Cool Jazz

Cool jazz was a direct descendent of Be-bop, largely stemming from innovative musicians in Los Angeles (for this reason it is also known as West Coast Jazz). By 1948 there was a growing audience for Be-bop and musicians who were devloping their styles under its influence began searching around for new areas to explore.

'Cool' saw a reconnection with the melodic elements of earlier Swing with the new developments in harmony and rhythm offered by Be-bop, giving it a more laid-back, casual feel, whilst maintaining the excitement of spontaneous improvisation.

Early 'Cool' musicians include Miles Davis (who greatly influenced the playing of Chet Baker), Lester Young and John Lewis. It also incorporated ideas from contemporary classical music and offered a middle ground between jazz and classical, a movement which saw prominence in the mid to late 1950's.

The 1950's also saw the beginning of the cool West Coast Jazz school, a largely white movement which received a significant amount of radio air time. This encouraged record companies to promote vigorously, thus spreading its popularity.


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