1959 Jazz: A Historical Study and Analysis of Jazz and Its Artists and Recordings in 1959

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gregg Gelb (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
John Salmon

Abstract: Towards the end of the 1950s, about halfway through its nearly 100-year history, jazz evolution and innovation increased at a faster pace than ever before. By 1959, it was evident that two major innovative styles and many sub-styles of the major previous styles had recently emerged. Additionally, all earlier practices were in use, making a total of at least ten actively played styles in 1959. It would no longer be possible to denote a jazz era by saying one style dominated, such as it had during the 1930s' Swing Era. This convergence of styles is fascinating, but, considering that many of the recordings of that year represent some of the best work of many of the most famous jazz artists of all time, it makes 1959 even more significant. There has been a marked decrease in the jazz industry and in stylistic evolution since 1959, which emphasizes 1959's importance in jazz history. Many jazz listeners, including myself up until recently, have always thought the modal style, from the famous 1959 Miles Davis recording, Kind of Blue, dominated the late 1950s. However, a few of the other great and stylistically diverse recordings from 1959 were John Coltrane's Giant Steps, Ornette Coleman's The Shape of Jazz To Come, and Dave Brubeck's Time Out, which included the very well-known jazz standard Take Five. My research has found many more 1959 recordings of equally unique artistic achievement. My study identifies over 500 jazz recordings of 1959. To explain the high level of creativity and innovation during that pivotal year, I analyze ten top recordings from 1959, and I examine the forces in American society that affected jazz. A lecture/recital of the ten transcriptions accompanied this study, given on March 27, 2008 at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
"Kind of Blue", "Shape of Jazz to Come", 1959, Jazz, Recordings, Styles
Jazz $y 1951-1960 $x History and criticism.
Jazz $y 1951-1960 $x History and criticism.

Email this document to