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History of Jazz Timeline

1895

Hot cornet player Buddy Bolden is born in uptown New Orleans, La. in 1868. Buddy is considered by many to be the first person to play the Blues form of New Orleans Jazz.

1897

Buddy Bolden organizes the first band to play the instrumental Blues (the fore-runner of Jazz). The band's repertoire consists of Polkas, Quadrilles, Ragtime and Blues.

1899

Piano player, band leader and Jazz composer Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington is born on April 29 in Washington, D.C. to a moderately well-to-do butler/navy blueprint man.

1900

July 4, 1900 is the day that Louis Armstrong always claims as his birthday. Armstrong's nickname will be Satchmo. He will receive this nickname in England in the early 1930's when the British hear his original nickname, Satchelmouth, incorrectly. Armstrong will be recognized as the first genius of Jazz because the entire concept of swinging will be attributed to him.

1900

New Orleans players are playing a mix of Blues, Ragtime, brass band music, marches, Pop songs and dances. The Jazz stew is brewing. Some musicians are beginning to improvise the Pop songs.

1900

Trumpeter Tommy Ladnier is born in Mandeville, LA on May 28. Ladnier will become one of the important early Jazz trumpeters.

1902

Jelly Roll Morton is now seventeen years old. He is beginning to attract attention in the New Orleans area as a brothel piano player. At this point he is playing primarily Ragtime and a little Blues. He is one of the first to play this mix that is a forerunner of Jazz. Jelly Roll will later claim to have invented Jazz in this year by combining Ragtime, Quadrilles and Blues.

1904

Eddie Lang is born in Philadelphia, PA as Salvatore Massaro. Lang will become the first jazz guitarist and will thus influence all to come.

1905

Earl "Fatha" Hines, one of the most important Jazz piano players of all times, is born in Duquesne, PA on December 28.

1906

Clarinetist and Ellington band member Barney Bigard is born in New Orleans, Lousiania on March 3. Bigard and Sidney Bechet will eventually introduce the Duke to true Jazz.

1908

Vibraphone pioneer Lionel Hampton born in Birmingham, Al. Raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin. During a stint with Les Hite's band on Central Avenue in Los Angeles, he joined the Benny Goodman Quartet, which, along with pianist Teddy Wilson and drummer Gene Krupa, became the first integrated, commercially accepted jazz group. He has fronted his own Big Bands since Sept. 1940. Biggest hits: "Flying Home" and "Midnight Sun". Many early Bop stars began in his band.

1908

Trumpeter Freddie Keppard and his Creoles were playing more powerful Jazz in New Orleans than the Original Dixieland Jazz Band will play in 1917. Keppard was not recorded until many years later because he was afraid of having his style stolen.

1910

Leadbelly hears New Orleans Jazz and is not intrigued or impressed.

1910

Jean Baptiste "Django" Reinhardt is born in Liberchies, Belgium on January 23 to a gypsy family. Django will become the first European to have a major influence on American Jazz players.

1910

Jazz and Blues proponent John Henry Hammond is born in New York City.

1911

Trumpeter Roy Eldridge is born in Pittsburgh, Pa. on January 30. Eldridge was an excellent player and is viewed, maybe unfairly, as the link between Armstrong and the Boppers. Roy will eventually get the nickname Little Jazz because of his diminutive size.

1913

The stride pianists are still playing Ragtime as the New Orleans players did a generation before. So we will see an interesting evolution in their playing over the next few years that parallels the beginning of Jazz in New Orleans.

1914

Ralph Ellison is born in Oklahoma City on March 1. He will achieve critical acclaim with his novel, Invisible Man, in 1952. Ellison, who attended Tusegee Institute with the intention of pursuing a career in music, will write influential essays on jazz music and on African American folk culture.

1915

Jazz singer Billie "Lady Day" Holiday is born in Baltimore, MD on July 7.

1915

Pop/Jazz singing idol Frank Sinatra is born in Hoboken, N.J. on December 12.

1915

RCA offers to record Freddie Keppard. He turns them down and misses the chance to be the first Jazz performer to record because he is afraid that his style will be copied.

1915

At this point, Jean Goldkette dislikes pre-Jazz music so much that he quits Lamb's Cafe in Chicago rather than share the stage with Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland.

1917

The history of recorded Jazz begins on February 26 when the white band the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (originally, Original Dixieland Jass Band ) records Livery Stable Blues at Victor Studios in New York City. The ODJB was from New Orleans and consisted of Nick LaRocca on cornet, Larry Shields on clarinet, Eddie "Daddy" Edwards on trombone, Henry Ragas on piano and Tony Sbarbaro on drums. Many black bands of the time were probably producing far more authentic and better music. Never the less, the Jazz Age begins. Trumpeter Freddie Keppard had refused the chance to make the first Jazz record because he feared that his style would be copied.

1917

New Orleans Jazz is a melting pot for the Blues, Ragtime, Marching Band music, etc. It can be thought of as an impressionistic view of these forms, just as Impressionistic painting gives a novel view of what we normally see.

1917

After Freddie Keppard declines to be recorded, Jazz gains first national exposure with Victor's release of the Original Dixieland Band's "Livery Stable Blues. This release outsells by many times over any 78s by the days recording stars like Enrico Caruso, John Phillip Sousa or the US Marine Military Band. Sales estimates are around 500K in the first year. The group consisted of cornetist Nick LaRocca, clarinetist Larry Shields, trombonist Eddie Edwards, pianist Harry Ragas, and drummer Tony Sbarbaro.

1918

Coleman Hawkins attends school in Chicago and gets to hear early Jazz players such as Jimmy Noone there.

1919

After years of lynching and other mistreatment of blacks by whites, the NAACP promotes the slogan "The new Negro has no fear". This type of thinking will further the cause of Jazz.

1919

Accolades (mentioned above) given to Sidney Bechet by Swiss conductor Ernest Ansermet appear in Revue Romande. This article is the first serious article on Jazz to appear anywhere.

1919

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band visits England and triggers an interest in the new music.

1919

Free Jazz pianist Herbie Nichols is born New York City on January 3.

1919

The Scrap Iron Jazz Band (from the Hellfighters) makes a series of records in Paris.

1920

Prohibition of alcohol begins. In many respects, prohibition has the opposite of its intended effect. For example, before prohibition, few, if any women drank in bars. However, women were very likely to drink in speakeasys. Prohibition indirectly furthers the cause of Jazz.

1920

Armstrong drops in on a St. Louis dance and the band he is with blows away the most popular band in town with New Orleans Jazz.

1920

Somebody discovers that the New York brownstone basement (being narrow and running from mainstreet to back alley) is well suited to use as an speakeasy. In time, the cellars of New York City will become riddled with speakeasys providing numerous opportunities for Jazz musicians.

1920

The cabaret business begins in New York. This will eventually be the cause of the shift of Jazz from Chicago to New York.

1920

This year marks the beginning of an age of great interest in black arts and music (Jazz). The young future Bop players are being born. They will be raised in an era which will allow them to want to rebel. Thus, Bop will begin in about twenty years.

1920

Adrian Rollini begins playing bass saxophone with the California Ramblers (a popular New York City dance band). Rollini was one of the top Jazz saxophonist's in the 1920's. He will later play with Bix Beiderbecke.

1920

Paul Whiteman and his Band record the classic Whispering in New York City. Whiteman's band does not play true Jazz but the so-called symphonic Jazz.

1921

Future Ellington trumpeter Bubber Miley sees King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band at the Dreamland Cafe in Chicago and becomes interested in Jazz. Bubber will learn to play blue notes and growls in imitation of Oliver. These growls and slurs will later become a trademark of Ellington which are passed down to Cootie Williams and other future trumpeters.

1921

Bix Beiderbecke begins attending the Lake Forest Academy near Chicago. He will get the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of New Orleans and Chicago Jazz.

1921

James P. Johnson's "Worried and Lonesome Blues" and "Carolina Shout" begin to approach Jazz. At any rate, Johnson becomes the pioneer of stride piano with these recordings.

1921

Saxophone player Coleman Hawkins joins Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds.

1921

Pop Jazz pianist Errol Garner is born in Pittsburgh, Pa on June 15.

1922

Joe "King" Oliver's Creole Jazz Band is in Chicago at the Lincoln Gardens. Oliver sends for Armstrong who is still in New Orleans.

1922

At this point, Coleman Hawkins is a well schooled musician, perhaps the best in Jazz. He is asked to join Mamie Smith's Jazz Hounds. This group will take him to New York where Fletcher Henderson will eventually hire him.

1922

Alto saxophonist Benny Carter hears Frank Trumbauer on a recording by Chicago's Benson Orchestra. Carter will later claim Trumbauer as a major influence. Since Lester Young also does this, that makes two major Jazz sax players who claim to owe a lot to Trumbauer.

1922

Innovative bassist, composer and bandleader Charles Mingus is born in Nogales, Arizona on April 22. Charles will grow up in Watts and will be the most well-rounded musician in Jazz by the Modal and Free Jazz phases.

1922

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band is now playing commercial music such as Fox Trots. They've sold out.

1922

Paul Whiteman controls twenty-eight bands on the east coast. In this year, he will gross over $1,000,000 (a tidy sum for producing pseudo-Jazz in the early 20's).

