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Grey Limbo

1860 - present
The History of Jazz

In this course you will study the style periods, forms, instruments, scales, special effects, and the many colourful personalities of jazz music in the 20th century. You will also hear, evaluate, and identify some of the significant jazz pieces recorded during this time. This course will also increase your awareness of the intellectual, social, political, emotional, and musical forces that have influenced jazz throughout its history. 

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1638 – 1850 
Work Songs

Work songs combined qualities from both Europe and West Africa. The difference between the spiritual and the work song was the place where they were performed. Spirituals were associated with the church, but work songs were always associated with labour that dealt with their daily life.

The work song was composed of short phrases, usually between two to four bars, sung with a rhythmic beat. It consisted of a solo and a chorus following it, in the call-and-response pattern. The work song has survived to the present time and is sung wherever blacks are used for forced labour.

The main purpose of the work song was to create and maintain a rhythmic beat in order to keep the slaves organized and working at a steady pace. Another reason slaves sang the work song was to relieve the pain of their mistreatment or imprisonment. The work song also provided a way for the slaves to temporarily forget their troubles. Work songs were also sung to express their personal feelings and to cheer and encourage one another. Slaves were used for labour in the cotton fields, the rice fields, on the dock loading and unloading cargo. Slaves were also called on to dig in the mines or lay tracks for the railroad companies. 

Organizing the singing required the direction of a good work song leader. If any slave had the ability to lead a group of workers, he made sure his capability to do so was brought to the attention of the plantation owner or company boss. Although the leader was present with the workers, he was spared their hard labour. To the plantation owner or boss, it meant more production and fewer problems among the workers. To the workers themselves, the singing of the work songs eased the pain of the labour and made the work more bearable.

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1890 – present
The Blues

The blues has been and continues to be, a strong influence in jazz. Gradually the blues became an instrumental form of music, no longer limited to vocal music. Musicians could play the blues on their instruments. The commonly used instruments were the harmonica, banjo, and guitar. It was, however, the guitar that the blues singers preferred for accompaniment because it provided a greater effect and background in their singing. With the passing of time, the African slaves were slowly being introduced to brass and reed musical instruments. They taught themselves to play blues and jazz on these new European imports. Many blacks learned to master these instruments, yet they still had the urge to sing a line in their musical breaks. But, when more and more musicians mastered their instruments, the blues began to change. The creation and development of the blues were mainly accomplished by illiterate musicians and singers who by the majority could not read music. Therefore, they had to improvise around a preset musical pattern. The most familiar pattern at the time was the twelve-bar blues with a precise designated harmonic progression that was easily committed to the musician's memory. 

1880 - 1963 Elmore James

1894 - 1937 Bessie Smith

1907 - 1994 Cab Calloway

1910 - 1975 Aaron Thibeaux ("T-Bone" Walker)

1910 – 1976 Chester Arthur Burnett (Howlin' Wolf)

1911 – 1938 Robert Leroy Johnson

1911 - 1985 Joseph Vernon (Big Joe Turner) Jr.

1912 - 1965 Alex or Aleck Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson )

1912 - 1982 Samuel John (Lightnin' Hopkins)

1913 - 1983 Muddy Waters

1915 - 1959 Eleanora Fagan (Billie Holiday

1915 - 1988 John Len Chatman (Memphis Slim)
1917 – 2001 John Lee Hooker

1925 - 2015 B. B. King

1930 - 2004 Ray Charles

1942 - 1970 Johnny Allen Hendrix (Jimi" Hendrix)

1945 - present Eric Patrick Clapton

1951 - present Robin Ford

1952 - 2011 Robert William Gary Moore

1954 – 1990 Ray Vaughan 

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1880 - 1963
Elmore James

Elmore James was an inspiration in the development of  Rock ‘n’ Roll.  As a young but talented musician, he shaped the sound and style of music in Mississippi.  Elmore’s urge to play the guitar aided in his goal of becoming a star.

