Music of Eastern Europe - Sample Essay

At the same time jazz was not an inside phenomenon of America, it appeared in Europe. One of the first countries was France and the Quintette du Hot Club de France. This band played a considerable role in development of non-American jazz music. The very first style that developed outside the USA was gypsy jazz connected with the name – Django Reinhardt. This genre blended American swing, dance hall “musette” from France and folk music of Eastern Europe (Gridley, 2000).

The other name of the style was Jazz Manouche, the main characteristic features of the music were unusual and driving rhythm and alluring flow. It was played with the help of steel stringed guitar, upright bass and violin. Musicians played solo in turn at the same time the rhythm was supported by the rest guitars. Really quickly Gypsy Jazz occupied a certain niche in music all over the world. By 1940s bebop appeared in the scene. It was played by such popular musicians as saxophonist Charlie Parke, trumpeter John Birks and pianist Bud Powel.

As distinct from swing, bebop distanced from dance music and developed as an independent art form with its certain commercial value. The brightest representatives of this music direction were: pianist Thelonious Monk, trumpeters Fats Navarro and Clifford Brown, drummer Kenny “Klook-Mop” Clarke, drummer Max Roach, saxophonists Sonny Stitt and Wardell Gray, bassist Ray Brown (Gioia, 1997). The musicians of bebop borrowed some elements from previous composers at the same time successfully adding their innovations and creating new form of chomaticism.

Their key element remained improvisation, but they made a step towards chord-based improvisation instead of retaining the base melody line. Due to this fact, there always appeared a lot of additional chords, substitute chords or changed chords. There were certain changes in drums as well, instead of four-to-the-bar they used explosive style. At the beginning the style was not accepted positively by fans and other jazz musicians, but very soon the strong influence of bebop became evident, even such musicians as Woody Herman or Benny Goodman tried to experiment engaging bebop style in their music.

In the next decade, during 1950s bebop took its stand in the list of jazz styles and was widely accepted. Bebop style became the main source for two other substyles: free jazz and avant-garde jazz. These two are characterized by giving even more freedom to musicians. Free jazz presumed unfettered tempo, which was not commonly accepted at the beginning. Avant-garde jazz is more precise or limited as there had to be still some parts previously composed, the improvised parts were absolutely not restrained.

Theoretically Lennie Tristano’s Intuition and Digression (1949) and Descent into the Maelstrom (1953) were called the supporters of free jazz movement, however their influence could not be considered direct. The names of John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Makanda Ken McIntyre, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, Sam Rivers, Leroy Jenkins, Don Pullen, Dewey Redman, Peter Brotzmann, Derek Bailey seem to be more closely related to this substyle (Erlewine, 1998).

During the years 1957-1962 vocalese – “composing and singing of lyric in the same manner as instrumental solos” was at its height. (Rosenthal, 1992). Soloists sang with accompaniment of small orchestra. Unfortunately during that period of time vocalese was of little commercial value, it is only many years later that the situation started to change. Vocalese is connected first of all with the names of Jon Hendricks and Eddie Jefferson. In the 1950s swing music, although changed in way, was still popular and was played by small bands.

However in the following two decades it was under strong impact of Hard bop, Cool jazz, Classical jazz. It is necessary to mention here that Cool jazz developed in 1540s-1950s using the main tones of Bop and Swing, but making them smooth and subtle. The weighty contribution was done by East Coast musicians. The rhythm of Hard Bop was versatile and more complicated in comparison to earlier Bop and the melodies were more emotional than those of Bebop. Novelties of pianist Horace Silver were rather famous during Hard Bop period.