[ Login ]
lesson plan12345678
8

Jazz Today, Jazz Tomorrow

footnotes

1. While jazz is constantly evolving and many of today's jazz musicians are exploring new styles, all styles of jazz (e.g., Dixieland, swing, bebop, etc.) are still being performed and recorded today.

2. The term "traditional jazz" is often used as a synonym for Dixieland or early jazz. However, in the context discussed here, a "jazz traditonalist" is someone who performs jazz primarily associated with and reflective of blues, swing, bebop, and hard bop (that is, jazz that was developed before Free Jazz and Fusion).

3. For information on ordering The Instrumental History of Jazz 2-CD set, click here.

I. Jazz Today

jazz images 1

tenor saxophone

jazz images 2

electric guitar

jazz images 3

grand piano

jazz images 4

electric piano

jazz images 5

soprano saxophone


A. The Music

      

1.

Today’s jazz artists are basically going in one of three directions: traditional, contemporary mainstream, or “anything goes”1

      

2.

Traditionalists2 are performing jazz mainly associated with and reflective of blues, swing, bebop, and hard bop; in other words, they exclude Free Jazz and Fusion. 

            

a.

Traditionalists believe that what they play is “real jazz,” not the various hybrids and “add-ons” (according to them) that occurred in the 1960s and since; they are also know as "jazz purists." 

            

b.

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is at the forefront of this movement; he is an internationally acclaimed musician and has played a major role in the resurgence of jazz; he currently serves as Artistic Director for New York's Jazz at Lincoln Center 

      

3.

Contemporary mainstream jazz artists are influenced mostly by hard bop sensibilities. 

            

a.

Contemporary mainstream jazz artists use, for the most part, hard bop instrumentation and musical forms. 

            

b.

However, within the hard bop framework, contemporary mainstream jazz artists continue to push the music forward, e.g., ever increasing technical proficiency on their instruments, expanded musical harmonies (more difficult and complex chords and chord progressions), and deeper and varied emotions expressed. 

            

c.

Trumpeter Terence Blanchard is one of today’s most important contemporary mainstream jazz artists. 

      

4.

“Anything goes” jazz artists will put all kinds of music into the pot and stir it up; these can include but are not limited to: 

            

a.

all styles of jazz 

            

b.

classical music (mostly of the 20th and 21st century variety) 

            

c.

world music (i.e., music from other parts of the world), especially from South America and Asia 

            

d.

all styles of blues, rock, rhythm and blues, Latin, funk, hip-hop, ska, rap, and popular music 

      

5.

Two important jazz musicians in the “anything goes” camp include: 

            

a.

saxophonist Dave Liebman 

            

b.

trumpeter Dave Douglas 

      

6.

Several contemporary artists “cross over,” that is, they can be traditionalists, contemporary mainstream artists, or “anything goes” artists, depending on the context in which they are playing; three great ones today include: 

            

a.

trumpeter Roy Hargrove 

            

b.

bassist Christian McBride 

            

c.

saxophonist Joshua Redman 

      

7.

Three of today's most eminent jazz musicians (who have been on the scene since the 1960s when they played with the Miles Davis Quintet) are: 

            

a.

pianist Herbie Hancock 

            

b.

tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter 

            

c.

bassist Ron Carter 

      

8.

Big bands (17-18 piece ensembles) are here to stay, not so much in the professional ranks (very few professional big bands exist), but in America's schools. 

            

a.

There are thousands of middle school, high school, and college/university big bands. 

            

b.

Repertoire consists of all styles of jazz from traditional big band swing to big band arrangements of bebop, cool, hard bop, and fusion. New arrangements are being written and performed all the time (as well as classics from the past). 

      

9.

Besides the traditional "jazz instruments" (saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums, guitar, human voice), jazz is increasingly being performed on non-traditional jazz instruments as well, especially violin (an exceptional jazz violinist on the scene today is Regina Carter). Today, jazz can also be heard on such "non-jazz" instruments as viola, cello, oboe, bassoon, and French Horn. 

      

10.

Women in Jazz 

            

a.

In the past, instrumental jazz has been primarily a male dominated art form. However, today more and more women are studying and performing jazz and becoming an integral part of the jazz scene. 

            

b.

One of the top female jazz trumpet players on the scene today is Ingrid Jensen

            

c.

One of today's few steadily working professional big bands is an all female group: Diva (for a listening example, click "Something's Coming" below). 

      

11.

Vocal Jazz 

            

a.

Jazz vocalists have always been an important part of jazz's rich history. Today, vocal jazz is not only important, it is credited with introducing jazz to many who might not otherwise have given jazz a chance; because there are words, i.e., lyrics, more people can relate to vocal jazz than instrumental jazz. 

            

b.

Popular jazz vocalists on the scene today include Diana Krall, Dianne Reeves, and Cassandra Wilson

      

12.

Listen to recordings by today’s jazz artists 

            

a.

Geri Allen’s “Dolphy’s Dance” on The Instrumental History of Jazz3 

            

b.

Danilo Perez’s “PanaMonk” (as in Panama and Thelonious Monk) -- click below: 

            

c.

any recent recordings of any of the previously mentioned jazz artists 

Audio Snippets

speakerspacer PanaMonk - Danilo Perez


B. Cultural Implications

      

1.

Today, jazz and jazz artists represent the diversity of America. 

            

a.

In our society, we have traditionalists, mainstreamers, and "anything goes" types. 

            

b.

Jazz is better for its diversity, and so is America. 

            

c.

As time goes on, diversity is more and more accepted and cherished as an integral part of this nation. 

            

d.

Many believe diversity is America's most defining characteristic. 

      

2.

Today, jazz education is increasingly important in America’s schools. 

            

a.

The study of jazz is increasingly important in American history, society, and culture. 

            

b.

Jazz is found in classes of all levels from elementary school to college. 

            

c.

It is now possible to earn a bachelors, masters, and even a doctoral degree in jazz studies in many of America’s most prestigious universities. 

            

d.

Organizations such as Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz have national jazz outreach programs that bring jazz into schools throughout the country, both live and via the Internet (you are studying jazz right now through the Thelonious Monk Institute’s Jazz in America project, something that would not even have been possible a few years ago!). 

      

3.

Jazz Publications 

            

a.

Today there are literally thousands of books and videos (DVDs) available about jazz: everything from biographies about all the great musicians in jazz history to "how to" method books about every component of jazz imaginable (e.g., instrumental technique, improvisation, arranging, etc.). 

            

b.

The three leading jazz magazines are Down Beat, Jazz Times and Jazziz

the thelonious monk institute of jazz
home overview lesson plans jazz resources what's new jazz in america