1923

King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band with Louis Armstrong on second cornet makes their first recordings. Armstrong is first recorded on March 31 on the Gennet recording of Chimes Blues. Other members of the band were Warren "Baby" Dodds on drums, Honore Dutrey on trombone, Bill Johnson on bass, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, and Lil Hardin on piano. The most notable recording was the legendary Dippermouth Blues which was written by Oliver.

1923

Jelly Roll Morton moves to Chicago. By now, Jelly is more interested in his music than he is in pimping and conning. Morton will record his first piano solos during this year. The list of songs includes Grandpa's Spells, Kansas City Stomps, Milenburg Joys, Wolverine Blues and The Pearls. Morton is at the frontline of Jazz with Bechet and Oliver at this point.

1923

In late January, Duke Ellington pays his way into the segregated section of the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C. to hear soprano saxophone master Sidney Bechet. This is Ellington's first encounter with authentic New Orleans Jazz.

1923

The Lois Deppe band with Earl Hines on piano cuts a few records. Hines winds up in Chicago as a result of the popularity gained. He plays as a single using a portable piano in a cafe. At this time, the combination Stride/Blues piano style which Hines pioneered was already well formed. Hines will become the most influential early pianist in Jazz.

1923

March 12, 1923: Gennett begins to record the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. They would release the soon to be jazz standards, "Tin Roof Blues," "Bugle Call Blues," and "Farewell Blues." Members of NORK include Paul Mares, coronet, George Brunies, trombone, Leon Rappolo, clarinet, Mel Stitzel, piano, & Ben Pollock, banjo

1923

April 6, 1923 - Gennett records and releases King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band. This would be the first recordings to feature Louis Armstrong and the incredible two coronet leads. Recordings from this session include "Canal Street Blues,' "Chimes Blues," "Weather Bird Rag," "Dippermouth Blues," "Froggie More," "Just Gone" and a few others. Member of King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band include: King Oliver & Louis Armstrong on coronet, Honore Dutrey on trombone, Johnny Dodds on clarinet, Lil Hardin Armstrong on piano, Bill Johnson on piano and Baby Dodds on drums.

1923

June 1923 - Jelly Roll Morton begins to record with Gennett, including a session with New Orleans Rhythm Kings ("Mr. Jelly Lord"), often considered the first inter-racial jazz recording.

1924

Ellington writes first revue score for Chocolate Kiddies and records the novelty song "Choo Choo" for Blue Disc label. Ellington is still not doing Jazz at this time.

1924

At twenty-one, Bix Beiderbecke has already become a recognizable figure among Jazz musicians. His playing represents one of the few styles which oppose rather than imitate Armstrong. He will be influential to Lester Young on tenor sax as well as the future Boppers via Young and directly.

1924

Kansas City bands are beginning to play a style with a four even beat ground beat (New Orleans Jazz had a distinct two beat ground beat behind a 4/4 melody). This paved the way for more modern forms of Jazz. Charlie Parker as a child growing up in K.C. heard this music. Count Basie is later quoted as saying "I can't dig that two-beat jive the New Orleans cats play; cause my boys and I got to have four heavy beats to a bar and no cheating."

1924

Paul Whiteman makes Jazz "respectable" with his February 21 concert at Aeolian Hall in New York City. The first song is an authentic version of ODJB's "Livery Stable Blues" which is merely meant to show how crude the real thing is, but most fans like it better than the "Symphonic Jazz" which follows.

1925

New Orleans giants Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet are now playing together in the Red Onion Jazz Babies with Blues singer Alberta Hunter. At this point, Bechet is the superior Jazz player. Recordings can be found on Classic CD - The Chronological Sidney Bechet 1923-1926 and EPM Musique CD - The Complete 1923-1926 Clarence Williams Sessions.

1925

In February, Bix Beiderbecke attempts to "straighten up and fly right" when he continues his formal studies at Iowa State University. The effort lasts only eighteen days, however, and Bix is off on the road again playing Jazz.

1925

The Ellington band is still not a Jazz band, but a commercial orchestra playing Pop tunes and dance numbers. However, the addition of New Orleans players Sidney Bechet on clarinet and Bubber Miley on trumpet begin to turn the band around. Miley's signature mutes and growls (borrowed from Oliver) become Ellington's signature passed on to a number of horn players in the band throughout the decades.

1925

Lyrical trumpeter Joe Smith begins to play with the Fletcher Henderson band. Joe is one of the most underrated trumpeters in early Jazz. Joe is often compared to Bix.

1925

Red Norvo who is the first important mallet instrument player in Jazz begins on the xylophone.

1926

In September, Jelly Roll Morton cuts his first band recordings with his Red Hot Peppers group. Jelly Roll had acquired Lester and Walter Montrose as publishers. Notable songs are "Deep Creek", "The Pearls", "Wolverine Blues", "Dead Man Blues" and King Oliver's "Doctor Jazz".

1926

The Ellington band has finally taken shape. They are now playing bonafide New York Jazz. Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton on trombone and Harry Carney on clarinet join Ellington. Ellington forms a significant partnership with music publisher and band booker Irving Mills.

1926

Kansas City, Missouri becomes the wildest city in America (a perfect match for Jazz) when Tom "Boss" Pendergast (the Democratic boss of Jackson county) begins his reign over the city.

1926

Until now, Bechet was the only black saxophonist of importance. Coleman Hawkins is beginning to change that. Currently, most Jazz saxophonist's are white (not many used saxophones, only whites could afford them). Hawkins admires Adrian Rollini.

1926

Jimmy Harrison is playing saxophone for Fletcher Henderson. Jimmy is beginning to create an influential Jazz trombone style that will rule for awhile.

1926

Tommy Ladnier is playing trumpet for Fletcher Henderson. Tommy is one of the most underrated trumpeters of early Jazz.

1926

Swedish Jazz group called the Paramount Orchestra is formed.

1927

Armstrong makes the greatest of the hot fives and sevens. He is now setting whole phrases ahead or behind the beat, not just pulling single notes. This will set the stage for Swing. Armstrong is now a star and because of him, New Orleans style ensemble playing is disappearing and is being replaced by Chicago and New York style solos. In short Jazz is becoming a soloist art primarily because of Armstrong. A few songs of significance include "Struttin' with Some Barbecue", "Big Butter and Egg Man" and "Hotter than That". In May, Warren "Baby" Dodds on drums and Pete Briggs on tuba are added to hot fives to make hot sevens.

1927

Coleman Hawkins drops his "slap tongue" style of playing tenor saxophone and begins improvising by playing the notes of the chords of a song. He'd heard a teenaged Art Tatum do this and was quite impressed. Up to this time all improvisation had been based on a song's melody. At first, this new style seemed somewhat incoherent but it will eventually lead to modern forms of Jazz.

1927

James P. Johnson is now playing Jazz with his release of "Snowy Morning Blues". The stride style at this point is analogous to the former rag players swinging the rags like Jelly Roll did about a decade earlier.

1927

The first talking movie is released. It is The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson in black face. It opens on October 6.

1927

October 1927 - Hoagy Carmichael records two versions of his composition "Star Dust," one with lyrics (which get edited a year later), one instrumental - Gennett releases the instrumental version which is a poor seller, when Gennett is approached to release the vocal version, Fred Wiggins head of Gennett writes on the master: "Reject. Already on Gennett. Poor Seller." "Star Dust" would soon become one of the most recorded songs in pop and jazz.

1928

On February 7, federal agents raid a dozen of Chicago's North Side nightclubs. They take names of everybody that is caught with alcohol. They had already closed a number of the South Side black-and-tans. This is all part of a "get tough on booze" policy of the new Republican mayor William Dever (Big Bill Thompson's successor). Chicago will soon fall as the Jazz capital.

1928

Armstrong drops the New Orleans style completely and with it, he drops the New Orleans players except for Zutty Singleton. Landmark recordings are made by Armstrong with Earl Hines on piano. Hines is almost the equal of Armstrong in terms of Jazz talent and the result is such memorable recordings as "West End Blues" (many believe this to be the top Jazz recording of all times) and "Weather Bird Rag", both Joe Oliver tunes. These and others can be found on Columbia CD Louis Armstrong Vol 4. - Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines or the Classics CD Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra 1928-1929.

1928

Django meets violinist Staphane Grapelli and makes his first records which have no Jazz value.

1928

Spanish/Fillipino, Fred Elizade persuades the Savoy Hotel management in England to let him bring in a Jazz band with American trumpeter Chelsea Qualey, sax players Bobby Davis and Adrian Rollini, and an English rhythm section.

1928

Bing Crosby, an early Jazz fan, visits Harlem to hear Ellington and other authentic Jazz players.

1929

Armstrong shifts base from Chicago to New York. This coincides with a general shift of the Jazz mainstream from Chicago to New York. Bigger Swing type orchestras will begin to dominate.

1929

Armstrong begins fronting big Swing bands such as Les Hite and Luis Russell. He is becoming more commercial. This will cause later Jazz artists to say that he sold out.

1929

Drummer Dave Tough and clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow get together a Jazz band in Place Pigalle in Paris. The music is spreading. Dave Tough will later become one of the few players to successfully switch from Swing to Bop - most could not.

1930

Jelly Roll Morton and His Red Hot Peppers recorded four numbers at this session:
  • Each Day
  • If Someone Would Only Love Me
  • That'll Never Do
  • I'm Looking For A Little Bluebird
"If Someone Would Only Love Me" features a bass clarinet solo by an unknown player--an early example of this instrument in a jazz setting.

