Free Jazz OpinionGive us at least 100 words to explain your thoughts and opinions in your own words. In this unit we have heard both Miles Davis and John Coltrane go from a relatively conventional head-solo-head based approach, using tunes, chord progressions and melodies, to a more free form approach where almost anything goes. Some people love this approach, saying that is is pure expression and they find the performances exhilarating, exciting and very satisfying. Others feel that this “free” jazz is called “free” because no one in their right mind would actually pay to listen to it! They find it self indulgent, noisy and lacking in any demonstration of actual skill.What do you think? We know jazz, at its core, has to do with the self expression of the musicians. But does it become self-indulgent noise?Should the artist care if most of the public thinks they have gone too far? Some feel that Coltrane and Miles “ruined jazz” by driving away the last of their dwindling audience with “free jazz”. So….is avant-garde or free jazz the ultimate in self expression or self indulgent noise?Remember, we are talking about the later “free jazz” offerings in the unit. Both Coltrane and Davis have examples of more structured approaches in this unit. Those are NOT what we are commenting on here (unless, of course, by comparison).
Free Jazz Opinion Give us at least 100 words to explain your thoughts and opinions in your own words. In this unit we have heard both Miles Davis and John Coltrane go from a relatively conventional h
This chapter is going to focus on two of the most influential characters in jazz: Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Both of these artist s had such long and varied careers that it would have been hard to place them in only one of genres presented thus far or coming up. They both start out playing fairly typical “inside” music that followed regular conventions and techniques that we have been listening to so far. By the end of their careers they both had been exploring very free “outside” music that abandoned chords, form, melody and all of those things we are used to hearing and evaluating in jazz. This style of their later careers is usually referred to as “Free Jazz”. (The standard joke here is that they call it “free jazz” because no one would actually pay to listen to it!) I actually find that a lot of students really enjoy and appreciate it though. Miles Davis Mi les Dewey Davis III (1926 -1991) is one of the best known and influential of all jazz musicians. Perhaps some of it is simply timing and force of personality, but Davis has been at the fore front of most every genre of the modern jazz era (Bebop through Fus ion and Avant -garde ):  He played with Charlie Parker and the rest of the Bebop pioneers.  He was instrumental is what is considered to be the first “cool jazz” recordings (now entitled “The Birth of Cool”). He made some great hard bop recordings with his “1 st Quintet” that included John Coltrane.  His “Kind of Blue” is one of the best selling jazz albums of all time, is on everyone’s “must have” jazz recording list, and is the premier example of “modal jazz”.  His collaborations with Gil Evans : “Miles Ahead” , “Porgy and Bess” and “Sketches of Spain”, helped to define a new style of jazz with orchestral backing.  He made ground breaking recordings with his “2 nd Quintet” that bordered on avant – garde and free jazz but still had structure and form.  He is credited with the first “fusion” recordings. And…his last recordings were with rap artists!!! Countless musicians, who come up in this course and in jazz history have shared the bandstand with him: Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderle y, Milt Jackson, Horace Silver, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, John McLaughlin and on and on….. Put some Miles on and read t his biography from the (admittedly biased) Miles Davis website: “What is cool ? At its very essence, cool is all about what’s happening next . In popular culture, what’s happening next is a kaleidoscope encompassing past, present and future: that which is about to happen may be cool , and that which happened in the distant past may also be cool . This timeless quality, when it applies to music, allows minimalist debate – with few exceptions, that which has been cool will always be cool . For nearly six decades, Miles Davis has embodied all that is cool – in his music ( and most especially jazz), in his art, fashion, romance, and in his international, if not intergalactic, presence that looms strong as ever today. 2006 – The year in which Miles Davis was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame on March 13th – is a l and – mark year, commemorating the 80th anniversary of his birth on May 26, 1926, and the 15th anniversary of his death on September 28, 1991. In between those two markers is more than a half -century of brilliance – often exasperating, brutally honest with himself and to others, uncompromising in a way that transcended mere intuition. In carrying out what always seemed like a mission, Miles Dewey Davis III – musician, composer, arranger, producer, and band leader – was always in the right place at the right time, another defining aspect of cool . Born in Alton, Illinois, and raised in East St. Louis, where his father was a dentist, Miles was given his first trumpet at age 13. A child prodigy, his mastery of the instrument accelerated as he came under the spell of older jazzmen Clark Terry, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Eckstine, and others who passed through. He accepted admission to the Juilliard School in 1944, but it was a ruse to get to New York and hook up with Bird and Diz. Mile s was 18. Cool . Within a year, he accomplished his goal. He can be heard on sessions led by Parker that