terça-feira, 9 de outubro de 2007

Smooth jazz

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, jazz fusion gradually turned into a lighter commercial form called pop fusion or "smooth jazz" (see paragraph below). Although pop fusion and smooth jazz were commercially successful and garnered significant radio airplay, this lighter form of fusion moved away from the style's original innovations. But into the 1990s and 2000s, some fusion bands and performers such as Tribal Tech have continued to develop and innovate within the genre.

Smooth jazz solos were actually very stylized. For instance, the saxophone improvisations by Kenny G were considered "light fusion." His music became popular. Musicians gave this music the name "fuzak" (cf. muzak) because it was a soft, pleasant fusion of jazz and rock. By the late 1990s smooth jazz became very popular and was receiving a lot of radio exposure. Some of the most famous saxophonists of this style were Grover Washington, Jr., Kenny G and Najee and many imitators. Kenny G’s music and smooth jazz in general defined a large segment of jazz during the 1980s and 1990s. Not only is smooth jazz played on the radio and in jazz clubs, it is also played in airports, banks, offices, auditoriums and arenas (Gridley).

Acid Jazz and Nu Jazz

Some additional styles are acid jazz, which contains elements of 1970s disco; acid swing, which combines 1940s style big-band sounds with faster, more aggressive rock-influenced drums and electric guitar; and nu jazz, which combines elements of jazz and modern forms of electronic dance music.

Exponents of the "acid jazz" style which was initially UK-based included the Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, James Taylor Quartet, Young Disciples, Incognito and Corduroy. This was a natural outgrowth of the Rare Groove scene in the UK that had begun as an alternative to the prevalent Acid House parties of the 1980s. Halfway between the driving beat of house music and the Soul Jazz and Funk related sounds of Rare Groove was Acid Jazz. In the United States, acid jazz groups included the Groove Collective, Soulive, and Solsonics. In a more pop or smooth jazz context, jazz enjoyed a resurgence in the 1980s with such bands as Pigbag, Matt Bianco and Curiosity Killed the Cat achieving chart hits in Britain. Improvisation is also largely absent, giving argument whether the term "Jazz" can truly apply.

Funk-based improvisation

Jean-Paul Bourelly and M-Base argue that rhythm is the key for further progress in the music; they believe that the rhythmic innovations of James Brown and other Funk pioneers can provide an effective rhythmic base for spontaneous composition. These musicians playing over a funk groove and extend the rhythmic ideas in a way analogous to what had been done with harmony in previous decades, an approach M-Base calls Rhythmic Harmony.

Jazz rap

The late 80s saw a development of a fusion between jazz and hip-hop, called Jazz rap. Though some claim the proto-hip hop, jazzy poet Gil Scott-Heron the beginning of jazz rap, the genre arose in 1988 with the release of the debut singles by Gang Starr ("Words I Manifest," which samples Miles Davis) and Stetsasonic ("Talkin' All That Jazz," which samples Lonnie Liston Smith). One year later, Gang Starr's debut LP, No More Mr. Nice Guy and their work on the soundtrack to Mo' Better Blues, and De La Soul's debut 3 Feet High and Rising have proven remarkably influential in the genre's development. De La Soul's cohorts in the Native Tongues Posse also released important jazzy albums, including the Jungle Brothers' debut Straight Out the Jungle (1988) and A Tribe Called Quest's debut, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990). Guru continued the jazz rap trend with the critically acclaimed Jazzmatazz series beginning in 1993, in which modern day jazz musicians were brought into the studio.

Electronica - 1990s

With the rise in popularity of various forms of electronic music during the late 1980s and 1990s, some artists have attempted a fusion of jazz with more of the experimental leanings of electronica (particularly IDM and Drum and bass) with various degrees of success. This has been variously dubbed "future jazz," "jazz-house," "nu jazz," or "Junglebop." It is sometimes not considered to be jazz because although the harmony and instrumentation are influenced by jazz, improvisational aspects are often absent.

The more experimental and improvisational end of the spectrum includes Scandinavian artists such as pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær (both of whom began their careers on the ECM record label), the trio Wibutee, and Django Bates, all of whom have gained respect as instrumentalists in more traditional jazz circles.

The Cinematic Orchestra from the UK and Julien Lourau from France have also received praise in this area. Toward the more pop or pure dance music end of the spectrum of nu jazz are such proponents as St Germain, and Jazzanova, who incorporate some live jazz playing with more metronomic house beats. Matthew Herbert, Aphex Twin, Björk, Amon Tobin, Squarepusher and Portishead are also notable as avant-garde electronica artists who have incorporated jazz influences into their music.

