Reply To: Music

  • Encyclios

    April 24, 2023 at 9:32 AM

    The 20th century: the new jazz

    The universe of jazz, on the other hand, is experiencing a season of rethinking. Jazz, which some define as “the classical music of the twentieth century”, in less than a century of life has experienced a tumultuous growth, with unpredictable changes and developments, authentic schisms. But everything was linked to the creativity of extraordinary personalities who, with their talent, were able to open new horizons and, at the same time, to set an example. In reality, the figure of a leader, of a musician capable of becoming a model, has been missing. Jazz has thus become more and more a music linked to the repertoire, just like the academic tradition. Therefore, many speak of the death of jazz. But at the same time the new generations have grown up with an excellent individual preparation, erasing at a stroke the literature of the genius jazz player.

    Today’s jazz musician has completed serious musical studies, is in possession of a first class technical background and tends to give the image of an elegant and refined character. The model of this kind of musician is Wynton Marsalis, the trumpeter from New Orleans who, beyond the criticism of excessive coldness that is made against him, is responsible for the reawakening of interest in jazz in the last years of the century. The common code of most of the young jazz musicians of the nineties is the neo hard bop, a music inspired to that played between the fifties and sixties by the groups of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Art Blakey. Even if on the level of invention the novelties to be recorded are few, from the point of view of the quantity of talents, for years we have not witnessed such a flowering: just think of Terence Blanchard, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Printup, Benny Green, David Sanchez, Stephen Scott, Charnett Moffett, Brad Meldau, Cassandra Wilson. To these can be added daring experimenters such as Bill Frisell, a guitarist capable of reconciling the music of Parker with the rock of Jimi Hendrix, the avant-garde with the soundtracks of Buster Keaton’s films, or John Zorn, “pupil” of the new New York avant-garde. Even Frisell and Zorn, however, are part of the great trend of contamination and syncretism.

    In this decade, always in the sphere of jazz, the creative growth of European and Italian musicians was consolidated. Until the seventies, jazz was considered the exclusive patrimony of black Americans and only very few musicians from the old continent were able to perform alongside the most famous soloists. With the passing of time, also in Europe there has been a strong diffusion of music schools which had as a consequence an increase of the average technical level. This technical awareness has led not only to the birth of a new generation of soloists but even to a sort of European way to jazz. This creative growth had important repercussions in Italy as well, where a generation of musicians in their thirties was formed, bringing our country up to date with the latest developments in improvised music.