Category Archives: History

Free Jazz and the Avant-Garde

History of Jazz: Part 6

Free jazz is perhaps one of the more misunderstood forms of music. Free jazz draws from other forms of improvisational music that are based on instrumentalists playing based on either a very loose thematic element or perhaps no specific starting point, and playing based on what they are hearing other musicians in the group playing at any given time. The element of playing and listening is a large part of any improvisational music, from primitive folk music to art music.

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The Dawn of Hip-Hop DJs

From Brooklyn Disco to the Bronx Playground

“The idea of a d.j. making something new out of other people’s music might seem preposterous. But there’s no question that a real d.j. can shape a night of music with his personality, style, and spirit, magically turning a string of records into a spontaneous symphony.”

–Vince Aletti– The Disco Files 1973-1978
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Cool Jazz

History of Jazz: Part 5

Ted Gioia, one of the writers who has given significant attention to cool jazz, writes “The cool aesthetic has always found a few lonely champions in the jazz arena–fascinating individuals who have provided an alternative to the dominant hot stylists. As such, they stand as double outsiders in the already counterculture world of jazz.”

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Give A Damn

Spanky & Our Gang, John V. Lindsay and the counterculture meet in the whirlwind of 1968

by Marshall Bowden

1968, the summer of the New York Urban Coalition’s ‘Give a Damn’ campaign was much different than that of 1967. The summer of love rose in a giant puffy cloud over the San Franciso Bay area and wafted out across the country. But now that cloud was turning darker.

For Spanky and Our Gang, a Chicago-based pop music group whose music helped spawn the sun-drenched subgenre ‘sunshine pop,’ as for many Americans, it turned into the year.

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