Jazz from 1957 to 1967 was the most definitive.

I believe that after that decade, the term "Jazz" lost it's definition. I also believe this decade produced the very best Jazz ever. I would like to limit the discussion to this decade in Jazz, or related Jazz.
My system consists of Rega, Marantz cd, Audible Illusions, Primaluna 6, and custom speakers.
Jazz from 1947 to 1967 maybe... you are leaving out a hell of a lot of important Jazz starting in 1957!!!!!!!
May I ask then, why 1957 start?
It seems you are very knowledgeable about jazz. What exactly would you like to discuss?

BTW, I think some folks might just not agree with you that 1957 to 1967 was 'most' definitive (what ever that means) period although a lot of great jazz and performers were around in those years.
He may be refering to the introduction around this time of free jazz where the melody was lost in favor of harmonics and free expression. Louis Armstrong would agree. Following free jazz was the begining of pop instrumental masquerading as "light jazz" which to me really is a huge step backwords. It's true alot of great jazz was performed after 1967 but in my opinion it has not advanced stylisticaly since 1965-1967. Using Miles as a measure I would say it peaked with Miles Ahead and Miles Smiles. As an aside the best recordings sound wise were 1959-1965 with 1961 as peak. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a great recording and flipped it over to find 1961. This is jmho of course. - Jim
I liked the jazz period from 1940 up to Bitch's Brew ( The beginning of the end ), by Miles Davis. By the way - if I were forced to listen exclusively to any ten year period of jazz on an endless tape loop, I would choose the 1955 to 1965 period.
Aldavis, without taking exception to any of your observations I hate to isolate the form to that which existed in one narrow period of time and which if accepted as fact would then preclude having a mind set that would allow you to experience growth. To do otherwise would be to define what jazz is and when it died. Hell I could argue that Jazz died with Ellington....take your pick and name a composer/performer and a date and we can create a tombstone.

Review the history of classical music. I'm sure there are many folks who thought (and perhaps a few still do) that the death of the last 'romantic' composer precluded the introduction of anything meaningful. Then the music of the early modernists, now universally accepted, when accepted challenged succeeding componsers. Unfortunately they knew not how to take the form forward in a linear manner and went off in a totally different direction, producing atonal/dissonant music bereft of anything comprehensive to anyone other than a fellow composer or musicologist.
Neo-classicists and neo-romantics existed, wrote music, but could not get it played and were generally dismissed, by the 'experts'. The halls emptied and the classical format languished. From the 80's forward we have seen the emptiness of that time and have opened our minds to the music of not only neo-classicists and neo-romantics who are expanding on a form long established, but composers who are contemporary 'modernists' with something to say that is worth hearing (IMHO of course).

So while I would agree with you, to some degree, that we are certainly in a time where the music is so unlike what we grew up with and have learned to venerate, and it is fair to call it (smooth jazz) nothing more than elevator music, we should be careful not to close our mind to the possibility of the resurgence of a new form of 'jazz' should it be discovered and published/played or created by an unknown contemporary jazzist.

Anyway those are my thoughts on the subject. :-)
Can't say I agree that Jazz (or "Jass" as it was reportedly first called) from 1957 to 1967 was the most "definitive." I would agree that during that time period, Jazz morphed into something different than everything in the idiom that had come before it. What a lot of people don't get is: "new" and "radical" are hallmarks of Jazz. When it first came out, it was "new" and "radical." And since then, each decade sounded different than before. Therefore I don't agree that after such-and-such date Jazz lost its definition. As long as Jazz is constantly evolving it is alive and well. It's out there--seek and you shall find.
Orpeheus10 I love your way of thinking. Check my thread from 3-17-10 [http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?gmusi&1268857131&openmine&zzFoster_9&4&5#Foster_9]Who Are the Best Young Lions of Jazz Today?[/url]

In that thread I mention "I'm steeped in the past listening to Hard Bop like a mad man. The jazz I love, the musicians I love, the heroes and gods for me are guys like Miles, Monk,Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Dexter Gordon, Bill Evans, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley and others." Orpheus10, I'm right with you brutha. For me this is the "definitive" period of jazz.

A definition of "Definitive" : "authoritative: of recognized authority or excellence"

For me the most creative and incredible period of jazz is the "Hard Bop" era. All you have to say is Miles, Coltrane, and Monk and you've said enough, but there are so many other greats to hear from that era. When was a higher level of jazz being produced if it was not during the Hard Bop era?