1930

With Coleman Hawkins and his followers Ben Webster and the young Chu Berry and his only competitor at the time Lester Young, the saxophone, in general, and the tenor saxophone, in particular, becomes a major competitor of the trumpet/cornet in Jazz. Recall that the cornet was king in New Orleans Jazz. The faster changes which a sax allows begins to push the trombone out of Jazz.

1930

Scotsman Tommy McQuater is the leading British Jazz trumpeter.

1930

Future alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman (Free Jazz) is born in Fort Worth, Texas. He will be reared in poverty.

1931

Ellington records the first extended Jazz piece called Creole Rhapsody this piece covers two full 78 sides. He will also record Mood Indigo and Rockin' in Rhythm (there's that word rock). Duke is by now very famous.

1931

On November 4, cornet player Buddy Bolden (who many people think was the first person to play Jazz) dies in a Louisiana state hospital. He was never recorded.

1931

Bix Beiderbecke dies in Sunnyside Queens, New York City from pneumonia which was brought on by acute alcoholism. Jazz has lost a disproportionate number of artists to drug and alcohol addiction.

1932

English trumpet player Nat Gonella establishes himself with the English by playing Jazz. He cuts I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me and I Heard a Don Redman song.

1933

Eddie Lang dies at the height of his powers at twenty-nine from complications following a tonsillectomy. This was a great loss to Jazz.

1933

Django Reinhardt on guitar and Stephane Grapelli on violin begin to play together in Louis Vola's Hotel Claridge orchestra. This was the start of what might have been the greatest duo in Jazz. Django makes a recording of Si J'aime Suzy with L'Orchestra du Theatre Daunon. Lang's influences are showing.

1933

Art Tatum makes his first solo records including Tiger Rag and Tea for Two. The stride is very evident on Tea for Two. Art is currently the biggest draw on 52nd Street. Tatum who has a better grasp of harmony than anyone currently in Jazz claims Fats Waller as his inspiration.

1933

Future Free Jazz pianist Cecil Taylor is born in Corona, Long Island, New York where he grew up.

1933

The Hot Club of France gives its first Jazz Concert with a group of lesser known black American musicians living in France at the time.

1933

Prohibition is repealed. Jazz moves out of the speakeasys. Speakeasys become legal bars. Joe Helbock's Onyx on 52nd Street in N.Y. becomes a very good draw. However, much competition moves in. 52nd Street will become legendary in Jazz annals.

1933

The depression has taken its toll on most early Jazz musicians. A new breed is emerging. This new breed is the Swing musician.

1934

Benny Goodman has his own orchestra which supplies the Jazz portion of a popular radio show Let's Dance sponsored by Nabisco to advertise the Ritz Cracker.

1934

Coleman Hawkins (now one of the premier Jazz players) leaves Fletcher Henderson and goes to Europe to work with Jack Hylton. He is replaced by Lester Young. The band members do not like Lester's light style. They prefer the bigger sound of Coleman Hawkins or even Ben Webster. Lester soon leaves Henderson for Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy.

1934

Soul Jazz saxophonist Stanley Turrentine is born in Pittsburgh, Pa.

1935

The Swing band era opens with the sudden rise of Benny Goodman. Benny's band toured the U.S. from the east to the west with little success until August 21 when the band played the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles where much to his and his dejected band's surprise, they were a huge success and their fortune was sealed. The band had played the late night Jazz portion of Nabisco's radio show from New York and had developed a wide following among young adults on the west coast. But when they played elsewhere they flopped in front an older audience. They became confused and tried to play popular dance music. When they played this Pop music at the Palomar, they were flopping and Benny said, "If we're going to flop, at least we'll do it playing Jazz". They switched to Jazz and the rest is history.

1935

There is a lot of Jazz action going on in England, more than in the rest of Europe.

1935

Django and the Quintet of the Hot Club of Paris record Hoagy Carmichael's Stardust with Coleman Hawkins. It is clear the Django understands Jazz rhythm.

1935

By now, a number of blacks have not only succeeded in Jazz, but some have become "legitimate" actors and singers too. For instance, Paul Robeson has become a well-respected actor and Marion Anderson a well-respected opera singer. This will set the stage for the "Bop Rebellion".

1935

Acclaimed Jazz writer, arranger, composer, performer and critic Leonard Feather comes to the U.S. from England for the first time. Leonard will eventually settle here.

1935

Jazz Hot is created in France by Charles Delaunay. This is the first Jazz journal in the world.

1935

Swing has developed a language of its own. Some examples of Jazz related slang at this time follow:

1936

Billie Holiday (Lester's good friend) begins to record with various small bands (usually lead by Teddy Wilson and usually containing Lester Young). These recordings which will be done over the next six years until the recording ban of 1942 will be the work on which her reputation rests. She has already discovered the two secrets which will make her the greatest Jazz singer of all with Did I Remember?, No Regrets and Billies Blues. They are 1) lift the melody away from the beat like Armstrong and 2) employ great balance.

1936

Important Free Jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler is born.

1936

Important Free Jazz trumpeter Don Cherry is born.

1937

By Joel Simpson

Origins

Meade Anderson Lewis was born September 4, 1905, in Chicago and died June 7, 1964 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in a car accident. He came from a musical family. He acquired the nickname "Lux" because as a child he would imitate the excessively polite comic strip characters Alphonse and Gaston, calling himself the Duke of Luxembourg. His father, a Pullman car porter, insisted he play the violin as a child. At age 16, when his father died, Lewis switched to the piano after hearing local boogie-woogie pianist Jimmy Yancey. Lewis was entirely self-taught on piano. He was a boyhood friend of Albert Ammons. Together they studied the music of Jimmy Yancey and other Chicago blues pianists. They also drove taxis together around 1924.

In 1927, Lewis recorded his boogie "Honky-Tonk Train Blues," a driving boogie based on the sounds of the trains that rumbled past his boyhood home on South La Salle Street in Chicago as many as a hundred times a day. The record was released 18 months later in 1929, but attracted little attention. The recording company, Paramount, went out of business, and the record became almost impossible to obtain. Lewis did various things to survive at the time, the beginning of the Depression: he dug ditches for the Works Progress Administration and he returned to taxicab driving.

Discovery

In 1933, jazz promoter/producer and record collector John Hammond (heir to the Hammond organ fortune) obtained a beat-up copy of Lewis's recording. He was so impressed with it that he embarked on a two-year search for the pianist. Hammond found Lewis in 1935, through Albert Ammons. Ammons was playing in Chicago's Club De Lisa, and he was the first person Hammond met who had ever heard of Lewis. Hammond found Lewis washing cars in a Chicago garage. After a few days practice Lewis got "Honkey Tonk Train Blues" back up to speed, and Hammond arranged a recording session to rerecorded it. The following year Hammond recorded Lewis's other classic, "Yancey Special" and booked him in a concert in New York. Following the concert Lewis performed at Nick's in Greenwich Village for six weeks, then returned to Chicago and applied for relief as an unemployed car washer.

Then in 1938 Hammond invited Lewis back to New York to perform in his legendary Carnegie Hall concert From Spirituals to Swing along with boogie-woogie pianists Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson. The performance was an enormous hit, setting off a minor riot among the fans and spawning a flood of boogie-woogie imitators. The boogie-woogie craze was on. The three pianists got together with blues singer Joe Turner and held down a long-term engagement at the Cafe Society Downtown.

Style

Lewis had the most pianistically complex style of the three major boogie pianists. He had a vast repertoire of bass patterns and right hand riffs and figures. He was more intense and quicker than his mentor Jimmy Yancey, and he frequently varied his left hand by going into stride. He had a fertile musical imagination and technique to match. He could keep a single boogie going for 20 or 30 minutes by careful use of his material: each chorus would be based on a single technical idea, which he would conclude with an unexpected twist. He used the whole range of the piano. Sometimes choruses would be linked developmental and sometimes by dramatic contrast. He utilized dynamic variety and cross-rhythms much more than the other boogie pianists.

Lewis was an excellent whistler and could whistle the blues with the ease of a trumpet-like style. He recorded "Whistlin' Blues" in 1937. He also recorded blues played on the celesta and the harpsichord.

After the Peak

In 1941 Lewis moved to Los Angeles, where most of his appearances were relatively low-paying solo gigs. He made a number of short films in 1944 (an excerpt from one is included with this program) and appeared with Louis Armstrong in the 1947 film New Orleans. He made frequent appearances on television during its early years. In 1952, along with Pete Johnson, Erroll Garner and Art Tatum he did a series of concerts on a U. S. tour entitled "Piano Parade." In his later years he became frustrated at being identified purely as a boogie-woogie pianist, and his playing was frequently rushed and perfunctory.

Lewis's weight hovered around 290 pounds until he underwent medical treatments, gave up alcohol and restricted his diet. He died in a car accident June 6, 1964, in Minneapolis after a performance. Rear-ended at 80 miles per hour, his car was thrown into a tree, and he was crushed to death. The driver of the other car was seriously injured but survived.


