Chapter Study Outline

  1. Barbarians at the Gate
    1. During the 1950s, rock and roll—a mix of the rhythms of R&B with the sound of hillbilly and country music—led by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, and others started drawing large audiences of white teenagers.
    2. Jazz musicians considered it immature and a fad, unlike jazz, which had a history and an adult sensibility.
    3. By the 1960s, rock overwhelmed popular music, resulting in much less work for jazz musicians. Fusion—a pop-jazz mixture—was viewed as one answer and was assumed to be the next phase of jazz. The term was replaced by "smooth" or "contemporary" jazz by the 1980s.
  2. Jazz-Rock Background
    1. Rock and roll was a new source of popular songs, many of them written by a coterie of New York songwriters who aimed for the teenage market and characterized by puerile lyrics and relatively unsophisticated harmonies.
    2. The late 1950s also saw a folk revival that brought a simpler moralistic aesthetic to popular music, part of which was to eschew "commercial" music.
    3. In 1964, British groups like the Beatles and the Rolling Stones revived pop styles of the 1950s, including urban blues, along with an antiestablishment attitude. They also established the singersongwriter as a mainstay of pop music, leaving jazz musicians out in the cold, although they did try to play some of this music with a jazz approach.
    4. Still, the business model shift did not occur overnight: songwriters still wrote pop "standards," and Broadway supplied hit songs, which jazz musicians continued to mine. But even this source dried up by end of the 1960s as record sales in rock grew astronomically.
  3. The Challenge to Jazz
    1. By the late 1960s, album-oriented, loose, improvisational, blues-based rock became popular; some people compared it to a kind of electrified jazz. Jimi Hendrix exemplifies this trend.
    2. The resulting obstacles for jazz musicians can be classified into five categories:
      1. Youth: the new young, relatively well-off baby boomer generation wanted to listen to musicians who were also young, not older jazz musicians who had been honing their art for decades.
      2. Electronics and Recordings: amplifications and electronic manipulation of sound produced a whole new range of timbres with which jazz musicians found it difficult to keep pace. Rock depended on studio production techniques, something that many jazz musicians disdained, believing that recordings should re-create the live sound of a band.
      3. Rhythm: by the 1960s, rock was played in an even-eighths groove as opposed to a swing groove. Many jazz musicians refused to adjust on aesthetic grounds, or found it difficult to adjust even if they wanted to.
      4. Groups: rock focused on the group in contrast to jazz, which focused more on each contributing musician. Jazz eventually developed a group-oriented creative process.
      5. Virtuosity: since the time of bebop, jazz musicians had been expected to have a high level of virtuosity. Earlier rock musicians disdained this capability in favor of a "do-it-yourself" ethic of folk and blues, which shifted focus from the individual musicians to the band, song, and songwriter.
  4. The Renewal of Funk
    1. Fusion eventually met each one of these obstacles. The answer came from the contemporary version of "race music" known as soul and funk.
    2. Soul music dates from the 1950s, when Ray Charles used religious grooves in secular music and when soul-jazz artists such as Horace Silver and Jimmy Smith emphasized backbeats. The new funk was exemplified by James Brown's rhythmic, crossover arrangements.
    3. In funk, layering is more independent than in rock, allowing each player to play more inventively: drummers had to switch to a funk groove from swing; bassists could play more syncopated lines; and soloists played lines that fit into the overall texture.
    4. Funk allowed for both more sophisticated, chromatically colored harmony and modal playing since it often featured long stretches of one chord.
    5. Funk was dance music, allowing young musicians to explore sophisticated jazz harmony while the dance beat held the audience's attention.
    6. 1967: jazz was in crisis; Coltrane died, clubs were closing, concerts were drying up, and the press was starting to take rock more seriously. Young jazz musicians needed to adjust to the change— something needed to be done to bridge the gap between jazz and pop.
