Jazz music and interesting knowledge for beginners (Part 5)

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Modal (circa 1950s)

While the Bebop and Cool Jazz compositions are composed and played according to a certain progression, Modal Jazz is based on modes, thereby making the work easier to play and also easier to hear. In addition, the modes in Modal Jazz also move very slowly, not as quickly as Bebop or even Cool Jazz. Modal Jazz artist only has to think about mixing 7 notes in each mode so he will be able to spend more time on improvisation.

The most famous of the Modal Jazz is still Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Impression  (John Coltrane) is an extremely memorable work.

Free Jazz (circa 1959 ~ 1970)

Jazz musicians are always looking for ways to “break out” from the musical barriers, and Free Jazz is the culmination of that goal. Instead of composing according to the existing framework, Free Jazz is entirely based on music, meaning that just listening or being able to do not need any rules at all. Free Jazz often amazes the listener because it surpasses all their speculations. It’s like the return of the New Orleans Jazz – the quintessential old liqueur in a more beautiful new jar.

This prominent branch includes Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane. Readers should also listen to  Lonely Woman  (Ornette Coleman) or  Enter Evening  (Cecil Taylor).

Fusion (circa 1969 ~ 1990)

After more than three decades of exploring the limits of radical music styles, jazz artists of the 70’s began to bring jazz music to the masses with Fusion. Fusion is a blend of jazz with other popular genres of music, mainly rock and funk. In terms of performance, the Fusion Jazz combines the power, tone and simplicity of rock’n’roll with the already subtle improvisation of jazz. The rock and funk electronics also give jazz a whole new sound.

Many music critics and professional listeners believe that Fusion Jazz is just a genre “to follow”, not jazz, but not what it is combining. However, it cannot be denied that it is Fusion Jazz that has made jazz music more popular, including young people who are accustomed to listening to market music.

Notable artists include Miles Davis, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Freddie Hubbard. Songs to listen to include  Bitches Brew  (Miles Davis), Birdland  (Weather Report), Chameleon  (Herbie Hancock), Mr. Clean (Freddie Hubbard).