The only proviso I would add is that you could stretch back a bit earlier in the 50's than 1957 which would mean there is more than a decade to this period of Hard Bop and Definitive jazz. My 2 cents.
When you say someone is an "Audiophile", that conveys a certain type of person. In that decade, when you said "Jazz", you conveyed a certain type of music. Today, when you say "Jazz", that conveys a range of music so broad that it is not definitive, to say the least.
Before we get off on the wrong track, I am not comparing or making judgement, I am making two statements; one is in regard to definition, the other is that this decade was the most explosive and creative in the history of "Jazz"
I am going to give an example of this by discogrphy. Lee morgan "Candy", 1957: Cannonball Adderly "Something Else", 1958: Dave Bruebeck "Time Out", 1959: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers "A Night in Tunisia", 1960: Grant Green "Round Midnight" 1961. Each one of these albums contains sidemen who are stars in their own right.
Now that everyone can see where I am coming from, we can continue this conversation for the rest of the decade, as well as how it relates to today.
There are lots of great recordings from this period, to be sure. Most of Monk's most important recordings, as well as Miles, Trane, the bulk of the great Blue Note and Impulse catalogs... sure.

But it's too narrow a time frame. By limiting yourself to just those ten years you're cutting out Bird, Ellington at his peak, Louis Armstrong... I guess you can stay that narrow if you want - that era is exceptional - but you're missing an awful lot of good music.
Maybe Orpheus 10 is on to something here.You can feast from the largest musical buffet Jazz offered during this period...all the obvious in their prime and the not too be forgotten reemergence of the so called Mainstream like Buck Clayton,Vic Dickenson Pee Wee Russell,Bud Freeman,Bobby Hackett,Jimmy Rushing,Buddy Tate and many more.You can catch the last few years of Billie and Prez and the ongoing mastery of Coleman Hawkins.Basie and Ellington had marvelous bands and Louis still had the chops,voice and band to kill them all.Not to mention neglected masters who soared during this period-Booker Little,Lucky Thompson,Lennie Tristano and Warne Marsh,Scotty LaFaro and dozens of others.Art Pepper,Shelly Manne,Bob Cooper,Bill Perkins,Hampton Hawes,Harold Land in Los Angeles making incredible fresh music.
Not my choice to dwell in those ten years forever,but if i did i would be infinitely enriched.Those years when Rock swamped Jazz the 65-67 years in particular were dark days for a lot of talented players who could not get gigs or make records.Look at Jazz as a small country during those years,the citizens were impoverished and ripe for take over by the intruding forces of commercialism.Not everyone was as smart as Miles and put a bitch in their brew.Regardless of the era and the elasticity of the definition of Jazz,it is always worth talking about and fighting over this tender continent.
I'm definately NOT calling 1957-1967 " definitive" in any sense. Newbee, it should be noted that Ellington in his own time was accused of not playing "true" jazz. The head to " take the a train" was criticized for this as were his long format pieces. So much so that Duke exclaimed " what is this thing called jazz that it should take precedence over me". What I AM saying is that for me jazz has not advanced much recently because much of the jazz I love was based on the chord structures of the great american songbook which (let's face it ) has not had a Gershwin or Arlen etc. to move it along much recently. My mind is open to lots of new music and conformity to what I grew up with does not play a part. For the record I don't believe there is one definitive period or style. As to smooth " jazz" it contains no hints of jazz greats past nor does it break any new ground making it exceedingly uninteresting to me. I very much look forward to the next great jazz sound. In the meantime I will go enjoy Wynton M. this weekend in ATL. This is all my OPINION. No offense - Jim
IMHO, the one group of jazz supermen that could seemingly do anything and take the music anywhere, who played with such telepathy and total command of the idiom, that will always be copied but never quite duplicated, is Miles' Second Great Quintet. This group ran from roughly 1964 to 1968. When you fully understand Miles Smiles, you "get" jazz.
I think creativity in Jazz and its relevance to the masses peaked in that general time frame with the likes of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and various other cohorts. THings kind of hit a plateau then in terms of creativity and diversity. Also, more competition from other genres being taken more seriously. Not to say there is not a lot of great jazz before and after, just fewer "giants" to lead the way yet perhaps many more talented musicians doing various things below the radar screen of most perhaps after and into today. Plus the lines between Jazz as a distinct form and other genres is more blurred than ever these days. Bad for "jazz" per se but probably good for music as a whole.
Certainly some of my favorite recordings are from this period, but by excluding the peak artistic/production years of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday those years by definition cannot be considered the most definitive jazz years. That's assuming any time period can be classified in that manner.