Elmore was a Mississippi native who was born in Richland on January 27, 1918, to Leora Brooks.  His mother is one reason for his success.  She encouraged Elmore to do what he enjoyed and to succeed in his choice of a career.  With this encouragement, Elmore began to play a self-made guitar.  With some success and the opportunity to play in various juke joints, Elmore befriended Rice Miller, who then became one of Elmore’s friends and colleagues.  The friendship assisted Elmore in getting a record deal with Trumpet Records.  With one goal accomplished,  he began to search for a new success.  James moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he formed a new band called The Broomdusters, which featured the piano of Jonny Jones and saxophone player J.T. Brown.  The Broomdusters are known for such hits as “Dust My Broom,”  “It Hurts Me Too,” and “The Sky Is Crying.”  Throughout the years  Elmore recorded more than one hundred songs for various record companies, including  Modern, Chess, Chief, Fire, Fury, and Enjoy Records.  He is known as the King of the Slide, and he helped to shape the rural sounds of the Mississippi Delta Blues into what became  Rock ‘n’ Roll.

On May 24, 1963,  James suffered a heart attack, which took his life at the age of 45.  James not only began his career at an early age but was sadly taken from it at an early age.  During his incredible years of creating Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elmore encountered and appeared with many famous musicians, but he has also inspired many musicians.  Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones are just a few of the many musicians that he influenced in the course of their careers.  With their thanks and gratitude, they have shown their appreciation for James with musical tributes and their prayers.  In 1980, long after Elmore’s death, he was elected into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, and he was later inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

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1907 - 1994 
Cab Calloway


One of the great entertainers, Cab Calloway was a household name by 1932, and never really declined in fame. A talented jazz singer and a superior scatter, Calloway's gyrations and showmanship on-stage at the Cotton Club sometimes overshadowed the quality of his always excellent bands. The younger brother of singer Blanche Calloway (who made some fine records before retiring in the mid-'30s), Cab grew up in Baltimore, attended law school briefly, and then quit to try to make it as a singer and a dancer. For a time, he headed the Alabamians, but the band was not strong enough to make it in New York. The Missourians, an excellent group that had previously recorded heated instrumentals but had fallen upon hard times, worked out much better. Calloway worked in the 1929 revue Hot Chocolates, started recording in 1930, and in 1931 hit it big with both "Minnie the Moocher" and his regular engagement at the Cotton Club. Calloway was soon (along with Bill RobinsonEthel WatersLouis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington) the best-known black entertainer of the era. He appeared in quite a few movies (including 1943's Stormy Weather), and "Minnie the Moocher" was followed by such recordings as "Kicking the Gong Around," "Reefer Man," "Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day," "You Gotta Hi-De-Ho," "The Hi-De-Ho Miracle Man," and even "Mister Paganini, Swing for Minnie." Among Calloway's sidemen through the years (who received among the highest salaries in the business) were Walter "Foots" ThomasBennie PayneDoc CheathamEddie BarefieldShad CollinsCozy ColeDanny BarkerMilt HintonMario BauzaChu BerryDizzy GillespieJonah JonesTyree GlennPanama Francis, and Ike Quebec. His 1942 recording of "Blues in the Night" was a big hit.

With the end of the big band era, Calloway had to reluctantly break up his orchestra in 1948, although he continued to perform with his Cab Jivers. Since George Gershwin had originally modeled the character Sportin' Life in Porgy and Bess after Calloway, it was fitting that Cab got to play him in a 1950s version. Throughout the rest of his career, Calloway made special appearances for fans who never tired of hearing him sing "Minnie the Moocher."

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1910 - 1976
Howlin' Wolf

Howlin’ Wolf was an American singer-songwriter and musician. An important figure in the Chicago blues scene, he was one of the most original and imaginative musicians of the 20th Century. Known for a very strong roaring voice and a striking physical presence, several of his tremendously influential recordings have defined the blues and blues-rock genres.

Born “Chester Arthur Burnett” in White Station, Mississippi in 1910, his parents divorced when he was very young. He earned the nickname “Howlin’ Wolf” from his parents due to his boisterous nature and huge physique. Wolf’s deeply religious mother abandoned him for refusing to work on the farm. He was then raised by his abusive uncle, who also had a drinking problem.

Howlin’ Wolf started playing guitar at the age of eighteen. He began his musical career performing at house parties and nightclubs in Ruleville. During the early 1930s, Wolf met Charley Patton, who became an important early musical influence and taught him the impassioned, croaky moaning style of country blues. Wolf also met and took inspiration from Sonny Boy Williamson II and Robert Johnson.

Howlin’ Wolf earned numerous awards and accolades in his lifetime and has been posthumously awarded many more. A few of them include three Blues Foundation Awards and a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. He has been inducted into three music halls of fame: the Blues Hall of Fame (1980), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1991), and Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame (2003).

