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Jazz History

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1954

Miles Davis has kicked the drug habit. He is currently putting together small groups. He records Walkin' with Horace Silver on piano, J.J. Johnson on trombone and Lucky Thompson on saxophone. This song signals the beginnings of Hard Bop or Funk. Miles gets a lot of credit here, but Horace Silver's contribution was probably greater.

Miles records Sonny Rollins' Oleo with a group which includes Miles on trumpet, Sonny Rollins on tenor sax, Percy Heath on bass, Horace Silver on piano and Kenny Clarke on drums.

Miles refuses to record Bag's Groove with Thelonious Monk accompanying because Monk's playing is "too disturbing".

Sonny Rollins and Miles Davis record Airegin.

Sonny Rollins takes a sabbatical from music to kick the heroin habit.

Johnny Hodges fires Coltrane for drug-related problems. Coltrane returns to Philadelphia to work in R&B groups, including one led by seminal jazz organist Jimmy Smith.

John Coltrane meets Juanita Grubbs, who goes by her Muslim first name, Naima. The couple will marry next year.

John Coltrane is working for R&B singer Big Maybelle in Cleveland. During the performance, Big Maybelle says that Coltrane is her favorite musician.

Horace Silver initiates the first version of the Jazz Messengers to record for Blue Note.

Horace Silver is currently one of the most sought after pianists in Jazz.

Pianist Bill Evans has become a master of composition and harmony.

Cecil Taylor begins to abandon the standard Jazz piano approaches. He begins to use chords, not as building blocks, but as swatches of color like the French Impressionists.

Clifford Brown wins the Downbeat critic's award for best new star on trumpet. Clifford becomes a sought after musician.

Clifford Brown and drummer Max Roach form a quintet called the Clifford Brown-Max Roach Quintet. See CD's from this group on EmArcy.

Clifford Brown records with Art Blakey at an early live concert at Birdland.

Trombonists J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding form a quintet.

Lee Konitz has his own band now.

Saxophonist and composer Gigi Gryce and trumpeter Art Farmer co-lead a band at the Tijuana Club.

The first Newport Jazz festival occurs in Newport, Rhode Island. Pianist George Wein is responsible for inviting the musicians.

Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson leaves Cootie Williams and returns to Houston to become a music teacher and part-time musician.

Tony Williams begins to play drums with his father at the age of 8. He will learn much from listening to Art Blakey and Max Roach.

Pianist Art Tatum is now seriously ill. He stops drinking, but it is probably too late.

Louis Armstrong goes on a Japanese tour.

Louis Armstrong quits Decca and records Satch Plays W. C. Handy for Columbia.

Gene Krupa and Cozy Cole co-found a school of percussion in New York.

Swedish baritone saxophonist Lars Gullin becomes the first non-American to win in Downbeat's Critic's poll.

Ray Charles does the successful I Got a Woman. Here, Ray took the tune and rhythm from a Spiritual song and substituted decidedly unspiritual words.

Elvis Presley records the first of his seminal sessions at Sun Records.

Kansas City Blues shouter Big Joe Turner records the very early Rock and Roll song Shake, Rattle and Roll. This song will be covered by the Philadelphia-area Country turned Rock and Roller Bill Haley. For awhile, Haley's version will be more popular.

Bill Haley and the Comets record Rock Around the Clock.

The U.S. Senate and the U.S. people, in general, stop taking Senator Joseph McCarthy seriously and a relatively liberal period begins.

Shelly Manne, Shorty Rogers and Jimmy Giuffre form an unusual trio at a recording session and perform a couple of free pieces.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1955

The Hard Bop style is emerging via people like drummer Art Blakey and piano player Horace Silver. Blue notes are disappearing from Jazz. They are being replaced by minor notes. For instance, the blue seventh becomes the minor seventh, etc.

Cool Jazz hits its last peak as saxman Jimmy Giuffre eliminates drums and strong bass altogether giving an implicit beat rather than an explicit beat.

Charlie Parker performs in public for the last time on March 4 at Birdland.

Charlie Parker dies of a heart seizure, hemorrhage and general pathetic health on March 12 in NYC in the home of Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter. Most of the major Bebop figures are dead or ineffective (mostly because of heroin).

Charlie Parker died in front of the TV. He was watching Tommy Dorsey and his band. Charlie's last words are a comment that Dorsey sounded great.

During the finale of the Charlie Parker Memorial Concert, Monk selects a tune that only he and Dizzy Gillespie are familiar with and Gillespie can't remember it. In the confusion, quick thinking Red Allen does a fast switch to the Blues and saves the moment.

Monk's Prestige contract is taken over by Riverside. Monk records some Ellington tunes and standards to stop the talk that he can only play his own compositions well.

Monk's music is starting to be referred to as "zombie music". Even this late, Monk's playing is still often ridiculed.

Miles Davis hires Coltrane to play tenor sax in his new Hard Bop quintet. Davis actually wants Sonny Rollins, but Rollins is busy kicking his drug habit and doesn't feel ready. The quintet also includes Paul Chambers (bass), Red Garland (piano) and Philly Jo Jones (drums).

Art Blakey puts together the first of his Jazz Messenger groups featuring Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Hank Mobley on tenor sax, Doug Watkins on bass, Horace Silver on piano and Blakey on drums. The sound will continue to define Hard Bop.