1937

Pittsburgh drum innovator Kenny Clarke moves the ground beat from the Bass/Hi-hat combination (previously innovated by Walter Johnson and Jo Jones) to the large ride cymbal. This moves the ground beat completely away from the bass drum and makes faster Bop-type rhythms possible. Clarke found that he could get pitch and timbre variations and produce an airy sound. He also was then free to use the bass drum in a new manner, to "drop bombs". He said that he simply got tired of playing like Jo Jones, but this was an important innovation in the development of modern Jazz (maybe as important as later innovations by Parker and Gillespie).

1937

Bessie Smith dies in a car accident in Clarksdale, Mississippi on September 26. The old is dying in Jazz and the new is coming on strong.

1937

Archie Shepp (future Free Jazz giant) is born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He will grow up in Philadelphia, Pa.

1938

Future piano player Cecil Taylor is taking piano lessons from the wife of a timpani player who played with Toscanini. She lived across the street. Taylor will become big in the Free Jazz movement.

1938

1938 - John Hammond produces the 'From Spirituals to Swing' concert at Carnegie Hall (then again in 1939). This would be the first time race music and an integrated band would be presented on a major US Stage. Vanguard would eventually release a multi-LP collection and then a CD boxset with these recordings. Hammond intends to answer "Where did jazz come from" with his choice of styles and artists. Artists on the bill included: Count Basie (with Lips Page, Lester Young, Jo Jones and Walter Page) Helen Humes Kansas City Five, Six Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons Meade Lux Lewis/Albert Ammons/Pete Johnson/Walter Page/Jo Jones Joe Turner Sister Rosetta Tharpe New Orleans Feetwarmers Jimmy Rushing Benny Goodman Sextet (with Fletcher Henderson, Charlie Christian and Lionel Hampton) Ida Cox Sonny Terry Big Bill Broonzy

1939

At this point in time, we have the Swing players who are king and the Dixieland players who are trying to revive what they think of as "real" Jazz but ... what's this up on the horizon? It's Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie who are sowing the seeds of what will take Jazz over in the next few years!

1939

By now, there are hundreds of Swing bands, but the Bop rebellion is beginning because many excellent young black players are getting irritated that the whites are making most of the money in Jazz.

1939

52nd Street is by now called "Swing Street". It all started with The Onyx. Now, in the block between 5th and 6th Avenues, six Jazz clubs offer a high level of Jazz. Four of these are The Famous Door, Jimmy Ryan's, The Onyx and The Three Dueces. Because of space limitations, the small house band with one major soloist like Coleman Hawkins is the thing at these clubs.

1939

Clubs also flourish in Greenwich Village, Harlem and in Chicago's south side, but 52nd Street is the symbolic headquarters of Jazz.

1939

The first formal books on Jazz appear. They are Wilder Hobson's American Jazz Music and Frederick Ramsey and Charles Edward Smith's Jazzmen. These books tend to paint a storybook picture of New Orleans Jazz and help to promote the Dixieland Revival. It must be remembered that New Orleans Jazz and Dixieland Jazz have some fundamental differences.

1939

Alan Lomax does the famous Jelly Roll Morton recordings for the Library of Congress. This presents as close as we can get to a realistic view of the early days of Jazz.

1939

Teddy Wilson leaves the Benny Goodman small groups and Jess Stacy leaves the Benny Goodman big band. At this point the Earl Hines influenced Wilson is the most influential pianist in Jazz. Jess Stacy is also of the Hines school.

1939

Coleman Hawkins does a version of Body and Soul which many feel is among the finest masterpieces of Jazz. It is virtually an exercise in chromatic chord movement. This is a precursor to Bop harmonics. Coleman understands harmonics very well and he will have no problem with Bop harmonics. The Bop rhythm will however elude him.

1940

Big band Swing is about to be done in by the war and economics. Small band Jazz is evolving along two distinct and opposing movements. The first is the New Orleans Revival or Dixieland. This produced little that was new musically. It was a white movement to revive and exploit the black New Orleans music of the 1920's. Some notable legends resurface including Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Kid Ory and Bunk Johnson. Some memorable records result. The other movement is distinctly new musically and sociologically. This movement is called Bebop, Rebop or simply Bop.

1940

In addition, the small band Swing is still there and a new big band trend is afoot. This trend is called Progressive. Its proponents are Stan Kenton, Boyd Raeburn and Earle Spencer. This will eventually influence what will become Cool Jazz.

1940

Claude Thornhill organizes a Swing band that, while not successful, presages Cool Jazz.

1940

Meanwhile, the most successful of the early Cuban bands is formed by a man named Machito. They are called Machito and his Afro-Cubans. They start as a completely Cuban band and slowly assimilate Jazz into their repertoire. They introduce more complex rhythms to the world of Jazz, however, they are primarily successful due to their trumpet player/arranger Mario Banza (Machito's brother-in-law and former Cab Calloway trumpet player).

1940

There is a Trad Jazz revival in Europe. The Europeans discover Joe Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton.

1940

All of Europe except England is under Hitler's control and thus Europe will remain in the Dixieland revival and Trad Jazz phase.

1940

The Yerba-Beuna Jazz Band featuring Lu Watters begins to play at the Dawn Club in San Francisco. It played the music of Oliver and Armstrong.

1940

Sister Rosetta Tharpe is the leading gospel singer and is popular in Jazz as well.

1941

Future piano innovator Bill Evans is asked to sit in for a missing pianist in his brother's Jazz group.

1942

It is becoming very clear to musicians that Bop is indeed a new music. A number of Jazz musicians are now playing Bop.

1942

Future Free Jazz pianist, Cecil Taylor (only 9) is already interested in Jazz, especially Swing.

1942

Belgian Robert Goffin and Englishman Leonard Feather act on Goffin's idea to have a formal class on Jazz history and analysis. The class consists of fifteen lectures by Feather and Goffin which are augmented by recordings and musical demonstrations by such artists as Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. The class which attracted almost one hundred serious Jazz students was given at the New School for Social Research in New York. It was repeated later in the year.

1943

Bop is becoming well known among young Jazz players.

1943

Robert Goffin convinces Esquire editor Arnold Gingrich that a "real" Jazz poll, one in which Coleman Hawkins could win for tenor sax instead of Tex Beneke, is needed. Thus is born the Esquire Jazz Band Poll. At Esquire publisher David Smart's suggestion, a concert performed by the winners will be given at the Metropolitan Opera House on January 18, 1944.

1943

Louis Armstrong wins the first Esquire Jazz Band Poll for trumpet. Other winners include Coleman Hawkins for tenor sax and Billie Holiday for vocals.

1944

The winners of Esquire magazine's first Jazz poll perform in the first Jazz concert ever to be given at the Metropolitan Opera House. The concert date is January 18. The concert is recorded but never released in America. A Japanese release becomes available years later.

1944

Carlo Loffredo forms the Roman New Orleans Jazz Band in Italy.

1945

The clarinet has nearly disappeared from Jazz at this point courtesy of the saxophone. By now, the sax is king even forcing trumpeters to take notice.

1945

Jazz is becoming the preferred music of white renegades (will be until the mid 60's).

1945

Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie become known as partners and the co-founders of Bebop. Diz and Bird and Bird and Miles Davis record a number of tunes in Feb, May and Nov which establish Bebop. These tunes which are the most influential sides since the Hot Fives and Sevens include Groovin' High, Salt Peanuts, Hot House, Koko, Billie's Bounce and Now's the Time. These and other tunes which mark the beginning of recorded Bebop can be found on several Savoy Jazz CD's including The Charlie Parker Story and The Genius of Charlie Parker as well the Stash CD The Legendary Dial Sessions: Vol 1.

1945

Lenny Tristano is currently one of the most thoroughly schooled musicians in Jazz.

1945

The term "Moldy Fig" (sometimes "Mouldy Figge") appears for the first time in reference to the old school Jazz players in the Esquire letters column in a letter from a Navy man named Sam Platt.

1945

Eddie Condon opens his Dixieland oriented Jazz club called Eddie Condon's in the Greenwich Village section of New York City.

1946

Parker does his first Dial recordings. These are some of the landmark recordings of Jazz. They are available on the Stash CD series The Legendary Dial Masters - Vol 1 and Vol 2.

1946

During 1946 Parker will also start with Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic. His sidemen include Miles Davis on trumpet, Red Rodney on trumpet, Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Duke Jordan on piano, Al Haig on piano, Tommy Potter on bass, Max Roach on drums, Roy Haynes on drums, Lester Young on tenor sax and Coleman Hawkins on tenor sax.

1946

In December, eight of the biggest Swing bands break up. The list includes Benny Goodman, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter and 3 more. The Swing era is truly over. Big band Jazz will not die out entirely though.

1946

Lenny Tristano (Mr. Cool on the piano) arrives in NYC and takes Jazz into more coolness and complexity. His primary source of income is teaching. He quickly develops a reputation as a crazy genius among musicians. He has a lot of new musical ideas. He is consciously trying to weld Jazz and Classical.

1947

Bop is beginning to dominate American Jazz.

1947

With Bebop well established at this point, it is clear that the mainstream of Jazz is from New Orleans through Swing to Bebop. Bop currently rules.

1947

Dizzy and George Russell's Cubana Be, Cubana Bop contains Modal Jazz elements way before its time.

1947

The University of North Texas in Denton, Texas offers a Jazz degree. This is the first Jazz degree to be offered in the United States.

1948

Ornette Coleman graduates high school and goes on the road with a traveling variety show. Ornette gets fired in Natchez for trying to interest other players in Jazz.

