A history of Jazz Music

by Piero Scaruffi
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TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi. All rights reserved.
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(These are excerpts from my book "A History of Jazz Music")


TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Britain was the first country to adopt the new language of fusion jazz and, in fact, to merge it with the contemporary languages of progressive-rock and of the classical avantgarde. In fact, this was the first time in history that British jazz did not trail USA jazz but almost predated it. The fact was not surprising because British jazz musicians shared the same stages (and therefore the same groups) with blues musicians. During the boom era of the "swinging London" this movement found an audience that was eager for something more exciting than pop singers. Alexis Korner organized his Blues Incorporated in 1962, hiring musicians that played more than just rhythm'n'blues: he combined a solid rhythm section (Jack Bruce, Charlie Watts, Ginger Baker) with a jazzy horn section (Graham Bond, Dick Heckstall-Smith) and fronted them with blues singers (mainly Cyril Davies but also Mick Jagger). Graham Bond did something similar with his Organization, that came to include John McLaughlin, Bruce and Baker. Jagger and Watts went on to form the Rolling Stones, Bruce and Baker formed Cream (fall of 1966). Cream introduced jazz improvisation into blues-rock music, simply fulfilling Korner's vision. Heckstall-Smith formed Colosseum (summer of 1968), that, since it featured a horn, became one of the earliest jazz-rock outfits. Soft Machine (formed in 1966) were even more important because their starting point was psychedelia, the vogue of 1966 in rock music. Soft Machine moved towards jazz improvisation because it made sense for a psychedelic group that aimed at crafting extended pieces that relied more on the instrumental backing than on the catchy melody.

Neil Ardley was probably the British composer/arranger who was closer to the tradition of Duke Ellington and Gil Evans. His New Jazz Orchestra, that had debuted in 1965, recorded his first compositions on Le Dejeuner Sur L'Herbe (september 1968), boasting four trumpets (including Ian Carr), four trombones (including Zimbabwe expatriate Michael Gibbs), four reeds (including Dick Heckstall-Smith), tuba, vibraphone, bass (Jack Bruce) and drums (Jon Hiseman). Ardley's main legacy was the great "chromatic" trilogy of The Greek Variations (october 1969) for a nine-piece jazz ensemble plus string quintet (including Carr, Gibbs, Bruce, drummer John Marshall, oboe and English horn player Karl Jenkins), the four movement A Symphony of Amaranths for a large orchestra and jazz quartet (Dick Heckstall-Smith on woodwinds, Karl Jenkins on electric piano, Ardley himself on prepared piano, plus piano, harp, celeste, viola, cellos, violins, vibraphone, harpsichord, oboe, bassoon, glockenspiel, trumpets, trombones, saxes, tuba, bass, drums), his most spectacular experiment with mixing composition and improvisation, contained in A Symphony of Amaranths (june 1971), and Kaleidoscope of Rainbows (march 1976), based on Balinese scales and scored for a smaller ensemble (including Ian Carr on trumpet, Tony Coe on sax, Paul Buckmaster on cello, Dave McRae on electric piano). Ardley mixed acoustic and electronic instruments (besides voices) on Harmony of the Spheres (september 1978), featuring John Martyn on guitar, Ardley on synthesizer and a jazz septet (including Tony Coe and Ian Carr). This experiment led to the "live electronic jazz orchestra" of Virtual Realities (july 1991), actually a quartet with Ardley and John Walters on electronic keyboards, Carr on trumpet and a guitarist.

