We started with Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong, the latter considered by many occasional fans to be the “founder” of jazz itself, and moved on to musicians (such as Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett) whose influence was felt well into the 21st century. It can be safely said that Louis Armstrong is undoubtedly one of the most important musicians in jazz history. Duke Ellington is one of the most important composers in the history of American music. He is best known for the more than 3,000 songs he wrote in his life.
Some of his most popular compositions include It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), Mood Indigo, Satin Doll and In A Mellow Tone. Musicians such as Cannonball Adderly, Sonny Stitt and Jackie McLean were heavily influenced by Parker and created their own legacies. Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie's bebop pioneer turned dance-oriented swing era jazz into virtuoso music that featured mainly soloists. Miles Davis is an important jazz musician for many reasons.
John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderly, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, Tony Williams, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and John Scofield are just some of the musicians who came out of their bands. Of course, Miles Davis was an incredible performer in his own ritual, with a unique sound that influenced many trumpet players to follow him. John Coltrane has had one of the strongest influences on modern jazz today. Ornette Coleman is an important musician to mention because he was one of the main leaders of the free jazz movement.
I think there might be a case for DAVE BRUBECK. We all know about TAKE 5, BUT he also wrote other interesting songs such as THE DUKE and, of course, the masterpiece BLUE RONDO A LA TURK. I'm sure it made TOMMY FLANIGAN (jazz pianist) look bad when they both made a recording of GIANT STEPS. Compared to the centuries-old history of Western classical music, jazz music, what some would call America's greatest art form, is a much younger art form that dates back to the early 20th century.
Beginning in New Orleans as dance music, creative musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington helped propel jazz into a wide variety of popular musical styles. Louis Armstrong, who had the famous nickname “Satchmo”, was born in New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz music. Born in 1901, Armstrong was raised by his grandmother and grew up in poverty in one of the poorest areas of New Orleans. Charlie Parker, also known by the nicknames “Bird” and “Yardbird”, was an American jazz saxophonist known for creating the jazz style known as “bebop”.
After touring and playing with several bands, Parker moved to New York in 1939 to pursue music. Miles Davis is an iconic figure in jazz history, and he's one of those names that people know even when they're not familiar with jazz music. Born in Illinois in 1926, Davis would end up in New York City to study at Juilliard School. But in 1944, he left Juilliard to play in Charlie Parker's group, after which he went on to write his music and record solo records.
John Coltrane, like Miles Davis, helped establish modal harmonies in jazz music. Born in 1926 in North Carolina, Coltrane directed many recording sessions that are now classic records in jazz recording literature. By the 1930s, Ellington was famous for leading great jazz bands and orchestras, and one of his best-known pieces of music was “It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing). Wynton Marsalis is a famous name in the trumpet world, and he has talent in both classical and jazz music.
Born in New Orleans in 1961, he is best known for his jazz music, although he has also released high-level classic albums. Ella Fitzgerald was a legendary female jazz singer who people deservedly call the “Queen of Jazz”. Born in California in 1920, he was a jazz composer and pianist who became famous for hits such as “In Your Own Sweet Way “, Take Five and “Unsquare Dance”. The success of that album, “Take Five”, which is in the unusual beat of 5 beats per measure, is the best-selling jazz-single of all time.
Born in 1917 in South Carolina, Gillespie is probably best known for his iconic look of big cheeks swelling as he played his trumpet. In addition to playing the trumpet, Gillespie was also a singer, songwriter, bandleader and educator, and was a gigantic influence on Miles Davis. Born in North Carolina in 1917, Monk became known for his inventive piano performance that involved dissonant harmonies and unexpected twists in his improvisational melodies. Monk was recorded almost as much as Duke Ellington, and in addition to his music, he was also well known for his consistently iconic look of a suit, hat and sunglasses.