Bassist, composer and leader Charlie Mingus begins his period of greatest influence.

Drummer Kenny Clarke quits the MJQ and moves to Paris.

Connie Kay replaces Kenny Clarke as drummer for the MJQ. Connie will stay with this extraordinary band until his death.

Jimmy Smith debuts the Hammond B-3 organ as a Jazz instrument in an organ-guitar-drum trio in Atlantic City. Smith's Hammond will become a Jazz force.

Pianist Cecil Taylor becomes a major Free Jazz figure way before the time of Free Jazz.

Gigi Gryce and Art Farmer's quintet becomes a permanent unit now.

Saxophonist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis forms a trio which includes Shirley Scott.

Tenor sax player Tina Brooks tours with Lionel Hampton.

Piano player Bud Powell can play well only sporadically now.

Sonny Rollins joins the Max Roach-Clifford Brown Quintet. Rollins says that Clifford showed him that it is possible to lead a good clean life and still be a good Jazz musician.

Piano player Herbie Nichols records the first of four sessions for Blue Note. Free Jazz is not far off.

Archie Shepp begins college.

Art Tatum gives his last solo performance.

Artie Shaw gives up music as his career. Artie never played a clarinet in public again.

Johnny Hodges rejoins the Duke Ellington orchestra. Drummer Sam Woodyard joins the Ellington band.

Leonard Feather finishes his first Encyclopedia of Jazz.

Downbeat becomes the most widely read jazz periodical in the U.S. (until 1965).

James P. Johnson dies.

Ray Charles does Hallelujah I Love Her So.

Former Blues guitarist Chuck Berry is playing a new style of guitar which is essentially Blues guitar fused with Country guitar. This is a major innovation and the result is the classic Rock guitar style of such songs as Sweet Little Sixteen which was later borrowed by the Beach Boys for their song Surfin' USA.

Cecil Taylor makes his recording debut.

Sun Ra makes his first recordings as a bandleader.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1956

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Thelonious Monk - Brilliant Corners Quirky yet rigorously logical, Brilliant Corners is a triumph of composition and performance, a set heavy on Monk originals with Rollins, Roach and Pettiford along for the swing. Even its title describes Monk's angular genius.

Charles Mingus records the LP Pithecanthropus Erectus. This recording demonstrates some of the earliest use of modal themes in Jazz. Mingus uses unusual saxophone cries and hollers to simulate the human voice. Newer forms of Jazz are being explored.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Sonny Rollins - Saxophone Colossus Not just one of Rollins' great moments - one of the great "monster" jazz sessions of all time, and, in "St. Thomas," one the first crossroads between Jazz and the Caribbean.

Clifford Brown plays an informal gig at a Music City store in Philadelphia on June 25. Later that night Clifford Brown, Richie Powell (Bud's brother) and Richie's wife Nancy head west on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In the early hours of June 26, their car veers off the road killing all three. It was a great loss for Jazz.

Clifford Brown's death is a great shock and a heavy blow for Sonny Rollins who idolized Brown.

Clifford Brown takes his place beside Jazz greats such as Charlie Parker and Louis Armstrong.

Detroit pianist Barry Harris replaces Richie Powell in the Max Roach quintet. Clifford was not replaceable except maybe by Lee Morgan.

Guitarist Mundell Lowe brings piano player Bill Evans to the attention of Orin Keepnews and Bill Grauer of Riverside records.

Pianist Bill Evans records New Jazz Conceptions which is available on Original Jazz Classics. This is Bill's first effort as a leader. The personnel are Bill, Teddy Kotick on bass and Paul Motian on drums.

Blue Note's Alfred Lion and Frank Woolf go to Small's Paradise in Harlem to hear a Jazz organist named Jimmy Smith. Woolf describes the scene, "It was at Small's in January of 1956. He was a stunning sight. A man in convulsions, face contorted, crouched over in apparent agony, his fingers flying, his foot dancing over the peddles. The air was filled with waves of sound I had never heard before. A few people sat around, puzzled but impressed. Jimmy came off the stand smiling...'So what do you think?' he asked. 'Yeah!' I said. That's all I could say. Alfred Lion had already made up his mind." (Woolf quote found in the Rosenthal book, page 112 - see bibliography)

Piano player Cecil Taylor records for Transition with Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone, Buell Neidlinger on bass and Dennis Charles on drums. The record which they make is not a commercial success, but musicians take notice. The music exhibits most of the devices that would later become Free Jazz.

Miles Davis and his quintet record four records for Prestige. These records are Cookin', Relaxin', Workin' and Steamin'. They take only two days to complete. Miles also records 'Round about Midnight on the Columbia label.

Miles Davis fires Coltrane for showing up to work drunk. Davis hires Sonny Rollins to replace him.

Coltrane records with pianist and composer Tadd Dameron on Mating Call (Prestige).

Eighteen-year-old trumpeter Lee Morgan from Philadelphia cuts his first records as a leader for the Blue Note and Savoy labels.

Lee Morgan is currently with Dizzy Gillespie's big band.

Pianist Horace Silver leaves the Jazz Messengers and drummer Art Blakey becomes the leader.