Mike Westbrook was perhaps the most influential of the band leaders of British jazz fusion. His Concert Band originally featured Westbrook on piano, John Surman on baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone and bass clarinet two altoists, one tenorist, French Horn, trombone, valve trombone, trumpet, tuba, bass, drums, and debuted with Celebration (august 1967), co-composed by Mike Westbrook and John Surman. After the inferior Release (august 1968), a larger band (still featuring Surman) performed the pacifist concept of the double-LP Marching Song (april 1969), entirely composed by Westbrook and inspired by Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra. A smaller band with Chris Spedding on guitar and Paul Rutherford on trombone, besides Surman, recorded Love Songs (april 1970). The zenith of Westbrook's dense and smooth arrangements was the nine-movement symphony Metropolis (august 1971), recorded by a 24-piece band (without Surman but with trumpeter Kenny Wheeler), followed by the eleven-part suite Citadel/ Room 315 (march 1975), with Surman back in the ranks. An 18-piece orchestra (including Rutherford, pianist Dave McRae, guitarist Brian Godding) was employed for Love/Dream and Variations (february 1976). Later, Westbrook seemed to abandon his ambitious fusion-jazz aesthetic and turned to the more popular formats heralded by Mama Chicago (june 1979), a "jazz cabaret" originally scored in 1976 for a musical about mafia boss Al Capone, The Cortege (composed in 1979) for voices and 16-piece jazz orchestra, and The Westbrook Blake (january 1980), that sets poems of William Blake to music and was originally conceived in 1971. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Zimbabwe-born Mike Gibbs scored his albums for orchestras that helped several British talents mature: Michael Gibbs (december 1969) for seven reeds (including John Surman and Alan Skidmore), six trumpets (including Kenny Wheeler), four French horns, seven trombones, tuba, cello, piano, celeste, guitar (Chris Spedding), bass (Jack Bruce), drums (John Marshall and Tony Oxley), with Family Joy Oh Boy; Tanglewood '63 (december 1970), for a very similar line-up (the notable addition being Roy Babbington on bass) with the 13-minute Canticle, Just Ahead (may 1972), for a smaller ensemble (that still included Wheeler, Skidmore, Marshall, Babbington and Spedding); In The Public Interest (june 1973) for another large band that included several USA musicians (vibraphonist Gary Burton, trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Michael Brecker, bassist Steve Swallow); Seven Songs For Quartet and Chamber Orchestra (december 1973), credited to Gary Burton; and his masterpiece, Only Chrome Waterfall (1974), for another large orchestra that included saxophonist Charlie Mariano, Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine, Mike Gibbs on keyboards, Tony Coe on reeds, besised Skidmore, Wheeler, Swallow, and many others.

Canada-born trumpeter Kenny Wheeler moved to London in 1952 and joined John Dankworth's Boporchestra in 1959. His first major composition was Windmill Tilter (march 1968), a concept album on Cervantes' "Don Quixote" performed by Dankworth's big band. Wheeler simultaneously played jazz-rock in Mike Gibbs' orchestra (1969-75) as well as free jazz in John Stevens' Spontaneous Music Ensemble (1966-70), Tony Oxley's group (1969-72), Alexander von Schlippenback's Globe Unity Orchestra (1970) and Anthony Braxton's group (1971-76). Wheeler's own Song For Someone (january 1973) was an odd combination of Wheeler's split personas: a set of jazz songs featuring vocalist Norma Winstone and two lengthy free-jazz jams with saxophonist Evan Parker, Causes Are Events and The Good Doctor. The imbalance was healed on Gnu High (june 1975), particularly the 21-minute suite Heyoke, one of his artistic peaks, angelically performed by a quartet with Keith Jarrett on piano, Dave Holland on bass and Jack DeJohnette on drums. Wheeler had coined his own personal version of elegant fusion jazz that acquired an almost mystical quality on Deer Wan (july 1977), featuring saxophonist Jan Garbarek, guitarists John Abercrombie and guitarist Ralph Towner, Holland and DeJohnette (Peace for Five, Sumother Song, Deer Wan). The sextet of Around 6 (august 1979), featuring Parker, trombonist Eje Thelin and vibraphonist Tom VanDerGeld, was more experimental (Mai We Go Around, Follow Down), but Double Double You (may 1983), featuring saxophonist Michael Brecker, pianist John Taylor, Holland and DeJohnette, returned to his lyrical suite format (the 23-minute Three for d'Reen/ Blue for Lou/ Mark Time, the 14-minute Foxy Trot).
In 1982 Wheeler joined Holland's quintet and neglected his own compositions and arrangements. At last, the quintet session of Flutter By Butterfly (may 1987) resurrected his lyrical extended ballads (Everybody's Song But My Own, Flutter By Butterfly). A quintet with Abercrombie, Taylor, Holland and drummer Peter Erskine crafted the six melodic abstractions of Widow in the Window (february 1990), particularly Ana. But the real highlights of this season were the seven-movement Sweet Time Suite, off Music for Large and Small Ensemble (february 1990), Kayak (may 1992), featuring a ten-piece orchestra, and the 20-minute Little Suite, off Siren's Song (october 1996), two larger works that displayed Wheeler's skills at the border between neoclassical and free-jazz music. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