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1911 – 1938
Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson was born on May 8, 1911, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. A singer and guitarist, Johnson is considered to be one of the greatest blues performers of all time. But this recognition came to him largely after his death.

During his brief career, Johnson traveled around, playing wherever he could. The acclaim for Johnson's work is based on the 29 songs that he wrote and recorded in Dallas and San Antonio from 1936 to 1937. These include "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and "Sweet Home Chicago," which has become a blues standard.


His songs have been recorded by Muddy Waters, Elmore James, the Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton.

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1912 - 1965
Sonny Boy Williamson

Alex or Aleck Miller, known later in his career as Sonny Boy Williamson was an American blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter. 


He was an early and influential blues harp stylist who recorded successfully in the 1950s and 1960s. Miller used various names, including Rice Miller and Little Boy Blue, before calling himself Sonny Boy Williamson, which was also the name of a popular Chicago blues singer and harmonica player. To distinguish the two, Miller has been referred to as Sonny Boy Williamson II.

He first recorded with Elmore James on "Dust My Broom". Some of his popular songs include "Don't Start Me Talkin'", "Help Me", "Checkin' Up on My Baby", and "Bring It On Home".


He toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival and recorded with English rock musicians, including the Yardbirds, the Animals, and Jimmy Page. "Help Me" became a blues standard, and many blues and rock artists have recorded his songs.

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1913 - 1983
Muddy Waters

was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician who was an important figure in the post-war blues scene, and is often cited as the "father of modern Chicago blues". His style of playing has been described as "raining down Delta beatitude".

Muddy Waters grew up on Stovall Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi, and by age 17 was playing the guitar and the harmonica, emulating the local blues artists Son House and Robert Johnson. He was recorded in Mississippi by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941.[6][7] In 1943, he moved to Chicago to become a full-time professional musician. In 1946, he recorded his first records for Columbia Records and then for Aristocrat Records, a newly formed label run by the brothers Leonard and Phil Chess.

In the early 1950s, Muddy Waters and his band—Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica, Jimmy Rogers on guitar, Elga Edmonds (also known as Elgin Evans) on drums and Otis Spann on piano—recorded several blues classics, some with the bassist and songwriter Willie Dixon. These songs included "Hoochie Coochie Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and "I'm Ready". In 1958, he traveled to England, laying the foundations of the resurgence of interest in the blues there.


His performance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960 was recorded and released as his first live album, At Newport 1960.

Muddy Waters' music has influenced various American music genres, including rock and roll and rock music.

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1915 - 1988 
Memphis Slim
 alto saxophone, tenor sax, piano, drums and string bass

Memphis Slim was an American blues pianist, singer, and composer. He led a series of bands that, reflecting the popular appeal of jump blues, included saxophones, bass, drums, and piano. A song he first cut in 1947, "Every Day I Have the Blues", has become a blues standard, recorded by many other artists. He made over 500 recordings.

Memphis Slim was born John Len Chatman, in Memphis, Tennessee. For his first recordings, for Okeh Records in 1940, he used the name of his father, Peter Chatman (who sang, played piano and guitar, and operated juke joints); it is commonly believed that he did so to honor his father. He started performing under the name "Memphis Slim" later that year but continued to publish songs under the name Peter Chatman.

He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1989.

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1917 – 2001
John Lee Hooker
singer, songwriter, and guitarist

John Lee Hooker was an American blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist. The son of a sharecropper, he rose to prominence performing an electric guitar-style adaptation of Delta blues. Hooker often incorporated other elements, including talking blues and early North Mississippi Hill country blues. He developed his own driving-rhythm boogie style, distinct from the 1930s–1940s piano-derived boogie-woogie. Hooker was ranked 35 in Rolling Stone's 2015 list of 100 greatest guitarists.

Some of his best-known songs include "Boogie Chillen'" (1948), "Crawling King Snake" (1949), "Dimples" (1956), "Boom Boom" (1962), and "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer" (1966). Several of his later albums, including The Healer (1989), Mr. Lucky (1991), Chill Out (1995), and Don't Look Back (1997), were album chart successes in the U.S. and UK. The Healer (for the song "I'm In The Mood") and Chill Out (for the album) both earned him Grammy wins as well as Don't Look Back, which went on to earn him a double-Grammy win for Best Traditional Blues Recording and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (with Van Morrison).

