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Jazz is a genre of music that originated in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Jazz emerged in many parts of the United States of independent popular musical styles; linked by the common bonds of European American and African American musical parentage with a performance orientation. Jazz makes heavy use of improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation, and the swung note, as well as aspects of European harmony, American popular music, the brass band tradition, and African musical elements such as blue notes and ragtime. A musical group that plays jazz is called a jazz band.

As jazz spread around the world, it drew on different national, regional, and local musical cultures, giving rise to many distinctive styles: New Orleans jazz dating from the early 1910s, big band swing, Kansas City jazz and Gypsy jazz from the 1930s and 1940s, bebop from the mid-1940s, Afro-Cuban jazz, West Coast jazz, ska jazz, cool jazz, Indo jazz, avant-garde jazz, soul jazz, modal jazz, chamber jazz, free jazz, Latin jazz, smooth jazz, jazz fusion and jazz rock, jazz funk, loft jazz, punk jazz, acid jazz, ethno jazz, jazz rap, M-Base and nu jazz.

Louis Armstrong, one of the most famous musicians in jazz, said to Bing Crosby on the latter's radio show, "Ah, swing, well, we used to call it syncopation, then they called it ragtime, then blues, then jazz. Now, it's swing."

In a 1988 interview, jazz musician J. J. Johnson said, "Jazz is restless. It won't stay put and it never will". (Full article...)

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Dizzy Gillespie, at the Downbeat Club, NYC, ca 1947

Bebop or bop is a style of jazz characterized by a fast tempo, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on the combination of harmonic structure and melody. It was developed in the early and mid-1940s. It first surfaced in musicians' argot some time during the first two years of American involvement in the Second World War. This style of jazz ultimately became synonymous with modern jazz, as either category reached a certain final maturity in the 1960s.

The term "bebop" is derived from nonsense syllables (vocables) used in scat singing, and is supposed to have been first attested in 1928. Some researchers speculate that it was a term used by Charlie Christian, because it sounded like something he hummed along with his playing. Dizzy Gillespie stated that the audiences coined the name after hearing him scat the then-nameless tunes to his players and the press ultimately picked it up, using it as an official term: "People, when they'd wanna ask for those numbers and didn't know the name, would ask for bebop." (Full article...)

Selected biography

Art Tatum, ca. May 1946 (William P. Gottlieb 08311).jpg

Arthur "Art" Tatum, Jr. (/ˈttəm/, October 13, 1909 – November 5, 1956) was an American jazz pianist.

Tatum is widely acknowledged as a virtuoso and one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, and was a major influence on later generations of jazz pianists. He was hailed for the technical proficiency of his performances, which set a new standard for jazz piano virtuosity. Critic Scott Yanow wrote, "Tatum's quick reflexes and boundless imagination kept his improvisations filled with fresh (and sometimes futuristic) ideas that put him way ahead of his contemporaries." (Full article...)

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Brandi Disterheft
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Did you know...

Éva Gauthier wearing a Javanese headdress
Julian and Nat Adderley 1966.JPG

 • ... that the song "See See Rider" was first recorded in 1924 by Ma Rainey and reached the top of the rhythm and blues charts twice in versions by Bea Booze and Chuck Willis?
 • ... that Éva Gauthier (pictured, left) was the first classically trained singer to present the works of George Gershwin in concert?
 • ... that the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (pictured, right), an outdoor bandshell and great lawn, uses an innovative sound system that recreates an indoor concert hall sound experience?
 • ... that some of Frank Sinatra's recordings of the 1964 song "My Kind of Town" change the original lyrics to omit reference to the Union Stock Yard which closed in 1971?
 • ... that The Legendary Buster Smith was the only solo album by Charlie Parker's mentor Buster Smith?
 • ... that The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco, a 1959 album by jazz band The Cannonball Adderley Quintet (Adderly brothers pictured), reached the bestseller charts with 50,000 copies sold by May 1960?
August - December 2007

George Gershwin, performing his Rhapsody in Blue, 1924


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