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Jazz History 1980 - Present: Home

Jazz History, 1980 - present

Jazz Defined

Contemporary Jazz is essentially a catch-all term for the various permutations of popular, mainstream jazz of the 1980s and '90s. While those years were certainly not devoid of complex, cerebral jazz recordings, music referred to as contemporary jazz does not usually share those sensibilities, nor is the term generally used to describe music centered around hard bop or the avant-garde. Instead, instrumental contemporary jazz is usually informed by some combination of a) fusion -- often slickly produced, with an emphasis on rock and funk rhythms; b) pop-jazz, with its almost exclusive concentration on memorable melodies; c) smooth jazz, with its primary goal of creating pleasant, mellow textures; and d) crossover jazz and contemporary funk, with their blend of polished production and R&B influences. Not all contemporary jazz artists completely discard improvisation and challenging experimentation, but by and large, most instrumentalists emphasize shiny production, melody, and accessibility. In the realm of vocal jazz, artists may or may not possess an improvisational flair, but in most cases, their recordings attempt to evoke an aura of stylish sophistication, sometimes drawing upon pop and R&B in addition to jazz. Continue reading from All Music

Watch Jazz History


Jazz Greats Perform at the International Jazz Day Concert (2019)


Robert Glasper Trio Performs Live at Village Vanguard (2012)

Check Out a Book on Jazz History

Link to Jazz the Smithsonian anthology in the catalog
Link to Jazz In The New Millennium by Rick Mitchell in Hoopla
Link to The Jazz Handbook For The Rock Guitarist by Barry Marloff in Hoopla
Link to DownBeat - The Great Jazz Interviews by Frank Alkyer in Hoopla
Link to Sonny Rollins : the cutting edge by  Richard Palmer in the catalog
Link to Modern Jazz Quartet (Songbook) in Hoopla
Link to Miles Davis by Ian Carr in the catalog
Link to Jazz Historiography by Daniel Hardie in the catalog
Link to Miles Davis : birth of the cool. [DVD] in the catalog
Link to A Tuba To Cuba [DVD] in Hoopla
Link to Jazz a film [DVD] by Ken Burns in the catalog