Swing/Big Band Era
-dance oriented music

-dance style: “lindy hop”

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-Harlem Renaissance

Fletcher Henderson
-arranger/band leader (piano)

-section vs. section arrangements (dialogue between instruments)

-“four beat” swing rhythm- more danceable and driving

Coleman Hawkins
-important musician out of Fletcher Henderson’s band

-tenor sax

-sequencing: connecting ideas, using a single idea as a motive

Jimmy Blanton
-important musician associated with Duke Ellington


-played melody (unusual for bass)

-used a bow (trained violinist)

-great soloist and improviser

-developed more linear bass lines (melodic and fluid)

Billy Strayhorn
-Helped Duke Ellington write (writing styles remarkably similar)


Art Tatum
-blind pianist

-“cutting contest” (trying to outplay each other)

-combined classical, stride, and boogie

-reharmonization (creating more tension)

Billie Holiday
-“Lady Day”


-very personable style: instrumental voice (imitates horn players)

-emotional storytelling (had a difficult life)

Charlie Christian

-first great (best) guitar soloist

Ella Fitzgerald
-amazing scat singer, very instrumental

-sang fair amount of traditional jazz AND pop

-broke mold of stereotypical female singer (larger girl)

The Mills Brothers
-swing vocal style (doo-wop)

-first black group to be on a national/network radio group

-influenced the Andrews sisters

Nat “King” Cole

-first black to have weekly radio show & also a TV variety show

-broke color barrier in the business (compared to Jackie Robinson)

Frank Sinatra
-singer/ stereotypical big band singer

-appealed to younger (female) audience

-unique phrasing style

Eric Dolphy
-alto sax, bass clarinet, flute (virtuoso for all 3)

-dissected Charlie Parker’s notes

-strange sound but more logical

-Picasso of the jazz world: real picture but very disjointed and strange

Ornette Colman
-alto sax

-took piano out of his music completely: no chord progression

-lots of complicated melodies: CHAOS

The Modern Jazz Quartet
-took be-bop and made it more legitimate

-took be-bop to the concert halls

-tried to find a wider audience in their music

-mixed classical, jazz, and ethnic styles together

-“3rd stream”- mixing classical and jazz

John Lewis
-piano player for the Modern Jazz Quartet
Milt Jackson
-vibrophone player for the Modern Jazz Quartet
Dave Brubeck
-best selling jazz musician of all time
-w/ Paul Desmond: experimented with odd meter in “5” and “9”
George Shearing
-British; legally blind
-pop orientation: shorter tunes, arranging
-“Shearing sound”= piano, guitar, vibes all playing melody
Bill Evans
-most famous for his trio
-brilliant organization, classical influence, technical
-collective improvisation: let bass and drummers be more experimental and melodic
Bill Evans Trio
-Bill Evans: piano
-Scott Lafaro: bass
-Paul Motian: drums
Cootie Williams
-Ellington player
Johnny Hodges
-Ellington player
-alto sax
-most innovative soloist
Ben Webster
-Ellington player
-tenor sax
-shifted sound of the band
Jungle sounds
-Special effects used by Ellington’s players
-“growls” imitated animals with their instruments
Glenn Miller
-most popular big band leader of his era
-23 #1 hira
-NOT jazz: no improvisation (jazz-like)
-popular because it was predictable
Duke Ellington: importance, history, style
-most recorded jazz musician ever
-brought jazz to the classical world (crossover
-wrote personal arrangements for individual players
-cross-section writing
Charlie Parker
-alto sax
-most important sax player of his period
-1st major Bebop sax player
-Kansas City
-wrote new, complex faster melodies based on old tunes
-worked closely with Dizzy Gillispie
-after Armstrong, most important improviser
-Charlie Parker W/ Strings= effort to reach more pop audience
John “Dizzy” Gillispie
-experimented with Bebop and Cuban salsa/mambo
-worked closely with Charlie Parker
-complex chords= more extension (color)
Thelonious Monk
-Bebop harmonic/chordal genius
-mixed old and new: stride + melodies/blues
-didn’t catch on real widely b/c of dissonance and not “pretty” sounds
-improv made it hard to dance to
Bud Powell
-“Best Bebop piano player”
-adapted Parker’s style to piano
-piano trio (modern: piano/bass/drums)
Miles Davis 1960s group
-2nd important quintet: hard bop (crazier, more intense) :
1. Herbie Hancock-piano
2. Wayne Shorter- tenor sax
3. Ron Carter -bass
4. Tony Williams- drummer
Miles Davis Classic Quintet
-“mature” bebop- model for typical jazz
-a.k.a. mainstream jazz period
1. Paul Chambers- Bass
2. Philly Jo Jones- Drums
3. Red Garland -Piano
4. John Coltrane -Tenor Sax
5. Cannonbal Adderly -Alto sax
[Late Replacements]
1. Wynton Kelly -piano
2. Jimmy Cobb -drums

“Birth of the Cool”



-Miles Davis/Gil Evans recording -smoother, more chilled out, listenable bebop
“Kind of Blue”
-Miles Davis/Bill Evans recording
-most important album in jazz history (influential: one of the best selling of all time)
-classic sextet
-atypical/revolutionary experimentation style with “modal” jazz
(mode = scale not used to hearing- lack of chord/harmonic progression)
-rock mixed with jazz
-1970s “Bitches Brew” most innovative fusion album (mostly improvised)
-David didn’t want to play the same music over again: makes jazz fit with time period and culture
Les Paul
-developed the 8 track recording machine
John Coltrane Famous Quartet
1. McCoy Turner – piano
2. Elvin Jones -drums
3. Jimmy Garrison -bass
Post-war era intro/technology
-magnetic tape allowed higher quality and more tracks on a single tape
-1948: First tape recorder available (Ampex)
-1949: Two track stereo (Ampex)
-1939: FM radio
-1939-1951: TVs
Free jazz
a.k.a. “avant-garde”
-improv not tied to any chord progression agreed upon before the performance
-most free jazz groups got rid of piano b/c the pianist had the assumed role of chord progressions
Benny Goodman
-clarinet/ white band leader
-bought Henderson and Carter’s arrangements
Change from N.O. jazz -> Big Band
-more players
-no banjo in rhythm section
-more arrangements and more specific ORGANIZED arrangement style
-conversation-type playing
Big Band instrumentation
Lionel Hampton
Kansas City style
-Count Basie
-Riff based
-Head charts = improvised parts
Walter Page
-Bassist for Basie
Jo Jones
-drummer for Basie
-quiet, relaxed style
Freddie Green
-guitarist for Basie
Count Basie
-led consistent, smooth, rhythm section
-amazing pianist and bandleader
-timing of a drummer, used silence
head arrangements
-not written down
-spontaneously created during performances and memorized
Lester Young
-Basie saxophonist
John Coltrane
-intense, fast
-chord changes
-modal (“my favorite things”)
-free jazz/ bebop hard bop
-“Giant Steps”
bop vs. swing
-small combo
-less emphasis on arrangement
-more complex improv
-complex melodies and harmonies