Modern Jazz Online History

Now we get to what some people hate to even consider music! Modern jazz, jazz Fusion. The traditional jazz-cats hate to welcome MUSICAL flavor that may come from 'outside" the jazz method.

These cats want their jazz "straight up". When Miles Davis mixed Rock and Roll into jazz with electric guitar and such... well, he upset alot of people! I give Miles alot of credit. He new Jazz needed to be pushed further!

The term "Modern Jazz" or "Jazz Fusion" is still considered the jazz music "bastard". To say it nicely. "Modern Jazz" or "Jazz Fusion" was not welcomed by the jazz community.

Since a professional musician must sell his creative product in order to survive, the eternal question for serious jazz musicians has always been whether to pursue an aesthetic goal, at the risk of alienating sections of the public, or to cash in on their skills by orienting to the popular music industry.

Despite the obvious gravitational pull of the market, musicians have been known to create music for its own sake. Maybe that's why some of them drink so much and get the courage to play "out there" styles of music! The bebop revolution of the 1940s provides an exemple example of this...

Cats just got to "get lost" and come back with new flavor... you dig?

When a school of artists successfully finds a new way to communicate aesthetically, they not usually leave behind popular tastes and the financial rewards that flow from adapting to them.

Miles Davis and Modern Jazz

It has been proven through the many recordings and, in particular, the release of the live Plugged Nickel Sessions from December 1965, the Miles Davis Quintet from that era was stretching boundaries in a way no other group has before or since.

In the 1965 Miles Davis quintet, Miles had put together players of startling originality and innovation as well as being great team players. The music they created bridged the older Davis music of standards and originals into new realms of compositions.

Miles was what I call a true "Jazz-Cat"! He pushed society and the music in a NEW direction. Love him or hate him... this cat was BAD!

Once again as he had done numerous times before and since, Davis was the dude who got the juices flowing for the extraordinary energies of these great musicians. But it was he himself that re-invented the vocabulary of modern trumpet, taking the concepts of the younger cats in his band and stretching them to new levels of creativity!

Herbie Hancock once said that Miles said that he paid them to experiment on the bandstand and, that, they did. They took the standard forms that Miles played previously and stretched, reworked and, occasionally, abandoned them to create, both cool and hot, sometimes in the same breath, music that changed jazz forever and to this day confounds players and listeners alike.

These dudes that Miles schooled influenced many players who followed. However, it is their COLLECTIVE work that truly shocks!

What pianist isn't influenced by Herbie Hancock's approach?

What drummer or saxophonist isn't influenced by Tony Williams and Wayne Shorter?

And, of course, many trumpet players were, and still are, moved by Miles Davis of this period as well as other periods?

Like Charlie Parker before him, Miles Davis' sound and ideas have been accepted into the jazz vocabulary. Just look at the automobile commercials today, and you hear the dudes music... You can't watch TV without hearing the music that Miles created! In my mind the Mile Davis Quintet band IS THE MOTHER of the modern musical creative process in the most absolute way! Can you dig it?

Duke Ellington once said: "There are only two kinds of music, good and bad."

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