April 2015

Joe Zawinul and the Path of the Honorary American

by Zachary Fischman on 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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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

by Jonathon Roberts on 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

by Ben Colvin on 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

by Reid Parler on 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

by Adam McDaniel on 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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Post image for Josephine Baker and Beyoncé Knowles: Feminist Divas Fighting for Sexual Equality

“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?

by Amber Scurry on April 28, 2015

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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Post image for Jazz Invasion of London Nightlife: The Birth of British Jazz

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

by Brooke Eichenlaub on 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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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?

by Elijah Brown on 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

by James Berlyn on 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

by Matthew Chase on 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

by Kevin Forte on April 28, 2015

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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Post image for Joe “King” Oliver and the Role of Creole Culture in Jazz

Tracing where jazz truly first emerged and came into existence as a genre is a question that has been hotly debated by music historians for close to a century. Tracing the various styles that compose the genre is not so difficult. The rhythms of indigenous African and Caribbean culture combined with classical European song and […]

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Even the Nazis Liked to Swing

by Shawn Spitzer on April 23, 2015

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Jazz is an enjoyable art form that allows for people from all backgrounds to come together and leave their worries at the door. Nazis aren’t the first people we think of when we think about people that in their free time relax with jazz. During WWII Nazis tried to keep jazz out of peoples’ ears, […]

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Joe Zawinul: Inspiration to Miles Davis

by Alex Paspa on April 23, 2015

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Joe Zawinul is considered one of the most innovative jazz keyboard players of all time. He was a big pioneer of synthesizers in jazz music and was one of the first to play jazz fusion. His aggressive attitude permeated his music. His modern musical style and persona inspired many including the famous jazz musician Miles […]

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Hip Hop and Jazz: Multinational High Art

by Kayvon Kazemini on April 23, 2015

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Jazz and hip-hop are both genres that have cultivated virtuosity and innovation on an international level, and the blending of these two genres has become increasingly more popular. Artists like Digable Planets and A Tribe Called Quest had incorporated the jazz influence into mainstream American hip hop in the 80s and 90s. As well, jazz […]

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Entertainment as Survival: Jazz and the Gypsies

by Nate Cibik on April 23, 2015

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The Romani musical tradition finally met its match in Paris in the 1930s, when Gypsy musician Django Reinhardt became exposed to foreign recordings of American jazz. Records from players like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington inspired him to turn the guitar into a solo instrument, and play a new style of jazz with a more […]

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The Sweet Sounds of Stepping Out

by Sarah Ristaino on April 23, 2015

Upon listening to a current jazz album in a recent interview, African American jazz bassist Christian McBride surprisingly stated, “well what do you know: a jazz record that sounds like jazz.”[1] What exactly does jazz sound like to McBride? He claims that “in the jazz world right now, it’s not too popular to play swing […]

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Intend to Be Independently

by Miklos Billings on April 23, 2015

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Jazz has long been a fusion of multiple musical genres that results from the bridging of typically separate cultural forces. Jazz musicians develop their dynamism by necessity; their bills being paid essentially by the audience, jazz players survive best who can play whatever the people want to hear. Nina Simone’s tumultuous uphill journey from her […]

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The Sami: Swedish Jazz’s Harlem Substitute

by Adam Freshcorn on April 23, 2015

The Sami are a relatively small ethnic group of people. The exact number of Sami people is unknown, but it is estimated that there are 44,000 to 50,000 in total, and only 10,000 of them live in Sweden. Some people believe that there could be as many as 200,000 Sami combined living in four different […]

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