British saxophonist John Surman, the baritonist of Mike Westbrook's orchestra, coined an elegant form of chamber fusion on John Surman (august 1968), particularly in the 21-minute suite Incantation/ Episode/ Dance for an eleven-piece ensemble (including trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, trombonist Paul Rutherford, bassist Dave Holland), How Many Clouds Can You See (march 1969), with the 15-minute Galata Bridge for an octet (Surman on baritone saxophone, plus alto, Alan Skidmore's tenor, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums) and the 18-minute Event for a quartet with pianist John Taylor, bassist Barre Phillips and drummer Tony Oxley (and Surman on baritone sax, soprano sax and bass clarinet), and Way Back When (october 1969), released only 26 years later, containing the 21-minute four-movement suite Way Back When for a piano-based quartet.
Surman then lost a bit of his inspiration. He formed The Trio (march 1970) with bassist Barre Phillips and drummer Stu Martin, a format repeated on Conflagration (1970), collaborated with guitarist John McLaughlin on Where Fortune Smiles (may 1970), that contains his Glancing Backwards, and with Canadian reeds player John Warren (who composed the music) on the horns-heavy Tales of the Algonquin (april 1971), that mimicked the band-oriented albums of Neil Ardley, Mike Westbrook and Mike Gibbs.
Finally he reinvented himself as an electronic musician on Westering Home (september 1972), entirely composed, played and overdubbed by himself on baritone and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, recorder, piano, synthesizer, percussion.
Surman played soprano saxophone and bass clarinet on Morning Glory (march 1973) with guitarist Terje Rypdal, pianist John Taylor, drummer John Marshall, bassist Chris Laurence and trombone. Cloudless Sky/ Iron Man was the first piece in years to match the graceful intensity of his early albums.
Electronics was also employed for the all-saxophone project S.O.S. (february 1975) with altoist Mike Osborne and tenorist Alan Skidmore, as well as for the duets with keyboardist Stan Tracey, Sonatinas (april 1978) and for Surman's second solo album, Upon Reflection (march 1979), that embraced the ruling aesthetic of ambient jazz, and the first collaboration with Jack DeJohnette, The Amazing Adventures Of Simon Simon (january 1981).
After repeating the same idea on Such Winters Of Memory (december 1982), with Norwegian vocalist Karin Krog and drummer Pierre Favre, and especially on the new solos Withholding Pattern (december 1984), Private City (december 1987), originally a ballet score and his best-selling album, and The Road to St Ives (april 1990), with an increasingly impressionistic approach, Surman finally began to experiment new avenues on Adventure Playground (september 1991) and In The Evenings Out There (september 1991), two albums derived from a quartet session with pianist Paul Bley, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Tony Oxley, and on The Brass Project (april 1992), another collaboration with John Warren.
Surman fundamentally continued to sculpt ethereal, atmospheric jazz muzak based on a superficial blend of folk, jazz and classical elements. Stranger Than Fiction (december 1993) inaugurated the quartet with pianist John Taylor, bassist Chris Laurence and drummer John Marshall, paralleled by the drum-less Nordic Quartet (august 1994) with vocalist Karin Krog, guitarist Terje Rypdal, and pianist Vigleik Storaas. The new solo, A Biography of the Reverend Absalom Dawe (october 1994), showed Surman at his most conservative, but he was also venturing into choral music, on Proverbs and Songs (june 1996) for saxophone, pipe organ and an 80-voice chorus, world music, on Thimar (march 1997) for a trio with Tunisian oud-player Anouar Brahem and bassist Dave Holland, and chamber music, on Coruscating (january 1999) for saxophone/clarinet and string quintet. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