Detroit pianist Tommy Flanagan moves to New York. He plays on Sonny Rollins' Saxophone Colossus (see above).

Duke Ellington's band performs at the Newport Jazz Festival. Duke's band devises a landmark performance which is capped by an amazing tenor saxophone solo by Paul Gonsalves on Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue. Duke gets a new record contract with Columbia.

Louis Armstrong tours Great Britain.

Louis Armstrong travels to Ghana as Ambassador Satch.

Clarinetist Edmund Hall joins Armstrong's Allstars.

Dizzy Gillespie meets Argentine pianist Lalo Schifrin and is impressed. Dizzy continues to gravitate to the Latin rhythms.

Frank Trumbauer, saxophonist and major influencer of Lester Young, dies at the age of 45.

Art Tatum dies in November.

Bass saxophonist Adrian Rollini dies.

Billie Holiday is arrested for drugs again. This time she'll quit. However, she begins to drink more and becomes addicted to television.

Bud Powell makes his first appearance in Europe.

Japanese artist and composer Toshiko Akiyoshi arrives in the U.S. to attend the Berklee School of Music.

Ray Charles records yet another big hit called What'd I Say.

In Liverpool, England, an unknown teenager named John Lennon forms a group called the Quarry Men. This group begins as a Skiffle (or Folk/Blues) group. The group will eventually include George Harrison and Paul McCartney and will evolve into the Beatles in the early 1960s. The Beatles owed a lot to the Trad Jazz which was played in England during their childhood and adolescence. They will eventually have their influences on Jazz also -- "the child is father to the man."

Charles Mingus starts to greatly free up his music.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1957

Bop still rules. All future Jazz should follow from it. But...will this happen?

Thelonious Monk gets his cabaret card back. He's allowed to play clubs in New York again.

Monk plays the Five Spot with Johnny Griffin, Roy Haynes, John Coltrane, etc.

Monk appears on the CBS Television Show The Sound of Jazz in December. Monk is rapidly becoming a leading figure in the world of Jazz.

Monk records Monk's Music.

Monk is declared a genius.

Coltrane kicks his heroin habit "cold turkey" by locking himself in a room in his mother's house in Philadelphia with only cigarettes and water. At the same time he also stops drinking alcohol. During this critical period Coltrane devotes his life to God.

John Coltrane joins pianist Thelonious Monk's quartet, working with bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Philly Joe Jones. They perform regularly at New York's Five Spot from spring through autumn. Coltrane's playing and his reputation both skyrocket.

Jazzland/Riverside records the Thelonious Monk quartet for Thelonious Monk/John Coltrane (reissued by Fantasy). Blue Note Records will subsequently release a live recording from the Five Spot Quartet that was originally taped by Coltrane's wife Naima (Thelonious Monk Quartet Live at the Five Spot).

Thelonious Monk teaches Coltrane how to play multiphonics on the saxophone. Coltrane also develops a rapid, sweeping harmonic style that critic Ira Gitler terms "sheets of sound."

Sonny Rollins leaves the Miles Davis group. Davis hires Coltrane to replace him in the fall of 1957, at the conclusion of the Five Spot Monk Quartet gigs. The new Davis group also features pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Philly Joe Jones, and saxophonist Cannonball Adderley.

Prestige signs Coltrane to his first record contract. His first record under his own name is simply entitled Coltrane (not to be confused with the Impulse! recording of the same title which came later). Subsequent Prestige releases from 1957 include Dakar, Lush Life, and Traneing In, all reissued by OJC. Coltrane also records the critically renowned Blue Train for Blue Note.

Coltrane records A Blowin' Session with Johnny Griffin, also featuring Hank Mobley as part of the three-tenor front line.

Sonny Rollins goes out on his own.

Charlie Mingus records The Clown which includes the controversial Haitian Fight Song. Mingus also records East Coasting which includes the amazing Conversation.

Metronome Year Book declares Jimmy Smith the new star of 1956.

Pianist Tommy Flanagan cuts his first LP as a leader. It is The Tommy Flanagan Trio Overseas with Wilbur Little on bass and Elvin Jones on drums.

Alfred Lion of Blue Note is introduced to Tina Brooks' saxophone playing.

Orin Keepnews and Bill Grauer issue an album of Bill Evans work. The pianist's first album has little commercial success, but it brings him to the attention of Miles Davis.

Art Pepper records Meets the Rhythm Section with Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums (Miles Davis' rhythm section). This album is excellent even though Art didn't know about the session until the morning of the date, hadn't played in weeks and had to repair his dried out cork with tape.

Ellington does the CBS TV special A Drum is a Woman. Ellington also premieres Such Sweet Thunder, a Strayhorn suite, at Towne Hall. Ellington wins the Downbeat poll for composing.

Armstrong tours the British West Indies.

Armstrong releases Satchmo, A Musical Biography.

Sidney Bechet marries a French woman in Antibes. This is a big social event on the Riviera.

Cecil Taylor is invited to play the Newport Jazz Festival. His detractors are most Bop musicians who are afraid of being pushed aside as they pushed aside the Swingers only a decade or so before.

Cecil Taylor gets a break. The Termini brothers, owners of the Five Spot in the East Village, hire Dick Whitmore of Boston to bring in a small group. Whitmore hires Taylor and some of his associates as the rhythm section. As it happened, modern artists frequented the place and they sympathized with Taylor's free approach. Taylor became a force.

Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, opposes school integration in Little Rock. Mingus will later immortalize the incident in The Fables of Faubus on Mingus Ah Um in 1959.

Norman Mailer's book White Negro is published.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1958

Ornette Coleman makes his recording debut for Contemporary.

Ornette Coleman records the influential LP Something Else! in February. This album features Ornette on alto sax, Don Cherry on trumpet, Don Payne on bass, Walter Norris on piano and Billy Higgins on drums. This album is available on OJC.

Cannonball Adderley records the excellent LP Somethin' Else a month later. This album features Cannonball on alto, Miles Davis on trumpet, Hank Jones on piano, Sam Jones on bass and Art Blakey on drums. This album is available on Blue Note.

Coltrane records Soultrane, Black Pearls and Settin' the Pace for Prestige (reissued on OJC). Black Pearls documents some of his most heated "sheets of sound" playing to date. At the end of 1958, Coltrane leaves Prestige and signs a two-year contract with Atlantic Records.

Miles Davis brings pianist Bill Evans into his group.

The new Miles Davis group, featuring Coltrane, records Milestones in April. This recording represents a significant shift toward modal jazz.

On December 15, pianist Bill Evans records the unaccompanied piano solo Peace Piece on which he improvises two repeated chords. What makes this recording significance is that Evans draws heavily on George Russell's modal theory. It's one of the first examples of modes in modern Jazz.

Pianist Bill Evans records Everybody Digs Bill Evans with Sam Jones on bass and Philly Joe Jones on drums. This album, which contains the innovative Peace Piece, is available on Original Jazz Classics. I hope that Bill didn't come up with this title! ... Just kidding. Riverside came up with the title to promote Bill in the ranks of Jazz. The cover is a unique "all quotes" design featuring complimentary blurbs from various people including Miles Davis, the first time the trumpeter allowed himself to be quoted in such a manner about a fellow musician.

Bill Evans is chosen "New Star" pianist in the Downbeat International Jazz Critics Poll.

Thelonious Monk begins an association with saxophonist Charlie Rouse that lasts until 1970.

Trumpeter Lee Morgan is now with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Eric Dolphy joins the Chico Hamilton Quintet.

Sax player Benny Golson is now with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers for a short while.

Sax player Tina Brooks records as a leader for Blue Note.

Pianist Cecil Taylor plays the Great South Bay Festival with a group that includes Buell Neidlinger on bass, Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone and Dennis Charles on drums. Nat Hentoff gives them a good review. The resulting publicity gets Taylor a recording date with United Artists which results in the LP Love for Sale. Taylor will later go completely into Free Jazz and will gradually decline.

Soprano saxophone virtuoso Sidney Bechet is rolling at the Brussels World's Fair Concert. His performance can be heard on Vogue.

Ellington performs at Carnegie Hall with Ella Fitzgerald and he wins the Downbeat Critic's poll and the Downbeat poll for composing.

Mahalia Jackson sings at the Newport Festival.

Bop composer and arranger Tadd Dameron enters the Federal Narcotics Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky for his heroin addiction. Had it not been for his drug addiction, many feel that Dameron could have been the Ellington of Bop.

Early in the year, British-born singer Annie Ross joins Dave Lambert and Jon Hendricks to form the Pop-Vocalese singing group Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. They record the experimental Sing a Song of Basie. It is a success.

Art Kane's photo of 57 Jazz greats on the steps of a Harlem Brownstone appears in Esquire magazine. Some of the legendary musicians who showed up for the 10:00 a.m. photo shoot were: Thelonious Monk, Lester Young, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Eldridge, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Milt Hinton and Art Farmer.

Ike Turner discovers Anna Mae Bullock in East St Louis, renames her Tina and begins to explore Soul and Funk.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers - Moanin' Jazz's most explosive drummer debuted his third version of the Jazz Messengers with this instant hard-bop classic. It's way too funky in here, thanks to compositions and performances by Benny Golson, Lee Morgan and Bobby Timmons (who contributed the famous title track).

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Jimmy Smith - The Sermon A foreshadowing of Smith's awesome Back at the Chicken Shack and Midnight Special, and defining moment of organ jazz. Smith, Lee Morgan and Curtis Fuller testify on the side-long title track.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1959

George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept is written about use of the modes in Jazz. This is probably the first important text on Jazz theory. Modal Jazz will soon emerge in full force.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Miles Davis - Kind of Blue The best-selling jazz recording of the era (and a perfect introduction for the jazz newbie), Kind of Blue helped introduce a new sound for jazz. Working from relatively simple structures, the musicians here lay out wonderfully lyrical extended improvisations. Generally considered the best Jazz album ever and still sells 5,000 copies a week.

Miles Davis is clubbed for loitering by police outside of Birdland. Miles was playing at Birdland at the time and had just stepped outside for a break.

In September, Coltrane plays on George Russell's big band recording New York, New York (Decca) along with some of the biggest names in jazz.

About two weeks after his work on Davis's Kind of Blue, John Coltrane records Giant Steps (Atlantic), an eloquent demonstration of his "sheets of sound" style. Along with Blue Train, this is one of his most influential early recordings.