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1925 - 2015
B. B. King
singer-songwriter, guitarist,

Riley B. King, known professionally as B.B. King, was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later blues electric guitar players.

King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and is one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname "The King of the Blues", and is considered one of the "Three Kings of the Blues Guitar" (along with Albert King and Freddie King, none of whom are blood-related). King performed tirelessly throughout his musical career, appearing on average at more than 200 concerts per year into his 70s. In 1956 alone, he appeared at 342 shows.[

King was born on a cotton plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, and later worked at a cotton gin in Indianola, Mississippi. He was attracted to music and the guitar in church and began his career in juke joints and local radio. He later lived in Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago, and as his fame grew, toured the world extensively. King died at the age of 89 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 14, 2015.

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1945 – present
Eric Clapton
guitarist, singer, and songwriter

Eric Patrick Clapton is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stone's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" and fourth in Gibson's "Top 50 Guitarists of All Time". He was also named number five in Time magazine's list of "The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players" in 2009.

In the mid-1960s Clapton left the Yardbirds to play with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Immediately after leaving Mayall, Clapton formed the power trio Cream with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce, in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and "arty, blues-based psychedelic pop". After Cream broke up, he formed blues rock band Blind Faith with Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech. Clapton's solo career began in the 1970s, where his work bore the influence of the mellow style of J. J. Cale and the reggae of Bob Marley. His version of Marley's "I Shot the Sheriff" helped reggae reach a mass market. Two of his most popular recordings were "Layla", recorded with Derek and the Dominos; and Robert Johnson‘s "Crossroads", recorded with Cream. Following the death of his son Conor in 1991, Clapton's grief was expressed in the song "Tears in Heaven", which appeared on his Unplugged album.

Clapton has been the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards, and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music.[8][9][10] He has received four Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In his solo career, Clapton has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time

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1951 – present
Robin Ford

Robben Lee Ford is an American blues, jazz, and rock guitarist. He was a member of the L.A. Express and Yellowjackets and has collaborated with Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Larry Carlton, Rick Springfield, and Kiss. He was named one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century" by Musician magazine.

At age 18, Ford's band was hired to play with Charlie Musselwhite, and recorded two albums The Charles Ford Band and Discovering the Blues. He recorded two albums with Jimmy Witherspoon called Live and Spoonful. In the 1970s, Ford joined the jazz fusion band, L.A. Express, led by saxophonist Tom Scott. In 1974, the band supported George Harrison on his American tour and played on the Joni Mitchell albums The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Miles of Aisles.

After leaving the L.A. Express in 1976, Robben Ford recorded his solo album, The Inside Story with a band that later became the Yellowjackets.

In 1977, Ford was one of half a dozen or so session players asked to play the guitar solo for the Steely Dan song "Peg." In the end, the group went with the version by Jay Graydon instead. In 2006, a tribute album to Steely Dan – The Royal Dan – was released, with Ford covering "Peg" in his own style.

In 1982, Ford was one of several guitarists who appeared on the KISS album Creatures of the Night, playing lead guitar on the songs "Rock And Roll Hell" and "I Still Love You".

Ford worked briefly with Miles Davis in 1986; and can be heard on Davis' Montreux box set. Ford released his album Talk to Your Daughter in 1988. He joined Philippe Saisse, Marcus Miller and J.T. Lewis in the cast of The Sunday Night Band for the second and final season of the late-night NBC television program Sunday Night in 1989. In the 1990s, he released the albums Robben Ford and the Blue Line and Tiger Walk.

Robben Ford has received five Grammy Award nominations and was named one of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of the 20th Century" by Musician magazine. 

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Robert William
guitarist and singer-songwriter

1952 - 2011
Gary Moore

Robert William Gary Moore was a Northern Irish musician and singer-songwriter. Over the course of his career, Moore played in various groups and dabbled in many different styles of music, including bluesrockheavy metal and jazz fusion.

Moore began his career in the late 1960s when he joined Skid Row, with whom he released two albums. After Moore left the group, he joined Thin Lizzy, which featured his former Skid Row bandmate and frequent collaborator Phil Lynott. Moore began his solo career in the 1970s, achieving his first major success with 1978's "Parisienne Walkways", which is considered his signature song. During the 1980s, Moore transitioned into playing hard rock and heavy metal with varying degrees of success around the world.


