1980s in jazz

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Miles Davis in 1984

In the 1980s in jazz, the jazz community shrank dramatically and split. A mainly older audience retained an interest in traditional and straight-ahead jazz styles. Wynton Marsalis strove to create music within what he believed was the tradition, creating extensions of small and large forms initially pioneered by such artists as Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. In the early 1980s, a commercial form of jazz fusion called pop fusion or "smooth jazz" became successful and garnered significant radio airplay. Smooth jazz saxophonists include Grover Washington, Jr., Kenny G, Kirk Whalum, Boney James, and David Sanborn. Smooth jazz received frequent airplay with more straight-ahead jazz in "quiet storm" time slots at radio stations in urban markets across the U.S., helping to establish or bolster the careers of vocalists including Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, and Sade. In this same time period Chaka Khan released Echoes of an Era, which featured Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Lenny White. She also released the song "And the Melody Still Lingers On (Night in Tunisia)" with Dizzy Gillespie reviving the solo break from "Night in Tunisia".

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Kenny G, one of the leading smooth jazz artists which emerged in the 1980s

In general, smooth jazz is downtempo (the most widely played tracks are in the 90–105 BPM range), layering a lead, melody-playing instrument (saxophones–especially soprano and tenor–are the most popular, with legato electric guitar playing a close second) over a backdrop that typically consists of programmed electronic drum rhythms, synth pads and samples[citation needed]. In his Newsweek article "The Problem With Jazz Criticism"[1] Stanley Crouch considers Miles Davis' playing of fusion as a turning point that led to smooth jazz. In Aaron J. West's introduction to his analysis of smooth jazz, "Caught Between Jazz and Pop" he states,

I challenge the prevalent marginalization and malignment of smooth jazz in the standard jazz narrative. Furthermore, I question the assumption that smooth jazz is an unfortunate and unwelcomed evolutionary outcome of the jazz-fusion era. Instead, I argue that smooth jazz is a long-lived musical style that merits multi-disciplinary analyses of its origins, critical dialogues, performance practice, and reception.[2]

Acid jazz developed in the UK over the 1980s and 1990s and influenced by jazz-funk and electronic dance music. Jazz-funk musicians such as Roy Ayers and Donald Byrd are often credited as forerunners of acid jazz.[3] While acid jazz often contains various types of electronic composition (sometimes including sampling or live DJ cutting and scratching), it is just as likely to be played live by musicians, who often showcase jazz interpretation as part of their performance. Nu jazz is influenced by jazz harmony and melodies, there are usually no improvisational aspects. It ranges from combining live instrumentation with beats of jazz house, exemplified by St Germain, Jazzanova and Fila Brazillia, to more band-based improvised jazz with electronic elements such as that of The Cinematic Orchestra, Kobol, and the Norwegian "future jazz" style pioneered by Bugge Wesseltoft, Jaga Jazzist, Nils Petter Molvær, and others. Nu jazz can be very experimental in nature and can vary widely in sound and concept.

Jazz rap developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and incorporates jazz influence into hip hop. In 1988, Gang Starr released the debut single "Words I Manifest", sampling Dizzy Gillespie's 1962 "Night in Tunisia", and Stetsasonic released "Talkin' All That Jazz", sampling Lonnie Liston Smith. Gang Starr's debut LP, No More Mr. Nice Guy (Wild Pitch, 1989), and their track "Jazz Thing" (CBS, 1990) for the soundtrack of Mo' Better Blues, sampling Charlie Parker and Ramsey Lewis. Gang Starr also collaborated with Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard.Groups making up the collective known as the Native Tongues Posse tended towards jazzy releases; these include the Jungle Brothers' debut Straight Out the Jungle (Warlock, 1988) and A Tribe Called Quest's People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (Jive, 1990) and The Low End Theory (Jive, 1991).

In 1987, the US House of Representatives and Senate passed a resolution proposed by Democratic Representative John Conyers, Jr. to define jazz as a unique form of American music stating, among other things, "...that jazz is hereby designated as a rare and valuable national American treasure to which we should devote our attention, support and resources to make certain it is preserved, understood and promulgated." [4]

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1981[edit]

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1982[edit]

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1983[edit]

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1984[edit]

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1985[edit]

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1986[edit]

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1987[edit]

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1988[edit]

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  • Jazz guitarist Larry Carlton is shot in a random gun shooting outside his Los Angeles studios.[5]

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1989[edit]

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  1. ^ Stanley Crouch (2003-06-05). "Opinion: The Problem With Jazz Criticism". Newsweek. newsweek.com. Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  2. ^ "Caught Between Jazz and Pop: The Contested Origins, Criticism, Performance Practice, and Reception of Smooth Jazz". Digital.library.unt.edu. 2010-10-23. Retrieved 2010-11-07. 
  3. ^ Ginell, Richard S. "allmusic on Roy Ayers". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-11-07. [dead link]
  4. ^ It passed in the House of Representatives on September 23, 1987 and in the Senate on November 4, 1987. The entire six-point mandate can be found on the HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues website. HR-57 Center for the Preservation of Jazz and Blues – http://www.hr57.org/hconres57.html
  5. ^ Larrcarlton.com