A former member of Chris MacGregor's Blue Notes (where he met drummer Louis Moholo, cornetist Mongezi Feza and saxophonist Dudu Pukwana), British pianist Keith Tippett formed his first combo in 1967. By the time Miles Davis revolutionized jazz-rock, Tippett had assembled an impressive group of talents, including Elton Dean (alto sax), Mark Charig (trumpet), Nick Evans (trombone), Roy Babbington (bass), John Marshall (drums). Their albums You Are Here I Am There (september 1969), containing the 14-minute I Wish There Was A Nowhere, and Dedicated To You But You Weren't Listening (september 1970) came out at the same time that Nucleus and Soft Machine were moving towards jazz-rock. The three families of musicians began an incestuous relationship that would last many years. Tippett's Centipede, a 50-piece orchestra with players drawn from the jazz, rock, folk and classical worlds (drummer Robert Wyatt, guitarist Brian Godding, trombonist Paul Rutherford, oboe player Karl Jenkins, tenorist Brian Smith, tenorist Gary Windo, tenorist Alan Skidmore, trumpeter Ian Carr, vocalists Julie Driscoll, Zoot Money and Maggie Nicols and a string section, in addition to his cohorts Dean, Marshall, Charig, Evans and Babbington and to old friends Pukwana and Feza) recorded the monolithic four-movement suite Septober Energy (june 1971), the ultimate testament of British jazz-rock (over 80-minute long). After Ovary Lodge (december 1972), a trio with Babbington and percussionist Frank Perry, Tippett tried to repeat the exploit of Centipede with Ark, a 22-piece orchestra that recorded the four-movement suite Frames (may 1978), and with the septet (Dean, Charig, Nick Evans, saxophonist Larry Stabbins, bassist Paul Rogers, drummer Tony Levin) of the four-movement suite A Loose Kite In A Gentle Wind Floating With Only My Will For An Anchor (october 1984). Tippett's technique of "spontaneous composition" was tested with Mujician, a quartet featuring Paul Dunmall (reeds), Rogers and Levin, in the hour-long meditation of The Journey (june 1990), reminiscent of Arnold Schoenberg and George Gershwin as well as of cool jazz and free jazz, and in the much more disjointed and dissonant 71-minute "five-verse" Poem About The Hero (february 1994). Mujician's most uncompromising statement, the four-movement Colours Fulfilled (may 1997), was a massive, hysterical free-jazz mayhem. By the time of the 45-minute There's No Going Back Now (june 2005), Mujician had refined an art of merging hyper-free music of discrete, dissonant, glitchy soundsculpting and festive albeit chaotic group fanfares. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Nucleus, featuring Ian Carr on trumpet and flugelhorn (a veteran of the British bebop scene), Brian Smith on saxophone and flute, Chris Spedding on guitar and bouzouki, Jeff Clyne on bass and two members of Graham Collier's ensemble, namely Karl Jenkins on oboe and piano and John Marshall on drums, proved on Elastic Rock (january 1970) that Britain had state-of-the-art jazz-rock players. We'll Talk About It Later (september 1970) refined Carr's aesthetics to an almost baroque degree and at an almost rocking pace. Nucleus' evolutionary process led to the "orchestral" sound of Solar Plexus (december 1970), augmented with a three-piece horn section led by trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and the synthesizer, the 21-minute suite Torso / Snakehips' Dream representing a new peak for their fluid style of improvisation. A new line-up with virtuoso rock guitarist Allan Holdsworth, keyboardist Dave MacRae, pianist Gordon Beck, bassist Roy Babbington, continued Ian Carr's elegant, orchestral, baroque trip, while furthering his exploration of timbres and tempos, on Belladonna (july 1972). Carr's status as a conductor, composer and arranger of large ensembles kept increasing via albums such as Labyrinth (march 1973). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

British alto saxophonist Elton Dean, hired by pianist Keith Tippett in 1968 and by Soft Machine the following year, revealed a warm soul that could be both poetic and scientific on Elton Dean (may 1971), in a quartet with Mark Charig on cornet, containing Banking On Bishopsgate (a 20-minute fit of post-cool neurosis). His Ninesense with Alan Skidmore (saxophone), Tippett, two trumpets and two trombones offered a modern interpretation of the "big band" concept in the four jams of Happy Daze (july 1977). The quintet with Charig and Tippett of Boundaries (february 1980) and the quintet with pianist Sophia Domancich and three members of Tippett's Mujician (trumpeter Paul Dunmall, bassist Paul Rogers and drummer Tony Levin) of Silent Knowledge (june 1995), containing the 28-minute Gualchos (perhaps his artistic peak), sounded like a smaller-scale version of Ninesense, and led to Ninesense's successor band, Newsense (november 1997), featuring three trombones (Paul Rutherford, Roswell Rudd, Annie Whitehead), trumpet, piano and a cello-driven rhythm section. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