It's ironic that during this time period you had the rise of "youth culture" and the demise of jazz as America's popular music. At one point jazz was pop music. Swing bands fronted by Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, etc. were the stars of their generation. As bop and later hard bop distanced itself from danceability and stopped being an easy listening experience, jazz became a niche musical product. While I and others may love what jazz became, Chuck Berry was right.
"As bop and later hard bop distanced itself from danceability and stopped being an easy listening experience, jazz became a niche musical product."

That's very true! The most popular music forms almost always lend themselves to dancing. I don't see that changing much in the foreseeable future. A tough fact for those more attuned to the art, content and sound quality to accept!

Onhwy61 speaks many truths!
Elizabeth, a decade in music is fuzzy; one of my favorite "jams" is "Senior Blues" which was on "Six pieces of Silver", by Horace Silver, recorded in 1956.
This decade also included "West coast jazz", it came and it went. While I recall some of the musicians; Gerry Muligan, Shelly Mann, Bob Brookmeyer and others, I do not have the best examples of this genera in my collection.
I am defining this music by a certain sound. While I can not communicate this sound in words, we jazz lovers know it when we hear it.
ALL music from the 'past' seems definitive or, 'more important' than music that's created today or in the recent past. Of course I'm not arguing about the relevance of the music or the musicians as it's undisputably excellent. It just seems to me that currently, the modern music-lover can't help but be jaded due to exposure to ALL music from ALL time periods. Again, while the thread is about old Jazz (which I love and have hundreds of LP's & CD's) I'm making a really wide statement about music in general.
I would agree. I started into jazz in 1957, doing live concerts and recordings. I had the pleasure to hear in person Miles, Baker, Desmond, Brubeck and many others, all in New York City. I also was able to sit in on some of the Columbia recording sessions at the 30th Street studio. Clearly, a golden age.
Agree with Chazro. It is easily to glorify the past and call something a "Golden Age." Did anyone know it was a "Golden Age" when it was in real time? Probably not. There could be a Golden Age (in any genre) in the making right under our noses. The key is to keep exploring what's out there currently.
Nicotino, Excellent point I think!

A personal aside, FWIW. My introduction to jazz (and classical for that matter) was in the 60's and it came via live performances in clubs or symphony halls.

Hard Bop, then in vogue, was difficult and music echoing Davis, Coltrane, etc was just a lot of noise to me then. Had I been unduely influenced by this exposure I would have ignored jazz entirely and dismissed the possibility that I would ever enjoy it as a form.

If you haven't heard and understood what preceded this music then you are likely to just be lost in a field of noise and assume that that sound is what jazz is ALL about. I did until I discovered otherwise.

Had my introduction to classical music been similar, i.e. early Prokofiev, Stravinsky, etc, without the benefit of having heard Beethoven and Bach and the composers who straddled the modern and romantic periods, I would probably have passed on that form as well. Fortunately I didn't in either case.

While I may appreciate all that the greats did in both forms, interestingly I rarely listen to their music. I know it well and I've learned to save it for special occasions lest I begin to believe that it is all there is worthwhile and ignore the music of others. I enjoy spending most of my time exploring the music of others. You never know what you may find.

Aldavis, Jim FWIW my post had nothing personal for you in it, at least that was not my intention. It's just offensive to me that someone (NOT YOU) can describe (proclaim), rather arrogantly (as they often do) that anything can be definitive, especially when we are dealing with something as broad and complex as music.

It's one thing to say that one can appreciate the music of Davis, for example, as one could the music of Beethoven. But the music of these acknowledged 'greats' IMHO should influence the music which follows, as it did in Beethoven's case, but not so much in Davis' case I think.

I've said enuf I think...............
Orpheus, thanks for opening up this discussion of great jazz.

Nicotico, yes the Second Great Quintet was a supergroup of supermen and "Miles Smiles" is my favorite Miles recording.

For me the greatest output of high quality jazz remains the Hard Bop era with an obvious extension and tip of the hat past that era to the "Second Great Quintet."
Foster_9, I agree with your 2 cents worth so much that I am going to give you a dime and lay a "heavy jam on ya".
"The Finest of Oscar Pettiford", based on recordings made in 1955 by Oscar Pettiford; or O.P. as Dizzy and friends called him. He was the baddest basist ever.
Let me make myself clear; music evolves as it should, but when someone tells me they like "Jazz" , and they are not referring to this general time frame, they have communicated ??????? to me.
Orpheus10, I'll go you one better and give you a dollar and lay some heavy jams on you.

"The Complete Vee Jay Lee Morgan-Wayne Shorter Sessions."

