Class Five emphasized that bebop, or "modern" jazz, gave rise to several styles of playing that are still the predominant type of jazz heard today. In some ways they were a reaction to the frantic tempos and extremes of bebop. One can differentiate five types of jazz, although it's not always possible to draw precise lines between them. Many musicians contributed to all these types.
For a preview of Modes vs. Chord changes as the basis for improvising, see item 5 below.
(1) A synthesis of orchestration and soloing using the bebop "melodic language," although toned down. The music is epitomized by the Birth of the Cool session recorded in 1948 -1949. In class we played "Boplicity" (by Miles Davis) and "Jeru" (by Jerry Mulligan). (Note: the date given for Boplicity in some sources is 1957. However, the music was recorded in 1948 -1949; the date 1957 is when Capitol Records released the entire session as an album.
We showed how the sound achieved by Davis's 1949 nonet was revived by Herbie Hancock in 1967 in his album "Speak Like A Child," using the title tune ("Speak Like A Child") and "Riot" as examples of orchestrations which frame solos. Other albums by Hancock of this type are "Maiden Voyage" and "Speak Like a Child," which helped to establish his reputation in jazz during the early 1960s.
(2) hard bop -- a more accessible reconstruction of bebop using the blues, popular song forms, or original chord progressions, emphasizing individual soloing; We played "The Jody Grind" and "Blowin' the Blues Away." There are many more examples in this vein: "Sister Sadie," "Señor Bues," and "Song For My Father" are good examples. I have not added links to these titles, but you can find them all on Youtube by searching for "Horace Silver <song title>.
Herbie Hancock later composed music that derived from the hard bop style of jazz pioneered by Horace Silver (whose music we reviewed in class -- also see blow for links). Hancock's famous "Watermelon Man" and his "Cantaloupe Island" were examples of the hard bop influence. Cantaloupe Island is an example of hard bop "funkiness" in its rhythm combined with "modal" approach to improvising -- based on scales, not chord (harmonic) changes. In the "Watermelon Man" performance above, Herbie explains how he came up with the rhythm and melody. The Canteloupe Island quintet has the best soloists Herbie played with in his own groups, Freddie Hubbard (tpt) Joe Henderson (tenor sax), Ron Carter (bass), and Tony Williams (drums).
(3) show tunes and popular music rendered as jazz, and based on chord changes. There are more major musicians during this period than would fit into a reasonable sized paragraph, but a few names that come to mind are Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley, Thelonious Monk, Freddie Hubbard, Gil Evans (an arranger), Oliver Nelson, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and so many dozens more.
(4) Jazz compositions based on chord changes. Some songs composed by jazz musicians cross over into popular music (e.g., Ellington's "Satin Doll" or Erroll Garner's "Misty" but between 1949 - 1969 many composed pieces were intended as jazz and were played primarily by jazz musicians. (See the list at the bottom of this page.) One example we viewed in class was Monk's "Round Midnight," and in Class Six, we will see John Coltrane's "Giant Steps." Specifically, we will hear (and watch) "Giant Steps" - an animation. "Giant Steps" is interesting because the harmonic progression it uses is so unique.
(5) Beginning in 1958-59 there was a reaction to chord-changes (or harmonic progressions) as the basis for improvising. What is usually called "modal" jazz refers to improvising on a variety of "modes" (or scale patterns) rather than on chord changes. Improvising on a scale or mode creates a very different sound than improvising on chord changes / harmonic progression. The album Kind of Blue (1959) was one of the earliest and most listened to examples of modal jazz. In Class Six we will see how modal jazz works and listen to several examples.
List of recommended albums from Class Five:
(Trumpeter) Lee Morgan's "Sidewinder."
Horace Silver (pianist and composer): Played in class: "Peace" (theme from Erik Jackson's "Erik in the Evening" on WGBH; Blowin the Blues Away. Recommended tracks : Cookin' at the Continental, Filthy McNasty Nica's Dream, Song for My Father, Sister Sadie, the Jody Grind.
Miles Davis: Recommended albums in the hard bop or orchestral styles: Cookin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, Steamin' with the Miles Davis Quintet, 'Round About Midnight, Milestones, Some Day My Prince Will Come, My Funny Valentine, 1964. Orchestral albums include Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain, and Miles Ahead.
John Coltrane: (We will listen to his music in Class Six but I will include him here for convenience. Recommended albums: Blue Train, My Favorite Things, Ballads, Coltrane Jazz, Coltrane Plays the Blues, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, Monk /Trane, Giant Steps. Under "class six," there will be additional Coltrane albums that reflect his music from 1962 - 1966, such as his greatest work, "A Love Supreme" (1964). EssentialCompositions by Thelonious Monk. There are dozens of them, and virtually all are worth listening to, especially as played by one of his bands or by him solo. Classics are Monk Blue Monk, Rhythm-n-ing, 'Round Midnight. Highly Recommended Monk compositions - as played by Monk's bands. Bemsha Swing, Ba-lues -Bolivar Ba-lues R. Well, You Needn't, Epistrophe, Straight No Chaser, In Walked Bud, Off-Minor. Exceptionally beautiful ballads (in addition to "Round Midnight) are Ruby My Dear, Pannonica, Ask Me Now, and Crescule with Nellie. :
I highly recommend the Jazz Icons DVD of Thelonious Monkwhich includes two excellent concerts in Europe from 1966 (Cost was $16 when I last checked). Two of the videos we watched in class were from that DVD. Click on the DVD title above to link to the Amazon page. A comprehensive list of Monk's compositions can be found here on Wikipedia.