1948

Armstrong forms the first version of the Jazz All Stars with Jack Teagarden on trombone, Barney Bigard on clarinet, Dick Carey on piano, Sid Catlett on drums and Arvell Shaw on bass. Their music fits in with New Orleans revival.

1948

Louis Armstrong performs at the Jazz festival in Nice, France.

1948

Fans of Classical and Jazz music Dr Peter Goldmark and William Bachman invent microgroove or 'high fidelity' playback, thus the 33 1/3 RPM disc is introduced.

1949

Cool Jazz begins in a series of recordings made by Miles Davis, et al. Many people attach more importance to the "et al" than to Davis. Nevertheless, a nucleus of people from the Claude Thornhill band including Lee Konitz, Bill Barber, Gerry Mulligan, Joe Shulman and Gil Evans apparently arrived at the ideas which led to Cool and then called Davis in as a trumpeter and maybe more importantly, a known name. Songs include Denzil Best's Move, Mulligan's Jeru and Rocker as well as Israel and Boplicity. See the Capitol Jazz CD Miles Davis - Birth of the Cool.

1949

Latin influences become more important in Jazz.

1949

Charlie Parker takes his first trip overseas. He takes part in the Paris Jazz festival. The new Parker quintet features Parker on alto sax, Al Haig on piano and Red Rodney on trumpet. Listen to the CD's Bird at the Roost - Vol 2 and Vol 4 on Savoy/Vogue.

1949

John Coltrane first appears on record as a member of Dizzy Gillespie's big band, playing alto saxophone. He will stay with Gillespie until 1951, later doubling on tenor sax. During his tenure with Gillespie, Coltrane plays on George Russell's "Cubana-Be, Cubana-Bop," one of the first modal recordings and also a landmark Latin jazz composition.

1949

Ben Webster leaves Ellington again. He moves back to Kansas City to work in the Jay McShann band. In addition, he begins work at this time in pioneering Rhythm and Blues bands playing a new music which might easily be called Rock and Roll. He will eventually work with Johnny Otis and others. An interesting thing appears to be happening, it seems as if many Swing musicians displaced by Bop are working in small bands pioneering Rock and Roll which will eventually totally eclipse Jazz. Talk about irony. See the EmArcy CD The Complete Ben Webster on EmArcy for some examples.

1949

J. J. Johnson is now the premiere trombone player in Jazz.

1949

Art Blakey returns from Africa. His name is now Abdullah Ibn Buhaina and his work becomes some of the most imaginative in Jazz.

1949

Lenny Tristano group records some unique sides that are closely listened to by Jazz musicians...even musicians that don't like the music. The tunes are Intuition and Digression. The players are Lee Konitz on alto sax, Warne Marsh on tenor sax, Billy Bauer on guitar, a drummer and a bassist. The drummer and bassist are not given much latitude. Tristano is interested in complicated systems of chord changes and he wants to create pure melodic lines with shifting meters or without meter. This music is close to Free Jazz and is 5 to 10 years early.

1949

At the end of the Tristano session above, in May 1949, Tristano tells engineers to leave the mike open. Each instrumentalist plays in a melodic system of his own choice. The Tristano group is playing Free Jazz about ten years before its time and musicians and record company execs are puzzled. The record is not issued for quite some time.

1949

Coleman Hawkins is now out of the vanguard of Jazz. Hawkins was another displaced Swing idol. He was as capable as anyone of understanding Bop harmonics. Since he had been improvising on the chord structure longer than anyone at this point. However, like many Swing musicians, the Bop rhythms completely escaped him.

1949

Cuban bandleader Luis del Campo becomes enamored with Jazz and begins to hire Jazzmen. This is a switch. Usually, it was the Jazz bands which hired cuban musicians. The del Campo band had five rhythm men including three drummers, a piano and a bass.

1949

Norman Granz persuades Oscar Peterson to join the Jazz at the Philharmonic(JATP). The popular style pianist is an instant success.

1950

By this time, it is possible for a Jazz star to get rich without compromising. A competent Jazz musician can make a good living without compromise. Audiences are finally somewhat indifferent to a mixed black and white band.

1950

Charlie Parker becomes the first modern Jazz soloist to perform with strings and woodwinds in a symphony style group.

1950

Art Tatum is back as a major Jazz figure.

1950

The Del Campo band is playing Jazz numbers with a rolling rhumba rhythm that attracts large dance audiences. Del Campo is inclined to turn the band loose and then dance with the ladies. He very dramatically dies on the dance floor while doing this very thing. The cause is a bad heart.

1951

Jazz is starting to be considered legitimate by colleges and universities.

1951

The first American Jazz festival occurs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. in the autumn. This festival precedes the first Newport Jazz Festival by almost three years.

1951

Lars Jansson was born in Rebro, Sweden. In his early teens, a relative lent him some jazz records that got him interested in jazz. During the 1960s, he followed the trend and developed an interest in the organ and started playing a B-3 Hammond. In 1970, after graduation from upper secondary school, Lars moved to Gteborg and started studying at a dental college, but after a year and a half he decided to switch to music. He was accepted at the Gteborg College of Music, which gave him the opportunity to play with all the good musicians in Gteborg.

Lars became a member of such groups as: the Arild Andersen Quartet, Radka Toneff, Bjrn Alke's quartet, Egba, Hawk On Flight, Equinox, Red Mitchell, Tolvan Bigband, Jukkis Uotila with Bob Berg and Mike Stern, Ulf Wakenius, Lew Sollof, and Bohusln Big Band, among others. He also played with Danish musicians like Cecile Norby, Hans Ulrik, and Klyvers Bigband. Lars was also a member of The Jan Garbarek Group in 1987.


1952

Johnny Smith's best-known album, 1952's MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT (also the title of his signature song), assured the guitarist a place in jazz history. While saxophone legend Stan Getz is a prominent guest on the record, and certainly threatens to steal the show on numerous occasions, the spotlight never strays too far from Smith, who easily entrances with his supremely laid-back style. Consisting almost entirely of standards, MOONLIGHT is ideal for lulling listeners to sleep (in the most pleasing sense), as Smith's spare, chiming six-string lines gently mesh with the subtle rhythmic backing and Getz's resonant sax playing, as revealed on lilting renditions of "Where or When" and "Stars Fell on Alabama." Of course, the title track is the main attraction of the disc, garnering its reputation with gorgeously delicate work by the entire ensemble. The epitome of Smith's mesmerizing, soporific style of jazz, MOONLIGHT IN VERMONT is all that most listeners will need by this amiable artist.

Personnel includes: Johnny Smith (guitar); Stan Getz (saxophone); Stanford Gold (piano); Bob Carter (bass); Don Lamond (drums)


1952

Not as much is happening in Jazz. Bop is getting old.

1952

Classically trained pianist John Lewis forms the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke. Lewis insists that group members wear tuxedos to dignify Jazz.

1953

Dave Brubeck: piano
Paul Desmond: alto sax
Ron Crotty: bass
Lloyd Davis: drums

I find it hard to believe that when I arrived on a college campus in the early sixties I was quickly indoctrinated by the "insiders" among the jazz players into disavowing any interest in the music of Brubeck or Desmond. Both were deemed not only too commercial but too West Coast, too white, too fay, too unaffected by the Bird revolution.

Not only is the foregoing among the most myopic viewpoints ever shared by musicians, but it is equally mistaken to assume Brubeck's music is not a force to be reckoned with until the Time Out recordings. Let the Oberlin record speak for itself: it represents improvisation of the highest order by two musicians at the very peak of their creative powers.

Take Paul's solo on "Just the Way You Look Tonight": He quotes from Prokofief, Stravinsky, and at least three American composers while building an emotional, pyrotechnical, beautifully structured solo spurred on by the audible vocal encouragements of Brubeck himself. Who could follow that? Brubeck does, not only matching but possibly topping it, with thunderous, wildly inventive yet boldly assertive, polyrhythmic melodic statements played in octaves in the left hand.

There's a widespread myth, proven wrong time and again, that the best music occurs when great soloists are accompanied by equally heralded drummers and bass players. To the contrary, the most spirited and swinging jazz always happens when players know their roles and listen to each other.

Before your jazz collection numbers more than 10 albums, make certain that this is one of them.


1953

George Russell has worked out his Lydian Concept of Tonal Organization, a landmark treatise on modal theory. Modal jazz will become a major movement over the course of the next decade.

1953

Parker, Gillespie, Max Roach, Charlie Mingus and Bud Powell are recorded in concert at Massey Hall in Toronto. A good LP results. Listen to The Quintet: Jazz at Massey Hall on Original Jazz Classics(OJC). Also check out Charlie Parker at Storyville on Blue Note.

1953

Armstrong wins Downbeat International Critic's poll, Downbeat Hall of Fame award, Melody Maker's Reader's poll, Melody Maker's Critic's poll, Jazz Hot poll in France and Jazz Echo poll in Germany.

1953

The first biographical dictionary or encyclopedia of Jazz musicians is published in Copenhagen.

1954

Johnny Hodges fires Coltrane for drug-related problems. Coltrane returns to Philadelphia to work in R&B groups, including one led by seminal jazz organist Jimmy Smith.

1954

Horace Silver initiates the first version of the Jazz Messengers to record for Blue Note.

