Category Archives: History

The Bebop Revolution

History of Jazz: Part 4

Bebop arrived on the scene, to hear the tale, a fully formed grotesque of music, a deranged Athena fully sprung from the head of the Zeus-like swing era. It caused some musicians, such as Cab Calloway and Tommy Dorsey, to have violent reactions. Many audiences weren’t ready for the new sound either. This is what we commonly hear about one of the most important musical developments of the 20th century.

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Freedom Suite

The history of Sonny Rollins’ jazz classic

by Marshall Bowden

In 1956 Sonny Rollins was one of the best-known tenor saxophonists in jazz, released two classic jazz albums, Saxophone Colossus and Tenor Madness. In the following two years, freed from his Prestige Records contract, Rollins set about making some great records that were released on a variety of labels, including Riverside, Contemporary, and Period. He released Way Out West and worked with Thelonious Monk.

Yet, even as his career ascended he faced the specter of racism when he attempted to rent an apartment in New York City. “Here I had all these reviews, newspaper articles and pictures,” Rollins later said. “At the time it struck me, what did it all mean if you were still a nigger, so to speak? This is the reason I wrote the suite.”

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Aretha Arriving: Young, Gifted and Black

Aretha Franklin, great American singer, songwriter and pianist, passed away on August 16th. As a tribute, New Directions In Music takes a look at her landmark 1972 recording Young, Gifted and Black and Ms. Franklin’s place in the movement for black equality in America.

by Marshall Bowden

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Aretha Franklin had already had a long career by 1972. She had recorded a number of records for Columbia Records in styles that were largely jazz and cabaret singer settings, with only smatterings of R&B and soul, with tepid results. Her move to Atlantic Records put her into the orbit of Jerry Wexler, Arif Martin, and Tom Down and Aretha’s subsequent Atlantic releases were largely R&B and soul affairs with pop covers and the occasional look back at an earlier style

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