Coltrane also records Coltrane Jazz (Atlantic), which experiments with tone polytonality. Polytonality involves playing a melody in one key over a chord sequence in another.

Coltrane discovers the soprano saxophone by accident in another musician's suitcase. He begins to explore the possibilities of this new instrument.

Influential tenor sax player Sonny Rollins takes another sabbatical from Jazz. People think that he's off inventing a new kind of Jazz. At this point in time most people believe Sonny to be as important to Jazz as Coltrane.

Ornette Coleman arrives in New York.

The Ornette Coleman Quartet's stint at the Five Spot splits the Jazz world.

Ornette Coleman records Tomorrow Is The Question in March. This album features Ornette on alto sax, Don Cherry on trumpet, Percy Heath or Red Mitchell on bass and Shelly Manne on drums and is available on OJC.

Ornette Coleman records Change Of The Century in October. This album features Ornette on alto sax, Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Charlie Haden on bass and Billy Higgins on drums, and is available on Atlantic LP.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Ornette Coleman - The Shape of Jazz to Come After four decades, this disc remains true to its title. Saxophonist Ornette Coleman solidified his group in 1959 to the working quartet recorded here. They broke convention and provided a major stepping stone on the road to free jazz

Charles Mingus records Better Git It in Your Soul on the LP Mingus Ah Um.

Charles Mingus records the song Fables of Faubus on the LP Mingus Ah Um. This is a sarcastic song which criticizes Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas who fought against school integration in Little Rock in 1957. Mingus is censured by Columbia for this one.

Thelonious Monk leads a large orchestra at Town Hall in February.

Bill Evans forms trio with brilliant young bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Their work can be found on the excellent Portrait In Jazz on OJC.

Wynton Kelly replaces Bill Evans in the Miles Davis group.

Trumpeter Kenny Dorham releases his debut album Quiet Kenny. He chooses nostalgic tunes for the record. His renditions do not lean toward flashy showmanship.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Dave Brubeck Quartet - Time Out What was conceived by pianist Brubeck as an adventure into unusual time signatures ended up one of the most successful records in jazz history, due in large part to its beautiful melodies and the mesmerizing alto work of Paul Desmond.

Cannonball Adderley hears little-known guitarist Wes Montgomery playing with organist Melvin Rhyne and drummer Paul Parker in a west-side Indianapolis club called the Missile Room. Adderley is so impressed he calls Riverside producer Orin Keepnews about Wes and convinces Keepnews to record him. The result is Montgomery's first album The Wes Montgomery Trio, which propels him into Jazz guitar history.

Bud Powell has made some recovery. He moves to Paris and he is playing better again.

Art Farmer and Benny Golson form their Jazztet.

Saxman Jackie McLean switches from Prestige to Blue Note.

Saxophonist Archie Shepp graduates from college, moves to New York and begins playing in coffee houses there.

Ellington contributes the film score for Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder and wins the Downbeat Critics' poll.

Armstrong finishes fifth in the Music USA all-time great Jazz musician poll.

Sidney Bechet dies in Paris on May 14 - his birthday. A bust of him is erected in Juan-les-Pins.

Lester Young dies in New York City on March 15.

Billie Holiday dies in New York City on July 17.

The French Jazz group Les Double Six is formed.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1960

Ornette Coleman records This Is Our Music in August. This album features Ornette on alto sax, Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Charlie Haden on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums, and is available on Atlantic LP.

The Black rights movement is currently in full swing. Left wing thought is taking hold.

Free Jazz and Black rights become intertwined.

Ideas of the soon to arrive "hippie" or "hippy" culture are brewing. People should be free to "do their own thing."

Free Jazz and Modal Jazz are pushing Bop forms aside.

In Free Jazz, it is as if the musicians have blown apart the older forms (New Orleans, Swing and Bop) and represented them in a form that is musically analogous to the Abstract Art of Jackson Pollock.

Bop is becoming passe. In fact, Dixieland players at this point may be producing more interesting music because the Dixieland form is more varied than Hard Bop. The mainstream of Jazz (New Orleans > Swing > Bop) is drying up.

The heyday of Soul Jazz (a popular form of Hard Bop) is beginning.

Miles Davis records Sketches of Spain with the help of Gil Evans.

Ornette Coleman finishes The Shape Of Jazz To Come in July after starting it in October of 1959. The album features Ornette on alto sax, Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Charlie Haden on bass and Billy Higgins on drums, and can be found on Atlantic CD.

Ornette releases the anthem LP Free Jazz in December. This album can be found on Atlantic CD. The players include Ornette on alto sax, Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro on bass and Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins on drums. The original album cover featured an appropriate Jackson Pollock painting. This was one of the most important albums in the Free Jazz movement.

Charles Mingus leads a quartet with Eric Dolphy, Ted Curson and Dannie Richmond.

Charles Mingus in a 1960 interview comments regarding Ornette Coleman. "Now aside from the fact that I doubt he can even play a C tune, the fact remains that his notes and lines are so fresh. So when Symphony Sid played his record, it made everything else he played, sound terrible. I'm not saying everybody's going to have to play like Coleman. But they're going to have to stop playing Bird." (Quote is from "Another View of Coleman," Downbeat 27:11 (26 May 1960): 21 - I saw it in the Rosenthal book, page 152 - see bibliography)

Over six days in October, Coltrane records material for three albums. The first one released, My Favorite Things, features his recorded debut on the soprano saxophone. "My Favorite Things," a highly modal piece, will become a Jazz favorite. Coltrane's quartet on this date includes pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Steve Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones.