1954

Horace Silver is currently one of the most sought after pianists in Jazz.

1954

Cecil Taylor begins to abandon the standard Jazz piano approaches. He begins to use chords, not as building blocks, but as swatches of color like the French Impressionists.

1954

The first Newport Jazz festival occurs in Newport, Rhode Island. Pianist George Wein is responsible for inviting the musicians.

1955

The Chet Baker Quartet records six tracks for Pacific Jazz, all of which feature Chet's vocal style: Daybreak, Just Friends, I Remember You, Let's Get Lost, Long Ago And Far Away, You Don't Know What Love Is.

1955

Roy Eldrige records "The Urbane Jazz of Roy Eldridge-Benny Carter" for Norgran Records. On the same day he plays a quintet session with Art Tatum for Pablo Records. Both are labels founded by jazz impresario Norman Granz.

1955

The Hard Bop style is emerging via people like drummer Art Blakey and piano player Horace Silver. Blue notes are disappearing from Jazz. They are being replaced by minor notes. For instance, the blue seventh becomes the minor seventh, etc.

1955

Cool Jazz hits its last peak as saxman Jimmy Giuffre eliminates drums and strong bass altogether giving an implicit beat rather than an explicit beat.

1955

Art Blakey puts together the first of his Jazz Messenger groups featuring Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor sax, Doug Watkins on bass, Horace Silver on piano and Blakey on drums. The sound will continue to define Hard Bop.

1955

Jimmy Smith debuts the Hammond B-3 organ as a Jazz instrument in an organ-guitar-drum trio in Atlantic City. Smith's Hammond will become a Jazz force.

1955

Pianist Cecil Taylor becomes a major Free Jazz figure way before the time of Free Jazz.

1955

Sonny Rollins joins the Max Roach-Clifford Brown Quintet. Rollins says that Clifford showed him that it is possible to lead a good clean life and still be a good Jazz musician.

1955

Piano player Herbie Nichols records the first of four sessions for Blue Note. Free Jazz is not far off.

1955

Leonard Feather finishes his first Encyclopedia of Jazz.

1955

Downbeat becomes the most widely read jazz periodical in the U.S. (until 1965).

1956

The Duke Ellington Ellington Orchestra performed at the American Jazz Festival at Newport, RI. After Ellington's career had been at an ebb for some years, this triumphant concert served as his comeback. The climax of the performance was 'Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue' where Paul Gonsalves played a tenor sax solo for 27 straight choruses. Following the concert, Ellington appeared on the cover of Time magazine. The concert recording became the best-selling Duke Ellington album.

1956

Art Tatum, who set the standard for jazz piano and inspired the young Oscar Peterson, died from uremia.

1956

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners
Quirky yet rigorously logical, Brilliant Corners is a triumph of composition and performance, a set heavy on Monk originals with Rollins, Roach and Pettiford along for the swing. Even its title describes Monk's angular genius.


1956

Charles Mingus records the LP Pithecanthropus Erectus. This recording demonstrates some of the earliest use of modal themes in Jazz. Mingus uses unusual saxophone cries and hollers to simulate the human voice. Newer forms of Jazz are being explored.

1956

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus
Not just one of Rollins' great moments - one of the great "monster" jazz sessions of all time, and, in "St. Thomas," one the first crossroads between Jazz and the Caribbean.


1956

Clifford Brown plays an informal gig at a Music City store in Philadelphia on June 25. Later that night Clifford Brown, Richie Powell (Bud's brother) and Richie's wife Nancy head west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In the early hours of June 26, their car veers off the road killing all three. It was a great loss for Jazz.

1956

Clifford Brown takes his place beside Jazz greats such as Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong.

1956

Pianist Bill Evans records New Jazz Conceptions which is available on Original Jazz Classics. This is Bill's first effort as a leader. The personnel are Bill, Teddy Kotick on bass and Paul Motian on drums.

1956

Blue Note's Alfred Lion and Frank Woolf go to Small's Paradise in Harlem to hear a Jazz organist named Jimmy Smith. Woolf describes the scene, "It was at Small's in January of 1956. He was a stunning sight. A man in convulsions, face contorted, crouched over in apparent agony, his fingers flying, his foot dancing over the peddles. The air was filled with waves of sound I had never heard before. A few people sat around, puzzled but impressed. Jimmy came off the stand smiling...'So what do you think?' he asked. 'Yeah!' I said. That's all I could say. Alfred Lion had already made up his mind." (Woolf quote found in the Rosenthal book, page 112 - see bibliography)

1956

Piano player Cecil Taylor records for Transition with Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone, Buell Neidlinger on bass and Dennis Charles on drums. The record which they make is not a commercial success, but musicians take notice. The music exhibits most of the devices that would later become Free Jazz.

1956

Pianist Horace Silver leaves the Jazz Messengers and drummer Art Blakey becomes the leader.

1956

Duke Ellington's band performs at the Newport Jazz Festival. Duke's band devises a landmark performance which is capped by an amazing tenor saxophone solo by Paul Gonsalves on Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue. Duke gets a new record contract with Columbia.

1956

In Liverpool, England, an unknown teenager named John Lennon forms a group called the Quarry Men. This group begins as a Skiffle (or Folk/Blues) group. The group will eventually include George Harrison and Paul McCartney and will evolve into the Beatles in the early 1960s. The Beatles owed a lot to the Trad Jazz which was played in England during their childhood and adolescence. They will eventually have their influences on Jazz also -- "the child is father to the man."

1957

Bop still rules. All future Jazz should follow from it. But...will this happen?

1957

Monk appears on the CBS Television Show The Sound of Jazz in December. Monk is rapidly becoming a leading figure in the world of Jazz.

1957

Cecil Taylor is invited to play the Newport Jazz Festival. His detractors are most Bop musicians who are afraid of being pushed aside as they pushed aside the Swingers only a decade or so before.

1958

This was a very busy day regarding jazz recordings. Some memorable sessions were played:
  • The Miles Davis Sextet (Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones) recorded three tracks (Dr. Jeckyll; Sid's Ahead; Little Melonae) for Columbia Records at Columbia 30th Street Studios, NYC. The first two tracks were released on Milestones.

  • Cannonball Adderley recorded with his own quintet (Cannonball & Nat Adderley, Junior Mance, Sam Jones, Jimmy Cobb) that very same day for EmArcy Records at the Bell Sound Studios, NYC. The tracks (Our Delight; Jubilation; What's New?; Straight, No Chaser) were released on Cannonball's Sharpshooters. The remaining tracks for the album were recorded two days later.
    After that, this first Adderley quintet broke up. Nat Adderley: "Miles offered to pay Cannonball two hundred dollars more per week than both of us took out of the band, it was time to call it quits"(cited from the liner notes of Verve's 'The EmArcy Small Group Sessions').

  • Meanwhile at the Universal Studios in Chicago, the Count Basie Orchestra recorded two songs for the Chairman Of The Board album (Blues In Hoss' Flat; H.R.H).

  • At the Travis Air Force Base, Fairfield, California, the Duke Ellington Orchestra played a dance that was recorded and released as Volumes 2 & 6 of The Private Collection.

1958

The new Miles Davis group, featuring Coltrane, records Milestones in April. This recording represents a significant shift toward modal jazz.

1958

On December 15, pianist Bill Evans records the unaccompanied piano solo Peace Piece on which he improvises two repeated chords. What makes this recording significant is that Evans draws heavily on George Russell's modal theory. It's one of the first examples of modes in modern Jazz.

1958

Pianist Bill Evans records Everybody Digs Bill Evans with Sam Jones on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. This album, which contains the innovative Peace Piece, is available on Original Jazz Classics. I hope that Bill didn't come up with this title! ... Just kidding. Riverside came up with the title to promote Bill in the ranks of Jazz. The cover is a unique "all quotes" design featuring complimentary blurbs from various people including Miles Davis, the first time the trumpeter allowed himself to be quoted in such a manner about a fellow musician.

1958

Bill Evans is chosen "New Star" pianist in the Downbeat International Jazz Critics Poll.

1958

Trumpeter Lee Morgan is now with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

1958

Sax player Benny Golson is now with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers for a short while.

1958

Pianist Cecil Taylor plays the Great South Bay Festival with a group that includes Buell Neidlinger on bass, Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone and Dennis Charles on drums. Nat Hentoff gives them a good review. The resulting publicity gets Taylor a recording date with United Artists which results in the LP Love for Sale. Taylor will later go completely into Free Jazz and will gradually decline.

1958

Art Kane's photo of 57 Jazz greats on the steps of a Harlem Brownstone appears in Esquire magazine. Some of the legendary musicians who showed up for the 10:00 a.m. photo shoot were: Thelonious Monk, Lester Young, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Milt Hinton and Art Farmer.

1958

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Moanin'
Jazz's most explosive drummer debuted his third version of the Jazz Messengers with this instant hard-bop classic. It's way too funky in here, thanks to compositions and performances by Benny Golson, Lee Morgan and Bobby Timmons (who contributed the famous title track).


1958

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Jimmy Smith - The Sermon
A foreshadowing of Smith's awesome Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special, and defining moment of organ jazz. Smith, Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller testify on the side-long title track.


