Best Years for Jazz?

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 513 times.

S Clark

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 5148
  • Measurements don't make your toes tap
Best Years for Jazz?
« on: 31 Jul 2017, 02:21 pm »
When film aficionados talk of the greatest year, all nod when you say 1939.  Is 1959 it for jazz?
Time Out, Ah Um, Kind of Blue, The Shape of Jazz to Come, Chet, Coltrane Giant Steps ... Bill Evan's Portrait in Jazz, Kenny Dorham Quiet Kenny, Art Pepper +11, and the list goes on.
Not to mention great songs like Ella doing "But Not for Me" or Sinatra "Come Dance with Me". 

What other years are even close??

mcgsxr

Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #1 on: 31 Jul 2017, 04:14 pm »
Obvious I assume, but so many excellent jazz albums from the 50's.

'59 may very well be the peak for the kind of stuff I like a lot.

Included Ben Webster meets Oscar Peterson, Bags and Trane, Mingus in Wonderland, The Shape of Jazz to Come (Ornette Coleman).

I would say 1959 is a great call.
« Last Edit: 31 Jul 2017, 09:48 pm by mcgsxr »

FullRangeMan

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 9392
  • All Tweeters look like a target, then shoot them!
    • Never go to a psychiatrist, adopt a straycat or dog. On the street they live only two years average.
Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #2 on: 31 Jul 2017, 04:22 pm »
The post-war years are better than the pre war times, due the plethora of good sound recordings.
« Last Edit: 31 Jul 2017, 09:29 pm by FullRangeMan »

richidoo

Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #3 on: 31 Jul 2017, 08:55 pm »
The 1940s was the peak of jazz. You had swing bands still going strong and innovating, and you had the emergence of bebop as swing's progeny. Everyone listened to jazz on the radio every single day and went to dance to live music every single weekend. So both influences were at their peak in the 40s. Much of trhe emergence of bop is not on record due to the recording ban during WW2. But when you do hear the early bop recordings it is miraculous what they did considering the times and what had gone before.

Bud Powell was the spiritual lightning rod behind bop, he was the Nikola Tesla of modern jazz. He pulled the music forward out of the swing era and made a serious art form out of silly fake pop culture swing music. He brought in the new harmonic concept that fueled bebop and created a new art form. All the bop pioneers acknowledged Bud as being the harmonic touchstone they all drew upon. Bud and his best friend Thelonius Monk developed their harmonic concept through the 40s when it was perfected and used by the next gen 1950s post-boppers to make all the huge commercial success recordings of the 50s and 60s.

Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie were the public faces of the new music, they got the teenagers excited for the new rebel music. This demand for bop from kids also fueled the early bop-lite music like Brubeck and Mulligan. Everyone worshipped Bird. In 1950 all bands tilted toward his influence in some way. His main innovation period was mid 40s. His most important recordings, those which influenced all the next gen musicians of the 50s, were made in the late 40s.

After the war, the main hero figures in the US were baseball players and jazz soloists, Lester Young probably being the biggest. The soloist was really starting to become as important to the purpose of the music as the composition itself, or the band leader as dominated before. In 1940 it didn't matter the solo, you danced to the song and arrangement, identified by the band leader. in 1950 you huddled around a record player listening to Basie/Prez, or Bird. Lester Young, Roy Eldridge, and Art Tatum were the soloists that bridged the distance between the safe and familiar dance music of the previous decade into the brave new world of bop where the kids were flocking.

If I could travel back in time to hear music it would be to hear Bud, Bird and Dizzy play in late 40s.

Archguy

Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #4 on: 31 Jul 2017, 10:56 pm »
Any year between the Korean War and the Vietnam War was a very good one, and not just for jazz.  The USA was really riding high back then.  Mind you, I wasn't alive so I'm relying on history :)

1959 strikes me as a peak or very nearly. 

Russell Dawkins

Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #5 on: 31 Jul 2017, 11:09 pm »
Informative and interesting post, richidoo. You could teach music history!

S Clark

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 5148
  • Measurements don't make your toes tap
Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #6 on: 1 Aug 2017, 01:10 am »
Informative and interesting post, richidoo. You could teach music history!
Yep, I was thinking the same thing.  I'd love to buy Rich a beverage or three just to talk jazz. 

charmerci

Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #7 on: 1 Aug 2017, 03:57 pm »
Best years?


I think the some of the most amazing music came from '56 until '62.

md92468

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 202
Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #8 on: 1 Aug 2017, 04:13 pm »
Marginally off-topic, but passing this link along in case some folks here haven't heard (or heard of) these podcasts. They're great little jazz morsels...by no means comprehensive, but enough to stimulate deeper exploration:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/jazz-insights-media/id405935692?mt=10

Armaegis

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 809
  • slumming it between headphones and pro audio
Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #9 on: 1 Aug 2017, 05:58 pm »
As a guy who teaches swing dance, my preference leans heavily towards the pre-bop phase of jazz. However, one cannot deny that the quality of recordings improved substantially in the post-war era.

People also may not realize how much the technology behind recording (and playback) affects what becomes popular, and thus shapes how music will evolve. It's very difficult to record and play back orchestral or big band sounds. You just can't recreate that feeling of being there, and it sounds bad. Small groups and soloists however, much much easier and if you can get a good recording, people will listen and buy them, etc.

charmerci

Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #10 on: 1 Aug 2017, 06:19 pm »
As a guy who teaches swing dance, my preference leans heavily towards the pre-bop phase of jazz. However, one cannot deny that the quality of recordings improved substantially in the post-war era.

People also may not realize how much the technology behind recording (and playback) affects what becomes popular, and thus shapes how music will evolve. It's very difficult to record and play back orchestral or big band sounds. You just can't recreate that feeling of being there, and it sounds bad. Small groups and soloists however, much much easier and if you can get a good recording, people will listen and buy them, etc.


Have you listened to Count Basie Orchestra (sound-wise) 1958-62? Lot of good stuff there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Basie_Orchestra#The_1950s

Ronw

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 10
Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #11 on: 1 Aug 2017, 06:25 pm »
From inception until the present!

Russell Dawkins

Re: Best Years for Jazz?
« Reply #12 on: 1 Aug 2017, 07:10 pm »

Have you listened to Count Basie Orchestra (sound-wise) 1958-62? Lot of good stuff there. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Basie_Orchestra#The_1950s

Great band, and some of the recordings are excellent sounding.