Futuristic Minds: Gillespie &amp Essay Example
Futuristic Minds: Gillespie &amp Essay Example

Futuristic Minds: Gillespie &amp Essay Example

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  • Pages: 6 (1599 words)
  • Published: December 9, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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Scott Alexander (2008) asserts that musicologists widely recognize the Original Dixieland 'Jass' Band's 1917 release of Dixie Jass Band One Step as the first-ever Jazz record, signifying almost a century of Jazz history.

Jazz has undergone evolution and diversification, much like any other musical style or genre, resulting in several branches and sub-genres. Its inception involved a fusion of pre-existing genres such as ragtime, Blues, and work songs. Alexander Scott (2008) attributes the origins of Jazz to the music originating from New Orleans, which is considered to be the first authentic Jazz style. Small bands primarily consisting of African American musicians initially played it using wind instruments like tuba, trombone, trumpet, clarinet along with stringed instruments like double bass, violin, banjo or guitar and various drums and percussion instruments. Ostendorf Berndt (197


9) also offers insights into the early history of Jazz.

The Jazz and Blues genre, which originated from black musicians, was widely successful, leading white bands to imitate their music. This reflected the racial tensions in America at the time. As time passed, Jazz bands and orchestras grew larger as it reflected the social and cultural climate of the 1920s, as stated by Vincent, Ted (2009) who also provided information about racist violence during The Jazz Age. This period was not only the heyday for big bands and swing bands because of the booming economy, but also marked the beginning of black and white Jazz musicians easing tensions between them and starting Jazz off. This era is often called the golden swing era wherein Jazz reached its commercial peak in history.

While big bands struggled during the depression, smaller bands became more common. Despite this, swing dance

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music remained popular. According to Tim Brehaut (2004), Jazz only saw significant changes in the 1940s with the emergence of Bebop. The genre shifted from being primarily for dancing and entertainment to an art form highly esteemed for its artistic excellence and virtuosic performances.

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tags, the website http://www.southernmusic.net/1950.htm offers a portrayal of the history of jazz spanning from the early 1950s to the early 1960s.

The result was a gradual decline in jazz's mainstream audience, prompting a shift towards new and emerging genres like Rock and Roll. Additionally, Bebop sparked the creation of various sub-genres, including Cool Jazz, Dixieland, Hard Bop, Free Jazz, and Fusion. This led to an explosion of Jazz styles, all stemming from Bebop. As with any genre, numerous artists played key roles in shaping and advancing it. Among these influential figures was trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was born in 1917 in South Carolina, the year of the first Jazz record release, and went on to become a prominent figure in Jazz. Despite troubles during his childhood and adolescence, including involvement with knife crime, according to Gentry (1991, pp. 70-71), Gillespie taught himself to play multiple instruments including the trombone, piano, and trumpet - his main instrument. Beginning with local bands in South Carolina, Gillespie continued playing until his family relocated to Philadelphia.

After a brief stint in Philadelphia, Dizzy Gillespie relocated to New York where he quickly gained recognition and became the trumpeter for Teddy Hill's Orchestra at only 19 years old. Following a tour of Europe and establishing himself as a regular in New York's jam session scene, Gillespie joined Earl Hines' band in 1942 along with Charlie

Parker - this marked a pivotal moment in his career as it was here that he laid down the foundations of bebop alongside Parker. Despite also working as a substitute for Duke Ellington's orchestra and being part of Billy Eckstein's band, Gillespie took the opportunity to form his own band which focused solely on playing bebop. This bold move allowed him to further cultivate his craft in the new style. (Thomas, 1995, pp.)

In 1940, Bebop was born, and it is now recognized as such. According to Shypton (1999, pp. 179-210), Gillespie, who had already been involved in a jazz revolution, decided to add Cuban music elements to his style in the late 1940s. He created a band with primarily Cuban percussionists and pioneered the Latin Jazz style. Gillespie went on to tour Cuba and collaborate with Cuban musicians such as Chano Ponzo and Arturo Sandoval.

Despite playing with many prominent Jazz musicians such as Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clark, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, Gillespie's musical collaborations extended beyond the jazz genre. He even featured as a soloist on Stevie Wonder's "Do I Do" album. Despite receiving fourteen honorary doctorates and a Lifetime Achievement Grammy award prior to his death in 1993 from pancreatic cancer, Gillespie's legacy endures.

In contrast to Gillespie's contribution to jazz history was John McLaughlin who is still alive and shaping the genre today. Born in South Yorkshire in 1942, McLaughlin learned the violin and piano before switching to guitar - now his primary instrument.

