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Published since 1970, JazzTimes—“America’s Jazz Magazine”—provides comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the jazz scene. Often controversial, always entertaining, JazzTimes is a favorite of musicians and fans alike. Meanwhile, Duke Ellington, who is held up as the perfect embodiment of the ideals of jazz by Murray and Marsalis, was actually uncomfortable with the term. He felt that being described as “beyond category”, an expression coined by his colleague Billy Strayhorn, was the ultimate compliment to his music.

The 1930s belonged to popular swing big bands, in which some virtuoso soloists became as famous as the band leaders. Key figures in developing the “big” jazz band included bandleaders and arrangers Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Harry James, Jimmie Lunceford, Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw. Although it was a collective sound, swing also offered individual musicians a chance to “solo” and improvise melodic, thematic solos which could at times be complex “important” music. In the northeastern United States, a “hot” style of playing ragtime had developed, notably James Reese Europe’s symphonic Clef Club orchestra in New York City, which played a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in 1912.

And celebrate jazz in all its forms at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, every late April/early May. His recombinant ideas about rhythm and form and his eagerness to mentor musicians and build a new vernacular have had a profound effect on American jazz. The M-Base movement started in the 1980s, when a loose collective of young African-American musicians in New York which included Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, and Gary Thomas developed a complex but grooving sound. Although jazz rap had achieved little mainstream success, Miles Davis’ final album Doo-Bop was based on hip hop beats and collaborations with producer Easy Mo Bee. Davis’ ex-bandmate Herbie Hancock also absorbed hip-hop influences in the mid-1990s, releasing the album Dis Is Da Drum in 1994.

Its composition and style have changed many times throughout the years with each performer’s personal interpretation and improvisation, which is also one of the greatest appeals of the genre. More recent trends in jazz have included the growth of European jazz, which has often had its own distinct sound, the complex rhythmic music of the M-Base movement in the 1980s, and the neo-traditionalism of the Young Lions school. This grew into fusion as artists like Herbie Hancock and Weather Report mixed jazz improvisation with disco and funk to create complex, danceable sounds.

By 1866, the Atlantic slave trade had brought nearly 400,000 Africans to North America. The slaves came largely from West Africa and the greater Congo River basin and brought strong musical traditions with them. The African traditions primarily use a single-line melody and call-and-response pattern, and the rhythms have a counter-metric structure and reflect African speech patterns.

These younger rising stars rejected avant-garde approaches and instead championed the acoustic jazz sound of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and early recordings of the first Miles Davis quintet. This group of “Young Lions” sought to reaffirm jazz as a high art tradition comparable to the discipline of classical music. Miles Davis introduced the concept to the greater jazz world with Kind of Blue , an exploration of the possibilities of modal jazz which would become the best selling jazz album of all time.

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