British composer Basil Kirchin (a former jazz drummer) was one of the first musicians to use the tape recorder as an instrument. Kirchin conceived the two suites of Worlds Within Worlds (1971) as a blend of instrumental and natural sounds: a jazz sextet (Evan Parker's soprano saxophone, bassoon, marimba, organ, cello and bass) "interacted" with animal cries, birdsong and even insect sounds thanks to a painstaking work of tape collage. Two new suites also titled Worlds Within Worlds (1974) were assembled by merging a septet (a horn quartet, cello, bass and organ) with sounds of gorillas hornbills and flamingos. In between he had produced the two unreleased suites of Quantum (1973) for a jazz quartet (Evan Parker on sax, Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn, Darryl Runswick on bass, Graham Lyons on basson) and strings interacting with field recordings and with the voices of autistic children. His last work, Particles (released in 2007, two years after his death) contained the six-movement Concept Suite, a brainy exercise in atonal jazz scored (in a John Cage-esque aleatory manner) for viola, flute, trumpet, euphonium, cello, bass clarinet, and baritone saxophone. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

If Britain was looking for a national language, Germany was the country that found one and that turned it into a universal language. In 1969 Manfred Eicher founded the ECM label in Germany that eventually coined a smooth, elegant, slick jazz sound, usually in chamber-like settings (solo or small ensemble). That sound was largely "invented" by Jan Garbarek, with Dansere (1975), and found a fertile milieu in Scandinavia.

Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek established his credentials by playing on George Russell's Electronic Sonata For Souls Loved By Nature (1969) and Listen to the Silence (1971), as well as in Keith Jarrett's "European Quartet" (1974-79).
He was a member of Esoteric Circle, a quartet with guitarist Terje Rypdal, bassist Arild Anderson and drummer Jon Christensen that played a unique hybrid of jazz-rock, free jazz and progressive-rock on Esoteric Circle (october 1969), particularly the longer Rabalder, SAS 644 and Karin's Mode, on Afric Pepperbird (september 1970), with the twelve-minute Beast of Kommodo, Blow Away Zone and the catchy Afric Pepperbird, and on Sart (april 1971), that added pianist Bobo Stenson to the quartet and contained the 14-minute Sart, Song of Space and Irr. The ambience of these recordings was permeated by the zen-like quality of his long tones and pauses and by the folk-like quality of his melodies.
A trio with Anderson and Finnish percussionist Martii-Juhani "Edward" Vesala yielded the darker and more strident Triptykon (november 1972). After a collection of covers, Witchi-Tai-To (november 1973), notable only for a 20-minute version of Don Cherry's Desireless (Cherry's original was only one-minute long), and collaborations with Art Lande and Keith Jarrett, Garbarek entered a new phase of his career. Leaving behind both the rock and the free excesses of his classics, Garbarek employed a new quartet with Stenson, Christensen and bassist Palle Danielsson for Dansere (november 1975), a far less experimental and much more baroque work that defined the soothing "ECM sound" (particularly the 16-minute Dansere). The new format led to the drum-less Dis (december 1976), ostensibly a sax-guitar duo (Garbarek on tenor, soprano and wood flute, Ralph Towner on 12-string and classical guitars), whose Vandrere (with windharp), Skygger (with brass) and Dis (with windharp) basically transposed Brian Eno's ambient music into jazz music, one of the most influential ideas in the history of post-bop jazz. That idea got a bit out of control on the four lengthy tracks of Places (december 1977), including Reflections, Going Places and Passing, performed by a quartet with Garbarek on tenor, soprano and alto, guitarist Bill Connors, John Taylor on organ and piano, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, and on Photo With Blue Sky, White Cloud, Wires, Windows and a Red Roof (december 1978), featuring a quintet with Connors, Taylor, bassist Eberhard Weber and Christensen and containing White Cloud, The Picture, Red Roof.
Garbarek then embarked in an idiosyncratic exploration of world-music via Folk Songs (november 1979) and Magico (june 1979), two collaborations with bassist Charlie Haden and Brazilian guitarist Egberto Gismonti, Aftenland (december 1979), a (more adventurous) collaboration with Pipe organist Kjell Johnsen, Eventyr (december 1980), a collaboration with guitarist John Abercrombie and Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos devoted to Scandinavian melodies, Afro-Latin rhythms and Far-Eastern atmospheres (Soria Maria, Eventyr, Once Upon a Time, East of the Sun).
Garbarek returned to his ethereal brand of "ambient jazz" with Paths Prints (december 1981), featuring Garbarek on tenor and soprano, Bill Frisell on guitar, Weber and Christensen. Footprints represented the state of the art in coloring and breathing life into fragile melodies. The collaboration with Frisell and Weber continued on Wayfarer (march 1983), that contains Pendulum, whereas It's OK To Listen To The Gray Voice (december 1984), containing White Noise of Forgetfulness, replaced Frisell with the more robust guitar of David Torn and closed the guitar trilogy. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Norwegian guitarist Terje Rypdal, raised at the intersection of classical and rock music, converted to jazz as a member of Jan Garbarek's Esoteric Circle (1969). His first album as a leader, Terje Rypdal (august 1971), was orchestrated for oboe, English horn, flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone (Jan Garbarek), electric piano (Bobo Stenson or Tom Halversen), bass (Arild Andersen) and percussion (Jon Christensen), and sounded like a cross of Weather Report's jazz-rock, Soft Machine's progressive-rock and Pink Floyd's psychedelic-rock (Keep It Like That Tight and especially Electric Fantasy), and it already signaled a significant departure from the prevailing (much more aggressive) style of guitar-based fusion jazz. The same gentle tone permeated Bend It and especially What Comes After on What Comes After (august 1973), recorded by a smaller ensemble (that retained oboe and English horn, but neither the horns nor the piano). Instead Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away (1974) explored the other end of the spectrum: the 14-minute Silver Bird Is Heading For The Sun was a majestic piece of progressive-rock with mellotron and French horn, while the 18-minute Whenever I Seem To Be Far Away for electric guitar, strings, oboe and clarinet was an ambitious neoclassical suite. The double-LP Odyssey (august 1975), recorded by an ensemble with soprano saxophone, trombone, organ, strings, bass and drums, was the crowning achievement of the early phase of his career, representing all the poles of his art, from vibrant jazz-rock (the 26-minute Rolling Stone) to neoclassical ambience (Adagio), from progressive-rock (Midnite) to atmospheric jazz (Farewell). Rypdal played all the instruments (electric and acoustic guitars, string ensemble, piano, electric piano, soprano saxophone, flute, tubular bells, bells) on After the Rain (august 1976) and downgraded his ambitions to the humbler format of impressionistic vignettes such as Autumn Breeze and After The Rain. Continuining in his stylistic zigzag, Rypdal turned to a more traditional format for Waves (september 1977), recorded by a quartet with trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and containing the effervescent, polyrhythmic Per Ulv. Yet another departure came with Descendre (march 1979) that featured a trio of guitar, trumpet and drums crafting emotional multi-faceted atmospheres that represented Rypdal's sonic peak (Circles, Innseiling, Men of Mystery).
Two collaborations with bassist Miroslav Vitous and drummer DeJohnette, namely Rypdal/ Vitous/ DeJohnette (june 1978) and To Be Continued (january 1981), failed to sustain the interest, but one with cellist David Darling, the electronic Eos (may 1983), boasted pieces such as Eos and Mirage that ranked among his most futuristic endeavors.
After indulging in conventional jazz-rock and fronting a guitar-bass-drums power-trio on The Chasers (may 1985), with Ambiguity, Blue (november 1986) and The Singles Collection (august 1988), Rypdal rediscovered his classical soul and focused on larger-scale compositions: Undisonus (1990) for violin and orchestra, Ineo (1990) for choir and chamber orchestra, the five-movement Q.E.D. (december 1991) for electric guitar, string ensemble, and woodwinds, the sinfonietta Out Of This World, off Skywards (february 1996), Double Concerto (1998) for two electric guitars and orchestra, 5th Symphony (1998), the five-movement Lux Aeterna (july 2000) for chamber ensemble. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Danish bassist Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen was not only a virtuoso but proved at least once that he could also be an accomplished composer: on Dancing On The Tables (august 1979), in a quartet with saxophonist Dave Liebman, guitarist John Scofield and drummer Billy Hart, and containing the 15-minute Dancing On The Tables. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

