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Avant-Garde Jazz

Archie Shepp
Cover of Archie Shepp

What is Avant-Garde Jazz Music

Avant-Garde Jazz Music (sometimes referred to as avant-jazz) is a whole style of music with improvisation, which combines the avant-garde art music and composition type with jazz. It has a similar sound to free-jazz, but although much of it sounds improvised there is also a lot of predetermined structure. This may be composed in advance, note by note, at least partially if not the complete piece. The origins of Avant-Garde jazz music are also in bebop, and even a little 20th century classical music. It started around the 1950’s in the USA, and has been around ever since, even though it has never really achieved lots of mainstream popularity.

Representative Avant-Garde Jazz Musicians

Avant-Garde Jazz music has been developing since the 1950’s, when musicians such as Miles Davis, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane first introduced what became the model of avant-garde jazz music.  John Coltrane continued throughout the 1960’s as well as Albert Ayler, Don Cherry and Archie Shepp.  Many more jazz musicians of note have been associated with avant-garde jazz music since then.

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