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Free Jazz Essay

FREE JAZZ The origins of Jazz date back to early 20th century and even late 19th century in New Orleans, although it is known that the jazz movement started also in some northern states such as Chicago. The West African Black folk music traits clashed with European light music of the late 18th century and formed: “the syncopated rhythms of Ragtime and minor chord voicing characteristic of the Blues. ” In other words, Jazz was formed mostly from Blues scales. In the early days of Jazz, it was played in small marching bands and solo by some people.

When Louis Armstrong stepped into the Jazz world, he became one of the most influential players in the Jazz world, especially with his perfection in Improvisation which is still a great part of Jazz: “Through his clear, warm sound, unbelievable sense of swing, perfect grasp of harmony, and supremely intelligent and melodic improvisations, he taught us all to play jazz. —Wynton Marsalis. ” After the early 20th Century, Jazz started to evolve with an enormous speed and branched into many categories. One of these categories, Free Jazz, is still around today emerging all around the world.

Free Jazz emerged in the 1950s, was at its peak in the 1960s, and it remained a part of jazz, which is still popular today. Its emergence was mostly by the African-Americans, like all the other jazz styles. It was a reaction against the interest of white people into Soul Jazz and other music genres which were around in the 1950s. “Many free [pic]jazz musicians regard [pic]the music as signifying in a broadly religious way, or to have gnostic[1] or mystical connotations, as an aid to meditation or self-reflection, as evidenced by Coltrane’s Om album, or Charles Gayle’s Repent” (Bookrags. om). Its development was the outcome of many artists such as Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon, and many more. The main feature of Free Jazz is that there are no rules to how you play. In fact the major and the most important part of Free Jazz is improvisation. Musicians do not have to follow any rules, such as chord progression. Instead they play random notes which they desire. They even do not follow any tempos or meters while they are improvising. However, although we said that there are no rules, the Free Jazz Musicians still follow some chords nd harmonies; they do not play the notes on their instrument randomly (e. g. Playing Low F, then high E, at a very high speed). The reason is obvious: The music would not sound any good if the musicians didn’t even use chords or harmonies. Free Jazz musicians often use chromatic intervals and harmonies, and some also use atonality “while playing in microtones[2], overtones[3], multiphonics[4], and tone clusters[5]” (Britannica). Also while performing the piece, it tends to go smooth without any breaks in between, along with the balance of improvisation (which is “not going mad” while improvising).

The earliest records of music using Free Jazz was done by Lennie Tristano, which was a famous pianist at that time. Although he had no real influence on what would come after him, he was the first person who ever used “improvisation/tools of Free Jazz” in music. In the late 1950s, with the arrival of Ornette Coleman in to the music world, the Free Jazz era had truly begun. In fact, his “Free Jazz” named album was used as the name of the new jazz era. Afterwards, in the 1960s, saxophonists John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy and pianist Cecil Taylor began composing their own music in the Free Jazz world.

In the peak of Free Jazz, it also had another name which was “Energy Music” which symbolized Free Jazz’s improvisation, “in which dense sound textures were created from furiously generated note sequences,” which means that powerful complicated sounds (with feelings) were created from energetically played notes that come one after another, in certain orders (which is, like I said, what Free Jazz is). In the mid 1960s, Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders created new styles by using soaring runs, distorted wails[6] and shrieks[7].

After them, Albert Taylor broke the rules even further in Free Jazz: He played solos with unfixed pitches, multiphonics honks, and overtone “blasts. ” The drummers also played a major part in Free Jazz as they also improvised without caring about tempo or meters. Since percussion plays a major part in modern music, it is also heard a lot in most jazz pieces. Until this date Free Jazz has been an instrumental genre with a very low amount of voices. This was because it was hard to improvise the notes along with the lyrics.

Beyond U. S. A, Free Jazz also emerged in Europe and Japan. Peter Brotzmann, Evan Parker, Conny Bauer, etc. are the well known Free Jazz musicians of Europe. Europe approached Free Jazz with enjoyment and separated it even further from the other styles of Jazz. Some European and Japanese musicians even came to U. S. A and got immersed into the Free Jazz world. Other than this, some U. S. Free Jazz musicians combined African, India, and Middle Eastern folk music and created a “world influenced” Free Jazz.

As we can see, Free Jazz had been a very distinctive development in the jazz world and had influenced musicians, not just in the U. S. but also around the world. In fact, it is so distinctive that it can be easily separated by other types of jazz. There are also a lot of Free Jazz players around to world who played with their respective instruments and contributed to the jazz and Free Jazz world. Bibliography: Origins of Jazz: Scholastic, ed. “History of Jazz. ” History of Jazz | Black History in America |. Scholastic. 2 Oct. 2008 . “Jazz Timeline – Including first cousin, The Blues. ” Jazz Timeline. A Passion for Jazz! 12 Oct. 2008 . Free Jazz: “Free Jazz. ” Free jazz::Supplemental Information. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. 14 Oct. 2008 . “Free Jazz. ” Free jazz Summary. BookRags. 14 Oct. 2008 . Definitions looked up from: www. webster. com Book Sources: Jost, Ekkehard. Free Jazz. New York: Da Capo P, Incorporated, 1994. Yanow, Scott. Jazz : A Regional Exploration. New York: Greenwood Group, Incorporated, 2005. ———————– 1] An adherent of gnosticism: The thought and practice especially of various cults of late pre-Christian and early Christian centuries distinguished by the conviction that matter is evil and that emancipation comes through gnosis. [2] A musical interval smaller than a halftone. [3] One of the higher tones produced simultaneously with the fundamental and that with the fundamental comprise a complex musical tone [4] Simultaneous notes played on one instrument [5] A dissonant group of closely spaced notes played at the same time. [6] To make a sound suggestive of a mournful cry [7] To utter a sharp shrill sound

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