20th Century Jazz

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The “20th Century Jazz” composers I have chose to write about their life and music areDave Brubeck and Wynton Marsalis.Dave Brubeck was one of the best Jazz composers in the “20th Century.” As an american,Dave Brubeck was a leader in many ways. He loved being a pianist, composer, and a bandleader.He received early training in classical music from his mother, a pianist, and by the age of fifteenwas performing professionaly with local jazz groups [Jazz Warren]. His father was a rancher andhad really nothing to do with music in the family. In 1938 Dave entered the College of thePacific in Stockton, California to study pre-veterinary. During his Sophomore year he waspersuaded to follow his dreams and major in Music. Because of this decision, Dave led atwelve-peice Jazz Band his senior year. That one person that persuaded Dave to follow hisdreams might have changed his life forever [Jazz Warren].After he graduated in 1944 he was sent to Europe to be a rifleman in the infantry until hesecured the position as the leader of the band the toured the front lines in Patton’s Third Army.After he was dischared from the army in 1946 he went to study at Milhaud at Mills College inOakland, California. He went to study classical compostion which was when you’ll developyour compositional personality through the study of a variety of compostion techniques,instrumentation, and orchestration(Berklee Compostion). This is when his career started.

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Hinck2Dave Brubeck was known for his Jazz music, and the way he composed it. Brubeck didmany things in his career like recorded several large-scale works including two ballets, amusical, and ortorio, four cantats, a mass, works for jazz combo and orchestra, and many solopiano peices. In 1958, Brubeck joined a group of musicains that they later called the DaveBrubeck Quartet. The combination of musicains were Joe Morello which was a drummer,double bassist Eugene Wright, and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. These four men had twomajor hits that are called “Blue Rondo a la Turk”, and “Take Five” [Music Brubeck]. Because ofthese hits, millions of young listeners loved to listen to this Jazz music.This quartet lasted from1952 to 2012. 2012 was when the dearly beloved Dave Brubeck died. Dave also was so famoushe performed in the White House in 1964 and 1981, and also preformed at the Moscow Summitin 1988 honoring the Gorbachevs [Music Brubeck]. People loved listening to Dave Brubeck.People loved listening to Dave Brubeck. It was always a battle for him to find somemusic company to sign with. When Dave signed with Fantasy Records, he thought he had a halfinterest in the company and worked as a guy who just scouted musicians. While doing this heencouraged the Weiss brothers to sign other contemporary jazz performers including GerryBulligan, Chet Baker, and Red Norvo. When he discovered what he was sucked into doing forFanatsy records, he quit and signed with another label which was Columbia Records. DuringBrubecks music career this was one of the best decisions he has ever made. Due to his popularityafter signing with Columbia Records, he was featured on the cover of Time in 1959. He was thesecond jazz musician that was honored this privilage [Brubeck Wiki]. Brubeck was so humbleabout this honor that when Ellington knocked on his hotel door to tell him, he commented, Itshould have been you(Brubeck Wiki). This was just one of the reasons everyone loved Brubeck.

Hinck3The second composer I have chose to write about is Wynton Marsalis. Wynton Marsaliswas born on October 18, 1961 in the city of jazz music New Orleans, Louisiana. At that time hedidn’t know it, but he would be one of the best jazz composers of his time. From an early ageWynton studied jazz and classical music. Wynton was about eight years old when he belonged toa children’s marching band led by Danny Barker that performed at the famous New Orleans JazzHeritage Festival [Marsalis Jazz]. This was the first journey of his adventure. At the age offourteen he perfomned in Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto with the New Orleans PhilarmonicOrchestra. Later on in life he attened the Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, Massachusetts.At the age of seventeen Marsalis was the youngest musician ever to be admitted to Tanglewood[Biography Marsalis]. While a student at this school he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.This was around 1980. In 1981 he toured in a quartet with Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, andTony Williams and recorded his first album as a leader. This was an important event for him.Then in early 1982 he left the Jazz Messangers to form a quintet with his brother BrandfordMarsalis, Kenny Kirkland, Charles Fambrough, Phil Bowler, and Jeff Watts [Marsalis Jazz].Wynton was the first of many things. Because he was a prolific and inventive composer,he was the first jazz artist to perform and compose across the full jazz specturm from its NewOrleans roots to bebop in modern jazz. He has also composed a violin concerto and foursymphonies to introduce new rhytms to classical music canon [Biography Marsalis]. He wasalways looking for something new. He wanted to be known for many things, and he did just thatby inventing new ways to be a jazz musician. Wynton could not have done that if he didn’t havea creative mind. Wynton was world renowned jazz composer.

Hinck4Wynton Marsalis was a amazing jazz composer and musician. He has produced overeighty records in his life which have sold over seven million copies worldwide including threeGold Records. His recordings consistently incorportate heavy emphasis on the blues, aninclusive approach to all forms of jazz from New Orleans to modern jazz, persistent use of theswing as the primary rhythm, and embrace of the American popular song, individually andcollective improvisation, and panoramic vision of compositional styles from dittys to dynamiccall and response patterns(Biography Marsalis). He has made a living off his music. Wynton’smost popular song was “Jim’s Jig” followed by “Roots Grove”, “I Got Lost in Her Arms, Where orWhen”, and “Cherokee” [Music Marsalis]. So if you are looking for some of the best jazz music,listen to Wyton Marsalis’s most popular songs.Wynton Marsalis won many awards for his music. Overall Wynton Marsalis has wonnine Grammy Awards in grand style. In 1983 he became the only artist ever to win GrammyAwards for both jazz and classical records. In 1984 he repeated that distinction again. TodayWynton is the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards in five consecutive years ranging from1983-1987 [Biography Marsalis]. In 1997 Wynton Marsalis became the first jazz musician everto win the Pulitzer Prize for music with his amazing oratorio “Blood On The Fields”. This was animportant event because usually the Pulitzer Prize did not recognize jazz musicians. Everybodyloved this orotorio because it shows an African American couple going from being slaves, tofinally being free. This Oratorio lasted for a long three hours, but showed the real character ofWynton Marsalis’s music [Biography Marsalis]. He featured many ups and downs with hismusic during this Oratorio. Wynton showed his true character through music and by doing so, hewon many awards.

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20th Century Jazz. (2020, Jun 17). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from

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