A Level Music: Area of Study 3 – Development of Instrumental Jazz 1910 to the Present Day

Style Genres:

Early Years Swing Bebop Cool Jazz
Hard Bop Avant-garde and Free Jazz Jazz-rock Fusion Contemporary Jazz

Listening Playlist:

Focussed Listening:

Early Jazz: The early New Orleans style
Jelly Roll Morton (1890–1941)
Jelly Roll Morton’s ‘Black Bottom Stomp’ (1926) – Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers Vol. 1, Chicago Days 1926/27, EPM Jazz Archives
Louis Armstrong ()
The Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings
– Lil Hardin: ‘Hotter Than That’ (1927) – Louis Armstrong: 25 Greatest Hot Fives & Sevens, ASV
– Louis Armstrong: ‘West End Blues’ (1928) – Louis Armstrong: 25 Greatest Hot Fives & Sevens, ASV

Swing: Big bands and tea dances
Count Basie
Count Basie: ‘Jumpin’ At The Woodside’ (1938) – Count Basie 1937-1943, Giants of Jazz, ASIN: B000UCH95M
Duke Ellington
– Duke Ellington: ‘Ko-Ko’ (1940) – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: Never No Lament: The Blanton-Webster Band
– Duke Ellington: ‘Concerto For Cootie’ (1940) – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: Never No Lament: The Blanton-Webster Band
– Duke Ellington: ‘Harlem Air Shaft’ (1940) – Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: Never No Lament: The Blanton-Webster Band

Bebop: Jazz after the Second World War
Charlie Parker
– Charlie Parker: ‘Ornithology’ (1946) – Charlie Parker: Ornithology (1945-1947), Naxos Jazz Legends
– Charlie Parker: ‘Ko-Ko’ (1945) – Charlie Parker: Ornithology (1945-1947), Naxos Jazz Legends

Cool jazz: The chilled approach
Miles Davis (1926–1991)
– Miles Davis: ‘So What’ (1959) – Miles Davis Sextet. From the album Kind Of Blue. Recorded in New York for Columbia, March 2, 1959. Timings refer to the ‘Legacy Edition’ of the album.

Hard bop: The aftermath of bebop
Art Blakey
– Art Blakey’s ‘Cranky Spanky’, from the album Hard Bop, recorded in 1956
Horace Silver
– Horace Silver: ‘Song For My Father’ (1964) – Horace Silver Quintet. From the album Song For My Father. Recorded in Van Gelder studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, for Blue Note, October 26, 1964.

Avant-garde and free jazz: Jazz of the 1960s and 1970s
Ornette Coleman
– Ornette Coleman: ‘Civilization Day’ (1971) – From the album Science Fiction. Recorded by Columbia Records in New York, September 9, 1971.

Jazz-rock fusion: Cultural expansionism
John McLaughlin
– The album Birds Of Fire (1972) by the Mahavishnu Orchestra (led by John McLaughlin) is a good example of the jazz-rock or jazz-funk fusion style
– John McLaughlin/Mahavishnu Orchestra: ‘One Word’ (1972) – From the Birds Of Fire album. Mahavishnu Orchestra. Composed by John McLaughlin. Recorded in New York and London, for Columbia, August 1972.

Contemporary jazz: Style fragmentation
Gonzalo Rubalcaba (1963– )
– Gonzalo Rubalcaba: ‘Hip Side’ (2007) – From the album Avatar by Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Composed by Yosvany Terry Cabrera. Recorded in the Avatar Studio in New York, 2007, for Blue Note.
Maria Schneider (1960– )
– Maria Schneider: ‘Arbiters of Evolution’ (2014) – From The Thompson Fields by the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Donny McCaslin (tenor saxophone), Scott Robinson (baritone saxophone). Recorded in August 2014 in New York for ArtistShare.
Courtney Pine (1964– )


Extended Listening:

List A:
Jelly Roll Morton: (i) Wolverine Blues (ii) Black Bottom Stomp
James P. Johnson: You’ve got to be modernistic
Duke Ellington: (i) Ko-ko (ii) Harlem Airshaft (iii) Cottontail (iv) Prelude to a Kiss
Dizzy Gillespie: (i) Things to come (ii) Manteca
Miles Davis: So What from Kind of Blue
Herbie Hancock: (i) Maiden Voyage (ii) Chameleon
Ornette Coleman: Civilization Day

List B:
Bix Beiderbecke: Singin’ the Blues
Louis Armstrong: (i) Hotter than that (ii) West End Blues (iii) Heebie Jeebies (iv) Alligator Crawl
Count Basie: (i) Taxi War Dance (ii) Lester Leaps In
Benny Goodman: Seven Come Eleven
Charlie Parker: (i) Ornithology (ii) Ko-Ko (iii) A Night in Tunisia
Art Blakey: Cranky Spanky
Miles Davis: Masqualero
John Coltrane: Ascension
Stanley Clarke: The Toys Of Men (2007)




BBC Radio 3: Bebop


Donald Macleod and special guest Geoffrey Smith explore bebop.

