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Portal:Jazz

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Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States. It originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and developed from roots in blues and ragtime. Jazz is seen by many as "America's classical music". Since the 1920s Jazz Age, jazz has become recognized as a major form of musical expression. It then emerged in the form of independent traditional and popular musical styles, all linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions including blues and ragtime, as well as European military band music. Intellectuals around the world have hailed jazz as "one of America's original art forms".

As jazz spread around the world, it drew on national, regional, and local musical cultures, which gave rise to different 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 toward a more challenging "musician's music" which was played at faster tempos and used more chord-based improvisation. Cool jazz developed near 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 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.

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Davis (right center) playing in Charlie Parker's quintet, 1947.

Birth of the Cool is a compilation album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released in 1957 on Capitol Records. It compiles twelve tracks recorded by Davis's nonet for the label over the course of three sessions during 1949 and 1950.

Featuring unusual instrumentation and several notable musicians, the music consisted of innovative arrangements influenced by classical music techniques such as polyphony, and marked a major development in post-bebop jazz. As the title implies, these recordings are considered seminal in the history of cool jazz. Most of them were originally released in the 10-inch 78-rpm format and are all approximately three minutes long. (Full article...)

Selected biography

Katie Melua - Apple Store Berlin - Germany - 25 Nov. 2013.jpg

Ketevan "Katie" Melua (/ˈmɛlə/; Georgian: ქეთევან "ქეთი" მელუა [mɛluɑ]; born 16 September 1984) is a Georgian-British singer, songwriter and musician. She moved to Northern Ireland at the age of eight and then to England at fourteen. Melua is signed to the small Dramatico record label, under the management of composer Mike Batt, and made her musical debut in 2003. In 2006, she was the United Kingdom's best-selling female artist and Europe's highest selling European female artist. (Full article...)

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Did you know...

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 • ... that jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding (pictured) became one of the youngest faculty members in the history of Berklee College of Music almost immediately after her graduation?
 • ... that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard composed the music for Space Jazz – a concept album companion to his science fiction novel Battlefield Earth?
 • ... that the Dunbar Hotel (pictured) was the heart of LA's jazz scene with visits by Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Louis Armstrong?


June 2008

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