West Coast Jazz

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As West Coast Jazz (in the relevant literature almost always as a West Coast Jazz ) is considered a form of jazz music that is in California , developed during the 1950s. It is generally not seen as a style of its own, but as a special, initially regionally characterized variant of cool jazz .

As in the cool jazz that emerged in New York City around 1950 , the music that emerged on the west coast from 1952 was more arranged and based on independent compositions. Sometimes the West Coast Jazz was white jazz musicians from the film studios of Hollywood joined and was regarded by some critics as Hugues Panassié as less authentic than other forms of jazz. West Coast jazz, however, was by no means based on racial segregation . Afro-American musicians were also involved in one of his earliest groups, the Gerry Mulligan Quartet from 1952. In addition to Shorty Rogers , Gerry Mulligan , Chet Baker , Bud Shank , Bill Perkins , Bob Cooper , Jimmy Giuffre , Shelly Manne , Bill Holman , Manny Albam or André Previn , African American musicians such as Curtis Counce , Chico Hamilton , Hampton Hawes , Red Callender or Buddy have Collette made an essential contribution. Sometimes, although this is only partially correct geographically, Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond are also counted on the West Coast due to the catchiness of their game.

Most of the West Coast jazz musicians had graduated from university and conservatory. They saw their music primarily as an art, i. H. as audio music and pushed the aspect of danceable music even further back than in bebop . Terms such as "understatement", "relaxed", poetry and restraint characterize the game ideal of its representatives. Composition and improvisation belonged to an intellectual understanding of art, but they are more clearly oriented towards catchiness and singability than, for example, the abstract lines from the Tristano School. Nevertheless, some of the jazz critics refused to regard West Coast jazz as a style in its own right, as there were no real stylistic innovations associated with it, the musicians were also partly oriented towards the bop and the term primarily the marketing (as a counterbalance to the Hardbop emerging on the east coast ).

In particular through the activity of record labels such as Pacific Jazz Records and Contemporary Records , this playing attitude, which originated outside the jazz metropolis of New York, became known. Already on the covers of the records, associations with a beach, vacation, fresh air were awakened. Jazz here tended to be given the image of casual leisure music.


  • Ted Gioia : West Coast Jazz: Modern Jazz in California 1945-1960 . Oxford University Press, 1992
  • Robert Gordon: Jazz West Coast: The Los Angeles Jazz Scene of the 1950s . Quartet Books, 1986

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Wiktionary: West Coast Jazz  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations