A Brief Description of Jazz Styles

 TRADITIONAL(TRAD)

- Music associated with the early part of the century. Usually featuring trumpet/trombone front line with clarinet, these days best known as the music from New Orleans. Typical exponents Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk.


MAINSTREAM

- Music from the thirties and forties based around show tunes of the last era. Melodic improvisations typically led by saxophone or trumpet. Exponents being Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lester Young, then later Louis Armstrong etc.

BE-BOP

- From New York, a style which revolutionised music in the mid forties by introducing new concepts of harmony and improvisation and, thereby, influenced a whole new generation of musicians. Typically fast lines written over existing musical sequences classic exponents of which are Charlie "Bird" Parker, Dizzie Gillespie Thelonius Monk etc.

WEST COAST

- A gentler, more melodic Californian offshoot of the be-bop style. Typically alto sax or trumpet led small groups with a "sweet" approach, long lines and gentle rhythms. Exponents of this style being Stan Getz, Dave Brubeck.

HARD-BOP

- An extension of the be-bop concept through the fifties and sixties exemplified by the small group featuring tenor sax and/or trumpet front line, playing original material in the be-bop style. Famous for its hard driving, swinging approach. Classic exponents early Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Horace Silver and Sonny Rollins etc.

POST-BOP

- Further extension of the Hard Bop concept which increased harmonic and melodic experimentation, typical of music through the sixties and seventies. Classic exponents are early John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Ronnie Scott etc.

MODERN

- Generic term to cover all styles from be-bop through to post-bop.

FREE JAZZ/IMPROVISATION -

Music which has no formal harmonic or melodic structure. Originated in New York in the early sixties, popular in Europe through the seventies, now a marginal influence, a music never featured at the Club. Please note this music is rarely described as contemporary (see below ) Exponents Ornette Coleman and Evan Parker.

CONTEMPORARY/ CROSSOVER

- Extension of the post-bop style through the seventies and eighties typically combining John Coltrane influenced saxophone playing with contemporary rhythms, funk rock, soul etc. High energy music also associated with rock-influenced jazz guitar. Exponents Mike Brecker, Pat Metheny, Courtney Pine etc.