According to Anderson, Mark (2004), John McLaughlin's musical upbringing was diverse. His brother exposed him to blues and flamenco, while his mother introduced him to classical music

and jazz. Although he began his career as a session guitarist playing commercial R&B and pop in London, McLaughlin felt unsatisfied with these genres. In 1969, he moved to New York where he joined Tony Williams' band Lifetime. This information was provided by McLaughlin himself in 2010.

After recording with Miles, McLaughlin was featured on several albums including In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. Kirchner (2000, pp. 491-492) notes that the latter features a track named after McLaughlin and is now considered the first jazz-fusion album. McLaughlin also gained a reputation as one of the top session guitarists of the time and performed with Wayne Shorter, Carla Bley, and even the Rolling Stones.

In 2010, Judden, Air provided details about the Mahavishnu Orchestra, noting that in the 1970s, John McLaughlin formed the band, which is widely recognized as one of the most influential fusion bands in music history. While the original line up was short-lived, the recordings during that time showcased McLaughlin's early exploration of Indian influences. Following the original band's disbandment, McLaughlin collaborated with Santana and Gil Evans before forming a new Mahavishnu Orchestra with a different lineup, which also didn't endure long as the band split again in 1976.

McLaughlin pursued his passion for Indian music after a certain period and formed the band Shakti comprising of Indian musicians playing conventional Indian instruments with his electric guitar. After this fusion project, he shifted to Flamenco and formed a guitar trio with Paco de Lucia, Larry Coryell (later replaced by Al di Meola), and himself. As stated by Stump (2000, pp. 134-157), McLaughlin ventured into various short-lived Jazz Fusion projects before returning to his interest in

Indian music with intermittent Flamenco projects. In the late 80s, he revived the Mahavishnu Orchestra for three years with different lineups before returning to his former ventures, including the guitar trio and Indian projects.

In 2010, Geoffrey Himes provided details on the impact of McLaughlin in music. McLaughlin has remained heavily involved in numerous styles of music, with Indian jazz fusion being the most significant. It is evident that Gillespie and McLaughlin have both had significant impacts on jazz and music in general. Additionally, they were both instrumental in creating and defining new styles of jazz. Gillespie contributed to Bebop and Latin Jazz, while McLaughlin introduced Fusion and Indian-influenced World Fusion.

Both Gillespie and McLaughlin incorporated music from other parts of the world into their playing, resulting in a new and unique style. For Gillespie, the transition was relatively effortless as Cuban music shares the same harmonic and tonal structures as jazz. He incorporated Cuban musicians into his band and made compositional changes to achieve his new sound. On the other hand, McLaughlin had to adapt to an entirely different musical system, making his transformation more challenging than Gillespie's.

Despite facing similar technical difficulties on their respective instruments, Gillespie and the Veena player both demonstrated exceptional skill and knowledge. In fact, the Veena player not only studied music theory but also mastered the plugged string instrument from South India. While Gillespie was revered for his pioneering sound and unique solos that were difficult to imitate, many trumpeters were influenced more readily by Miles Davis, who was easier to emulate.

Although Davis and McLaughlin possessed impressive technical skills, they did not achieve the same level of popularity with

audiences as Gillespie and Metheny due to their distinct styles. Davis was appreciated for his mellow tone, while Gillespie's sound was renowned for its aggressiveness. Similarly, McLaughlin's sharp soloing failed to capture audiences in the way that Metheny's smooth style did. Furthermore, McLaughlin's electric guitar sound was less accessible to listeners than Metheny's. Nonetheless, both musicians were pioneers ahead of their time - particularly McLaughlin - and their music remains pioneering and avant-garde today.

Both Gillespie and McLaughlin drew significant inspiration from their faith, which had a profound effect on their music. Gillespie often credits his beliefs as a source of strength and inner harmony. Likewise, McLaughlin is a follower of Sri Chinmoy, an Indian spiritual leader who advocates daily meditation and religious inclusivity. McLaughlin went so far as to dedicate his album My Goal's Beyond to Chinmoy.

Chinmoy had a notable impact on McLaughlin's fascination with Indian music, which is shown by the name he was given - Mahavishnu, signifying the Great Creation. Gillespie and McLaughlin were musicians of exceptional skill who were ahead of their time despite living in different eras. Their contributions to jazz were crucial, even though they weren't acknowledged by the public, and numerous artists attribute them as playing an important part in their growth.

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