    7. One of the first groups to bridge the gap was led by saxophonist Charles Lloyd, featuring a young Keith Jarrett and Jack Dejohnette playing within the loose cultural boundaries of the San Francisco scene in which jazz performances intermingled with other popular music genres like rock. In 1968, Miles's drummer Tony Williams started a group with British guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young called Emergency, which revived the organ trio setting—this time including more of a harmonic, improvisatory, and timbral edge that pointed the way to the basis for fusion.
  5. Miles Ahead: The Breakthrough
    1. 1968: Miles had grown tired of postbop jazz. Miles was looking for a simpler, less-abstract style, which he heard in the Chicago blues of Muddy Waters.
    2. Davis electrified his rhythm section by bringing in Dave Holland on electric bass (Ron Carter didn't like electric bass) and Chick Corea on electric piano. He also renewed his off-and-on collaboration with Gil Evans.
    3. The results can be heard on Filles de Kilamanjaro (1968), which is characterized by a combination of bass ostinati, modal jazz, and floating harmonies over a steady beat. In his promotion of the album, Davis was careful to claim that referring to his music as jazz was old-fashioned.
    4. After Davis added the electric guitar of John McLaughlin, In a Silent Way was made partially over a surreptitiously recorded E major chord (a simplification of Joe Zawinul's original chord progression), catching the spontaneous interaction of a group who thought they were in rehearsal.
    5. Davis came increasingly to rely upon postproduction to effect his later albums. He edited what he saw as the raw material produced in the studio. Producer Teo Macero was Davis's partner in this regard. Much like the Beatles' George Martin, Macero was given a free hand to edit and recombine the hours of recording made in the studio to make two long tracks for In a Silent Way that established a satisfying, persistent groove.
    6. Bitches Brew
      1. Davis liked to leave lots of room for his band to improvise textures in a context of "controlled freedom." By the end of the 1960s, Davis was playing with large ensembles of young musicians and with doubled or even tripled rhythm-section instruments to create a dense but light texture in a style he insisted was "black" more than rock.
      2. Bitches Brew (1969) proved Miles's claim to Columbia record executives that he would sell more if they stopped marketing him as a jazz man. Although it could never be considered a "commercial" album because of the length of each piece (even after post-production editing), the considerable levels of harmonic dissonance, and dense textures, Bitches Brew found a niche on album-oriented rock stations and sold 500,000 copies in its first year. Bitches Brew heralded the arrival of "fusion."
  6. Mahavishnu, Return to Forever, and Weather Report
    1. Bitches Brew launched fusion but could not act as a model for other musicians. It was the Mahavishnu Orchestra with its electric guitar focus that offered a workable fusion template.
    2. Mahavishnu was created by John McLaughlin (b. 1942), a British guitarist influenced by black bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Leadbelly (Huddie William Ledbetter) as well as 1960s rock, among other music genres.
    3. He immersed himself in Indian classical music, with its sophisticated system of meter (tala) and improvisation. His first two commercially successful albums—The Inner Mounting Flame (1972) and Birds of Fire (1973)—proved that the music of a so-called jazz fusion musician could be commercially competitive with rock.
    4. The music was loud, fast, virtuosic (raising the bar for rock guitarists), intense, and distorted, much like concert rock and unlike a club jazz.
    5. It was also inventive, with complicated meters inspired by tala, often in odd-numbered meters and slash chords—triads over bass roots outside the chord, resulting in dissonant harmonies.
    6. Corea's Return to Forever modeled after the Mahavishnu Orchestra's style as a way of discovering an artistically and commercially viable mode of fusion.
    7. A Boston native, Corea learned jazz by transcribing the voicings of Horace Silver and the solos of Bud Powell. After leaving Davis in 1970 he joined Anthony Braxton for six albums, after which he began to find free improvisation alienating. He formed Return to Forever in 1972.
    8. After hearing Mahavishnu, Corea wanted to play and write more dramatic and intense music. He started playing synthesizers and hired guitarist Bill Connors and then Al DiMeola, a technically spectacular player.
