Sendung vom 12. April 2016: April: Jazz Appreciation Month

Welcome, dear listeners of FREIRAD! At the microphone is Ewald Strohmar-Mauler again with a new issue of »hinterfragt. das kulturwissenschaftliche Magazin«.

Today, I won‹t be talking much, because the title of today`s issue is

April : Jazz Appreciation Month

I‚ll give a brief intoduction to Jazz and then only music is played until the end of the show.

So, what is Jazz Appreciation Month (or „JAM“)? It was created in 2002 to celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.1

April 30th has been established as International Jazz Day by the United Nations Organization for Education, Science, and Culture (UNESCO) in 2011 to highlight the role of jazz in connecting people from all corners of the globe. International Jazz Day serves as the perfect culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws global attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage.2

Therefore, I will present you several pieces of Music today, a kind of a fast journey through the history of Jazz.

Jazz had its roots (and now I quote from the Wikipedia article called »Outline of jazz«)3 in African American communities in the Southern United States, mixing African music and European classical music traditions. […] Although the foundation of jazz is deeply rooted within the black experience of the United States, different cultures have contributed their own experience and styles to the art form as well. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as „one of America’s original art forms“.[

As jazz spread around the world, it drew on different national, regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to many distinctive styles. New Orleans jazz began in the early 1910s, combining earlier brass-band marches, French quadrilles, biguine, ragtime and blues with collective polyphonic improvisation.

In the 1930s, heavily arranged dance-oriented swing big bands, Kansas City jazz, a hard-swinging, bluesy, improvisational style and Gypsy jazz (a style that emphasized musette waltzes) were the prominent styles. Bebop emerged in the 1940s, shifting jazz from danceable popular music towards a more challenging „musician’s music“ which was played at faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation. Cool jazz developed in the end of the 1940s, introducing calmer, smoother sounds and long, linear melodic lines.

The 1950s saw the emergence of free jazz, which explored playing without regular meter, beat and formal structures, and in the mid-1950s, hard bop emerged, which introduced influences from rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano playing. Modal jazz developed in the late 1950s, using the mode, or musical scale, as the basis of musical structure and improvisation.

Jazz-rock fusion appeared in the late 1960s and early 1970s, combining jazz improvisation with rock music’s rhythms, electric instruments and the highly amplified stage sound. In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called smooth jazz became successful, garnering significant radio airplay. Other styles and genres abound in the 2000s, such as Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz. [end quote]

A jazz band usually consists of the rhythm section, such as drums, bass and perhaps a piano, and the lead section with instruments like saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, trombone and voice.

Historically, we can observe a quite rapid succession of styles, which began with early jazz from the turn to the 20th century to the 1930s, with names like King Oliver and Louis Armstrong.


Jazz Me Blues – The Original Dixieland Jass Band (1921)

Yesterdays – Art Tatum (1933)

Then jazz bands became larger, the Big Band was introduced, and with it the Swing style, intended for dancing, not just listening. Here we have such great bandleaders and arrangers as Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, or Glenn Miller.

Also a very interesting side-line was created in those years, European jazz, with the well-known French branch of Gypsy Jazz or jazz manouche, whose most popular musicion is Django Reinhardt.

From the 1930s I present:

Duke Ellington –Love in Swingtime

Django Reinhardt: Sweet Georgia Brown

The next era was Bebop, a style that again turned away from dance music to distinct solo performances – and now I have to quote from the Wikipedia article »Bebop«4, because of all those musical terms:

Bebop is »characterized by a fast tempo, complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure, the use of scales and occasional references to the melody«.(end quote) Famous Bebop artists were Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

Here I have as example

Tal Farlow – Yardbird Suite

Then came Cool Jazz in the early 1950s, with artists like Miles Davis or Dave Brubeck, to name just two. The Cool style is characterized by relaxed tempos and lighter tone, in contrast to the tense and complex bebop style. Cool jazz often employs formal arrangements and incorporates elements of classical music.5

Here the example is:

Unsquare Dance by Dave Brubeck.

The late 1960s were the era of Hard Bop, which basically is a development of bebop with influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues, and known for its extensive use of saxophone and piano. Known artists are for instance Art Blakey or Cannonball Adderley, from the latter I have a piece for you called Dancing in the Dark.

Then came Modal Jazz and Free Jazz with Miles Davis or John Coltrane in the 1960s. For all of you who now musical theory: Modal Jazz uses modes instead of chord progression. For the others, just listen to Miles Davis with So What and John Coltrane with the 1961 Newport Set

The next style came in the 1970s: Fusion – with Herbie Hancock, and, well Miles Davis was again a well known name, he actually was an influence on every Jazz flavour since the 1950 until his deatk in 1991. I have for you something you perhaps know: Weather Report with Birdland.

From the 1980s until today we find many revivalist movements in Jazz like Neoclassical Jazz with Wynton Marsalis, then Smooth jazz, Acid jazz, Nu jazz, Jazz rap, Punk jazz and Jazzcore, to name a few.

But I think that was enough history for today, now lean back and enjoy my little compilation.

Thanks a lot for listening and I hope you tune in next month to »hinterfragt. das kulturwissenschaftliche Magazin«, every month on the 2nd tuesday at 8 pm and on the 4th thursday at 9 am on FREIRAD dem freien Radio Innsbruck.