Donald Macleod and special guest Geoffrey Smith begin by focusing on the ‘yin and yang’ of Bebop, Charlie Parker and the man he once referred to as ‘the other half of my heartbeat’, Dizzy Gillespie. Their three studio recordings – ‘Dizzy Atmosphere’, ‘Now’s the Time’ and ‘Koko’ – galvanized the jazz world, both with the freshness and inventiveness of the musical language and the sheer virtuosity of the playing. Next we follow Parker and Gillespie on a trip to Los Angeles – an occasion notable both for the thrilling live concert they played there and for Parker’s ensuing breakdown and stay in Camarillo State Hospital, where, after years of drug abuse, he underwent six months’ psychiatric treatment; it would be several years before the two men collaborated again. In the meantime, Gillespie formed a big band and made a string of dazzlingly extrovert recordings; Parker’s more reflective, introspective work from this time stands in stark contrast. Their last studio outing, was in June 1950. Parker, always sailing close to the wind, would be dead within five years; Gillespie carried on playing Bebop for another 40, even becoming a cultural ambassador for the US State Department along the way. Donald Macleod and Geoffrey Smith visit the engine-room of jazz – the rhythm section – and in particular, Bebop’s two key drummers, Kenny ‘Klook-Mop’ Clarke and Max Roach. Clarke’s innovation was to shift the drummer’s time-keeping function to the ride cymbal, leaving the snare and bass drum free to ‘drop bombs’ – unexpected offbeat accents – that perfectly complemented the way that the most innovative jazz musicians were beginning to play. In the event, Clarke was shipped off to Europe as part of the US contribution to the war effort, and he missed Bebop’s explosion onto the scene in 1945. His shoes were filled by Max Roach, a percussion virtuoso who absorbed and extended Clarke’s innovations. Donald Macleod and Geoffrey Smith explore the contributions of both men to a stellar sequence of recordings, with Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Fats Navarro, Bud Powell, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, the Modern Jazz Quartet and Clifford Brown. Macleod and guest turn to the 88 keys of the piano, under the phenomenal fingers of Bebop’s two most influential pianists: Bud Powell and Thelonius Monk. The classically-trained Powell had a ferociously virtuosic style of playing. His personality, though, was shy and introverted, and there was something almost helpless about him. He had a tendency to drink to excess, and a formidable knack for getting into trouble. In 1945 he was beaten senseless by the Philadelphia police, an attack whose savagery left him with mental problems that dogged him for the rest of his all-too-brief life; he died in 1966, a couple of months short of his 42nd birthday. Powell and Monk met at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem, where Monk was house pianist in the early ’40s, and they remained firm friends. We hear Monk’s tribute to Powell, ‘In Walked Bud’, and Powell’s reading of a Monk composition, ‘Off Minor’. We also hear their very different readings of ‘Tea for Two’ – Powell’s a wildly inventive hectic dash, like something from the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, Monk’s much more spacious and angular. And to finish: ‘Wee’ from a celebrated live concert recording in which Powell played with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Max Roach; and a Monk tune, ‘Little Rootie Tootie’, in a magnificent arrangement for big band. To conclude their exploration, they take a look beyond Bebop and explore the various shoots that have sprouted from the original stem, in the hands of such musicians as John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Wynton Marsalis and finally Sonny Rollins, who brings us into the 21st century with his take on the Jerome Kern standard, ‘Why Was I Born’ – a live concert recording made in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

Big Band

BBC Radio 3: Big Band, 2014


Donald Macleod is joined by trumpeter Guy Barker to explore the story of big band jazz.


Thelonious Monk

 BBC Radio 3: Composer of the Week – Thelonious Monk, 2017


Donald Macleod and Brian Priestley celebrate the centenary of jazz legend Thelonious Monk