This one is tragically out of print. I don't own it and I've been sick ever since I heard some of this national treasure and found out I couldn't purchase it. Can't find it anywhere but it is an awesome set of music. I don't know about the sound quality but I heard a cut on Radioio.com Jazz Standards and flipped. Can't find it anywhere.... By the way, if you aren't one of the fortunate ones who owns this, much or all of it can be found on Grooveshark, so at least I get to hear this fabulous music. Please check out the track "Calloway Went-That-Away." I love it and I think you will too. http://listen.grooveshark.com

Also, it gets me too when people throw around the word "Jazz" and say they like Jazz and listen to it but don't pay homage to the Hard Bop era. The Hard Bop era personifies Jazz.
Nicotino: I also think things came to a peak with miles smiles. However, for me I truly understand Ben Websters sadness when his (my) type of music was out of vogue and he didn't get to play with the kind of players he used to. He didn't play with the harmonic intricacy of miles' groups but nobody could touch his tone and most didn't have his "soul". - Jim
Orpheus10 have you seen this? Sweet, and one of the great standards.

Senor Blues
IMO: it's Hard Bop to Bitches Brew Really it's Miles Davis. Miles IS Jazz' Beethoven. Where Louia Armstrong is Bach, and basie is Mozart...Miles is a GOD. I guess that lets you know I like Beethoven. ahhh?
Some folks dismiss Miles playing..but he had a knack for getting together THE players. Future greats before the event. Like he KNEW.
If I could only have one artist to keep on my desert island.. in Jazz.. it would be Miles Davis.
Elizabeth, Miles is the greatest no matter what some of the critics and "experts" occasionally have said about Ellington, Bird (Charlie Parker), Satchmo (Louie Armstrong),who I love and other artists. This thread would not be complete without a special mention of Miles' as the architect of imo the Definitive period of Jazz. (Hard Bop) Miles put together great personnel, brought out their best and they meshed into great and "Definitive bands." The first and second Great Quintets are testimony to this. When it comes to Jazz, yes Miles is a god. Miles is the Definitive artist of Jazz.
Definition; according to me: "Dixie Land" is "Dixie Land", leave the "Jazz" out. "Rag Time" is "Rag Time", leave the "Jazz" out. "Hard Bop" is not a "genera of jazz", it is a description of the jazz being played, or one LP. Example: Charlie Parker, who is the founder of "Hard Bop",cut "Bird with Strings", which is not "Hard Bop".
"Bird with Strings" contains some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard or ever will hear. According to the experts, "Just Friends", one of the cuts on that LP is perfect, note for note.
Most of my LP collection is no longer available in any format, this is available on CD: "Charlie Parker With Strings: The Master Takes"
Orpheus, there is a well documented and defined lineage of the different "styles" or "generes" (or whatever you want to call them) within the realm of "Jazz." None of these styles or genres exist or came about independently from one another.
Whoa whoa whoa. Bird is the founder of HARD bop ? He with Diz and Coleman Hawkins helped create BOP ( playing with the bridge from Cherokee) but HARD bop ? Foster: I love Miles too. Matter of fact I listen to him A LOT. But I'm with Wynton M. on this one : The three most important figures in jazz (in my OPINION) are Pops, Duke and Bird. Before pops there was no instrumental "solo" as we know it today. He, Buddy Bolden and King Oliver created spontaneous virtuoso solos. Along with this he created the template for modern popular singing. Everyone since owes what they do to him. He called what he did rag time but it isn't what we would call raftime. He was refering to "ragging the tune". Essentially slow blues which was sweaty and dirty and got dirtier as the night went on. Duke added a kind of musical sophistication that might be unmatched by any other individual. He was a terrific song writer and a terribly under rated piano player. Bird helped create the genre of bop. He also was fluent in both the "deep blues" (ala Lester Young) AND the modern harmonics of people like Diz. Very few others were - maybe Dexter Gordon. His improvisation was unmatched. I do love Miles' fostering the cool jazz genre as it brought back some swing to a very undancible bop genre. He then progressed to hard bop,free jazz and fusion. I just don't think on balance it was as important for what came after him as the other three were for what came after them. If I had to pick just one individual it would be Pops. Not because he is my personal favorite but because we would not be having this discussion without him. - Jim
Fun discussion!

