Free Jazz Analysis

Jazz music has evolved greatly over many years establishing a large variety of different styles within it. I will investigate the deepest roots of jazz and also take a look at some of the theory behind.

In the 17th to the 19th century the true and honest roots of jazz music were just beginning. Black slaves were placed in the deep south to work in cotton fields where they would sing African spirituals, chants, work songs and field hollers whilst slaving away all day long in the heat of the sun. Soon after, slaves and their masters gradually began interacting, which combined African and European music producing brand new styles including blues and ragtime.

The Blues consists of highly syncopated rhythmic feels with strong ‘backbeats’ and mostly
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The structure of this piece is AABBA. He A sections are based on the G Major Dorian scale, and the B sections are based on the A Major Aeolian scale.” (Spitzer, 2013)

Free Jazz emerged during the late 1950’s as a brand new approach to jazz improvisation. It gained the majority of its popularity in the 60’s and became a major development in jazz music from then on. Its main characteristic is that there aren’t actually any rules.
In the early 1940’s the pianist Lennie Tristano and composer Bob Graettinger made a lot of music using the free jazz elements. It originally began with the small groups led in 1958-59 by the saxophonist Ornette Coleman “The Shape of Jazz to
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It developed shortly after hard bop using blues, gospel and rhythm and blues as its main influences. As an oppose to hard bop, soul jazz generally emphasized repetition of catching phrases and melodic lines, and the improvisation was a lot simpler then the other jazz styles in this time period. Horace Silver had a large influence on the soul jazz style playing songs with funky, often gospel based piano vamps. A great example of this is his piece “Song for my Father” released in 1964.

The other form of jazz that occurred during this decade was Post Bob. This genre came from the early bop styles and got its name through artists like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Charles Mingus… etc. The term post-bop is supposed to mean jazz from the mid 60’s that was influences by hard bop, modal jazz, the avant-garde and free jazz, without actually being labelled as any of the above.

Jazz Fusion also known as jazz-rock began in the late sixties and early seventies combining jazz improvisation with rock rhythms. It developed after mixing funk with rhythm and blues rhythms and then amplifying the electronic effects of rock music. This would involve rock musicians like Jimi Hendrix. Until 1967, jazz and rock were completely separate genres, but at this time, musicians became much more creative combining the two

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