A Brief History Of Jazz (part 3)

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By the latter half of the 20th decade, the larger jazz-based orchestras had become more and more popular and the collective improvisation found in dixieland had gone out of style. As the depression hit, it pushed dixieland underground for ten years. The public didn’t want to be reminded of the 1920’s carefree days and instead for a few years when they preferred ballads and dance music.

Despite the fact that Benny Goodman became suddenly popular in 1935, the younger generation was interested in doing whatever they could do to overlook the Depression by dancing to hard-swinging orchestras. The period from 1935 to 1946 was commonly known as the era for the large orchestras which dominated the pop music charts. During this period, jazz was a big and important part of popular music, not only as an influence as it had been before. Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller had a million sellers and Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie were the household celebrities.

During this time, jazz developed in various ways. New soloists like pianists Teddy Wilson and Art Tatum, trumpeters Bunny Berigan and Roy Eldridge, tenorsaxophonist Lester Young came up with different styles, dixieland was revived and rediscovered, big band arranging got more sophisticated, and jazz music was celebrated as an important part of America for the first time. However, this golden age of Jazz would not last long.

In the former half of the 1940’s, many younger musicians began to move beyond swing music and develop their own playing conception. Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and altoist Charlie Parker were the main founders of the new type of music called bop or bebop. However, they were not alone and soon joined by dozens of musicians. Rhythms and harmonies became more and more complicated and the music was performed less for dancers. A recording strike during the period of 1942-44, the elimination of dance floors at clubs, a prohibitive entertainment tax, and the growing popularity of pop singers made jazz uplifted to the level of an art music.