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The role of the drummer has changed as jazz music evolved. By the 1950's and '60's, the role of the jazz drummer began to shape the music that they were playing in a more melodic and interactive manner. Drummers such as Paul Motian of The Bill Evans Trio, Connie Kay of The Modern Jazz Quartet and Sam Woodyard of The Duke Ellington Band were still involved in their time keeping roles, but in a way that allowed them to play more interactively and expressively. Also during this time the music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, along with others, began to demand that the drummer play a very interactive role.

What is your favourite jazz album of all time?  How would you decide?


Trail Blazers

Throughout the history of jazz, independant recording labels provided the creativity and drive that helped jazz music to evolve. Here on GOJR we show our appreciation for some of the best labels. Blue-note label"The finest in jazz since 1939”: that’s how the logo reads on every Blue Note record. It’s an exaggeration, but not a completely crazy one. Other companies recorded wonderful performances, but no other had so strong an identity: not only musical but also visual, extending to the design of the photographs on the sleeve. And no other jazz label remained so faithful to its ideals for so long.

Giants of Jazz Radio reflects the spirit of the Beat Generation.  As the Beat movement was getting underway, bebop was already going strong, especially in New York City, where 52nd Street was bustling with activity in jazz clubs up and down its length. Bebop was an innovative style of jazz which saw its heyday in the '40s, characterized by smaller combos as opposed to big bands and a larger focus on virtuosity. Bebop's renaissance came about in the heart of New York City, where musicians like Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Max Roach and Miles Davis were ushering in a new era for jazz music. 

Jack Kerouac (above), Allen Ginsberg and friends spent much of their time in New York clubs such as the Red Drum, Minton's, the Open Door and other hangouts, shooting the breeze and digging the music. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis rapidly became what Allen Ginsberg dubbed "Secret Heroes" to this group of aesthetes. Why did jazz suddenly become such a driving force behind the writings of the Beat authors? What similarities can we find between jazz musicians and the Beats? Perhaps the most obvious comparison we can make is indicated by the very word "beat."  "The word 'beat' was primarily in use after World War II by jazz musicians and hustlers as a slang term meaning down and out, or poor and exhausted". Kerouac went on to twist the meaning of the term "beat" to serve his own purposes, explaining that it meant "beatitude, not beat up. You feel this. You feel it in a beat, in jazz real cool jazz". 

JackKerouac LP

 The Beat authors borrowed many other terms from the jazz/hipster slang of the '40s, peppering their works with words such as "square," "cats," "nowhere," and "dig." But jazz meant much more than just a vocabulary to the Beat writers. To them, jazz was a way of life, a completely different way to approach the creative process. In his book 'Venice West', John Arthur Maynard writes:

Jazz served as the ultimate point of reference, even though, or perhaps even because, few among them played it. From it they adopted the mythos of the brooding, tortured, solitary artist, performing with others but always alone. They talked the talk of jazz, built communal rites around using the jazzman's drugs, and worshipped the dead jazz musicians most fervently. The musician whose music was fatal represented pure spontaneity.


Welcome to the New Giants of Jazz Radio website!


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Giants of Jazz Radio

Giants of Jazz Radio plays music spanning a classic period in Jazz history that should not be forgotten. Please help us to get more listeners by spreading the word. We do not take advertising so please help with a donation. Thank you.

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