By the decade's end, however, he had grown tired of his own music and decided to return to his roots with 1990's Still Got the Blues, which became the most successful album of his career. Moore continued to release new music consistently throughout the rest of his career, as well as collaborate with other artists from time to time. Moore died on 6 February 2011 from a heart attack while on vacation in Spain.

Influenced by the likes of Peter Green and Eric Clapton, Moore was often described as a virtuoso and was himself a major influence on many other guitar players. Moore was voted one of the greatest guitarists of all time on respective lists by Total Guitar and Louder. Irish singer-songwriter Bob Geldof said of Moore: "Gary without question was one of the great Irish bluesmen. — His playing was exceptional and beautiful." 


For most of his career, Moore was also heavily associated with Peter Green's famed 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar, which was sold to him by Green. Moore was later honored by Gibson and Fender with several signature model guitars of his own.

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1897 - 1918

Piano ragtime began to be published in the late 1890s. It was immediately successful and subjected to various kinds of popularization, almost all of which have continued. Ragtime was basically a piano keyboard music an "Afro- American version of the Polka." Somewhere in the background of the music is the Sousa style march, thus the first great ragtime composition, Maple Leaf Rag, by the first great ragtime composer, Scott Joplin, was built on four melodies, or themes. If we assign a letter to each theme, the structure of Maple Leaf Rag comes out to ABACD. In ragtime, these themes were sixteen measures like their European counterparts. By the early 1900s, Ragtime was no longer being performed by a solo pianist. Small orchestras, military bands, and piano-banjo combos were among the earliest recordings of Ragtime, which added elements that alluded to popular dance bands of the Dixieland, New Orleans, and Swing styles yet to be developed. 

1868 - 1917 Scott Joplin
1904 – 1943 Fats Waller

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1910 - present
Boogie Woogie

Boogie-woogie is a jazz piano style that was occasionally orchestrated successfully. This full-sounding style came into existence when it became necessary to hire a piano player to substitute for an orchestra. Most boogie-woogie is played on the blues chord progression with a repeated ostinato. The definite feeling of eight beats to the measure is the signature of this style. All during the 40s boogie influenced a number of arrangements within the big bands. The swing bands found great success when they added the element of boogie, such as the case of Will Bradley "Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar," and Tommy Dorsey "Boogie Woogie." Of the boogie-woogie players who came to prominence during the boogie fad; seven stand out as the major contributors and influences: Pine Top Smith, Albert Ammons, Jimmy Yancey, Joe Sullivan, Clarence Lofton, Pete Johnson, and Meade Lux Lewis. In later years Freddie Slack, Cleo Brown, and Bob Zurke came to prominence as the younger generation of boogie-woogie players. The blues-based boogie would later merge with the stride style to become the main line of development of jazz piano playing, a form that would lead to a major movement in jazz, led by the "Fatha," Earl Hines. 

1925 - 2007 Oscar Peterson 
1904  - 1967 Pete Johnson
1904 – 1929 Clarence Pine Top Smith
1905  - 1964 Meade Lux Lewis
1955 - Axel Zwingenberger


1915 - 1930 Dixieland Jazz
Dixieland is an umbrella to indicate musical styles of the earliest New Orleans and Chicago jazz musicians, recorded from 1915 to 1930, as well as its developments and revivals, beginning during the late 1930s. It refers to collectively improvised small band music. Its materials are rags, blues, one-steps, two-steps, marches, and pop tunes. Simultaneous counterlines are supplied by trumpet, clarinet, and trombone, accompanied by combinations of piano, guitar, banjo, tuba, bass, and drums. 


1920 - Chicago Jazz
The merger of New Orleans Style Dixieland with ragtime style led to what is now referred to as Chicago Style Dixieland. This style exemplified the Roaring Twenties, or to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald, "the jazz age." Chicago was excited at this time and so was its music. In 1917 with the closing of Storyville in New Orleans, Chicago became the center of jazz activity. Many workers from the south migrated to Chicago and brought with them a continued interest in the type of entertainment they had left behind. The New Orleans instrumentation was augmented to include a saxophone and piano and the influence of ragtime added 2/4 backbeat to the rhythmic feeling. The banjo moved to the guitar and the tuba moved to string bass. The tempos were generally less relaxed than New Orleans Dixieland, and the music seemed more aggressively performed. 