2000s jazz

In the 2000s, "jazz" hit the pop charts and blended with contemporary Urban music through the work of neo-soul artists like Norah Jones and Amy Winehouse and the jazz advocacy of performer-music educators such as Jools Holland, Courtney Pine and Peter Cincotti. As with pop fusion or "smooth jazz", a debate has arisen as to whether the music of these performers can be called jazz or not (see below). Pop singer Christina Aguilera recorded a jazz-based album titled Back to Basics in 2006.

Commercial prospects of jazz in recent years

National Public Radio's Jazz Profiles reported on isses of jazz success and challenges as a commercially viable genre. [4] Jazz record sales increased both in real numbers and as a percentage of all CD sales, in 2003.

Definitional concerns

As the term "jazz" has long been used for a wide variety of styles, a comprehensive definition including all varieties is elusive. While some enthusiasts of certain types of jazz have argued for narrower definitions which exclude many other types of music also commonly known as jazz, jazz musicians themselves are often reluctant to define the music they play. Duke Ellington summed it up by saying, "It's all music." Some critics have even stated that Ellington's music was not in fact jazz, as by its very definition, according to them, jazz cannot be orchestrated. On the other hand Ellington's friend Earl Hines's 20 solo "transformative versions" of Ellington compositions (on Earl Hines Plays Duke Ellington recorded in the 1970s) were described by Ben Ratliff, the New York Times jazz critic, as "as good an example of the jazz process as anything out there"

There have long been debates in the jazz community over the boundaries or definition of “jazz.” In the mid-1930s, New Orleans jazz lovers criticized the "innovations" of the swing era as being contrary to the collective improvisation they saw as essential to "true" jazz. From the 1940s and 1960s, traditional jazz enthusiasts and Hard Bop criticized each other, often arguing that the other style was somehow not "real" jazz. Although alteration or transformation of jazz by new influences has been initially criticized as “radical” or a “debasement,” Andrew Gilbert argues that jazz has the “ability to absorb and transform influences” from diverse musical styles.

Commercially-oriented or popular music-influenced forms of jazz have long been criticized. Traditional jazz enthusiasts have dismissed the 1970s jazz fusion era as a period of commercial debasement. However, according to Bruce Johnson, jazz music has always had a "tension between jazz as a commercial music and an art form" .

Gilbert notes that as the notion of a canon of traditional jazz is developing, the “achievements of the past” may be become "…privileged over the idiosyncratic creativity...” and innovation of current artists. Village Voice jazz critic Gary Giddins argues that as the creation and dissemination of jazz is becoming increasingly institutionalized and dominated by major entertainment firms, jazz is facing a "...perilous future of respectability and disinterested acceptance." David Ake warns that the creation of “norms” in jazz and the establishment of a “jazz tradition” may exclude or sideline other newer, avant-garde forms of jazz.

One way to get around the definitional problems is to define the term “jazz” more broadly. According to Krin Gabbard “jazz is a construct” or category that, while artificial, still is useful to designate “a number of musics with enough in common part of a coherent tradition”. Travis Jackson also defines jazz in a broader way by stating that it is music that includes qualities such as “ 'swinging', improvising, group interaction, developing an 'individual voice', and being 'open' to different musical possibilities”.

Where to draw the boundaries of "jazz" is the subject of debate among music critics, scholars, and fans. Music that is a mixture of jazz and pop music, such as the recent albums of Jamie Cullum, James Blunt and Joss Stone have been called "jazz" performers. Jazz festivals are increasingly programming a wide range of genres, including world beat music, folk, electronica, and hip-hop. This trend may lead to the perception that all of the performers at a festival are jazz artists – including artists from non-jazz genres.

See also


  • Burns, Ken & Geoffrey C. Ward. Jazz - A History of America's Music. Alfred A. Knopf, NY USA. 2000. or: The Jazz Film Project, Inc.
  • Porter, Eric. What is this thing called Jazz? African American Musicians as Artists, Critics and Activists. University of California Press, Ltd. London, England. 2002.
  • Szwed, John F. Jazz 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving Jazz.
  • The History of Jazz. Thomson-Gale Books.
  • Scaruffi, Piero: A History of Jazz Music 1900-2000 (Omniware, 2007)
  • Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History, 1904-1930. Oxford University Press, Inc.
  • (2006). Mass Appeal: The Best of Gang Starr.
  • (2005). Boplicity.