Two other albums recorded by Coltrane during these marathon October sessions were Coltrane's Sound and Coltrane Plays The Blues.

Coltrane's The Avant-Garde, which delves into Free Jazz, was also released during 1960.

Coltrane also becomes interested in and influenced by Ornette Coleman. He records Coleman's "The Invisible."

Archie Shepp records for the first time on The World of Cecil Taylor.

Pianist Barry Harris moves to New York City. Barry records Barry Harris at the Jazz Workshop with Sam Jones and Louis Hayes.

Trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's first Blue Note LP Open Sesame includes tenorist Tina Brooks.

Tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter joins Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

At what is first scheduled to be just another "blowing date," tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley records the classic Soul Jazz album Soul Station. The rhythm section includes Art Blakey, Wynton Kelly and Paul Chambers. How could you go wrong with these four first-rate musicians?

Pianist Bobby Timmons records his debut album This Here Is. It includes his most popular originals This Here, Moanin' and Dat Dere.

Lalo Schifrin joins Dizzy Gillespie's band as a pianist, but more importantly as an arranger and composer. See the Verve CD Gillespiana.

Poll results printed in Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz list Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Count Basie as top Jazz figures in that order. This points out the lag between fan and musician appeal.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe becomes very popular in Europe.

Ray Charles does Georgia On My Mind.

In Liverpool, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best name their group The Silver Beatles.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1961

Free Jazz is currently becoming more popular and it is making a number of waves in the pool of Hard Bop.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Bill Evans - Waltz for Debby & Live at the Village Vanguard The laid-back character of Bill Evans's piano playing here masks a serenely beautiful touch and wonderfully innovative ideas. His inhumanly intuitive interactions with bassist Scott LaFaro remain legendary. This is the best piano trio music ever recorded (and it's all live).

Bassist Scott LaFaro is killed in an automobile accident at the age of 25, just a few weeks after his landmark Village Vanguard performance with Bill Evans. Evans is so shaken that he retires for several months.

In May, Coltrane records his last Atlantic record: Ole. Eric Dolphy, who joined Coltrane's band in 1961, appears under the pseudonym "George Lane."

Coltrane records Impressions and Live at the Village Vanguard (Impulse!) during 1961 Vanguard performances. The personnel on Impressions, released in November, include Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, McCoy Tyner on piano, Reggie Workman and Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums. The title tune is modal, but other pieces, such as "India," approach Free Jazz.

During May and June, Coltrane records Africa/Brass (Impulse!) with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Elvin Jones. This record explores dark sounds and textures, with explicit references to African music.

After Reggie Workman leaves the band, Coltrane forms his classic quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones.

Sonny Rollins begins to play again and records The Bridge. It is a good LP, but it is the "same old stuff" (Hard Bop) and the fans are disappointed.

Ornette Coleman records a few albums which are far less important than his landmark Free Jazz albums.

Bass clarinetist, saxophonist and flutist Eric Dolphy forms a quintet with Booker Little on trumpet, Mal Waldron on piano, Richard Davis on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums.

Pianist Sonny Clark makes the excellent Leapin' and Lopin' on Blue Note.

Pianist Elmo Hope records Homecoming on his return to New York from Los Angeles.

Jamie Lyons joins the Cecil Taylor Unit.

Trumpeter Don Cherry, saxophonist Archie Shepp and saxophonist John Tchicai establish The New York Contemporary Five.

Richard Abrams forms The Experimental Band in Chicago.

Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington record together on Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington: The Complete Sessions on Roulette. It is an excellent album.

Pop Jazz singer Nancy Wilson and British Jazz pianist George Shearing team up on The Swingin's Mutual. Critic Leonard Feather characterized it as "one of the most logical and successful collaborations of the year."

A Dixieland revival or Trad Jazz movement with a modified New Orleans style is currently popular in Britain.

John Lee Hooker tours Europe. His opening act is an unknown group called the Rolling Stones.

Trumpet player Wynton Marsalis is born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 18.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Oliver Nelson - Blues & The Abstract Truth Some of Nelson's best work - as a composer, arranger AND saxophonist - features his large ensemble soulfully tight-roping arrangement and improvisation. A genuine masterpiece that has inspired musicians and arrangers for decades.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1962

Ornette Coleman is temporarily out of Jazz because of a salary dispute. Ornette perceives (and is probably correct) that he is not making money like the other big names in Jazz and goes on strike.

Ornette Coleman retires for several years.

John Coltrane records Coltrane (Impulse!) in April and June with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums.

Coltrane's classic quartet records Ballads, a strikingly softer, quieter and simpler album than his recent high-energy work.

Coltrane records a number of live albums, including Live At Birdland (Charly) and Bye Bye Blackbird (OJC).

Sonny Rollins puts together a band with Don Cherry on trumpet and Billy Higgins on drums. This group will make the album Our Man in Jazz.

