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Free Jazz

Ornette Coleman
Cover of Ornette Coleman

What is Free Jazz Music

Free Jazz Music developed during the 1950’s and 60’s, now then, let’s get one thing straight, Free Jazz doesn’t really have a distinctive style, it’s more how the music is played. The one common denominator about all Free Jazz music is that it came about as a direct result of dissatisfaction with other genres of jazz, you know – bebop, modal and hard bop from the previous decades. Free Jazz is all about freeing jazz (not getting the music without paying for it so get any thoughts of illegal downloading straight out of your heads), and the Free Jazz musicians played with the intention of altering, extending and breaking down the conventions of the jazz of the day. Some may call it jazz in its most primitive state with an emphasis on improvisation and often coming out of pretty religious roots.

Representative Free Jazz Musicians

Free Jazz Musicians which really did have an impact on the whole original movement include Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, with the later work of John Coltrane and his saxophone also making quite an impression.  Other Free Jazz music pioneers include Eric Dolphy, Archie Shepp, Charles Mingus and Sun Ra. Of course, since those early days Free Jazz has successfully gone out into the world and there is now quite a Free Jazz scene in Japan and Europe, bringing with it a whole new bunch of Free Jazz Musicians.

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