History of Jazz

Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Coleman Hawkins: Fifty Years Gone, A Saxophone Across Time

Read "Coleman Hawkins: Fifty Years Gone, A Saxophone Across Time" reviewed by Arthur R George

Fifty years ago this past year, Coleman Hawkins, considered the father of tenor saxophone in jazz, passed away. Thelonious Monk was pacing back and forth in the hallway outside Hawkins' hospital room when the saxophonist succumbed at age 64 on the morning of May 19, 1969, from pneumonia and other complications. Monk was holding a short stack of albums that Hawkins had gifted him just before being hospitalized. With Monk was the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, attendant to ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

The Creative Music Improvisers Forum: New Haven's AACM

Read "The Creative Music Improvisers Forum: New Haven's AACM" reviewed by Daniel Barbiero

The late 1960s through the 1970s and '80s were difficult years for jazz and jazz-derived improvised music, but they were also years that saw musicians--by necessity--respond to these difficulties with creative solutions. With first the rise and then the commercial dominance during those years of rock music and the corresponding eclipse of jazz, creative musicians in various parts of the country began to organize themselves into artist-run groups in order to ensure the survival of the music both commercially and ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Bird's Trumpets

Read "Bird's Trumpets" reviewed by Matt Lavelle

Looking closely at all the trumpet players that played with Thelonious Monk in a piece I wrote in March 2018, I decided to continue the focus, and explore the trumpet players that played with Charlie Parker. As challenging as the trumpet is to play, playing Bebop raised the technical bar. Playing with Charlie Parker at fast tempos where he thrived took trumpet playing to an extreme that may have never been matched since. Parker certainly enjoyed the alto saxophone and ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Chet Baker’s Singing: A Cultural Shift

Read "Chet Baker’s Singing: A Cultural Shift" reviewed by Steve Provizer

We think of the 1950's as a time of relative social conformity, but in fact, there were significant cultural shifts happening. For one, male stereotypes were being unpacked and to some degree, unfrozen. Where once films and music gave us male characters that were either hyper-macho or limp-wristedly homosexual, male characters and performers who showed emotional vulnerability began to emerge from the underground. Two musicians who were exemplars of this change were Frank Sinatra and Chet Baker. The ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Ella Plays Dice

Read "Ella Plays Dice" reviewed by Eve Goldberg

Ella Fitzgerald was eating a piece of pie when the police burst into her dressing room, guns drawn. Nearby, Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Illinois Jacquet were playing a game of craps. The place was Houston, Texas. The date was October 7, 1955. The occasion was a sold-out concert at The Music Hall, one stop on tour for Jazz At The Philharmonic. Standing in the wings while Gene Krupa's band performed on stage, tour producer Norman Granz heard the ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Monk's Trumpets

Read "Monk's Trumpets" reviewed by Matt Lavelle

Thelonious Monk's recording career as a leader only lasted twenty-four years, from 1947 to 1971. When it comes to horn players, most people interested in Monk associate him with the tenor saxophone, and rightfully so as Johnny Griffin, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Charlie Rouse stand tall in Monk's recorded legacy. The alto saxophone was present from his first record as a leader, but no alto players were able to contribute substantially beyond strong work as sidemen. Gigi Gryce stands ...

HISTORY OF JAZZ

Pittsburgh Jazz: A Brief History

Read "Pittsburgh Jazz: A Brief History" reviewed by Steve Rowland

This article was first published at the Explore PA History website. At first glance, Pittsburgh might not seem the most likely place to produce great jazz musicians. Situated on the western edge of the state, “Smoketown" was a gritty industrial city, better known for being the center of the nation's steel industry, than for its popular music or culture. Like jny: Philadelphia, its industries attracted many African Americans from the south, men and women who were looking for ...


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