|Cultural origins||Mid-1950s United States|
Avant-garde jazz (also known as avant-jazz and experimental jazz)is a style of music and improvisation that combines avant-garde art music and composition with jazz. It originated in the 1950s and developed through the 1960s. Originally synonymous with free jazz, much avant-garde jazz was distinct from that style.
Avant-garde jazz originated in the mid- to late 1950s among a group of improvisors who rejected the conventions of bebop and post bop in an effort to blur the division between the written and the spontaneous. It came to be applied to music differing from free jazz, emphasizing structure and organization by the use of composed melodies, shifting but nevertheless predetermined meters and tonalities, and distinctions between soloists and accompaniment.
In Chicago, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians began pursuing their own variety of avant-garde jazz. The AACM musicians (Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell, Hamid Drake, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago) tended towards eclecticism. Poet Amiri Baraka, an important figure in the Black Arts Movement,recorded spoken word tracks with the New York Art Quartet (“Black Dada Nihilismus,” 1964, ESP) and Sonny Murray (“Black Art,” 1965, Jihad).
Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with its roots in blues and ragtime. Since the 1920s Jazz Age, it has been recognized as a major form of musical expression in traditional and popular music, linked by the common bonds of African-American and European-American musical parentage. Jazz is characterized by swing and blue notes, call and response vocals, polyrhythms and improvisation. Jazz has roots in West African cultural and musical expression, and in African-American music traditions.
Free improvisation or free music is improvised music without any rules beyond the logic or inclination of the musician(s) involved. The term can refer to both a technique and as a recognizable genre in its own right.
The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It is frequently characterized by aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability.
Free jazz is an experimental approach to jazz improvisation that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s when musicians attempted to change or break down jazz conventions, such as regular tempos, tones, and chord changes. Musicians during this period believed that the bebop, hard bop, and modal jazz that had been played before them was too limiting. They became preoccupied with creating something new and exploring new directions. The term "free jazz" has often been combined with or substituted for the term "avant-garde jazz". Europeans tend to favor the term "free improvisation". Others have used "modern jazz", "creative music", and "art music".
Cecil Percival Taylor was an American pianist and poet.
Avant-garde music is music that is considered to be at the forefront of innovation in its field, with the term "avant-garde" implying a critique of existing aesthetic conventions, rejection of the status quo in favor of unique or original elements, and the idea of deliberately challenging or alienating audiences. Avant-garde music may be distinguished from experimental music by the way it adopts an extreme position within a certain tradition, whereas experimental music lies outside tradition.
The Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) is a non-profit organization, founded in 1965 in Chicago by pianist Muhal Richard Abrams, pianist Jodie Christian, drummer Steve McCall, and composer Phil Cohran. The AACM is devoted "to nurturing, performing, and recording serious, original music," according to its charter. It supports and encourages jazz performers, composers and educators. Although founded in the jazz tradition, the group's outreach and influence has, according to Larry Blumenfeld, "touched nearly all corners of modern music."
The Vision Festival is the world's premier festival of experimental music, art, film and dance, held annually in May/June on the Lower East Side of New York City from 1996 to 2011, in Brooklyn from 2012-2014, and returning to Manhattan in 2015. It usually consists of between thirty and sixty performances, spread out over a number of days. Inspired by the 1984 and 1988 Sound Unity Festivals, it was a direct outgrowth of the seminal but short-lived Improvisors Collective (1994–95). In 1996, the collective's founder, dancer-choreographer Patricia Nicholson Parker, staged the first Vision Festival at the Learning Alliance on Lafayette Street, and subsequently founded the not-for-profit Arts for Art, Inc to organize the festival on an annual basis, along with other events and concert series throughout the year. In addition to Nicholson Parker, other members of Arts for Art's Board of Directors include: Hal Connolly, Patricia Ali, Jo Wood Brown, Whit Dickey, Judy Gage, Patricia Nicholson Parker, William Parker, Todd Nicholson and Patricia Wilkins.
Stanley Lawrence Crouch is an American poet, music and cultural critic, syndicated columnist, novelist and biographer, perhaps best known for his jazz criticism and his 2000 novel Don't the Moon Look Lonesome?
Barry Altschul is a free jazz and hard bop drummer who first came to notice in the late 1960s for performing with pianists Paul Bley and Chick Corea.
Marion Brown was an American jazz alto saxophonist, composer, writer, visual artist, and ethnomusicologist. He is best known as a member of the 1960s avant-garde jazz scene in New York City, playing alongside musicians such as John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, and John Tchicai. He performed on Coltrane's landmark 1965 album Ascension. Allmusic reviewer Scott Yanow called him "one of the brightest and most lyrical voices of the 1960s avant-garde."
Jazz poetry has been defined as poetry that "demonstrates jazz-like rhythm or the feel of improvisation" and also as poetry that takes jazz music, musicians, or the jazz milieu as its subject. Some critics consider it a distinct genre though others consider the term to be merely descriptive. Jazz poetry has long been something of an "outsider" art form that exists somewhere outside the mainstream, having been conceived in the 1920s by African Americans, maintained in the 1950s by counterculture poets like those of the Beat generation, and adapted in modern times into hip-hop music and live poetry events known as poetry slams.
European free jazz is a part of the global free jazz scene with its own development and characteristics. It is hard to establish who are the founders of European free jazz because of the different developments in different European countries. One can, however, be certain that European free jazz took its development from American free jazz, where musicians such as Ornette Coleman revolutionised the way of playing.
Amiri Baraka, previously known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka, was an American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays and music criticism. He was the author of numerous books of poetry and taught at several universities, including the State University of New York at Buffalo and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He received the PEN/Beyond Margins Award in 2008 for Tales of the Out and the Gone.
Experimental music is a general label for any music that pushes existing boundaries and genre definitions. Experimental compositional practice is defined broadly by exploratory sensibilities radically opposed to, and questioning of, institutionalized compositional, performing, and aesthetic conventions in music. Elements of experimental music include indeterminate music, in which the composer introduces the elements of chance or unpredictability with regard to either the composition or its performance. Artists may also approach a hybrid of disparate styles or incorporate unorthodox and unique elements.
The Cricket, subtitled "Black Music in Evolution", was a magazine created in 1968 by Amiri Baraka, Larry Neal and A. B. Spellman. Baraka has said: "Larry Neal, AB and I realized the historical influence of music on African /Afro American Culture. I saw the magazine as a necessary dispenser of this influence as part of a continuum. And that attention to the culture was a way of drawing attention to the people’s needs and struggle." The headquarters was in New York City.
Experimental rock, also called avant-rock, is a subgenre of rock music that pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique or which experiments with the basic elements of the genre. Artists aim to liberate and innovate, with some of the genre's distinguishing characteristics being improvisational performances, avant-garde influences, odd instrumentation, opaque lyrics, unorthodox structures and rhythms, and an underlying rejection of commercial aspirations.
Dewey Bernard Johnson was an American free jazz trumpeter best known for his appearance on John Coltrane's historic recording Ascension.