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6

Cool, Hard Bop, and Modal Jazz

III.

Modal Jazz

footnotes

8. all styles of jazz from Dixieland to contemporary are still being performed and recorded today; all style dates given are approximations of when each respective style came to the forefront of jazz and experienced its most concentrated development; of course, styles and dates overlap

9. IHJ = selection is found on Willie Hill’s The Instrumental History of Jazz; Web = selection is found on the Monk Institute Jazz in America National Curriculum web site (www.jazzinamerica.org)

I. Cool (1949-1955)

jazz images 1

Chet Baker

jazz images 2

Dave Brubeck

jazz images 3

Miles Davis

jazz images 4

MJQ

jazz images 5

Gerry Mulligan


A. A reaction to Bebop

      

1.

if Bebop was a reaction to Swing, then Cool was a reaction to the reaction 

            

a.

Bebop was a fast-paced, energetic, raw emotional, loud, “hot” style of jazz 

            

b.

Cool was usually a slower paced, more subdued, less emotional, softer, more controlled, “cooler” style of jazz 

      

2.

Cool repopularized jazz and pulled it back into the mainstream of America 

      

3.

while Cool jazz was performed by both black and white musicians in all major cities, it has been most closely associated with young white players (e.g., baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, trumpet player Chet Baker, pianist Dave Brubeck, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond) on the West Coast (i.e., Los Angeles and San Francisco); highly significant east coast black Cool innovators included trumpet player Miles Davis and pianist John Lewis  

      

4.

the size of the Cool groups were more varied than their Bebop counterparts  

            

a.

Bebop combos usually ranged from quartets to sextets  

            

b.

Cool combos ranged from trios (three members) to nonets (nine members) 

      

5.

the instrumentation of the Cool groups were more varied than their Bebop counterparts 

            

a.

Bebop combos usually consisted of trumpet, saxophone, piano, bass, and drums 

            

b.

besides the standard Bebop instrumentation, Cool combos often included softer, more “classical” instruments, e.g., flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, fluegelhorn, vibes, tuba, guitar, etc.) 

      

6.

Cool influences and tune sources included swing, bebop, pop, and classical music  


B. Performance Practices

      

1.

written arrangements 

      

2.

use of polyphony 

            

a.

Bebop employed more homophony, i.e., one melodic line (the soloist) with accompanying chords (the pianist) underneath 

            

b.

besides homophony, Cool often employed polyphony, i.e., two or more independent melodic lines sounded together 

      

3.

integration of arrangement and improvisation; both were important 

      

4.

rhythm sections were basically passive, providing subtle accompaniment 

      

5.

the dynamic range (i.e., soft to loud), as well as the emotionally expressive range, was usually more narrow in Cool than in Bebop 

      

6.

Cool utilized the basic musical language of Bebop, but more simplified; the use of the blues was minimized (more classical influence than blues influence) 

      

7.

compared to bebop, cool jazz was more “tune oriented,” i.e., more singable, easy, narrow range, simple rhythms  


C. Important Figures

      

1.

Chet Baker, trumpet (1929-1988) watch video Chet Baker (1964) 

      

2.

Dave Brubeck, piano (1920-2012) watch video Dave Brubeck Quartet playing Take Five (1961)  

      

3.

Miles Davis, trumpet (1926-1991) watch video Miles Davis playing So What 

      

4.

Modern Jazz Quartet (John Lewis, piano; Milt Jackson, vibes, Percy Heath, bass, Connie Kay, drums) watch video Modern Jazz Quartet playing Django 

      

5.

Gerry Mulligan, baritone saxophone (1927-1996) watch video Gerry Mulligan playing Bernie's Tune (1956) 


D. Listening Examples

   

"Boplicity," Miles Davis (IHJ), and/or "Bernie’s Tune," Gerry Mulligan Quartet (IHJ), and/or "Take Five," Dave Brubeck (Web)9 

Audio Snippets

speakerspacer Take Five - The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Video Clips

videospacer Chet Baker
videospacer Dave Brubeck Quartet
videospacer Sonny Rollins - St. Thomas
videospacer Modern Jazz Quartet - Django
videospacer Gerry Mulligan - Bernie's Tune
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