were released on Savoy in 1945 (with Max Roach), ’46 (with Bud Powell), ’47 (with Duke Jordan and J.J. Johnson), and ’48 (with John Lewis). In 1947, the M iles Davis All -Stars (with Bird, Roach, Lewis, and Nelson Boyd) debuted on Savoy. His years on 52nd Street during the last half of the 1940s brought him into the bop orbit of musicians whose legends he would share before he was 25 years old. At the turn of the decade into 1950, as Miles led his first small groups, an asso – ciation with Gerry Mulligan and arranger Gil Evans ushered in The Birth of the Cool (Capitol), a movement that challenged the dominance of bebop and hard -bop. Miles’ subsequent record dates as leader in the earl y ’50s (on Blue Note, then Prestige) helped introduce Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, Horace Silver, and Percy Heath, among many others, establishing Miles’ role as the premier jazz talent scout for the rest of his career. An historic set at th e Newport Jazz Festival in 1955 resulted in George Avakian signing Miles to Columbia Records, and led to the form ation of his so – called “first great quintet,” featuring John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones (the ’Round About Mid night sessions). Miles’ 30 years at Columbia was one of the longest exclusive signings in the history of jazz, and one that spanned at least a half – dozen distinct generations of changes in the music – virtually all of which were anticipated or led by Mile s or his former sidemen. Over the course of those 30 years, service with Miles became an imprimatur for the Who’s Who of jazzmen. Kind Of Blue , undisputedly the coolest jazz album ever recorded, was done in 1959 with the second edition of M iles’ “first great quintet” – principally Coltrane, Chambers, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, and Jimmy Cobb – who stayed together until 1961. After several intermediate groups (which featured such giants as Hank Mobley, Wynton Kelly, Victor Feldman, and George Coleman), Miles’ “second great quintet” slowly coalesced over 1963 -64, into the lineup of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams (who was 17 years old when he joined Miles). They recorded with producer Teo Macero and toured around the world together until 1968, achieving artistic and commercial success that was unprecedented in modern jazz. Mile’s S tyles  Bebop in the late 1940s  Cool Jazz in the early 1950s  Hard bop in the mid – 1950s  Modal jazz in the later 1950s and 1960s  Jazz -rock fusion in the 1970s  MIDI sequencing, 1968 was a cataclysmic year of sea change for Miles and for America, a year of upheaval – the escalation of the war in southeast Asia, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and the rise of the Black Power movement were among the factors that pushed Miles’ music toward a more insistent electric (amplified) pulse. At the same time, Miles dug the triple -whammy he heard in the music of James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and Sly Stone. What began in 1968 with Miles’ quintet quietly adopting electric piano and guitar, blew up into a full – scale rock band sound on 1969’s breakthrough double – LP Bitches Brew (which landed him on the cover of Rolling Stone , the first jazzman to appear on the magazine’s front -page. Very cool .) At the c ore of Bitches Brew , whose sessions took place the week after the Woodstock festival in August 1969, there was the final small group known as the “third great quintet” – Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette – augmented by John McLaughlin , Larry Young, Joe Zawinul, Bennie Maupin, Steve Grossman, Billy Cobham, Lenny White, Don Alias, Airto Moreira, Harvey Brooks, and former quintet members Hancock and Carter. Six months later in February 1970, Miles kicked off the Jack Johnson sessions, shuffling many of those same players over the next two months, plus Sonny Sharrock, Steve Grossman, Michael Henderson, Keith Jarrett and others. In no uncertain terms, the jazz -rock fusion movement had been launched full -tilt, and the spirit of Miles permeated the three dominant bands who rocked the stages (as he did) of the Fillmores East and West ( et alia ) through the ’70s and beyond – Weather Report, Return To Forever, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. His freewheeling lifestyle and high -energy forays into funk and R&B grooves somehow dovetailed with a period of declining health in the early ’70s, until Miles finally went underground in 1975, after playing (what turned out to be) his final gi g at New York’s Central Park Music Festival that summer. A series of live LPs (domestic and imported from Japan) and other archival releases from the ’50s and ’60s were made available over the next five years to fill the void. Into the ’80s, Miles’ reputation as talent scout extraordinaire went unquestioned. He surfaced stronger than ever in 1981 on The Man With the Horn with a top -tier lineup of young players – Mike Stern, Marcus Miller, Bill Evans (no relation), Al Foster, and Mino Cinelu (all of whom went on to success ful careers). It was Miles’ first LP to skirt the Billboard album chart’s Top 50 since Bitches Brew , and the band was recorded live for the follow -up double -LP, 1982’s We Want Miles . They remained stable (abetted by John S cofield) in 1983 on Star People . The lineup then morphed on 1984’s Decoy , as Miller was replaced by Daryll ‘Munch’ Jones, Robert Irving III was added on synthe siz ers and programming, and Branford Marsalis shared saxophone parts with Evans. Miles’ final album for Columbia Records was released in 1985, the cryptically titled You’re Under Arrest . It (re) -introduced Miles’ nephew Vince Wilburn into the lineup (he played briefly on The Man With the Horn ), as Bob Berg took over the big chai r from