1903 - 1931 Bix Beiderbecke

1925 - 1945 Swing
Swing is the jazz style that emerged during the early 1930s and emphasized big bands. It spilled into the late 1940s and then remained popular in recordings, film, and television music long after its main proponents had disbanded. Most swing-style groups had at least 10 musicians and featured at least three or four saxophones, two or three trumpets, two or three trombones, piano, guitar, bass violin, and drums. Guitarists, bassists, and drummers offered repeating rhythms that were sufficiently simple, buoyant, and lilting to inspire social dancers, the style's largest audience. Musicians strove for large, rich tone qualities on their instruments. Solo improvisers did not seek intricacy in their lines so much as lyricism and a hot, confident feeling that was rhythmically compelling. For these reasons, the musical period of the 1930s and 1940s has been called the swing era and big-band era. 

1917 - 1965 Nat King Cole
1917 - 1996 Ella Fitzgerald 

1925 - 2007 Oscar Peterson 

1926 - Gipsy Jazz
Gypsy jazz (also known as "Gypsy Swing") is an idiom often said to have been started by guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt in the 1930s. Because its origins are largely in France it is often called by the French name, "Jazz manouche," or alternatively, "manouche jazz," even in English language sources. Django was foremost among a group of Gypsy guitarists working in and around Paris in the 1930s through the 1950s, a group which also included the brothers Baro, Sarane, and Matelo Ferret and Reinhardt's brother Joseph "Nin-Nin" Reinhardt Many of the musicians in this style worked in Paris in various popular Musette ensembles. The Musette style waltz remains an important component in the Gypsy jazz repertoire. Reinhardt was noted for combining a dark, chromatic Gypsy flavor with the swing articulation of the period. This combination is critical to this style of jazz. In addition to this, his approach continues to form the basis for contemporary Gypsy jazz guitar. Reinhardt's most famous group, the Quintette du Hot Club de France, also brought fame to jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli.

1910 - 1953 Jean „Django“ Reinhardt
1908 – 1997 Stéphane Grappelli

1940 - 1950 Be Bop
Although the swing style may have launched the art status of jazz by placing it in the ears and the minds of the world, it was its successor, bop, which claimed mainstream status. Bop became the first jazz style that was not used for dancing. Consequently, there were great changes in the repertoire. There was also a shift away from the popularity that swing enjoyed to a more elite listening audience. The elitism also expanded to the players. If you were an accomplished swing player, there was no guarantee that you would be able to survive the expectations of the bop musical world. The music complexity required players to extend their former playing knowledge. A theoretical underpinning began to emerge as players stretched the harmonic boundaries of early jazz styles. Players had to have a greater and more immediate sense of chord recognition, as well as their extensions and possible substitutions. The music was generally fast, demanding execution on individual instruments seldom required by previous styles. It is interesting that bop is today considered the mainstream of jazz style, yet it was not enthusiastically accepted by the jazz community at the time of its emergence. 
1961 – Wynton Marsalis
1920 - 1955 Charlie Parker 

1950 - 1960 Hard Bop
Hard bop is a sub-genre of jazz that is an extension of bebop (or "bop") music. Journalists and record companies began using the term in the mid-1950s to describe a new current within jazz which incorporated influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues, especially in saxophone and piano playing.

1928 - 1975 Cannonball Adderley

1950 - 1970 Soul Jazz
Soul Jazz came partly from the funky subcategory of hard bop. Its earthy, bluesy melodic concept and the repetitive, dance-like rhythmic aspects stood as higher priorities than the invention of complex harmonies and intricate solo improvisations jazz swing feeling was foremost. Considerably simplified-often only a hint of bebop harmony or rhythmic complexity remained--soul-jazz became the form of hard bop known to the largest audience, particularly in the music of Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, Jack McDuff, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Jimmy McGriff, Ramsey Lewis, Les McCann, Hank Crawford, Stanley Turrentine and Houston Person. Soul Jazz combined the urban, electrified Chicago harp style with that of California swing bands and added a touch of Philadelphia tenor sax jazz from the 1960s. Artists such as Nina Simon and Lou Rawls added to the vocal expressions of this jazz form, which gave newer audiences an appreciation for jazz. 

1931 - 2000 Nat Adderley

1950 - Mainstream Jazz
Mainstream jazz is a genre of jazz music that was first used in reference to the playing styles around the 1950s of musicians like Buck Clayton among others; performers who once heralded from the era of big band swing music who did not abandon swing for bebop, instead performing the music in smaller ensembles. The medium once lay dormant during the 1960s, but regained popularity in the 70s.