Before jazz, Monk worked as a church organist in his teens before getting more work in jazz by the 1940s. Born in Philadelphia in 1915, Holliday would later grow up in Baltimore and had a difficult childhood. But by the time she was a teenager in 1929, Holliday moved to Harlem and started singing in nightclubs. And in the mid-1930s, Holliday was collaborating with pianist Teddy Wilson and became well known for his ability to improvise deeply and emotionally.
Born in Oklahoma in 1929, Baker was equally skilled at singing and playing the trumpet and had the nickname “prince of cool” due to his influence on the cool jazz movement. When he left the army in 1951, he began to dedicate himself to music and played many concerts with Charlie Parker. Basie was also a famous bandleader and is perhaps best known for the jazz orchestra he formed in 1935, called the Count Basie Orchestra. He moved to Harlem in the 1920s to be closer to some of the best jazz performers of the time.
He conducted his orchestra for more than 50 years and helped start many younger careers in the process. You can consider Williams musically gifted, considering that she began learning piano at age 3, and by her teens, she was playing in theaters and with musicians like Duke Ellington. Born in Pittsburgh in 1926, Ray Brown was a legendary jazz double bass player who regularly played with jazz icons Oscar Peterson and Ella Fitzgerald. After becoming known in the Pittsburgh jazz community, Brown moved to New York City in his twenties and began dating and playing with big names such as Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum and Charlie Parker.
Later, in 1951, Brown became a member of the famous trio of jazz pianist Oscar Peterson. In the 1950s, after playing with many different groups, Johnson established himself more as a soloist by leading small jazz combos across the country. Born in Chicago in 1909, Goodman is credited with helping jazz become a popular genre that is respected as legitimate music in the United States. One concert, in particular his concert at Carnegie Hall in January 1938, was described by critics as one of the most important moments for jazz in the United States.
Reinhardt was born in 1910, and his first legal name was Jean, becoming known on the jazz scene under the nickname “Django”. Reinhardt recorded with many famous American jazz musicians when they visited France, including Benny Carter and Duke Ellington. American tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, nicknamed “Hawk”, was born in Missouri in 1904 and was one of the first people to popularize the tenor saxophone in the jazz world. He moved to New York City in 1923 and quickly began playing with the best players there.
Between the two periods, Hawkins was well known both in the world of swing jazz and in the bebop music of the 1940s. Born in Philadelphia in 1927, Getz went to high school in New York City and, at age 16, played with big names in jazz such as Nat King Cole and Linoel Hampton. After that, his career slowly rebounded, and by 1943 he was already on tour with Louis Armstrong. Born in 1930 in Fort Worth, Texas, Ornette Coleman was a jazz saxophonist whose main contribution to jazz was to develop the genre of free jazz.
In 1959, Coleman released his album The Shape Of Jazz to Come, and the year after Free Jazz, which would have a crucial effect on the development of the free jazz genre. Jazz drummer Art Blakey was born in Pittsburgh in 1919 and initially established himself playing in some big popular bands during the 1940s. In the late 1940s, Blakey began working with some of the most skilled bebop musicians, such as Thelonius Monk and Charlie Parker. In the late 1940s, Montgomery played in Indianapolis and eventually went on tour with Lionel Hampton.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1935, Chambers was equally skilled at timing in the rhythm section and improvisation during solos, he was also skilled at using the bow as a classical musician. Chambers recorded as a substitute and as a leader and played in the rhythm section for Miles Davis. Before joining the Miles Davis Quintet, he also toured with Bennie Green and J, J. Born in New York City in 1930, he recorded more than sixty albums, and many of his compositions are now jazz standards.
Along with John Coltrane, many people think of Rollins as the most influential tenor saxophonist in jazz. From traditional to swing, from bebop to cool, from free jazz to fusion and more, jazz music has taken many different forms since it was born in a New Orleans brothel at the dawn of the 20th century. Primarily instrumental music defined by improvisation, jazz ruled the world between the 1920s and 50s, but entered a sharp commercial decline with the rise of rock and roll. However, that didn't stop music from continuing to evolve, even as the capricious fashion gods dictated that its popularity would come and go for the rest of its life.
