has also been involved in jazz history since 1934. To this day, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, as an authentic representative of swing, maintains this epoch with the interpretation of original arrangements.

From around the beginning of the 1950s, swing jazz went through a change that was based partly on the rejection of the newer jazz styles, but also on the inclusion and processing of some elements from them; While some of the musicians maintained the old jazz styles more or less in their original form, others began to develop a mixture of older styles and new ones, especially in jam sessions , which was called mainstream jazz (although this term was given different meanings over time) . Musicians like Oscar Peterson , Ruby Braff and Scott Hamilton are examples of this style.

Modern Jazz (since 1940)

Modern jazz begins with bebop . All sorts of myths and legends have grown up around the genesis of bebop. What is certain, however, is that at a time when many big swing bands had reached or already passed their zenith and their music was becoming more and more formulaic, young musicians were experimenting with new musical forms in the Harlem club Minton's Playhouse . The dissatisfaction with the stereotypical clichés of commercial swing, the meeting of some creative musical personalities and an awakening self-confidence of these mostly black musicians ultimately led to the emergence of a new style. Charlie Parker , Dizzy Gillespie , Thelonious Monk , Charlie Christian and Kenny Clarke are considered the "founding fathers" of bebop . The musicians tried to develop a music that no longer functioned primarily as dance or entertainment music and had an expanded harmony compared to the previous styles .

The Afro Cuban Jazz was created by combining the bebop with elements of Latin American music . The trigger for this was the collaboration between Dizzy Gillespies and the Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo in the mid-1940s. Stan Kenton developed progressive jazz in the second half of the 1940s with the help of late romantic arrangements, but also sophisticated compositions . Independently of this, the Third Stream movement emerged - also as an early cross-over with classical music - to which, for example, John Lewis , J. J. Johnson , Charles Mingus and Gunther Schuller contributed with their compositions and arrangements.

The recordings of the nonet directed by Miles Davis in 1949 and 1950, which became famous in the 1950s under the title Birth of the Cool, are often regarded as the hour of birth of cool jazz . The music of this orchestra is characterized by complex, polyphonic arrangements that, in contrast to bebop, focus less on the extroverted and often extremely fast solos of the musicians, and rather on an artfully woven sound from the individual instrumental voices. Important arrangers were Gil Evans and the baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan . This “cool” aesthetic was also picked up by jazz musicians such as Chet Baker , Stan Getz and Shelly Manne on the west coast of the USA and gained great popularity in the 1950s under the term West Coast Cool . In the 1960s, interpretations of bossa nova (Stan Getz, Paul Winter , Herbie Mann , Charlie Byrd ) followed and also reached the general public.

The Hard Bop combines the mid-1950s, the freedoms of bebop with a simpler rhythm and melody, in the tradition of the blues and the gospel is -music. The main driving forces behind this style are Art Blakey And The Jazz Messengers, Horace Silver and Miles Davis. Hardbop was the dominant style in jazz for a good decade, with musicians like Wayne Shorter , Herbie Hancock , Freddie Hubbard , Clifford Brown and others making numerous classical recordings. The hard bop sat down, e.g. Sometimes combined with a modal improvisation , so far that it became the epitome of the mainstream in jazz.

Charles Mingus 1976

A further development of hard bop is soul jazz , which is based even more on vocal melodies. Soul jazz was very popular at the end of the 1960s, and one of its most important exponents, Cannonball Adderley , even achieved chart success with the piece Mercy, Mercy, Mercy composed by Joe Zawinul .

A legitimate legacy of modern jazz is contemporary modern creative jazz.

Free Jazz (since 1960)

Since around 1957, there have been signs of freer playing styles, in which the musicians partially detach themselves from the jazz harmonic in their solos . On the one hand, this applies to musicians like John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy , who seem anchored in the mainstream, but especially to Ornette Coleman's quartet . In 1961 Coleman's record Free Jazz was released , which soon became the name for free forms. Even playing the drums is emancipated by Sunny Murray , who plays around the meters . Apart from the British musicians around Joe Harriott , a break with traditional and conventional playing styles has only occurred in Europe since around 1965 - partly independent of free jazz in the USA. The first protagonists of this new direction were in Europe a. a. the Manfred Schoof Quintet, the Gunter Hampel group Heartplants , the British band Joseph Holbrooke and the group around the French trumpeter Bernard Vitet . The improvisational attitude became increasingly radical and, in the extreme, led to free form, which is developed in cooperation without any appointment. There are also avant-garde jazz and playing attitudes that have become known as Free Bop and Creative Music .

Fusion (1966 to 1980)

In the late 1960s, jazz experienced a crisis. Free jazz, which dominated this decade, met with less and less approval from the general public. At the same time, the rock and soul music of this time with virtuoso musicians like Jimi Hendrix became more and more demanding and complex; Idols like James Brown or Sly Stone increasingly ousted jazz in the favor of its traditional audience. The sound of the music intensified through the use of electrically amplified instruments, a development that jazz had barely participated in until then. With the blues as a common basis and the increased quality of pop music, there were also points of contact between rock and jazz.