1962 - 1999 Michel Petrucciani

1955 - 1960 Cool Jazz
Cool jazz followed bop but was entirely different in mood, in its approach to arranging, and even in its choices of instruments. World War II was over-the country was relaxed and jazz relaxed. In this era, which began in 1947, many instruments were used in jazz for the first time. Softer-sounding instruments, unamplified, created a different mood from that expressed earlier. The G.I. Bill made schooling possible for many jazz players, which encouraged experimentation in jazz that had been previously ignored: new meters, longer forms, and explorations in orchestration. Longer forms were also made possible by the introduction of long-playing records. Although Lester Young came primarily out of the swing style and Miles Davis out of the bop style, they are two of the players associated with the development of the cool style. Young's contribution was the relaxed sound and style of his playing. Davis’s work with Gil Evans that led to the recording of the "Birth of the Cool" signaled the beginning of that period. The cool sound was exemplified by players like Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Chet Baker on trumpet, and George Shearing on piano.  

1926 - 1991 Miles Davis 
1926 - 1967 John  Coltrane

1960 - Modal
Modal Music is not so much a style of jazz as it is a structure. Before the advent of modal music in the '50s, solo improvisations were based around the specific key of a piece -- that is, its tonal center, the starting point to which its melodies and chord progressions would return for a feeling of resolution or completeness. Modal improvisations, on the other hand, were based on modes, or scales -- but not just the typical major and minor scales familiar to nearly all musicians. Because the feeling of the music came from those modes, chord progressions in modal music were usually kept very simple, since too much motion would have allowed little time to fully explore the mode(s) that had been selected. The results often had a meditative, cerebral feel, Modal music had a subtle tension produced by the fact that the solo lines, while melodic, didn't always progress or resolve exactly as the listener was accustomed to hearing; plus, every time a new mode was introduced, the tonal center shifted, keeping the listener just off-balance with a subtle unpredictability. Miles Davis was the first jazz musician to improvise and compose according to modal structure; his Kind of Blue is the definitive modal jazz album, and two of his sidemen on the record -- John Coltrane and Bill Evans -- later went on to become modal innovators in their own right.



1960 - Free Jazz
Free jazz is one name for the music of Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, and their colleagues and disciples. The free designation derives from Coleman's decision to offer performances that were not always organized according to preset melody, tempo, or progression of accompaniment chords. Freedom from these guidelines allows improvisers a greater degree of spontaneity than was available in previous jazz styles. Though nonmusicians find much of Coleman's music indistinguishable from bebop, musicians make distinctions according to the methods used (lack of preset chords) and the melodic vocabulary (original not bebop-derived). Much of Cecil Taylor's music is extremely active.  It is densely packed with rapidly shifting layers of complex harmonies and rhythms. And some recordings of Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders, and Ornette Coleman include loud screeches and shrieks from trumpets and saxophones, combined with nonrepetitive, highly complex sounds from basses and drums. Some of John Coltrane's music of the middle 1960s is often classified with "free" jazz, probably because of its collectively improvised turbulence, despite its using preset arrangements of the harmonies guiding the improvisers. 


1961 – Wynton Marsalis
1922 - 1979 Charles Mingus

1960 - Pop Jazz
The styles of Pop-Jazz are quite varied, but the edges are always brushed clean. The sound is soft, smooth, and radio-ready. Pop-Jazz artists take the popular sounds from their period and infuse them with jazz styling and instrumentation, from Herb Alpert's Swing-come-Cocktail brass ensembles to saxophonist Kenny G.'s Adult Contemporary-derived bedroom instrumentals. Many styles of Pop-Jazz approach popular music from a jazz direction. Saxophonist Stanley Turrentine irons the rough edges from Hard Bop melodies, and guitarist Pat Metheny incorporates elements of rock and Latin Jazz. Other artists, such as the British pop group Black and the sultry singer Sade, take as much influence from the Jazz-Rock fusion of groups such as Steely Dan as they do from the classic traditions of American Vocal Pop. Pop-Jazz's claim to fame is its ability to make the often-obscure genre of jazz into a mass- marketable commodity, always selling more units than the rest of jazz combined.


