Bill Laurance, an English keyboardist and founding member of Snarky Puppy, has his hands in multiple musical worlds at once. Having begun classical training at the age of seven,[1] Laurance, later in life, incorporates it into his sound–alongside jazz and electronic music. By experimenting and genre-crossing in his composition, he aims to create a distinctive […]

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Jazz as Native Language

April 25, 2017
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European countries take pride in their unique takes on jazz.  While jazz found its beginnings in the United States, the weaving of various cultural aspects of Europe and Africa have made it an intriguing, “pidgin” art form.  Indeed, language (specifically pidgin) may have played a far greater role in the creation of jazz and the […]

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Jazz as Patriotic Music: James Reese Europe

April 24, 2017
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During the time of World War I in the early 1900’s, jazz music found its way from America to Europe. This was in part due to American jazz musicians being drafted to battle in countries like France and Britain. Upon their arrival they received great accolades for their cutting-edge genre – a style that seemed […]

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Soil & “Pimp” Sessions: Where East Meets West

April 24, 2017
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Soil & “Pimp” Sessions are a band known for explosive, high energy performances, aggressive playing and a stage presence that is almost wacky. Formed in Tokyo in 2001 the quintet blends Latin styles like bossa nova with bebop and American club jazz to create what they refer to as “death jazz.” After building a following […]

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The Man that Brought Free Jazz to Germany

April 24, 2017
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Albert Manglesdorff was born in Germany in 1928 and began to play and love jazz and a young age. During this time in Germany jazz was not welcome or safe to play or listen to, especially for a 12 year old. While he didn’t mention much about jazz to his family, his older brother Emil […]

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A Look into Maria João: An Influential Name in Portuguese Jazz

April 24, 2017
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Maria João is a jazz singer from Lisbon, Portugal who’s highly recognized for her vocal flexibility and range of improvisational skills. Although considered a jazz singer, her style reflects a process-based approach that compromises a mix of folk music and electronica, accentuating her avant-garde approach. Her primary musical partner is Portuguese pianist Mário Laginha. She has also worked […]

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A Brief (and Broad) History of Lithuanian Jazz: Spotlight on the Ganelin Trio

April 24, 2017
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When Lithuania was known as “The Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic,” it was considered the “jazziest republic of the USSR,” writes Bernd Jahnke of the Vilnius Jazz Society (2015). Even after the reestablishment of the State of Lithuania in 1990, in the wake of fifty years of Soviet occupation, this statement remains true; Lithuanian jazz has […]

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Paco de Lucia and the Innovation of Flamenco

April 24, 2017
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Paco de Lucia is often considered among the greatest flamenco guitarists of all time. As Jazz Times puts it, “Most flamenco fans can trace the music’s history to either Before Paco or After Paco.” Indeed, De Lucia’s influence on flamenco is undeniable; he brought what was once considered a limited genre to international fame. Flamenco’s […]

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Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen: Embraced by the Icons

April 24, 2017
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Roland Kirk, Dexter Gordon, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Stan Getz, and Chet Baker are just a few of the iconic American jazz artists who performed and recorded with the virtuosic Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen as their upright bassist. While his Danish nationality might have been viewed as a handicap, given preconceptions about the abilities […]

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Synthetic Jazz

April 24, 2017
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When speaking of jazz, “natural” is a term that is thrown around rather frequently, often to ex-nominate things people don’t want to think of as jazz. By the time the Bebop era came to a close, synthetic electronic instruments could no longer be ignored by the jazz community. Could these “unnatural” instruments find their way […]

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Art Deco and the Jazz Age

April 24, 2017
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Art Deco is a style of artistic design that originated in the 1920s in Western Europe and the United States. It was first exhibited in Paris at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925. Being a pivotal component in the introduction of this new international style, the exhibit name was shortened […]

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Transcending the Transatlantic: Lo-Fi in Nu-jazz and What It Could Mean

April 23, 2017
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Since it was coined in the late 1990’s the term “nu-jazz” came to encompass any fusion of jazz and electronica influences. Changes within the genre have roughly paralleled the upgrades in technology we have seen in the past several decades. Recently, however, a new group of up-and-coming nu-jazz artists has surfaced, and they all seem […]

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Billy Strayhorn: An American in Paris

April 23, 2017
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Best known as ‘Duke’ Ellington’s composition partner, Billy Strayhorn, (1915-1967) contributed over three hundred songs to the Ellington songbook, including the band’s theme song, “Take The ‘A’ Train.” He was also an accomplished classical pianist, an openly gay man, a civil rights activist, and a part-time Francophile. Nicknamed ‘Sweet Pea’ for his joyous disposition, Strayhorn’s […]

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Hungarian Bebop: an African-American and European Cultural Exchange

April 13, 2017
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In 2002, Budapest Music Center Records released a CD called Hungarian Bebop, a collaboration between the all-Hungarian Mihály Dresch Quartet and American avant-garde saxophonist Archie Schepp. The CD blends Hungarian and American aesthetics effortlessly. The quartet’s instrumentation consists of a horn player, a violinist, a double bassist, and a drummer. The the album’s transatlantic lineup […]

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Kenny Clarke: Finding the Back Beat in France

April 9, 2017
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Dubbed “Klook” for the sound of his unique style of playing, Kenny Clarke was a drum pioneer who changed modern jazz and influenced bebop. Clarke developed a new way of approaching timekeeping as a drummer. Most drummers during the time were relying heavily on the bass drum to keep time for the band. This included […]

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Joe Zawinul and the Path of the Honorary American

April 29, 2015
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Joe Zawinul was an extremely accomplished an well known jazz pianist. He played with other renowned artists such as Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Yusef Lateef, Ben Webster, Dinah Washington, and many others. Despite being born and raised in Austria, he is considered an “honorary American.” Like many Europeans, he was classically trained, but he was […]

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The Third Stream: Does it Deserve the Respect Given to its Parent Genres?