      1. At fifteen years, Weather Report was the longestlasting fusion group as well as one of the most artistically and commercially successful. It also centered on Davis alumni, in this case Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter.
    9. Shorter was with Davis during the 1960s, led his own postbop groups, recorded copiously, and wrote many compositions.
    10. An Austrian World War II survivor and the mainstay of the group, Joe Zawinul came to the United States in 1959. Most notably he joined Cannonball Adderley's 1960s soul jazz band as the only white musician.
    11. Zawinul first started to use the electric piano in the mid-1960s after hearing Ray Charles. He used it to compose Adderley's biggest hit, "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy." He mastered the synthesizer and even created his own timbres, which he preferred to the instrument's preset sounds.
    12. The band moved away from free-jazz improvisation and textures to African American pop (or "Afro-pop") grooves during the mid-1970s when they hired a new bass player, Jaco Pastorius. He did not play acoustic bass, only electric bass.
    13. Pastorius removed the frets from the standard electric bass and created a singing sound on the instrument. He sealed his claim on the jazz tradition by playing an unaccompanied version of the notoriously difficult "Donna Lee" on his first album.
    14. After a few years with Weather Report, Pastorius started using drugs heavily. By 1982 he left the band and died four years later.
    15. In Weather Report, Pastorius played melodic lines like a guitar player and attracted a young white audience. The band's 1976 recording Heavy Weather was a best seller and featured "Birdland," a Zawinul composition.
    16. "Teen Town"
      1. Named after a Miami neighborhood. Pastorius plays bass and drums here over an ambiguous chord progression of major triads. It sounds improvised, but it is mostly composed.
      2. Much of the performance is in the form of dialogues between Pastorius and Shorter and Pastorius and Zawinul. The dialogue opens up near the end of the piece, a section that is extended in live performance.
  7. Chameleons: Herbie Hancock (b. 1940)
    1. Hancock was a complex postbop pianist and composer who, in the 1970s, created a popular, relatively simple funk-jazz mixture that was held together by extended, syncopated bass lines.
    2. Pianist Keith Jarrett, who despised rock and its electronic accoutrements, made some popular recordings, including The Köln Concert, by also using extended repetitions of gospel grooves and ostinati.
    3. Chameleon-like, Hancock keeps several careers going at once: postbop pianist, 1970s funk pop performer, 1980s hip-hop fusion artist, duo pianist with Sting, Christina Aguilera, Josh Groban, and Nora Jones. In concert he is as likely to play acoustic jazz on a Steinway as he is contemporary R&B on the innovative "keytar." His 2007 album, River: The Joni Letters, was the first jazz recording to win the Grammy Award as album of the year since Getz/Giberto in 1965.
    4. Born in Chicago, he played classical music as well as R&B in his youth. He learned a bluesy jazz style by listening to Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans and developed a good ear for harmony. He had an early hit with "Watermelon Man," which was recorded by Mongo Santamaria. In the 1960s he composed and played on modal pieces like "Maiden Voyage" and slash chord-based pieces such as "Dolphin Dance."
    5. After leaving Davis in 1970 he followed up on his fascination with synthesizers and formed an experimental group that played postbop music. When the band struggled, Hancock—inspired by James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and Tower of Power—turned to funk.
    6. Headhunters
      1. His new band included funk musicians Harvy Mason (drums), Paul Jackson (bass), and percussionist Bill Summers, who played West African percussion. The 1974 album (named after the group) produced the hit "Chameleon," consisting of a bass line, clave, a couple of chords, and layers of electric keyboard sounds. Some criticized the album for being neither jazz nor funk. Later, Hancock effectively combined the complexity of jazz with the simplicity of funk grooves on the albums Thrust (1974) and Man-Child (1975).
      2. Then in the early 1980s he heard some hiphop tapes by the group Material. He added a melody and released it as "Rockit" in 1983. It became an underground success complete with a video on MTV.
