You can probably find many different interpretations about the origins of jazz music, but by most accounts it developed in African American communities in the Deep South between the 1890s and 1915. Jazz incorporates various forms of African and/or Caribbean musical influences, mixed with popular American music. Two aspects that are usually associated with jazz are its improvisational usage as well as its ability to "swing." Most music historians claim that jazz developed from the earlier ragtime style that became popular in the late 1890s. New Orleans' Dixieland music was also a major influence beginning in the early 1900s. The Prohibition years (1920-1933) became synonymous with the decadence of the Jazz Age of the Roaring Twenties when many bands (such as the Duke Ellington Orchestra) began entertaining in the speakeasies that sprang up around the nation. Big band swing music became popular in the 1930s and provided its listeners with a highly danceable form of entertainment. American jazz became influenced by the European style of the 1930s popularized by Belgian guitarist Django Reinhardt's gypsy jazz, which combined French dance hall music with folk themes. A revival of Dixieland music reoccurred in the 1940s, followed by one of jazz's most challenging styles: bebop. Bebop took its listeners away from the dance floor and provided dissonance and faster tempos, with the drums becoming a more integral part of the music. Among its earliest pioneers were Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie. Following World War II, cool jazz originated in New York City, combining the elements of bebop with a smoother sound, made famous by the early recordings of Miles Davis on his album Birth of the Cool. Thanks to the recordings of Dave Brubeck and Chet Baker, cool jazz came to represent a West Coast style of jazz. Hard bop appeared in the mid-1950s, combining the styles of bebop and rhythm and blues; once again, Davis was one of the earliest innovators. Davis also pioneered modal jazz with his groundbreaking album Kind of Blue, along with saxophonist John Coltrane. Free jazz first appeared in the late 1950s, mixing an avant-garde form that
... broke through into an open space of "free tonality" in which meter, beat, and formal symmetry all disappeared, and a range of World music from India, Africa, and Arabia were melded into an intense, even religiously ecstatic or orgiastic style of playing.
Its stars included Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, and Pharaoh Sanders, and it became particularly popular in Europe. Other forms of jazz that appeared in the 1960s include
- Latin jazz, such as Afro-Cuban and the Brazilian bossa nova;
- Post bop, illustrated by the early music of Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner and, once again, Miles Davis;
- Soul jazz, with its funky grooves;
- Jazz fusion, which emerged in the late 1960s as a combination of rock and jazz. Davis' Bitches Brew album was an early example, and other bands like the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Chick Corea's Return to Forever made it a popular form for both rock and jazz fans;
- Jazz funk, which combined funk, soul and R&B.
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