10 most influential Jazz artists in history
Published on June 14th, 2013 | by Caesar (ENGAGE)
Originating at the beginning of the 20th century, the art of Jazz took shape in its early years in the southern states of the US. Its distinct use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrythyms and the like have characterized it with its African American roots. As the style developed and spread across the globe, many artists became ambassadors and evangelists for the art. Here are 10 of the most influential Jazz artists in history (in not particular ranking or order) . If you know of more, please suggest in the comments area.
His innovation in writing songs, using complex chord progressions and revolutionary harmonic form, changed the standards for composition and greatly influenced other jazz artists.
Duke Ellington was a hugely popular pianist, composer and big-band leader. He was one of the most important band leaders in music. Although known for his pioneering in jazz, Ellington also excelled in a variety of other genres, including gospel, blues, classical, popular and soundtrack.
His 1938 concert at Carnegie hall is considered to be one of the most important live shows in American music history, as it showcased jazz’ coming to prominence as a respectable art form.
One of the central figures of jazz in the 20th century, Miles Davis was at the forefront of multiple musical developments and the emergence of a plenitude of styles. He spearheaded the emergence of be-bop, hard bop, cool jazz, free jazz, fusion, funk and techno music.
Arguably one of the most important figures in American history, Louis Armstong, known as “Satchmo” or “Pops” was an incredibly influential jazz trumpet player and singer from New Orleans. He is recognized as one of the greatest musicians of all time having a major role in the creation of modern jazz.
For 50 years the Count Basie Orchestra, an incredibly popular group of musicians who included players like Lester Young, Sweets Edison, Buck Clayton and Joe Williams, maintained a reputation of one of the most swingin’ and hardhittin’ bands in America.
Coltrane, a composer and saxophone virtuoso, made serious headway into becoming one of the most important figures in jazz music. Coltrane had a harsh, strident sound and played with extreme intensity.
American jazz trumpet player, singer, composer and bandleader, Gillespie was very significant in the development of bebop and modern jazz.
Mingus was called the “heir apparent to Duke Ellington” because of his fantastic writing for medium-sized ensembles. His compositions showcased the skill of each of his players, whom he made sure were not only talented, but characteristically unique like himself.
Max Roach is considered to be one of the greatest drummers in history, and was a renowned bebop pioneer. He is, along with a select few, essentially responsible for the modern style of jazz drumming.