Miles Davis does Quiet Nights with Gil Evans and a large band. This will be Miles' last big band work until Aura in 1989.

Miles Davis finally makes the Billboard charts.

Pianist Bill Evans records Interplay. Over the next ten or twelve years, Bill will be very prolific.

Albert Ayler makes his recording debut in Europe.

The First Recordings of Albert Ayler is recorded. This album is available on Sonet CD.

Cannonball Adderley and Cleanhead Vinson record the classic tunes Back Door Blues and Kidney Stew for Riverside.

Sun Ra and his Arkestra resettle in New York.

Pianist Andrew Hill goes to the West Coast.

Ellington records The Money Jungle in September with Max Roach and Charles Mingus. Talk about big names. This is a very good album which can be found on the Blue Note label.

Tenor saxophonist Stan Getz records the album Jazz Samba. This is a major commercial success. The music here represents variations on Latin dance music. This type of music becomes popular in nightclubs.

The Latin Dance Jazz boom has begun. The first hit to break the charts wide open is Desafinado followed by The Girl from Ipanema.

Saxophonist Tina Brooks' short recording career is unfortunately over.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1963

John Coltrane meets Alice McCleod, whom he will marry in 1966.

Coltrane records John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman (Impulse!) with vocalist Johnny Hartman, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones.

Charles Mingus records The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (Impulse!)

Tenor sax man Archie Shepp joins the New York Contemporary Five with Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, John Tchicai on alto sax, Don Moore on bass and J.C. Moses on drums. The debut album is the excellent Archie Shepp & The New York Contemporary Five which can be found on Storyville LP.

Archie Shepp records a very good tribute to the still-living Coltrane called Four For Trane.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Horace Silver - Song for My Father One of the greatest Hard Bop albums, and not just from that title track (honored in "Rikki Don't Lose That Number") but also his classic "Lonely Woman."

Hard Bop pianist Sonny Clark dies of a drug overdose in a club called Junior's in New York. The owners of Junior's move Clark's corpse to another location to avoid losing their liquor license and to avoid the adverse publicity.

Pianist Wynton Kelly forms a trio with Paul Chambers on bass and Jimmy Cobb on drums.

Saxophonist Gigi Gryce drops out of Jazz, never to return.

Tommy Flanagan becomes Ella Fitzgerald's accompanist.

Pianist Andrew Hill cuts his first Blue Note LP's Black Fire and Smokestack.

Tony Williams, a 17-year-old drummer, is asked by Miles Davis to join his quintet. Williams will record 13 albums with Davis during the next six years. He will play with such greats as Herbie Hancock, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Jimi Hendrix

Gary Burton, a 19-year-old prodigy vibist, joins pianist George Shearing's band. About a decade later Burton is instrumental in another prodigy's career when he hires Pat Metheny.

Guitarist Kenny Burrell records his finest and most successful album, Midnight Blue.

Grant Green records his classic album Idle Moments. The guitarist gets ample support from saxophonist Joe Henderson and vibist Bobby Hutcherson. This landmark release earns Green the reputation as one of Jazz's most versatile guitarists.

Cast Your Fate to the Wind by Vince Guaraldi becomes a Gold Record winner and earns the Grammy as Best Instrumental Jazz Composition. Guaraldi was best known for his work on the "Peanuts" television specials.

Asian and Middle Eastern instruments are added to Jazz by flutist Yusef Lateef. Lateef also adds techniques to accommodate these new Jazz instruments.

Bop pianist Bud Powell is recorded in Paris on the appropriately-named album Bud Powell in Paris.

Bop pianist Bud Powell contracts tuberculosis. This is all that Bud needs.

Pioneer Free Jazz pianist Herbie Nichols dies of Leukemia at age 44.

Singer Dinah Washington dies.

Martin Luther King is successful with a nonviolent march of 250,000 people on Washington, D.C.

Trumpeter Lee Morgan records The Sidewinder (Blue Note), which will rise to number 25 on the Billboard pop album chart, impressive for a Jazz LP. Most of the record is Hard Bop, though the title track has crossover appeal.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1964

In October, trumpeter Bill Dixon organizes a series of Free Jazz concerts called the October Revolution at the Cellar Cafe in New York, featuring John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman and others. Out of this festival grows the Jazz Composer's Guild, which includes Dixon, Archie Shepp, Roswell Rudd, Cecil Taylor, Paul Bley and Carla Bley, among others.

The young pianist Herbie Hancock and drummer Tony Williams begin work with Miles Davis.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Eric Dolphy - Out to Lunch (Blue Note) Eric Dolphy was always a big fan of bird calls, and much of his playing here reflects that natural sonority. This disc transports a relatively straightahead group into adventurous, inventive territory--with dramatically successful results.

Eric Dolphy goes to Europe in April to tour with Charles Mingus. At the end of the tour, he elects to stay in Paris, dying shortly thereafter on June 29.

Pianist Andrew Hill records Point of Departure (Blue Note) in March with reed player Eric Dolphy, saxophonist Joe Henderson, trumpeter Kenny Dorham, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Tony Williams.

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces John Coltrane - Love Supreme One of Coltrane's most spiritually moving recordings, this disc has been popular among devotees and neophytes alike. It's a heart-felt celebration of divine love, with equal measures of devotion and exploration. Recorded in December with his classic quartet: pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones.

