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Jazz Scene | Greatest Jazz Musicians of all Time
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Greatest Jazz Musicians of all Time

Jazz has a very rich history. As a matter of fact, it has evolved so much ever since its creation in the 19th century that in the 1950s, “free jazz” came to be. What this term essentially means is that this musical style no longer needed to be played without the application of a regular meter and beat. A formal structure was also done away with. Moreover, hard bop came into the picture in the mid-1950s as R&B, the blues, and gospel music were all incorporated into jazz. This was then followed by modal jazz. Here, the musical scale serves as the backbone of musical structure and improvising.

By the time the late 1960s and early 1970s rolled around, jazz improvisation had begun to be combined with rock rhythms, a variety of electric instruments, as well as a heavy amp sound. Sooth jazz emerged in the early years of the 1980s and it received a great deal of airplay on commercial radio. At present, unique styles and versions of jazz such as Latin jazz and Afro-cuban jazz are popular. In the world of famous jazz musician J.J. Johnson, “Jazz is restless. It won’t stay put and it never will.”

Nevertheless, pinning down a singular definition of jazz is no easy feat considering that at present, there are so many styles of music that encompass it. It has grown and evolved so much over the last 100 years. Perhaps Duke Ellington, one of the most famous jazz musicians that existed put it best in his succinct statement: “It’s all music.”

Nevertheless, one aspect of jazz that is considered to be one of its fundament elements is improvisation. Some of the most prominent jazz musicians are Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Ornettte Coleman, Benny Goodman, Charlie Mingus, Wynton Marsalis, and Art Blakey.

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