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Cool Jazz

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on 25 May 2016

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Transcript of Cool Jazz

The Music
Cool Jazz was at the forefront of jazz and went through its most concentrated growth and development from 1949 – 1955.
Miles Davis
One of the first and most important Cool Jazz artists was trumpeter Miles Davis2; the first important Cool Jazz album was his Birth of the Cool.
Important Figures
Other important Cool Jazz artists include:

pianist Dave Brubeck
trumpeter Chet Baker
baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan
the Modern Jazz Quartet

Dave Brubeck
December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012) was an American jazz pianist and composer, considered to be one of the foremost exponents of cool jazz. He wrote a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke". Brubeck's style ranged from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother's attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills. His music is known for employing unusual time signatures, and superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters,
Gerry Mulligan
April 6, 1927 – January 20, 1996) was an American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and arranger.[1] Though Mulligan is primarily known as one of the leading baritone saxophonists in jazz history – playing the instrument with a light and airy tone in the era of cool jazz – he was also a notable arranger
Bebop vs. Cool
Whereas Bebop was “hot” (i.e., loud, exciting, and loose), Cool Jazz was “cool” (i.e., soft, more reserved, and controlled).

Unlike Bebop, much of Cool Jazz was arranged (written) ahead of time. In Bebop the emphasis was on the improvised solos; in Cool Jazz both the arrangement and the improvised solos were important.

Cool Jazz was a blending of jazz and classical music. Whereas Bebop bands were usually a quartet or quintet and were comprised of saxophone and/or trumpet and rhythm section, Cool Jazz groups had a wider variety of size and instrumentation.

they ranged in size from trios to nonets (nine-piece band)
"classical" instruments such as flute, French horn, tuba, and vibraphone (vibes) were often found in Cool Jazz groups
Chet Baker
December 23, 1929 – May 13, 1988) was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhornist and vocalist.

Baker earned much attention and critical praise through the 1950s, particularly for albums featuring his vocals
Cool Jazz
Modern Jazz Quartet
The Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) was a jazz combo established in 1952 that played music influenced by classical, cool jazz, blues and bebop.[1] The band performed over a forty-year span with only one personnel change.[2] For the majority of their career the group comprised John Lewis (piano and musical director), Milt Jackson (vibraphone), Percy Heath (double bass) and Connie Kay (drums).[3]
Cultural Implications of Cool Jazz
Revitalization of Jazz
Cool Jazz brought jazz music back to the mainstream; that is, it re-popularized jazz.

Swing Era big band jazz had been popular.
Because of its intensity and complexity, Bebop did not have the mass appeal of the Big Band Era.
Dave Brubeck and other Cool Jazz artists brought jazz to college campuses in the 1950s, finding a new audience for jazz (before this, jazz was mostly played in nightclubs and dance halls).
East Coast vs. West Coast
Bebop was associated with the East Coast (e.g., New York) while Cool Jazz was associated with the West Coast (e.g., California).

The California image of casual, laid back suburbia was the perfect backdrop and breeding ground for Cool Jazz.
Cool Jazz represented the increasing importance of California to American society and culture.
Postwar Culture


Post World War II, American attitudes were shifting, due to both a newfound affluence in the 1950s and a growing uncertainty of the future. Cool Jazz reflected (and contributed to) a subdued emotion and quiet intellectual control that had become valued in American society.

"Keeping cool" was an expression of emotional self-control in times of crisis that was found in American street slang as well as in the language of army test pilots.
Fictional heroes like James Bond and Mike Hammer remained cool and calm while the world exploded around them.
America's top choice of entertainment had "cooled down" from the nightclubs, dance halls, amusement parks and vaudeville of prior generations to television featuring shows about simple suburban life (e.g., Leave It To Beaver).
Due to the newly developed weapon of mass destruction, the atomic bomb, cool thinking was required at this crucial point in history.
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