German pianist Wolfgang Dauner was a reluctant pioneer of free improvisation on Dream Talk (september 1964) by a trio with Eberhard Weber on bass and Free Action (1967) by a quintet with French violinist JeanLuc Ponty, percussionist Mani Neumeier, Weber and tenorist Gerd Dudek. Fuer (april 1969), by a quartet featuring Eberhard Weber mainly on cello, and The Oimels (july 1969) instead embraced the hippy age with an acid-soul-jazz sound replete with fuzz guitars and sitar. So inconsistent as creative, Dauner flirted with choral music in Psalmus Spei, off Fred van Hove's Requiem For Che Guevara (november 1968), fusion on Rischka's Soul (november 1969), with swing on Music Zounds (february 1970) and with electronics on Output (october 1970), mostly for trios with Weber. Dauner-eschingen (october 1970) repeated the experiment with the choir. Dauner even formed the jazz-rock group Et Cetera, that released Et Cetera (1971), Knirsch (march 1972), featuring guitarist Larry Coryell and Colosseum's drummer Jon Hiseman, and Live (1973). And even more ambitious was the United Jazz and Rock Ensemble, that Dauner formed in 1975 by gathering progressive jazz and rock musicians such as guitarist Volker Kriegel, trumpeter Ack Van Rooyen, trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, saxophonist Charlie Mariano, flutist Barbara Thompson, Nucleus' trumpeter Ian Carr, bassist Eberhard Weber, and Colosseum's drummer Jon Hiseman. Their albums, starting with Live im Schutzenhaus (1977) and peaking with The Break Even Point (1979), that featured trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, ranked among the bestsellers of German jazz.
He also co-founded the ensemble Free Sound And Super Brass (october 1975).
In the meantime, Dauner had released his first solo album, Changes (september 1978), followed by Piano Solo (1983) and Zeitlaufe/ Kalender Suite (1988). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

German bassist Eberhard Weber, Wolfgang Dauner's trusted partner for many years, never quite sounded like a jazz musician, his lyrical and oneiric tones being more reminiscent of classical chamber music and minimalist avantgarde music than of the jazz tradition. The 19-minute No Motion Picture was the centerpiece of The Colours of Chloe (december 1973), virtually a trio with a keyboardist (Rainer Brueninghaus) and a drummer (Weber played bass, cello and ocarina), the album that coined his "orchestral" style, simultaneously abstract and sentimental.
Yellow Fields (september 1975), featuring soprano saxophonist Charlie Mariano, Brueninghaus and drummer Jon Christensen, was a uniform sea of languid tones, with three main pieces (the 15-minute Sand-Glass, the ten-minute Yellow Fields, the 13-minute Left Lane) straddling the line between melody and hypnosis.
Continuing this trend towards ethereal atmospheres, The Following Morning (august 1976) gave up the drums and retained only Brueninghaus' keyboards while adding western classical instruments (T. On A White Horse, Moana I, The Following Morning).
Colours, the quartet formed with Mariano, Brueninghaus and drummer John Marshall, recorded Silent Feet (november 1977), whose 17-minute Seriously Deep, had a jazzier feeling, and Little Movements (july 1980), with A Dark Spell.
Other highlights of Weber's career were: the graceful 17-minute Quiet Departures, off Fluid Rustle (january 1979), that featured guitarist Bill Frisell and vibraphonist Gary Burton and two vocalists; the lively 16-minute Death In The Carwash, off Later That Evening (march 1982), with Frisell, pianist Lyle Mays, drummer Michael DiPasqua and Paul McCandless on soprano saxophone, oboe, English horn and bass clarinet; the seven-movement Chorus (september 1984), with saxophonist Jan Garbarek, classical instruments and Weber on synthesizer; the almost baroque Seven Movements for chamber ensemble (two flugelhorns, three trombones, two French horns, tuba, bass), off Orchestra (august 1988); the solo-bass Pendulum, off Pendulum (1993). Weber's focus was "sound" per se, with little or no interest for musical genres and traditions. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

