Electronic jazz

Electronic jazz

The revolution that the electronic music had brought with it exercised also its influence in the development of the jazz, which was present at the emergence of a new generation of improvisators, who were coming from the tradition of the free jazz but who were gathering the influence of the classic avant-garde and of the electronics: Ben Neill, the guitarist and teclista Kevin Drumm, the Swiss percusionista Günter Müller, or Miya Masaoka, of origin Japanese but born in Washington D. C. Other creators, like Tyondai Braxton, or the Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær, experimented with the manipulation of orchestral loops and, I marry also of Greg Headley, they manipulated electronically the sounds of its instruments while, finally, groups as Triosk carried important contributions out in the same one direction.

In the field of the jazz rap, which had already developed enough in the last decades of the XXth century, and beginning of the XXIst, produces a large number of works to itself, on the part of groups and musicians originated from the hip hop, like Kanye West, Crown City Rockers, Nujabes, A Tribe Called Quest, Madlib, the English duo The Herbaliser, or the French Hocus Pocus, between others.

Elements of the jazz

Sound and phrasing

One of the biggest differences between the jazz and the European classical music has to do with the formation of the tone: while the different members of a section of instruments in the classic band aspire to obtain the same sound of its instruments, of such form that could execute the passages of a way as homogeneous as possible, the jazz musicians aspire to achieve a proper sound that distinguishes them from the rest. The criterion is already not the sound “purity” for that the classic musicians look, but to achieve expressiveness with the instrument, and this way it is possible to be said that in the jazz the expression is over the esthetics. This characteristic explains that many fans of the jazz should be capable of distinguishing who is touching after the first notes, a phenomenon that usually amazes the not initiated ones.

The jazz phrasing has its peculiarities: Kid Ory, for example, usually touched circus melodies and of military marches, but its characteristic sound was turning its music into jazz, while Stan Getz was possessing a sound similar to that of the classic saxophonists, but its phrasing and the type of melodies that he usually executed were doing of him a jazz musician. The phrasing in the jazz has its origin in the music of the African slaves in the labor camps, characterized by the basic scheme of “question – answer”, and also in the way that the American blacks had of touching the instruments europeos.

On the other hand, it has been discussed often on the racial question in the jazz. Roy Eldridge, for example, affirmed to be able to distinguish the white musicians of the blacks, but in a test blindly to which it was put it failed constantly. With independence of cualesquier considerations, the true thing is that black musicians and the white persons have collaborated often with very positive results (Fletcher Henderson and Benny Goodman; Neal Hefti and Count Basie), that some black musicians as Charlie Mingus has been at the head of the experimental avant-garde reserved commonly to the white musicians, and that some white musicians, like Gerry Mulligan or To The Cohn they have indicated constantly the importance of typically black elements as the swing or blues.


Improvisation of a quartet of jazz on a progression II-V-I. The only information with which the musicians are provided is the analysis of the coding of chords, which appears in the image.

The improvisation is one of the characteristics definitorias of jazz it is a question of a very ancient concept, which goes back to the work of big classic composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, who was improvising often on the armonias of its works. Although the first jazz performers did not know anything about the classic composers, the jazz adopted quickly the idea, turning from its birth into a music essentially unexpected, where the musicians depart from a few previous schemes and from its knowledge and skills acquired across its years of studies to execute alone improvised on the harmonic structure of the topics. Only one is, for definition, a composition executed by an instrumentalist with or without accompaniment, and in some didactic works it is said that the skill to execute an alone good one makes alike to the skill to count a history, where it is not important only “what is said”, but also “how” it is said. To create only one, the musicians need to know some basic elements, like the structure of chords of the topic on which they are executing the alone one, the function that every chord plays inside the harmonic structure of the topic or the scales that stem from each of the chords that compose the topic, and then they must integrate all these elements with the melody, which will serve in many cases like “guide” for the soloist. Also they must have the necessary knowledge and the experience to be able to interpret all this information, what in practice means to know thoroughly the language of the jazz and of its different dialects: traditional jazz, swing, bebop, hard bop and the rhythmic and harmonic innovations that took place later


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