Chapter Overview

The jazz avant-garde-also known as "free jazz" or the "New Thing"-explodes into the narrative of jazz history around 1960. It can be understood as a modernist agenda that underlies the entire history of jazz. With bebop, jazz evolved into a "modern art," and it continued to challenge conventions and defy the preconceptions of audiences. This chapter examines the avant-garde "pioneers" Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor, considering how progressive ideas of jazz performance and composition finally become so outrageous that many people simply refuse to recognize it as jazz. A new generation of avant-garde performers (Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler) emerge alongside older musicians (Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane) equally involved the new scene. The theatrical representations of Sun Ra are examined as are the collective activism of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), which includes the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, and Muhal Richard Abrams. The chapter also explores reaction to the avant-garde, usually known as postbop, through the 1960s music of Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, and Andrew Hill. Finally, the avantgarde scene is followed from the 1970s to the present through Loft Jazz (e.g., David Murray) and M-BASE (Steve Coleman, Greg Osby).

Chapter 15 Jukebox