Jazz music wont be complete if we do not talked about the true legends behind the success of jazz music. These icons play immense role in ensuring that the jazz we all love to listen became part of our culture. Below is our top artists we love to share with you who has affected the jazz industry and also contributed their talent to the growth of Jazz.
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971)
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Nicknamed “Satchmo” or “Pops,” New Orleans-born Louis Armstrong was one of jazz’s most significant founding fathers and played a profoundly influential role in exporting the music to other parts of the world. He was not only a brilliant trumpeter who could dazzle with his hard-swinging molten improvisations but also an expressive jazz singer who possessed a unique, gravel-textured voice. He helped to popularize jazz in the 1920s and enjoyed a long and fruitful career that saw notable collaborations with Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, and Bing Crosby. In 1968, in the twilight of his career, he scored a huge international pop hit with “What A Wonderful World.”
Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)
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Born in Newport News, Virginia, Ella Fitzgerald earned the title “The First Lady Of Song” due to her peerless vocal abilities. Combining a soft, caressing tone with clear diction and deep emotional sensitivity, she was also a pioneer of scatting, a vocal technique defined by wordless, horn-like improvisation. Though she rose to prominence in the big band swing era, debuting with the Chick Webb Orchestra in 1939, it was her themed songbook albums during the mid-to-late 1950s under the aegis of jazz impresario and producer Norman Granz that sealed her solo fame. At Granz’s Verve label – a company specifically set up to showcase the singer’s talents – Fitzgerald established herself as the premier jazz singer of her generation and remains among the greatest jazz musicians ever.
Duke Ellington (1899-1974)
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Between 1927 and 1974, Washington DC-born Duke Ellington commanded one of the finest ensembles in jazz. A pianist by trade – he played in a unique staccato style – Ellington made his name performing at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club in the late 20s where his orchestra helped to usher in the big band swing movement. The most prolific jazz composer of all time, whose repertoire extended to symphonic and sacred pieces, Ellington brought respectability to jazz. He also stayed abreast of new trends, famously recording an album with rising saxophonist John Coltrane (1962’s Duke Ellington & John Coltrane) as well as collaborating with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach the same year on the LP Money Jungle.
John Coltrane (1926-1967)
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Born in North Carolina and raised in Philadelphia, John Coltrane was an influential and technically accomplished saxophonist that played the tenor and soprano varieties of the instrument and initially rose to fame in the Miles Davis Quintet in the mid-to-late 1950s. He eventually outgrew the trumpeter’s band and began forging a storied solo career that was distinguished by such classic and stylistically contrasting albums as Blue Train (1958), Giant Steps (1960), and My Favorite Things (1961). As the 60s progressed, Coltrane’s music became much more exploratory; the result of him seeking spiritual enlightenment through music.
Miles Davis (1926-1991)
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A trumpeter and bandleader from East St. Louis, Illinois, Miles Davis is arguably the most influential jazz musician of all time. Renowned for his ability to play ballads with a haunting, bittersweet lyricism, Miles’ career was characterized by a restless quest for innovation and musical change. He began his career in the mid-1940s playing bebop alongside Charlie Parker but ended it venturing into hip-hop with the album, Doo-Bop. In between he explored a variety of styles; everything from cool jazz and hard bop to modal jazz – which produced his iconic LP Kind Of Blue – free bop and electric jazz-rock; the latter was epitomized by his influential 1970 album Bitches Brew, which ignited the fusion movement that dominated jazz in the early 70s.
Charles Mingus (1922-1979)
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Alongside his idol Duke Ellington and pianist Thelonious Monk, Arizona-born Charles Mingus is one of jazz’s best ever composers and musicians. A formidable bass player who attacked his instrument in a pugnacious yet virtuosic manner, Mingus championed collective improvisation in the various groups he led, using his compositions as a loose framework that enabled individual self-expression. Among his greatest tunes are the beautifully melancholy “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” and uproarious “Better Git It In Your Soul,” which both reflect Mingus’ deep blues and gospel influences.
Ron Carter (Born 1937)
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One of the great jazz session musicians of all time, no jazz bass player in history has made more appearances than Michigan-born Ron Carter, whose recording credits exceed 2,000. Admired for his rich, full-bodied tone, acute musical intelligence, and nimble-fingered virtuosity, Carter (who also plays the cello) recorded with Eric Dolphy and Milt Jackson in the early 60s before Miles Davis recruited him and helped make him a star in his “Second Great Quintet” between 1962 and 1968. After leaving Miles’ band, Carter became an omnipresent figure of the US session scene, appearing on records by artists as varied as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paul Simon, and Roberta Flack.
Stan Getz (1927-1991)
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Though born in Philadelphia, the tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, whose nickname was “The Sound,” became synonymous with west coast cool jazz that emerged in California during the 1950s. Famed for producing a gorgeously feathery tone that caressed the ear, Getz also played a major role in exposing the bossa nova sound to the wider US public, first with the LP Jazz Samba in 1962 and then, two years later when he collaborated with Brazilian maestro Joao Gilberto on the landmark album Getz/Gilberto, which featured the hit single “Girl From Ipanema” sung by Gilberto’s then wife, Astrud.
Art Tatum (1909-1956)
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“Tonight, God is in the house” is how fellow pianist Fats Waller purportedly referred to Art Tatum‘s presence in a club he was playing at. Waller’s deification of Tatum, a visually impaired pianist from Toledo, Ohio, expressed the awe that many jazz musicians felt when faced with Tatum’s exceptional talent. A virtuoso whose ornate style was characterized by florid right-hand runs, richly embroidered harmonic tapestries and addictive, swing rhythms, Tatum redefined the piano lexicon in 1930s and 40s. His influence on other musicians was huge, which included fellow pianist Oscar Peterson, who absorbed Tatum’s techniques into his own style.
Max Roach (1924-2007)
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Originally from North Carolina, Max Roach revolutionized jazz drumming in the bebop era by moving away from a rigid backbeat and preferring to create a more flowing and subtly shifting rhythmic pulse driven by the ride cymbal. That freed him up to use other parts of the drum set to create color, atmosphere, and drama. As well as being a master drummer, Roach was also a notable bandleader, helping to create hard bop in the early 50s with a quintet he co-led with the trumpeter Clifford Brown. He was also a vociferous Civil Rights activist who used his music to make socio-political statements, especially in the late 1950s and early 60s.
Terri Lyne Carrington
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Widely hailed in jazz circles as one of the best contemporary jazz drummers around today, she has had an illustrious music career spanning some 30 years. She began learning the drums at the age of seven and was eventually awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of music, where she would later be appointed professor. Her touring career has included working with such legends as Herbie Hancock and Al Jarreau, while her recording career includes two Grammy Award-winning works – The Mosaic Project, a collaboration with a myriad of female jazz artists that scooped “Best Jazz Vocal Album,” and her most recent release Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue, which won the “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” in 2013.