Modern jazz

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Modern jazz (also modern jazz ) is a collective term for different jazz styles , which can be classified especially between 1940 and 1960 - between the swing style of the 1930s and early 1940s and free jazz from around 1960. The term is sometimes also used to describe all forms of jazz to denote that emerged after old-time jazz .

“Modern Jazz” became a household name thanks to the Modern Jazz Quartet .


The bebop replaced swing (style) in the early 1940s and was the first style of modern jazz. The musicians Charlie Parker , Dizzy Gillespie , Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke are particularly associated with its creation . In contrast to the previous jazz styles, it is no longer a mass dance style such as the swing style of the 1930s, but more "listening music" ('sophisticated').

In contrast to the styles of traditional jazz , whose songs are based on simple harmonies, a complex harmonics enriched with extended chords was used. In addition, modern jazz was much more dynamic and abstract. He reached high points in the public eye with musicians such as Miles Davis , Oscar Peterson and Cannonball Adderley .

Modern jazz enriched jazz as a whole and all popular music with all sorts of new influences. New instruments (for example horn and recorder) were introduced in the early 1950s. In addition, people began to experiment with influences from other cultures, for example from Africa and India. The so-called eighth note swing (hear / see especially Charlie Parker, as) emerged, and odd time signatures found their way into it ( Take Five , composed by Paul Desmond and made popular by his recording with the quartet of Dave Brubeck , 1959).

In the late 1950s, musicians like John Lewis or Gunther Schuller began to combine elements of jazz with “new music” (from the field of “classical music” or “serious music”). This style is called third stream .

In 1959, Miles Davis's Kind of Blue , which he recorded with John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley, was the first influential album of "Modal Jazz". This style is based on the jazz theory of modes of the pianist George Russell . That jazz style is characterized by improvising over a scale (mode, scale) instead of over a harmony sequence of the theme. The Modal Jazz is the last modern jazz stage before the free jazz.

The 1958 Newport Jazz Festival , documented in a famous film, is considered to be the last modern jazz festival before the transition to free jazz .

Modern jazz styles

According to the first, narrow definition (see above), the development does not end with modern jazz. Rather, from around 1960 onwards, free jazz and fusion emerged , which were viewed as being outside of modern jazz. Even neo-pop , like post - modern avant-garde jazz , ethno-jazz or other forms of cross-over, would then have to be delimited because elements of later jazz styles have been incorporated into them.

Modern jazz standards

In modern jazz between 1940 and 1960, numerous compositions were created, which over the years were often taken up by other musicians and became jazz standards . These include bebop heads by Charlie Parker (e.g. Billie's Bounce or Ornithology ), but also numerous original compositions by Dizzy Gillespie ( A Night in Tunisia ) and by Thelonious Monk (e.g. Round Midnight , Well You Needn't , Blue Monk ) as well as compositions by John Lewis (e.g. Django ) and other boppers and cool jazz protagonists. Even after the first heyday of modern jazz, pieces were created that are now part of the general repertoire; Examples include Bluesette (by Toots Thielemans ), The Girl from Ipanema ( Antônio Carlos Jobim ), St. Thomas ( Sonny Rollins ), Moanin ' ( Bobby Timmons ) or Giant Steps ( John Coltrane ). Other pieces got into jazz “from outside” - for example Manhã de Carnaval from the film Orfeu Negro or Autumn Leaves from the field of chanson.

See also