But thanks to new talents such as Kamasi Washington, Sons Of Kemet and Nubya Garcia, jazz is back in fashion. However, these young lions and lionesses still have a way to go if they want to match the achievements of the revolutionary pioneers listed below, in our countdown to the top 20 jazz musicians of all time. Chesney Henry Baker was born in Oklahoma before moving with his family to California, where his chiseled good looks and seductive trumpet tone helped him become the poster boy for the West Coast “Cool School” scene of the early 50s. When Baker began singing on his records in 1953, in an androgynous and honeyed song, he substantially expanded his audience and even won an acting role in a Hollywood war film, Hell's Horizon.
But music was Baker's main interest, although his career was checkered, defined by many ups and downs due to a long period of heroin addiction. He died at the age of 58 after mysteriously falling out of the window of a hotel in the Netherlands. William “Count Basie” was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, but first made his mark as part of the Kansas City jazz scene in the late 20s and early 30s, during a spell playing the piano in Bennie Moten's influential group. After that, he formed his own orchestra, whose powerful horns, tight ensemble work and syncopated rhythms came to embody the sound and style of the swing era of big bands.
After World War II, when swing music went out of style, Basie disbanded his band for a while, only to restart his orchestra in 1952 and enjoy a revival with the help of albums such as April In Paris and Atomic Basie, which re-established his position among the best jazz musicians of all time. Frayed and cared for but luminously moving, Holiday's voice is one of the most recognizable in jazz. Nicknamed “Lady Day”, she was born Eleanora Fagan and endured a tough childhood growing up in Baltimore, but found solace in singing during her adolescence. Holiday recorded his first albums at the age of 18, in 1933, and, at the end of his 40s, he was a real jazzstar recognized for the deep sensation he could invest in his performances.
A combination of drug addiction and alcoholism conspired to lower the curtain early in Holiday's life; she died at 44 from cirrhosis of the liver. Despite the brevity of her career, Holiday's influence on other singers has been profound and can still be felt today in contemporary artists ranging from Cassandra Wilson to Celeste. From Allentown, Pennsylvania, Jarrett was a child prodigy who began playing classical music before turning to jazz. After performing with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis' electric band in the 1960s, he established himself as a soloist, first on Atlantic Records, where his unique mix of bebop, free jazz, gospel and country elements marked him as unique.
But it was on the independent German label ECM that Jarrett released his iconic 1975 album, The Köln Concert, and his career really flourished. Jarrett has worked in many formats, both in the field of jazz and classical music, with duets, trios, quartets and even orchestras, but he is best known for the improvised solo piano recitals that first brought him fame in the 70s and still claim him a place among the best jazzmusicians today. This revolutionary alto saxophonist from Texas shook up the jazz world in 1959 when Atlantic Records released his third album, prophetically titled The Shape Of Jazz To Come. Bypassing conventional chord changes, Coleman's radical free jazz manifesto redefined the concepts of melody and harmony with his unfettered improvisations.
Although the saxophonist, who later added trumpet and violin to his musical armory, and went on to enjoy a long and very garland career, recorded for a variety of different labels, the six innovative albums he recorded for Atlantic between 1959 and 1962 possibly captured him at the peak of his creativity. powers, and ensure their continued placement among the best jazz musicians the world has ever known. Whiny blues cries and sanctified gospel cadences feature prominently in the music of this visionary bassist and composer whose career flourished in the 1950s. Originally part of the bebop scene, once playing alongside Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in a short-lived supergroup called The Quintet, Mingus developed a very personal style that referred to the past of jazz (alluding to ragtime and New Orleans “trad jazz”) while pushing music towards freedom and styles avant-garde.