  8. Keith Jarrett (b. 1945)
    1. An idiosyncratic performer, he vocalizes and gyrates while he plays, and he is notoriously intolerant of distractions during performances. Nevertheless, he has a wide audience.
    2. Born in Pennsylvania, he was a classical music prodigy. He played with Art Blakey's Messengers, Charles Lloyd, and Miles Davis. Even though he hated fusion, he liked what Miles was doing.
    3. The Köln Concert
      1. Jarrett recorded a number of long solo piano concerts. The best known is The Köln Concert (1975), which is a double LP and is one of the best-selling jazz recordings of all time even though, according to Jarrett, the piano was wrong, the food was wrong, and he hadn't slept in two days.
      2. Inspiring a number of "new age" pianists, this recording was noticed by non-jazz fans who were attracted by the mixes of jazz and gospel, folk, and other kinds of music.
    4. American and European Concerts
      1. His non-solo work ranges over classical music, various kinds of keyboard instruments, avantgarde improvisation, and divine inspirations.
      2. During the 1970s Jarrett played with two groups, an American group that played avantgarde jazz (Charlie Haden, Dewey Redman, and Paul Motian) and gospel and in which he often played other instruments, and a European group (with Norwegian Jan Garbarek, Scandinavians Jon Chrisensen and Palle Daneilson), which played less abrasively than the American group.
  9. From Hard Fusion to Smooth Jazz
    1. Fusion entered a new stage with a new generation who had been brought up on pop and rock music.
    2. Metheny originally studied Wes Montgomery's techniques but was also influenced by the music of Dylan, the Beatles, the country music of Waylon Jennings, and bossa nova.
    3. He made his first recording in 1975 with Jaco Pastorius (Bright Size Life). His sound is warm and rich, with broad melodic lines, which he plays on original compositions. He composed with pianist Lyle Mays, with whom he started the Pat Metheny group in 1977.
    4. For his generation, Metheny reclaimed the guitar for jazz. The sound is often electronic but also melodic and informed by the jazz tradition.
    5. He also recorded free jazz in 1985 with Ornette Coleman (Song x), adding to its "harmolodic" texture.
    6. Fusion also uses music outside the United States, producing what is typically referred to as world music.
    7. Jan Garbarek is a good example. Growing up in Norway, he became fascinated with Coltrane's use of Third World music in the 1960s. Garbarek became a jazz ethnomusicologist, learning folk songs and using them in his music, which he refused to call jazz.
    8. A name evoking diversity, the Paul Winter Consort took on the entire earth as a resource. He soon began using wolf howls and the singing of humpbacked whales as sources on recordings such as Common Ground (1978). He has also recorded in sacred spaces and in the wilderness.
    9. Formed in 1970, Oregon is a breakaway group from the Consort that included composer Ralph Towner. Each musician plays a number instruments: Towner mainly plays six- and twelve-string guitar but performs piano and even French horn. Bassist Glen Moore also plays violin and flute; Paul McCandless, oboe (rare in jazz); and percussionist Colin Walcott, tabla and sitar. Oregon exemplifies serene, intricate, and interactive New Age jazz.
    10. One of Bill Clinton's favorite saxophonists is Kenny G, an exemplar of smooth jazz. The term first appeared in the 1980s, but the style, consisting of an inoffensive blending of jazz and upbeat R&B and funk, dates back to the 1960s and 1970s with Wes Montgomery's covers of Beatles songs, which were produced by Creed Taylor. Taylor's CTI Records recorded George Benson, among others, in an easy-listening atmosphere.
    11. The audience was affluent African American professionals. The music was driven by radio. By the late 1980s, a new category of radio emerged called "new adult contemporary," "jazz lite," "quiet storm," or "smooth jazz." The target audience was affluent twenty-five- to forty-four-year-olds who wanted something less abrasive than rock but did not want to make the leap to jazz. In 1987 Billboard introduced a "contemporary jazz" category for this music.