Evans and Marsalis. The album debuted two ballads that would be staples of Miles’ performances for the rest of his career, Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” The following year, Miles began recordin g for Warner Bros., a prolific period that yielded one new album every year (the first four co -produced with Marcus Miller): Tutu (1986), Music From Siesta (1987, a film soundtrack collabora – tion with Miller), Live Around the World (1988), Amandla (1989), Dingo (1990, an orchestral collabora tion with Michel Legrand), and his final studio album. the hip -hop informed Doo -Bop (1991), whose title tune gave Miles a posthumous Rap/R&B hit single in 1992. “Miles Dewey Davis III – trumpeter, visionary, and eternal modernist – was a force of nature,” wrote Ashley Kahn (author of Kind Of Blue: The Making Of the Miles Davis Masterpiece , Da Capo, 2000) in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame dinner journal on the occasion of Miles’ induction. “With an ear that d isregarded categories of style, he sought out new musical worlds, and generations followed in his footsteps. While the creative rush and experimental charge that come to most musicians in youth eventually run down, Davis held an exploratory edge for most of his 65 years. It had to be fresh, or forget it.” Beyond his defiant stance, his piercing glare, his amorous conquests and one – of-a-kind fashion statements – there was and always will be one eternal truth: the music of Miles Davis. Reprinted from: http://www.milesdavis.com/us/biography
Free Jazz Opinion Give us at least 100 words to explain your thoughts and opinions in your own words. In this unit we have heard both Miles Davis and John Coltrane go from a relatively conventional h
John Coltrane (1926 -1967) John Coltrane is one of the most influential saxophonists in jazz history. It seems that virtually any saxophonist playing after the 1960s will demonstrate obvious influences of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane to varying degrees. A biography will follow but some main points about John Coltrane are in order:  His earliest professional work was with Rhythm and Blues bands  His first “big ” gig was with the first Miles Davis quintet of 195 5-1957  He left Miles for about a year but came back for the “Kind of Blue ” album and recorded his own “Giant Steps ” album and tune in 1959.  He would practice obsessively. He would often practice 14 hours a day.  He was an a bsolute expert at chords, scales and the various substitutions and extensions associated with them.  His work of the mid 1950s through early 1960s demonstrates this expertise and the application of it.  In the 1960s his approach becomes much more avant -garde . Pure expression without the constraints of chords, progressions and form become his goals.  He had a radio “hit” on the tune “My Favorite Things” that bridged both of these worlds. This made him extremely popular and surprisingly rich!  His avant -garde exp lorations inspired a whole generation of sax players to come (whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your perspective.)  As far as his sound goes: o He used very straight tones with very little vibrato. o He is associated with “Sheets of Sound”; a desc ription given to his playing by a jazz critic. It involves his extremely rapid playing of all of the notes in a given chord creating this “sheet” of sound that represents the chord (rather than a melody that plays within it) o His later, avant -garde , work fe atured a lot of “multi -phonics” which is a technique of getting the horn to play two (or sometimes more) notes at once. It gives a “honking” kind of sound that some loved….and many did not.  He died of liver disease in 1967 at 40 years old. Like many jazz musicians who passed early, we can only guess as to what he might have produced had he lived longer.  Many saxophone players and jazz fans consider Coltrane the pinnacle of jazz expression and the embodiment of what jazz should be. Others feel that his explorations turned away many potential fans and f elt a lot of his later work was just “self -indulgent noise ”. What about you?
Free Jazz Opinion Give us at least 100 words to explain your thoughts and opinions in your own words. In this unit we have heard both Miles Davis and John Coltrane go from a relatively conventional h
Ornette Coleman Free jazz and Avante -Garde Miles Davis and John Coltrane both had musical trajectories that went from “tonal ” music using set melodies, chord progressions and rhythms to a more “free ” style in which many of those elements were much more loosely adhered to. Coltrane ’s “A Love Supreme ” was set up as a four movement suite and ostinato ’s (repeating lines ) were used to give the tunes form and continuity. Miles Davis ’ “Bitches Brew ” and subsequent albums used repeating bass lines and rhythms. Some artists w anted to take this to the next logical step which is totally “free ” music. The idea here is to provide no limits, boundaries , or lines with which to bass or rest rict your improvisations to. Ornette Coleman (1930 -present) is per haps the founding father of this style . Coleman would often provide a loose melody and maybe some chords for his musicians but his instructions were to use those for the beginning of the tune but then go wherever you felt the music should go. Most of the public couldn ’t get behind this approach and viewed it a “random noise ” or “self -indulgent nonsense ”. Coleman still plays today and some of his tunes have become “standards ” so maybe he had the last laugh. Other prominent players in the Avante -Garde/Free Jazz movement are Alber Ayler , Archid Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, The Art Ensemble of Chicago and Anthony Braxton.




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