Music of Jazz | Discussion

1. What was the “neo-classicist” movement in jazz, who led it, and why did it evolve when it did?

The development of the neo-classicist movement in jazz is associated with the revival of interest of musicians to the early development of jazz and its classical forms. At the same time, the neo-classicist jazz has incorporated or, to put it more precisely, adapted classical jazz forms to the contemporary context, when pop trends in jazz music were actually used as the ground for the adaptation and integration of classical elements of jazz music. The neo-classical jazz did not have a distinct leader, but, instead, it had many musicians that contributed to its development. For example, Lester Young, Wes Montgomery, Bell Evans, Count Basic are just a few musicians to mention, who contributed to the development of the neo-classicist jazz. However, the neo-classicist jazz has never been so popular as other styles of jazz because neo-classicist jazz musicians derived from the traditional frenetic inclination of jazz musicians toward romanticism. Instead, they focused more on the balance, care and restraint as the key features of jazz, which limited romanticism and improvisation other jazz styles strived for (Mandel, 2008). Such attempts to create the classical form of jazz on the basis of the huge diversity of its styles and classical traditions of jazz contributed to the development of the neo-classicist jazz. The rise of the neo-classicist jazz dates back to the 1950s – 1960s as an attempt to consolidate achievements of jazz music and raise it to a new, upper level, closer to classical music.

3. How did avant-garde jazz from the 1970s differ from avant-garde jazz in the 1960s?

The development of the avant-garde jazz in the 1960s – 1970s involved considerable progress and change of this style. At the same time, it is still possible to trace strong ties between the avant-garde jazz of the 1960s and that of the 1970s. In this regard, the wide use and focus on the use of saxophone became the distinct feature of the avant-garde jazz. The avant-garde jazz of the 1960s tended to eclecticism, which became extremely popular and inspired may musicians working in this field. However, the 1970s brought the further development of the avant-garde jazz with the shift from the sheer eclecticism, which involved quite unexpected combination of music styles, toward wider improvisation, as was the case of Anthony Braxton’s music, for example, Braxton emphasized improvisation as his priority that resulted in experiments and quite unusual play as well as graphical presentation of his compositions. Nevertheless, he still stuck to the use of saxophone as the main instrument, which was very popular among representatives of the avant-garde jazz (Berliner, 1994). In fact, the evolution of Braxton music mirrors the evolution of the avant-garde jazz because he started his work in the 1960s by following eclectic trends of his contemporary but steadily he went further and focused on improvisation rather than on eclecticism of his music, when he could improvise within one style instead of combining different ones.

5. What is “postmodernism”? Choose and discuss one or two examples discussed in class that demonstrate a postmodern approach to jazz.

Postmodernism is a new cultural and artistic trend, which has emerged in response to modernism and is the contemporary view on art and culture. in this regard, music is also vulnerable to the impact of postmodernism. Postmodernism basically questions traditional concepts of modernism and attempts to challenge the conventional view on music, especially jazz as something conventional or convertible to a theoretical framework (Lion, 2004). Postmodernists challenge the idea of the scientific explanation of music, such as jazz. Instead, they attempt to view it from the aesthetic perspective and they are more concerned with how people feel about jazz than how jazz suits different musical theories and views of critics.

At this point, it is possible to refer to jazz music played by Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, which tend to postmodernism in their music. Postmodernism manifests through the highly personalized music they play, which often involve elements outside jazz, but still they stick to improvisation as the key element of jazz music. In such a way, they question conventional elements of jazz and attempt to convey their emotions to the audience evoking strong feelings by using their improvisation and unconventional play of jazz music.

6. Using at least one specific example, describe how some jazz performers continue to attract a large following in the new millennium and sell millions of albums playing a “pop” style of jazz, and how is their style different from traditional “mainstream” jazz?

The Bad Plus is the jazz band, which currently is very popular in the US as well as internationally, but their style is a combination of avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences. In fact, they are close to pop style of jazz that brings them popularity and interest of the public (Ward & Burns 2007). The Bad Plus has integrated elements of pop music in their jazz play and performance that brought them popularity.

At the same time, the popularity of their pop jazz is determined, to a significant extent, by its difference from the mainstream jazz. In fact, it is this difference that attracts the audience to pop jazz because the mainstream jazz becomes too conventional for the audience and the audience often feels nostalgic about pop elements used in jazz. Pop jazz played by the Bad Plus uses elements of pop music and culture, which attract millions of people but present them in the form of jazz. In such a way, both jazz and pop music sound very differently and originally from the mainstream jazz and music in general.


Berliner, P. F. (1994). “Thinking in Jazz: The Infinite Art of Improvisation”. University of Chicago Press. Chocago & London

Lion, J.P. (2004). Bix: The Definitive Biography of a Jazz Legend. New York: Continuum.

Mandel, H. (2008). Miles, Ornette, Cecil: Jazz Beyond Jazz. Preface by Greg Tate. New York: Routledge.

Ward, G.C., and K. Burns. (2007). Jazz, a History of America’s Music 1st Ed. Random House Inc.

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: November 26, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: November 26, 2021]
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