1979 - Norah Jones

1970 - Jazz  Fusion
As jazz developed its cannon and rock and roll filled its role as American popular music, a new crossover began between the two musical styles. This musical crossover eventually became known as fusion in the jazz community beginning around 1965. Jazz began to import rock instruments, volume, and stylistic delivery. Like bop, fusion did not occur without controversy. As jazz was establishing its legitimacy, it was taking a risk by fusing with rock. Rock also represented a generational division in the American profile. It was the first associated exclusively with the young generation and worked as a banner distinction. Its further association with the social and political polarity of the 1960s tended to reinforce the generation lines. The earliest notable fusion experiments happened again under the guidance of Miles Davis in his albums In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. This later album included players who later form the most popular fusion groups. The most prominent later fusion groups belonged to former Davis players, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, and Wayne Shorter. At the time, this style offered a new virtuosity which, like earlier technical approaches, has become a part of common practice. 

1934 - Dave Grusin
1943 - George Benson 
1954 - Earl Klugh
1951 - John Scofield
1991 - Fourplay - Bob James,  Lee Ritenour, Larry Carlton, etc

1970 - Punk Jazz
Punk jazz describes the amalgamation of elements of the jazz tradition (usually free jazz and jazz fusion of the 1960s and 1970s) with the instrumentation or conceptual heritage of punk rock (typically the more experimental and dissonant strains, such as no wave and hardcore). John Zorn's band Naked City, James Chance and the Contortions, Lounge Lizards, Universal Congress Of, Laughing Clowns, and Zymosis are notable examples of punk jazz artists.

1978–1998 The Lounge Lizards
1988 - 1993 Naked City - John Zorn

1979 - Post Bop
Post-bop is a term for a form of small-combo jazz music that evolved in the early-to-mid sixties. The genre's origins lie in seminal work by John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock. Generally, the term post-bop is taken to mean jazz from the mid-sixties onward that assimilates influence from hard bop, modal jazz, the avant-garde, and free jazz, without necessarily being immediately identifiable as any of the above. The term is a fairly recent coinage and was not in common use while the genre was active. Much "post-bop" was recorded on Blue Note Records. 

1941 - Chick Corea
1940 - Herbie Hancock

1980 - Acid Jazz
The phrase acid jazz was the first jazz term to be coined by a disc jockey rather than by a musician. It is much more a marketing phenomenon than a coherent musical style, even more so than tradition and as with traditional. Acid jazz is very much the commercialization of a revival movement. Just like earlier revivals, it was inspired initially by listening to records rather than to live musicians. In this case, the original style is that of the late-1960s and early 1970s jazz-funk. The sort of music that wasn't heavy enough to be free jazz or early fusion but was more jazz-oriented than the average soul record. At the time, this found a ready response among black listeners and a few white aficionados. After the usual twenty-year gap, a new generation of fans succeeded in promoting the music to a much wider crossover audience. Most of the creative musicians who have flirted with the acid-jazz market have found it too restricting and have moved on, exactly as with other revivals. and they have taken some of their listeners with them. 

1981 - Incognito 


1980 - Nu Jazz
Nu jazz ranges from combining live instrumentation with beats of jazz house to more band-based improvised jazz with electronic elements. It typically ventures further into the electronic territory than does its close cousin, acid jazz (or groove jazz), which is generally closer to earthier funk, soul, and rhythm and blues.Nu jazz can be very experimental in nature and can vary widely in sound and concept. The sound, unlike its cousin Acid Jazz, departs from its blues roots and instead explores electronic sounds and ethereal jazz sensualities. Nu Jazz “is the music itself and not the individual dexterity of the musicians.” Often, Nu Jazz blends elements of traditional Jazz texture with that of modern electronic music and free improvisation, thus, the music can truly evolve into a multitude of sounds and can vary greatly from artist to artist. The style can include broken rhythms, atonal harmonies, and improvised melody.  

1975 - Michael Buble

1980 - Smooth Jazz
Smooth jazz is a sub-genre of jazz which is heavily influenced by R&B, funk, rock, and pop music styles. Beginning in the early-1970s, jazz fusion was a movement by some jazz musicians to merge the instrumental virtuosity and improvisation of traditional jazz, with a modern, electronic sensibility. The instrument that has become the most widely-associated with this genre is the soprano saxophone, plus, a gentle, legato electric guitar. "Smooth jazz" has been successful as a radio format; however, in 2007, the popularity of the format began to slide. However, smooth jazz concerts and record sales continue to show strong fan support for the genre.

1956 - Kenny G


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