April 28, 2015
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Jazz has always built its foundation on allowing its performers to basically do whatever they want. On the opposite end of the spectrum, classical music is meant to be played exactly as written, note for note. The birthplace and eras associated with each type of music tells us as much: classical music came from a […]

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Dave Brubeck: Classical Swing

April 28, 2015
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American composer and pianist Dave Brubeck had a huge influence on jazz in the 20th century. Brubeck started playing piano when he was four years old, while growing up on his family’s ranch in Concord, California.[1] Later in life he became extremely popular as a jazz performer and composer. His music combined jazz swing with […]

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Fela Kuti and the Classical Music of Nigeria

April 28, 2015
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Fela Kuti was a radical who utilized music to spread his anti-colonial message. He jumpstarted a social, political, and musical movement in Nigeria during a volatile era in post-colonial Africa. Fela was a Pan-African revolutionary who went to great lengths and risks to unify his people through music. His music—which he called afrobeat —was a […]

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Hiatus Kaiyote: Tawk Tomahawk

April 28, 2015
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As a representative of Australia’s underground music scene, Hiatus Kaiyote has described itself as “Multi-dimensional Polyrhythmic Gangster Shit.”[1] Fronted by the eccentric singer and guitarist known as Nai Palm, the band has been garnering well deserved critical acclaim, and their 2012 debut album Tawk Tomahawk provides plenty of reasons why. The quartet of Melbourne natives […]

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Sun Ra Scandaleux: Early Reactions of French Critics

April 28, 2015
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Standout jazz artists and performers make their mark by harnessing the spirit of individuality and freedom to diverge from tradition. With their radical and highly stylized performances, Sun Ra and his Arkestra characterized the opportunity for innovation within jazz. The unknown and unfamiliar often cause defensive hysteria or curious fanaticism. Early accounts and reviews illuminate […]

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Josephine Baker and Beyoncé Knowles: Feminist Divas Fighting for Sexual Equality

April 28, 2015
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“We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are. Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” – “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, featured in “Flawless” by Beyoncé Knowles There she was – twerking on stage wearing nothing but […]

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Biguine: The Original French Jazz?

April 28, 2015
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While jazz had a turbulent time being accepted in America in its start, France readily accepted the controversial music genre. One of the reasons for France’s interest in jazz is “Negrophilia”, a term that describes France’s obsession with everything African, particularly art[1]. While this period of interest was controversial, this period had its benefits. Black […]

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Jazz Invasion of London Nightlife: The Birth of British Jazz

April 28, 2015
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In the early 20th century music started to change. In America, black musicians in New Orleans started a new, hot sensation called jazz. Jazz started to explode and resonate around the world. Europe felt this wave of jazz and many different nations were inspired by this jazz music. One of the cities that got hit […]

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Women in 1940s Big Band: The Case of Glenn Miller

April 28, 2015
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The role of women in 1940s big band music was very different from that of male musicians. Although there were all female jazz orchestras, the musicianship of the ladies involved was rarely considered with any seriousness; instead, emphasis was placed on the highly constructed presentation of gender and sexuality by these groups. As shown through […]

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Ethio Jazz and the Circular Nature of African Folk Music

April 28, 2015
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The birth of Ethiopian jazz, begins with the defeat of the Italians at the battle of Adwa in 1886. Under the reign of Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopia began to receive gifts from many countries seeking to build diplomatic relationships after hearing about this impressive victory. Nicolas II, the Tsar of Russia during this period, sent […]

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An Analysis of Squarepusher: Is This Jazz?

April 28, 2015
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The acid house scene spawned many electronic musicians during its apex in the mid-nineties. One of the more unique artists to come out of this scene would be Tom Jenkinson, known by his artist name, Squarepusher. Since 1996, Jenkinson has released albums continuously, composing new LPs every one or two years. In that time, he […]

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Punked-up Jazz Skunk

April 28, 2015
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Matthias Schriefl is a German-born jazz trumpeter with a unique message.  His many achievements within the German jazz scene include winning a national competition at age 11, directing his school’s big band in the ninth grade, and becoming a member of the Bavarian State Jazz Orchestra and the German Young Jazz Orchestra at age 15. […]

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Memories of The Willem Breuker Kollektief

April 28, 2015
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Of all the jazz LP’s my father used to play when I was a kid, there is one that stands out in my memory far and away above the rest. No, it’s not Miles Davis, although he loved Sketches of Spain, and no it’s not Coltrane, or Brubeck, or Bill Evans. Instead the jazz of […]

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Black Saint Records

April 28, 2015
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In the mid-40s in a small country town just outside of Milan, Italy, Giovanni Bonandrini started buying American jazz records with a severance check.1 78s of the American greats (Armstrong, Ellington, Gillespie, etc.) fueled his jazz interest.2 By the 70s, Bonandrini’s had accumulated enough knowledge to became an advisor and partner to a prominent jazz […]

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