He recorded for a variety of labels during his 35-year career, but arguably some of his best music was made in the late 50s on Atlantic Records, where he recorded the iconic albums The Clown and Blues %26 Roots. Nicknamed “Bird”, Missouri-born alto saxophonist Charlie Parker was the main architect behind bebop, a virtuoso style of jazz performed mainly by small groups characterized by fast melodies over complex chord sequences and highly syncopated rhythms. Redefining jazz music as an art, Parker, together with his co-pilot, Dizzy Gillespie, sparked a musical revolution that shaped jazz from the mid-40s to the 60s. Although heroin addiction tragically ended Parker's life when he was 34, his influence can still be felt today, and his immortality is assured by the many excellent recordings he left behind.
Among his masterpieces is the 1949 album Charlie Parker With Strings, which was considered controversial at the time for supposedly diluting the authenticity of jazz. Topping our list of the best jazz musicians is the enigmatic trumpet player, famous for his delicate lyricism, hauntingly beautiful tone and mysterious personality. Illinois born Davis rose to fame as a disciple of bebop revolutionaries Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie in the late 1940s before becoming one of the great bandleaders and creative forces of modern jazz. Without standing still or repeating himself musically, Davis was a master of reinvention; his thirst for innovation came from a restless creativity that led him to explore everything from jazz-rock to hip-hop.
He spent many years at Columbia Records, where he recorded his influential masterpiece, 1959 Kind Of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time, but he also enjoyed a remarkable revival during his twilight years in the late 80s at Warner Bros, with the techno-funk albums Tutu and Amandla. There was a wide variety, from Jelly Roll Morton in the early 20th century, to famous jazz musicians such as Charles Mingus, Thelonious and Wayne Shorter, who contributed many new songs. Benny Goodman, whose nickname was the “King of Swing”, was a jazz clarinetist who remains one of the best-known names in American jazz. From dazzling musicians to moving singers and visionary composers, the best jazz musicians were innovators who expanded the genre.
He also helped Joni Mitchell fuel his groundbreaking foray into jazz on albums such as Hejira and Don Juan's Reckless Daughter. Grammy Award-winning Miles Davis was a major force in the jazz world, both as a trumpet player and bandleader. There's nothing polite about it, but I responded to his violence-tinged dirty jazz style in a positive way. The only canonized jazz musician (inspired the Church of St.
John Coltrane, founded in San Francisco in 196), this North Carolina-born saxophonist and composer brought a marked spiritual dimension to jazz with his iconic magnum work, A Love Supreme, in 1965.John Coltrane was an acclaimed American saxophonist. , bandleader and composer, becoming an iconic figure in jazzy in the 20th century with albums such as “Giant Steps”, “My Favorite Things” and “A Love Supreme”. In addition to his beautiful tone, the tenor saxophonist Getz was an excellent technician and improviser, and is widely considered one of the best saxophonists in jazz history. Famous for taking several sabbatical days during his long career, Rollins always returned to the jazz scene with energy and full of fresh ideas.
From Indianapolis, John “Wes Montgomery” revolutionized the jazz guitar in the late 1950s with a style that was based on the foundations that a previous innovator, Charlie Christian, had laid in the 1940s. One of the best jazz musicians of his generation, Hancock rose to fame playing with Miles Davis in the early 60s before quickly establishing himself as a talented composer in his own right. Initially influenced by bebop, Rollins recorded with pianist Bud Powell and trumpeter Miles Davis before establishing himself as a pioneer of jazz in the late 50s with the iconic records Way Out West and Freedom Suite. After the death of her husband in 1967, she began her own recording career, following the spiritual path that her wife had taken by offering comedic meditations where explorations of post-bop jazz clashed with Indian music.
Although he is sometimes perceived as one of the first architects of California's cool school movement, Dave Brubeck, born in Concord, was a jazz musician and composer who preferred to forge a unique and unclassifiable path in jazz that wasn't dictated by a trend or scene. . .