Year Developments in Jazz Historical Events
  • Pianist Chick Corea records The Song of Singing, a successful experiment with atonal jazz.
  • Chick Corea and bassist Dave Holland quit Miles Davis' band and form the group Circle.
  • Pianist Keith Jarrett joins Miles Davis' group on electric organ.
  • Bassist Charles Mingus and bandleader Sun Ra record in Berlin.
  • Saxophonist Jan Garbarek visits the U.S.
  • Pianist Joshua Rifkin records ragtime composer Scott Joplin's rags.
  • Artist Mark Rothko dies.
  • The U.S. army enters Cambodia.
  • Guitarist Jimi Hendrix dies from a drug overdose.
  • Singer Janis Joplin dies from a drug overdose.
  • The voting age is lowered to 18.
  • Student demonstrators are killed at Kent State University and Jackson State College.
  • U.S. Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade defends women's right to abortion.
  • The World Trade Center in New York City becomes the tallest building in the world.
  • Keyboardist Joe Zawinul's and saxophonist Wayne Shorter's new fusion group, Weather Report, records in New York.
  • Guitarist John McLaughlin's newly formed Mahavishnu Orchestra records in New York.
  • Pianist Thelonious Monk records in London.
  • Sun Ra's Arkestra tours Egypt.
  • Bassist Charles Mingus publishes his autobiography, Beneath The Underdog.
  • Trumpeter Louis Armstrong dies.
  • Composer Igor Stravinsky dies.
  • The U.S. bombs North Vietnam.
  • Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange is banned in the UK.
  • Louis Armstrong's death is reported on the front pages of newspapers all over the world.
  • Weather Report records I Sing the Body Electric.
  • Keyboardist Chick Corea records with his newly formed fusion group Return to Forever.
  • Bassist Charles Mingus performs at the Philharmonic Hall in New York.
  • Hard bop trumpeter Lee Morgan is shot dead by his former mistress in New York.
  • Pianist Thelonious Monk goes into retirement.
  • Free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman's Skies of America is performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.
  • The Mahavishnu Orchestra records Birds of Fire and Love Devotion Surrender.
  • British troops kill 13 people in Northern Ireland.
  • The UK joins the European Economic Community.
  • The SALT agreement limits U.S. and U.S.S.R. nuclear weapons.
  • Eleven Israelis are murdered by Arab terrorists in Munich at the Olympics.
  • The U.S. makes its final bombing of North Vietnam.
  • President Richard Nixon visits Communist China and the U.S.S.R.
  • Reggae star Bob Marley is signed to Island Records and brings Jamaican music and culture into the mainstream.
  • The first Polaroid cameras go on sale.


  • Keyboardist Herbie Hancock records the jazz-rock (fusion) album Headhunters in San Francisco, the album's sales breaking all records in jazz.
  • The movie The Sting features Scott Joplin's music, creating a renewed interest in ragtime.
  • Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie arranges a comeback appearance for trumpeter Chet Baker.
  • Guitarist John McLaughlin disbands the first Mahavishnu Orchestra.
  • The Vietnam War ends.
  • Painter Pablo Picasso dies.
  • The Watergate Scandal occurs.
  • The mountain bike is invented in California.
  • Trumpeter Thad Jones and drummer Mel Lewis take their big band to Tokyo. 
  • The Akiyoshi-Tabackin big band records in Los Angeles.
  • The Modern Jazz Quartet gives a farewell performance at New York's Lincoln Center.
  • Pianist Oscar Peterson visits the Soviet Union.
  • Saxophonist Grover Washington Jr. records his crossover hit Mr. Magic.
  • Duke Ellington dies from lung cancer and pneumonia.
  • Turkish forces invade Cyprus.
  • Patty Hearst, daughter of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped.
  • The "streaking" craze (running in the nude for shock and laughs) hits college campuses and other public places.
  • President Richard Nixon resigns.
  • Gerald Ford becomes president.
  • Saxophonist Michael Brecker and his brother, trumpeter Randy, record together.
  • Return to Forever records No Mystery.
  • Miles Davis performs in Japan, New York, and at the Newport Festival before going into retirement.
  • Guitarist Pat Metheny records his first album, Bright Sized Life, with electric bassist Jaco Pastorius.
  • Pianist Bill Evans records the album Alone.
  • Fourteen-year-old trumpet virtuoso Wynton Marsalis performs with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra.
  • The Khmer Rouge takes control of Cambodia.
  • North Vietnam invades South Vietnam.
  • Filmmaker Steven Spielberg's Jaws is released.
  • Pianist Dave Brubeck's quartet reunites for an anniversary concert.
  • Pianist Thelonious Monk performs for the last time at the Newport Jazz Festival.
  • Pianist Herbie Hancock records live at Newport with his group, VSOP.
  • Guitarist John McLaughlin disbands the second Mahavishnu Orchestra.
  • Weather Report, now with electric bass virtuoso Jaco Pastorius, records its best selling albums Black Market and Heavy Weather.
  • The Viking space probe transmits pictures from Mars.
  • Writer Alex Haley's Roots is published.
  • The U.S. celebrates the bicentennial of its independence with 4th of July festivities.
  • Punk rock becomes popular in Britain.
  • Scott Joplin is awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his contributions to American music.
  • Pianist Errol Garner dies. 
  • Alto saxophonist Paul Desmond dies.
  • The World Saxophone Quartet is founded.
  • Drummer Kenny Clarke returns to the U.S.
  • Multi-instrumentalist Roland Kirk dies.
  • Pop jazz group Spyro Gyra records its first album.
  • The U.S. space shuttle makes a test flight.
  • Singer Elvis Presley dies.
  • Filmmaker George Lucas' Star Wars is released.
  • Jimmy Carter becomes president.
  • President Jimmy Carter hosts a jazz concert at the White House in honor of bassist and composer Charles Mingus.
  • The Cuban band, Irakere, promotes Afro-Cuban music in Europe and the U.S.
  • Pianist Chick Corea records with vibraphonist Gary Burton.
  • Keyboardist Bob James composes a popular fusion theme for the TV series Taxi.
  • The Pat Metheny Group is formed.
  • Revolution occurs in Afghanistan.
  • The hit film musical Grease is released.
  • The first video arcade game Space Invaders is a hug hit worldwide.
  • Television reporter Max Robinson is the first African American to anchor network news.
  • Bassist Charles Mingus dies in Mexico.
  • Sue Mingus forms the Mingus Dynasty in honor of her late husband.
  • Drummer Jack DeJohnette collaborates with saxophonist David Murray on Special Edition.
  • Pianist Keith Jarrett and saxophonist Jan Garbarek record live.
  • Bandleader Stan Kenton dies in Los Angeles.
  • Dizzy Gillespie publishes his book, To Be or Not To Bop.
  • Pianist Bill Evans makes his final recordings.
  • Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first female prime minister.
  • Filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola's movie Apocalypse Now is released.
  • Nuclear disaster occurs at Three Mile Island.
  • The first Sony Walkman is introduced.
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