    12. Kenneth Gorelick, or Kenny G, is the best-selling maestro of smooth jazz, although some jazz musicians consider his music "lame noodling."
    13. Smooth jazz finally did away with the real-time interactivity of jazz by using pop-music recording techniques of overdubbing layers of music one at a time.
  10. Jam Bands, Acid Jazz, Hip-hop
    1. Smooth jazz is consumed through recordings and radio play, but other kinds of fusion are not. The roots of jam band jazz come from the 1960s, especially the long improvisations of the rock group the Grateful Dead.
      1. Phish is a more contemporary version of a band devoted to open-ended improvisation, but is not a jazz band. Publicized by Phish, Medeski, Martin and Wood (MMW) was started by classical pianist John Medeski. He eventually left classical music and went to the New England Conservatory of Music, where he met bassist Chris Wood and then drummer Billy Martin at a gig.
      2. Starting out as a piano trio in New York, they started to tour in the early 1990s, playing on the same gigs as rock bands like Los Lobos and Dave Matthews. Medeski soon started playing an array of electronic keyboards, each with its own amplifier.
      3. Medeski does not like the term "jam band," but it fits their music. It builds on grooves of earlier fusion groups. The group also places their recorded concerts on their website. Many of the recordings have been shaped by hip-hop artists.
    2. The term "acid jazz" comes from the English "rave" scene. When DJ Chris Bangs decided to play an alternative to the usual repetitive, bass-oriented, hypnotic electronic music for dancers, he used soul jazz tracks. The rave's "acid house" music suddenly became known as "acid jazz." This was a pathway for young people into the jazz tradition.
    3. Acid jazz revivified soul jazz, which was pushed to the fringes of critical attention during the period of Coltrane, Mingus, and Coleman. Though some viewed soul jazz as trivial and too commercial, it persevered. Later, when these DJs looked for music as a new source for acid jazz, they would find it in ample supply.
  11. Jazz/Hip-hop
    1. Hip-hop is the latest music to inform fusion. Starting in Brooklyn during the 1970s and spreading worldwide in the 1980s, it did not have much impact on jazz musicians (Hancock's "Rockit" is an exception) and, unlike jazz, was countercultural, youth-oriented, and in touch with black street life.
    2. Two things had to occur for this particular fusion to work:
      1. Hip-hop musicians had to start listening to jazz. Early examples include Digable Planets and A Tribe Called Quest, who started sampling their parents' Blue Note recordings. In 1994, Us3 had a big hit with "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)," a transformed version of Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island." Blue Notes' sales rose.
      2. Jazz musicians had to find a way to use hiphop. The financial incentive was very clear. Older jazz soloists were put together with hip-hop tracks. Branford Marsalis's fusion group, Buckshot LeFonque, employs both a rapper and a turntablist.
  12. Miles to Go
    1. Miles continued to record interlocking, bass-heavy, layered, street-oriented fusion and received mostly negative reaction from the critics. These albums, including On the Corner, were seen as foreshadowing techno music.
    2. He went into seclusion in 1975, releasing two controversial double albums. He returned in 1980 to tour and record, finding a more suitable way of playing for both himself and his audience. He continued to attract superb younger players, covered popular rock hits such as Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," and even reunited with arranger Gil Evans.
  13. "Tutu"
    1. In 1985 Miles left Columbia and signed with Warner Brothers to a huge advance that compelled him to give up half of the copyright income. During this period Miles became fascinated with the musician Prince—whom he proclaimed "the new Duke Ellington of our time"—and wanted to feature him on his album.
    2. Bassist, arranger, and producer Marcus Miller was brought in to help make the album.
    3. None of the musicians Davis was working with at the time appear on this album. Davis responded to synthesizer and drum machine tracks presented to him in the studio, a method that was, in some ways, reminiscent of the Gil Evans collaborations.
    4. The track was recorded in a single take with only a few edits. It was named after Desmond Tutu.

Chapter 17 Jukebox