1959

This is the one jazz record owned by people who don't listen to jazz, and with good reason. The band itself is extraordinary (proof of Miles Davis's masterful casting skills, if not of God's existence), listing John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley on saxophones, Bill Evans (or, on "Freddie Freeloader," Wynton Kelly) on piano, and the crack rhythm unit of Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums. Coltrane's astringency on tenor is counterpoised to Adderley's funky self on alto, with Davis moderating between them as Bill Evans conjures up a still lake of sound on which they walk. Meanwhile, the rhythm partnership of Cobb and Chambers is prepared to click off time until eternity. It was the key recording of what became modal jazz, a music free of the fixed harmonies and forms of pop songs. In Davis's men's hands it was a weightless music, but one that refused to fade into the background. In retrospect every note seems perfect, and each piece moves inexorably towards its destiny. --John Szwed

On the March 2 session the following tracks were recorded: 'So What', 'Freddie Freeloader', and 'Blue In Green'. The remaining two tracks ('All Blues', 'Flamenco Sketches') were recorded on April 22.

1959

Since its creation in 1958 A Great Day in Harlem has become an icon of jazz photography. It is also recognized, in the broader context of American photography, as a major work. Through appearances on posters, postcards, in books and magazines it is celebrated worldwide. Originally commissioned by Esquire magazine, the underlying concept was simple: to create a group portrait of living legendary jazz musicians on a Harlem street. However the photograph's compositional brilliance, its historic importance, no less the complex logistics required to organize the shoot, elevated Art Kane's achievement to a true tour de force.

This was Art Kane's first assignment as a professional photographer.


1959

George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept is written about use of the modes in Jazz. This is probably the first important text on Jazz theory. Modal Jazz will soon emerge in full force.

1959

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue
The best-selling jazz recording of the era (and a perfect introduction for the jazz newbie), Kind of Blue helped introduce a new sound for jazz. Working from relatively simple structures, the musicians here lay out wonderfully lyrical extended improvisations. Generally considered the best Jazz album ever and still sells 5,000 copies a week.


1959

In September, Coltrane plays on George Russell's big band recording New York, New York (Decca) along with some of the biggest names in jazz.

1959

Coltrane also records Coltrane Jazz (Atlantic), which experiments with tone polytonality. Polytonality involves playing a melody in one key over a chord sequence in another.

1959

Influential tenor sax player Sonny Rollins takes another sabbatical from Jazz. People think that he's off inventing a new kind of Jazz. At this point in time most people believe Sonny to be as important to Jazz as Coltrane.

1959

The Ornette Coleman Quartet's stint at the Five Spot splits the Jazz world.

1959

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz to Come
After four decades, this disc remains true to its title. Saxophonist Ornette Coleman solidified his group in 1959 to the working quartet recorded here. They broke convention and provided a major stepping stone on the road to free jazz


1959

Bill Evans forms trio with brilliant young bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Their work can be found on the excellent Portrait In Jazz on OJC.

1959

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out
What was conceived by pianist Brubeck as an adventure into unusual time signatures ended up one of the most successful records in jazz history, due in large part to its beautiful melodies and the mesmerizing alto work of Paul Desmond.


1959

Cannonball Adderley hears little-known guitarist Wes Montgomery playing with organist Melvin Rhyne and drummer Paul Parker in a west-side Indianapolis club called the Missile Room. Adderley is so impressed he calls Riverside producer Orin Keepnews about Wes and convinces Keepnews to record him. The result is Montgomery's first album The Wes Montgomery Trio, which propels him into Jazz guitar history.

1959

Armstrong finishes fifth in the Music USA all-time great Jazz musician poll.

1959

The French Jazz group Les Double Six is formed.

1960

The Jazz Messengers lineup of Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Bobby Timmons, Jymie Merritt, and Art Blakey record The Big Beat. Tracks:
  • The Chess Players
  • Sakeena's Vision
  • Politely
  • Dat Dere
  • Lester Left Town
  • It's Only A Paper Moon

1960

Red Garland records his solo album "Red Alone" for Moodsville.

Bud Powell performs at the Essen Jazz Festival. The concert recording is released by Black Lion.

1960

Free Jazz and Black rights become intertwined.

1960

Free Jazz and Modal Jazz are pushing Bop forms aside.

1960

In Free Jazz, it is as if the musicians have blown apart the older forms (New Orleans, Swing and Bop) and represented them in a form that is musically analogous to the Abstract Art of Jackson Pollock.

1960

Bop is becoming passe. In fact, Dixieland players at this point may be producing more interesting music because the Dixieland form is more varied than Hard Bop. The mainstream of Jazz (New Orleans > Swing > Bop) is drying up.

1960

The heyday of Soul Jazz (a popular form of Hard Bop) is beginning.

1960

Ornette Coleman finishes The Shape Of Jazz To Come in July after starting it in October of 1959. The album features Ornette on alto sax, Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Charlie Haden on bass and Billy Higgins on drums, and can be found on Atlantic CD.

1960

Ornette releases the anthem LP Free Jazz in December. This album can be found on Atlantic CD. The players include Ornette on alto sax, Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro on bass and Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins on drums. The original album cover featured an appropriate Jackson Pollock painting. This was one of the most important albums in the Free Jazz movement.

1960

Over six days in October, Coltrane records material for three albums. The first one released, My Favorite Things, features his recorded debut on the soprano saxophone. "My Favorite Things," a highly modal piece, will become a Jazz favorite. Coltrane's quartet on this date includes pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Steve Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones.

1960

Coltrane's The Avant-Garde, which delves into Free Jazz, was also released during 1960.

1960

Pianist Barry Harris moves to New York City. Barry records Barry Harris at the Jazz Workshop with Sam Jones and Louis Hayes.

1960

Tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter joins Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

1960

At what is first scheduled to be just another "blowing date," tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley records the classic Soul Jazz album Soul Station. The rhythm section includes Art Blakey, Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers. How could you go wrong with these four first-rate musicians?

1960

Poll results printed in Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz list Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Count Basie as top Jazz figures in that order. This points out the lag between fan and musician appeal.

1961

Possession of previous editions of this singular set simply won't do. After the Ellington at Newport and The Complete Lady Day reissues, the engineers at Columbia/Sony command respect as experts when it comes to authoritative, definitive, faithfully represented remasters of indispensable jazz recordings.

This transitional group, between Miles' first great quintet with Coltrane and his second with Wayne Shorter, is the equal of the first ensemble and more satisfying than the second. Miles' chops were never better, and as if to make up for the absence of Coltrane, he was playing with uncharacteristic fire and pyrotechnical flare. Jimmy Cobb had practically erased the memory of Philly Joe Jones as the ideal complement to Paul Chambers and Wynton Kelly. No rhythm section ever achieved a greater sense of vitality and vibrancy within the conventional 4/4 walking-bass pattern of mainstream modern jazz. (Many drummers would do well to listen just to Cobb's ride cymbal, noting how little else is required to keep the music fresh and flowing.)

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1961

Free Jazz is currently becoming more popular and it is making a number of waves in the pool of Hard Bop.

1961

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Bill Evans - Waltz for Debby & Live at the Village Vanguard
The laid-back character of Bill Evans's piano playing here masks a serenely beautiful touch and wonderfully innovative ideas. His inhumanly intuitive interactions with bassist Scott LaFaro remain legendary. This is the best piano trio music ever recorded (and it's all live).


1961

Coltrane records Impressions and Live at the Village Vanguard (Impulse!) during 1961 Vanguard performances. The personnel on Impressions, released in November, include Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, McCoy Tyner on piano, Reggie Workman and Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. The title tune is modal, but other pieces, such as "India," approach Free Jazz.

1961

Ornette Coleman records a few albums which are far less important than his landmark Free Jazz albums.

1961

Pop Jazz singer Nancy Wilson and British Jazz pianist George Shearing team up on The Swingin's Mutual. Critic Leonard Feather characterized it as "one of the most logical and successful collaborations of the year."

1961

A Dixieland revival or Trad Jazz movement with a modified New Orleans style is currently popular in Britain.

1961

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Oliver Nelson - Blues & The Abstract Truth
Some of Nelson's best work - as a composer, arranger AND saxophonist - features his large ensemble soulfully tight-roping arrangement and improvisation. A genuine masterpiece that has inspired musicians and arrangers for decades.


1962

Ornette Coleman is temporarily out of Jazz because of a salary dispute. Ornette perceives (and is probably correct) that he is not making money like the other big names in Jazz and goes on strike.

1962

Sonny Rollins puts together a band with Don Cherry on trumpet and Billy Higgins on drums. This group will make the album Our Man in Jazz.

1962

Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz records the album Jazz Samba. This is a major commercial success. The music here represents variations on Latin dance music. This type of music becomes popular in nightclubs.

1962

The Latin Dance Jazz boom has begun. The first hit to break the charts wide open is Desafinado followed by The Girl from Ipanema.

1962

Saxophonist Curtis Amy and his band record the album Tippin' On Through at the famous jazz club The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, CA.

1963

Astrud Gilberto says that her husband, Joao, informed Stan Getz that she "could sing at the recording". Creed Taylor recalls that it took Getz's wife, Monica, to get both Astrud and Joao into the recording studio; Mrs. Getz had a sense that Astrud could make a hit. And Getz himself is on record saying that he insisted on Astrud's presence over the others' objections. So who's right? What does it matter? The Gilbertos, Getz, and the legendary Antonio Carlos Jobim followed up the bossa nova success of Jazz Samba with this, the defining LP of the genre. With one of the greatest hit singles jazz has ever known--each one who hears it goes "Ahhh!"