East German pianist Joachim Kuehn, a classical musician by training, shifted to hard-bop in 1961, possibly under the influence of his brother, clarinetist Rolf Kuehn. After defecting to West Germany in 1966, the brothers formed a free-jazz quartet. Relocating to France in 1968, Joachim Kuehn joined JeanLuc Ponty for his album Experience (1969) and stayed with him till 1972. His musical emancipation began with the seven Solos (march 1971) and the jazz-rock quartet of Cinemascope (may 1974). After moving to California, Kuehn adopted a more atmospheric fusion style that led to Hip Elegy (november 1975), featuring Japanese trumpeter Terumasa Hino, American drummer Alphonse Mouzon, bassist John Lee, Brazilian percussionist Nana Vasconcelos and Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine, and containing his Hip Elegy In Kingsize, and to Springfever (april 1976), that pared down the group to a quartet with Catherine and contained the ten-minute Lady Amber. Night Time In New York (april 1981), featuring tenor saxophonists Michael Brecker and Bob Mintzer, bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Billy Hart, achieved perhaps the most sophisticated sound (Yvonne Takes A Bath, April In New York, Nightline). These were pieces that straddled the border between progressive-rock and jazz-rock. Other highlights of this period were the nine-minute Horror Dream, off Don't Split (june 1982), a collaboration with Rolf Kuehn, and the ten-minute Heavy Birthday, off I'm Not Dreaming (march 1983), a chamber experiment with cellist Ottomar Borwitzky, trombonist George Lewis, percussionist Mark Nauseef and marimba player Herbert Foersch.
Back in Germany, Kuehn rediscovered his classical upbringing and turned to the grand piano and composed some austere pieces for solo piano such as the eleven-minute Norddeutschland on Distance (may 1984), the 18-minute Italienische Sonate and the ten-minute Wandlungen on Wandlungen/ Transformations (may 1986), and the 15-minute Bank Of Memory on Dynamics (june 1990), besides the ballet music of Quintus - Dark (1988) in collaboration with Walter Quintus. At the same time he also led a conventional be-bop trio that also flirted with free-jazz on Easy To Read (june 1985), with Details, From Time To Time Free (april 1988), with Trio Music, and especially Carambolage (september 1991), containing the 20-minute Carambolage. But Kuehm never quite seemed to fall in love with jazz, and eventually returned to classical music again. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava, who moved to New York in 1967, was influenced by Miles Davis' haunting ambience which he augmented with soulful interplay and smooth dynamics on the albums for quartets with guitar, bass and drums: Il Giro Del Giorno in 80 Mondi (february 1972), The Pilgrim and the Stars (june 1975) and The Plot (august 1976), the last two with John Abercrombie on guitar. Quartet (march 1978), featuring trombonist Roswell Rudd and containing Rava's 15-minute suite Tramps, was perhaps his most conceptual work. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Polish violinist Michael Urbaniak recorded Paratyphus B (1972) and Inactin' (1972) in Germany with an electric combo featuring pianist Adam Makowicz, drummer Czeslaw Bartkowski and his wife Urszula Dudziak on percussion, and then formed the dual-keyboard group Constellation with Makowicz, Bartkowski, Dudziak (now mainly on vocals) and additional keyboardist Wojciech Karolak, documented on In Concert (may 1973) and Super Constellation (june 1973), also known as Fusion, a group largely inspired by JeanLuc Ponty and progressive-rock (notably Frank Zappa). He relocated to the USA in 1973 and Constellation mutated into Fusion (Karolak, Dudziak on vocals and a drummer) on Atma (june 1974). By Fusion III (february 1975) the sound had become even more electronic and included guitars. However, the highlight remained Dudziak's mesmerizing vocals. TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Russian pianist Sergey Kuryokhin offered a dadaistic, hysterical and acrobatic fusion of avantgarde classical, jazz and rock music with his satirical multimedia events of "pop mechanics" and on solo-piano albums such as The Ways of Freedom (april 1981) Some Combinations Of Fingers And Passion (june 1991). His Pop Mekhanika Orchestra pioneered a cultural fusion of the arts ("total performance"). TM, ®, Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

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TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi. All rights reserved.