Reminds me to give Ken Burn's Jazz Mini-series a play again sometime soon. I recorded the entire series on vhs back when it first ran. That is a must view resource for anyone who would like to learn A LOT about the history of jazz and its makers!
Well said, Aldavis. I think you set the record straight.
There is nothing like a good debate to straighten things out."Bird" (Charles Parker), founded "Be Bop" and Miles Davis is given credit for "Hard Bop", which evolved from "Be Bop".
While I loved every "Hard Bop" musician, the music they made was not exclusively "Hard Bop", although it was exclusively "jazz". This is why I say "Hard Bop" was a description of the music as opposed to a seperate "genera".
"Walkin" by Miles, is a very good example of "Hard Bop". Seven of the hardest "Boppers" that ever "Bopped" got together on this one: Miles, J.J., Lucky Thompson, Horace Silver, Kenny Clark, Percy Heath, And David Schilkrout. "Love for sale", one of the cuts on this LP is definitely not "Hard Bop".
I have never enjoyed a discussion as much as I am enjoying this one. I am learning a lot and I am the one who started it.
03-26-10: Aldavis
Whoa whoa whoa. Bird is the founder of HARD bop ?
Aldavis, Bird pioneered "Bebop." "Hard Bop" descended from Bebop and is characterized by a different sound. How is Bird the founder of Hard Bop?
As an aside: I was never into Jazz for many, many years.. I just did not get it. THEN, I watched a set of Ken Burns Jazz.. And suddenly I realized what was going on in Jazz, and was amazed.
A whole new form of music blossomed before me.
I was late to the party, but I am staying till it's over.
Foster and I suspect Orpheus 10 as well. Look carefully at Aldavis' sentence. It ends with a question mark. :-) So does the dispute I think.
He's not. That was my point.
Jazz struggled with rock taking over in the 1960s. Then jazz tried to compete with rock and we got jazz fusion, but there was still alot of great jazz.

Hopefully the current jazz resurgence will last.
Aldavis, then we are in agrrement. Back to your statement correcting someone about Bird and Hard Bop. Who were you referring to?
Aldavis, I just saw Orpheus10's statement about Bird.

Orpheus10 what did you think of the the Horace Silver clip?
Foster_9, Horace Silver has been one of my favorites since "Senior Blues" on LP "Six Pieces of Silver"; however, I am not sure of what you are referring to?
Orpheus10, you'll find the Horace Silver clip in my post from 03-25-10.

It begins with, "Orpheus10 have you seen this?" just click on Senor Blues

Also in case you missed my other post from 03-25, be sure to check it out. It references the fantastic "The Complete Vee Jay Lee Morgan-Wayne Shorter Sessions."
To add to Elizabeth's last post: when trying to introduce someone to Jazz, I generally try to be cognizant of the fact that a person either "gets" Jazz or they don't. There's really no in-between. So, I find that all you can really do is expose a person to some good recordings and let the rest run its course. In the Ken Burns series, Wynton summed it up pretty good when he said (and I'm paraphrasing) "Jazz doesn't come to you, you have to go to it." In a world where everyone wants convenience and instant gratification, not many people are willing to invest the time and "go to it." Just my 2ยข
Foster_9, it is amazing how "Sympatico" we are, and I would also like to mention how other types of music have come and gone, but "Hard Bop" is still boss.

Your preferences are particular and probably well served by the time period you identify.

My preferences run more to the two decades prior, where purely beautiful sax playing was more often the main point and rythmic complexity was still (mostly) of secondary importance. Think "Body and Soul" and that ilk.

For the most part, hard bop isn't my preffered cup of tea (even though I still do consume a fair bit of it), but the hybridized music it influenced is among my absolute favorite. I don't think Duke Ellington does Far East Suite without the influences you favor - and the world without FES is a poorer place.

In short, I run hot and cold on (what I believe are) your favorites, but many of my favorites emerged during this period as well. If forced, I'd still probably choose a decade or two earlier. But this really is a "you like chocolate I like vanilla" kind of thing.

I hate to be "misunderstood", and that is exactly what is occurring here.
There was good Jazz before 1957, there was good Jazz after 1967, there will be good Jazz after today. If you can imagine a "Parabola", keep that shape in your mind. Imagine "Jazz" moving in a horizontal time line ascending in 1957 and then descending in 1967; this is "explicitly" what I am saying.
Orpheus10, FWIW, if your so inclined.....There is an interesting discussion on Music Lane in the AudioAsylum site which is talking about HardBop, BeBob, Miles Davis/Kind of Blue and some other aspects of music in general as well. Some of the contributors appear to have something to say that you might appreciate.
Newbee, thanks for the help. I heard Miles mention "Modal jazz" way back then, and I didn't know what he was talking about and I still don't.
Right now, I am hoping someone can "hip me" to the best "West Coast Jazz" available on CD. I also saw a silly comedy movie on TV, set back in the 40's I guess, where they had "Blue Grass" that sounded good to me. If someone has seen that same silly movie, maybe they know what the music was.
Foster_9, could you clue me in on your favorites by Miles after "Bitches Brew"?
Unfortunately for me, this thresd is too true; I am having a hard time finding new music.