1963

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Horace Silver - Song for My Father
One of the greatest Hard Bop albums, and not just from that title track (honored in "Rikki Don't Lose That Number") but also his classic "Lonely Woman."


1963

Saxophonist Gigi Gryce drops out of Jazz, never to return.

1963

Grant Green records his classic album Idle Moments. The guitarist gets ample support from saxophonist Joe Henderson and vibist Bobby Hutcherson. This landmark release earns Green the reputation as one of Jazz's most versatile guitarists.

1963

Cast Your Fate to the Wind by Vince Guaraldi becomes a Gold Record winner and earns the Grammy as Best Instrumental Jazz Composition. Guaraldi was best known for his work on the "Peanuts" television specials.

1963

Asian and Middle Eastern instruments are added to Jazz by flutist Yusef Lateef. Lateef also adds techniques to accommodate these new Jazz instruments.

1963

Pioneer Free Jazz pianist Herbie Nichols dies of Leukemia at age 44.

1963

Trumpeter Lee Morgan records The Sidewinder (Blue Note), which will rise to number 25 on the Billboard pop album chart, impressive for a Jazz LP. Most of the record is Hard Bop, though the title track has crossover appeal.

1964

A Love Supreme is a jazz album recorded by John Coltrane's quartet on December 9, 1964 at the Van Gelder studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. The album is a four-part suite, broken up into tracks: "Acknowledgement" (which contains the famous mantra that gave the suite its name), "Resolution," "Pursuance," and "Psalm." It is intended to be a spiritual album, broadly representative of a personal struggle for purity. The final track corresponds to the wording of a devotional poem Coltrane included in the liner notes.

1964

In October, trumpeter Bill Dixon organizes a series of Free Jazz concerts called the October Revolution at the Cellar Cafe in New York, featuring John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and others. Out of this festival grows the Jazz Composer's Guild, which includes Dixon, Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley and Carla Bley, among others.

1964

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch (Blue Note)
Eric Dolphy was always a big fan of bird calls, and much of his playing here reflects that natural sonority. This disc transports a relatively straightahead group into adventurous, inventive territory--with dramatically successful results.


1964

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

John Coltrane - Love Supreme
One of Coltrane's most spiritually moving recordings, this disc has been popular among devotees and neophytes alike. It's a heart-felt celebration of divine love, with equal measures of devotion and exploration. Recorded in December with his classic quartet: pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones.


1964

Japanese impresario Tokutara Honda stages the World Jazz Festival in Japan. Miles Davis is the biggest draw.

1965

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces

Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (Blue Note)
Pianist Herbie Hancock's best record adopts a nautical angle, with gentle waves of sound surrounding strong, forward-sailing melodies. Maiden Voyage relies upon subtlety, but it features wonderful group interaction and showcases some of Hancock's finest playing.


1965

The classic fuzz box assumes popularity among rock guitarists, including Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, and Keith Richards (who uses a Gibson Fuzz Box on "Satisfaction" in 1965). As effects technology develops, jazz players (and even horn players like Miles Davis) will pick it up for use.

1967

The Beatles record the tremendously influential Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. This album is not only influential on the Rock front. It will influence all types of music including Jazz.

1970

Free jazz saxophone player Albert Ayler dies on November 5.

1970

Pianist Chick Corea, reedist/percussionist Anthony Braxton, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul form the free jazz group Circle. They record Early Circle and Circulus (Blue Note). The rhythm section of the group also records Song of Singing (Blue Note) under Corea's name.

1971

In September, Thelonious Monk and a band including Art Blakey on drums and Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet begins "The Giants of Jazz" world tour in New Zealand. They would record at several venues in Europe. Shortly after the tour's conclusion, Thelonious Monk records three Black Lion sessions (The London Collection, Vol. 1-3) solo and with drummer Art Blakey and bassist Al McKibbon.

1972

Hard bop trumpeter Lee Morgan is shot dead at 33 by his common-law wife, Helen More, at Slug's, a New York City jazz club, on February 19.

1973

Pianist Herbie Hancock records the classic jazz/funk album Head Hunters (Columbia), which includes "Chameleon" and "Watermelon Man."

1974

Vibraphone player Gary Burton hires Berklee colleague Pat Metheny, whom he met the year before at the Wichita Jazz Festival, to join his newly expanded quintet. The group, which includes Burton, Metheny, guitarist Mick Goodrick, bassist Steve Swallow, and drummer Bob Moses, records the album Ring (ECM).

1974

Jazz-rock trumpeter Bill Chase, leader of the group Chase, dies on August 9.

1975

The Thelonious Monk Quartet plays the Newport in New York Jazz Festival. The Quartet, which includes Thelonious Jr., Larry Gales and Paul Jeffrey, appears at the Lincoln Center.

1975

Sax player Art Pepper returns to jazz after 15 years with Living Legend (OJC) and brings with him an interest in classic bop.

1975

Quirky pop jazz vocalist Michael Franks records his first major label release, The Art of Tea (Warner), with Joe Sample, Michael Brecker, David Sanborn and Larry Carlton.

1976

Thelonious Monk's quartet appears at Carnegie Hall with guest trumpeter Lonnie Hillyer in March, four months before his final public appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in July.

1977

Free Jazz drummer Sunny Murray states (Jazz Magazine, June) that "the music (Free Jazz) didn't stop a decade ago."

1978

President Jimmy Carter hosts the First Annual White House Jazz Festival in honor of Charles Mingus. Many prominent jazz musicians come to the event, including Roy Eldridge, Max Roach, Dizzy Gillespie, and Cecil Taylor.

1978

Toshiko Akiyoshi's jazz orchestra places first in Downbeat magazine's readers' poll. This is a first time accomplishment for a Japanese woman.

1978

Woody Shaw is rated top jazz trumpeter in a Downbeat magazine poll. His record Rosewood (Columbia) is the number one jazz album in the same poll.

1980

Miles Davis begins to get back into jazz by playing his horn after four years of abstinence.

1980

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis appears with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers on his first commercial recording, Live at Montreux and Northsea, at age 18. Wynton's saxophonist brother Branford, trombonist Robin Eubanks, and guitarist Kevin Eubanks also appear with the group.

1980

Drummer and keyboard player Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition fuses world music, free jazz, bop and funk on Tin Can Alley (ECM).

1981

Guitarist Melvin Sparks made his name as a solid soul jazz player with the likes of Charles Earland and Lou Donaldson. Another of his associates was drummer Idris Muhammed, who appears on this, Sparks last album as a leader until a 1997 comeback, along with pianist Neal Creque and bassist Buster Williams. Sparks wrote two of the tunes and Creque one, with the remaining two pieces the standards "Misty" and "Speak Low." Certainly a period piece firmly in the Muse aesthetic, it admirably carries on the soul jazz tradition.

1981

Trumpeter Miles Davis returns to jazz after a six year retirement. He is the featured artist at the Kool Jazz Festival.

1982

The Kool Jazz Festival features Wynton and Branford Marsalis along with Bobby McFerrin.

1982

Saxophonist Michael Brecker states (in an interview with Jazz Hot, Sept-Oct) that his models were guitar players like Jimi Hendrix, not sax players.

1983

The CD is introduced to the general public. This new digital technology will eventually spawn a huge nostalgia market for all types of music, including jazz. One reason for this is that, even though CD's appear to be expensive, they are virtually indestructible compared to vinyl.

1984

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis wins a jazz Grammy for the bop album Think of One. Marsalis also wins a Grammy for classical music this same year. Later he would state that it is harder to play jazz than classical.

1984

Miles Davis wins the Sonning Prize, an award from the Danish government which normally goes to a non-jazz composer. This would result in the 1989 release Aura, composed by Palle Mikkelborg.

1984

Nigerian-born Sade Anu debuts with Diamond Life, a hybrid of R&B passion, jazz finesse and pop accessibility that results in such hits as "Smooth Operator" and "Your Love is King."

For more information about Sade, read Daniel Garrett's article Sade, a Smooth Operator, sings of No Ordinary Love, and Is That A Crime?.


1985

On Cobra, recorded in 1985-86, alto sax player John Zorn combines many styles of jazz in a novel "game piece" form of composition.

1986

The French government creates the Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ).

1989

The British label Acid Jazz is recording groups with names like the Brand New Heavies who play Jazz with a driving dance beat.

1989

Claude Barthelemy becomes director of the French Orchestre National de Jazz (ONJ).

1990

British Acid Jazz band The Brand New Heavies break through with their self-entitled release. N'Dea Davenport adds vocal support to the pop-oriented tunes.

1990

Gunther Schuller reconstructs and records Charles Mingus' Epitaph for jazz orchestra.

2008

Herbie Hancock's album River: The Joni Letters won the GRAMMY Award for Album of the Year, making it the first time a jazz artist has won Album of the Year since 1964.

Leonard Cohen, Norah Jones, Joni Mitchell, Corinne Bailey Rae, Luciana Souza & Tina Turner, featured artists; Herbie Hancock & Larry Klein, producers; Helik Hadar, engineer/mixer; Bernie Grundman, mastering engineer.


Disclaimer: Though we have checked our facts, this timeline may contain erroneous information. If you discover errors or omissions, please bring them to our attention.