In Europe there was early and z. Partly independent of the development in the USA, a jazz rock movement, which, however, remained relatively unnoticed and which was not a huge commercial success. Here is first of The Graham Bond Organization to name, but also its successor groups Cream and Colosseum and the group Soft Machine . In Canada, Moe Koffman presented his album Goes Electric in 1967 . Even Phil Woods Group European Rhythm Machine experimented with rock rhythms.

The Miles Davis albums In a Silent Way (1969) and Bitches Brew (1970) are often cited as the hour of birth of American rock jazz . Miles Davis later reported that at that time he mainly heard music by James Brown , Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix and that these had a decisive influence on his music.

Before, but especially after Miles Davis, many other musicians in America and Europe took a similar path. Rock jazz brought some musicians exceptionally large commercial successes, largely because it reached new, youthful audiences. The album Headhunters by Herbie Hancock became a hit, which sold millions of copies. Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul were the founders of the Weather Report group , which became the most successful formation of the merger. This and other outstanding fusion musicians had previously played in Miles Davis' band.

Around 1975 jazz radio was recognized as a further sub-genre of the fusion style (alongside rock jazz and jazz rock). The actually creative phase of fusion jazz initially comprised the first half of the 1970s. After that, this music often began to exhaust itself as smooth jazz in shallow, commercial music (“ department store music ”) or to become a mere performance exhibition of some instrumental virtuosos. As early as the mid-1970s, many musicians turned back to acoustically played music, but sometimes applied the fusion concept to this and made skilfully arranged entertaining music of very high complexity. Musicians from the circle around Ornette Coleman and also the M-Base Collective combined vital jazz improvisations with the groo rhythms in the 1980s. After the acid jazz fashion, white musicians like Dave Douglas or Medeski, Martin & Wood also clearly emphasized the elements of funk. Also Mathcore can as a fusion of jazz with hardcore punk and various varieties of extreme metal to be construed.

Between Neobop and Modern Creative (since 1980)

Main article : Modern Creative
PaPaJo ( Paul Lovens , Paul Hubweber and John Edwards ; 2010)

Jazz from 1980 onwards is extremely diverse. Typical for this time is the parallel existence of completely different, sometimes openly retrospective ways of playing, without the development of a clearly recognizable mainstream. The naming of clearly recognizable styles is hardly possible from the current perspective and is controversial. Even the demarcation between jazz and other genres such as pop or world music is becoming blurred.

In the early 1980s, a trend emerged in which primarily the styles of the 1950s and 1960s were used. A number of young, well-educated and virtuoso musicians have been marketed by the record industry as The Young Lions . The most outstanding example was the trumpeter Wynton Marsalis , who also gained enormous influence as the head of the jazz department at Lincoln Center . Other musicians were Joshua Redman and James Carter .

At the same time, various attempts were made to win over the discotheque audience. On the one hand, as with the British band Working Week , this was done with recourse to soul jazz and Latin American rhythms and prepared the acid jazz ; on the other hand, new subgenres such as hip hop jazz (see DeWieners ), jazz rap ( Greg Osby's 3D- Lifestyles , Fisz etc.). The combination of jazz and electronic sounds also came about in a flash .

Imaginary folklore opened up new possibilities for European jazz in particular. Music productions influencedby world music or non-European music traditions also expand the possibilities of expression and are sometimesmarketedas ethno-jazz . In addition, there are also music-making positions that successfully target tried and tested recipes from the past, such as retro swing and a variant of pop jazz , as represented by singer Norah Jones .

In addition, however, avant-garde jazz continues to exist in modern creative jazz , the contemporary further development of free jazz. In modern creative jazz, compositional and improvisational procedures are increasingly emphasized, which are more demanding than the "theme-soli-theme" form. Modern Creative makes art claims and takes an anti-commercial stance.

See also


  • Joachim Ernst Berendt , Günther Huesmann (arrangement): The jazz book . 7th edition. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-10-003802-9 .
  • Bruce Boyd Raeburn: New Orleans Style and the Writing of American Jazz History . University of Michigan Press, 2009. ISBN 978-0-472-11675-1
  • Ken Burns , Geoffrey C. Ward: Jazz - a music and its history . Econ, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-430-11609-0 . (Based on a series of documentaries by Ken Burns with contributions by Wynton Marsalis)
  • Daniel Hardie: Jazz Historiography: The Story of Jazz History Writing . 2013
  • Maximilian Hendler : Prehistory of Jazz: From the departure of the Portuguese to Jelly Roll Morton. Graz 2008, ISBN 978-3-201-01900-2 .
  • Maximilian Hendler: Syncopated Music: Early History of Jazz Graz 2010, ISBN 978-3-201-01943-9 .
  • Michael Jacobs: All that Jazz - The story of one piece of music. Stuttgart 1996 (revised edition 2007).
  • Ekkehard Jost : Social history of jazz. 2nd Edition. Frankfurt am Main 2003.
  • Philippe Margotin: 100 Years of Jazz - From Classical to Modern: The Biggest Stars . Delius, Klasing, Bielefeld 2017. ISBN 978-3-667-10607-0

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ ET "Scoop" Gleason, San Francisco Bulletin , March 29, 1913
  2. ^ Ernest J. Hopkins, San Francisco Bulletin , April 5, 1913
  3. ^ Paul Dickson: The Dickson Baseball Dictionary . 3rd edition, 2011, p. 466 f.