Saxophonist Ben Webster moves to Europe, eventually settling in Denmark until his death in 1973.

Bop piano great Bud Powell returns to the United States. He is playing well at times. He has an extended stay at Birdland.

At the Antibes Festival, Ella Fitzgerald (accompanied by pianist Tommy Flanagan, trumpeter Roy Eldridge, bassist Bill Yancey, and drummer Gus Johnson) is interrupted by crickets in the pine forest while she sings "Mack the Knife." She quickly improvises a blues to the rhythm of their chirping and calls it "The Cricket Song." The performance is documented on Ella At Juan-Les-Pins (Verve).

Thelonious Monk makes the cover of Time magazine, which calls him the "high priest of bebop." (Originally slated for November, 1963, the cover story was delayed due to the Kennedy assassination.) Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Pharoah Sanders makes his recording debut with Pharoah's First (ESP).

Albert Ayler records Spiritual Unity with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray, the first release on Bernard Stollman's ESP label.

Japanese impresario Tokutara Honda stages the World Jazz Festival in Japan. Miles Davis is the biggest draw.

Boogie woogie pianist Meade "Lux" Lewis dies on June 7.

Robert Moog develops the Voltage Controlled Amplifier and Voltage Controlled Oscillator of the modular Moog synthesizer. Moog was previously best known for the theremin kits he sold out of his apartment starting in 1961.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1965

In one mammoth swath of recording activity, Coltrane produces Ascension, Om, and Kulu Se Mama. These three large-group recordings feature high-energy collective free improvisaton. (They will later be collected for reissue as The Major Works Of John Coltrane on Impulse!)

John Coltrane records Sun Ship in August, the final work by his classic quartet with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison, and drummer Elvin Jones. November's Meditations expands his working quartet to a sextet with Pharoah Sanders on tenor saxophone; Rashied Ali joins Elvin Jones on the drums. (Jones will subsequently leave the group after complaining he can not hear his own playing; Tyner will leave the next year.)

Trumpeter Miles Davis records E.S.P. (Columbia) with his classic '60s quintet: saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams. The album has a picture of his (then) wife, dancer Frances Taylor, on the jacket.

Saxophonist Archie Shepp records his Impulse! debut, Four For Trane, with alto saxophonist John Tchicai, trombonist Roswell Rudd on trombone, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Charles Moffett.

Vibraphone player Bobby Hutcherson records Dialogue (Blue Note) with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, reedist Sam Rivers, pianist Andrew Hill, bassist Richard Davis, and drummer Joe Chambers.

Ornette Coleman's new trio with bassist David Izenzon and drummer Charles Moffett records the two volume At the "Golden Circle" Stockholm (Blue Note).

AAJ Building a Jazz Library: Masterpieces Herbie Hancock - Maiden Voyage (Blue Note) Pianist Herbie Hancock's best record adopts a nautical angle, with gentle waves of sound surrounding strong, forward-sailing melodies. Maiden Voyage relies upon subtlety, but it features wonderful group interaction and showcases some of Hancock's finest playing.

The AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) is formed in Chicago.

Baritone sax player Gerry Mulligan records Night Lights (Mercury) with trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Bill Crow, and drummer Dave Bailey. Mulligan also plays clarinet and piano.

Bop composer and arranger Tadd Dameron dies on March 8.

Bill Lear announces the development of eight track tape technology. The following year Ford offers players as optional equipment on its vehicles, sparking a new listening trend. Tape player production eventually shifts to Japan.

The classic fuzz box assumes popularity among rock guitarists, including Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Pete Townshend, and Keith Richards (who uses a Gibson Fuzz Box on "Satisfaction" in 1965). As effects technology develops, jazz players (and even horn players like Miles Davis) will pick it up for use.

History Of Jazz Timeline: 1966

Duke Ellington records Far East Suite (RCA).

John Coltrane marries Alice McCleod, who replaces McCoy Tyner as Coltrane's pianist. Following the departure of Elvin Jones, Coltrane's new quintet, which includes Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Jimmy Garrison and Rashied Ali, records Live at the Village Vanguard Again! (Impulse!) in late May and Live in Japan (Impulse!) in July. The latter recording (reissued as a 4-CD set) features a nearly hour-long version of "My Favorite Things."

Alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley records the live Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! (Blue Note) with his quintet. Acoustic/electric pianist Joe Zawinul composes the hit title track.

Pianist Keith Jarrett is currently performing with the Charles Lloyd Quartet.

The Roscoe Mitchell sextet records Sound in August with members of Chicago's AACM community, including two future members of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors.

Drummer Buddy Rich starts up a big band which would last about twenty years.

Bop piano immortal Earl "Bud" Powell dies on July 31.

On October 3, Dave Lambert of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross fame is struck by a car and killed instantly while trying to help a fellow motorist on the Connecticut Turnpike.

Trumpeter Chet Baker is severely beaten on the streets of San Francisco, an event related to his drug addiction. Carol Baker was in the hospital for the birth of their youngest child, Missy, when it occurred. (Baker wrongly gave 1968 as the date in some interviews; he also incorrectly stated that he lost most of his teeth during the assault. The teeth went in ensuing years.)

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