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A new and accessible introduction to this exciting, controversial, and often misunderstood music, drawing on extensive research, close listening, and the author’s experience as a performer.
In the late 1950s, free jazz broke all the rules, liberating musicians both to create completely spontaneous and unplanned performances and to develop unique personal musical systems. This genre emerged alongside the radical changes of the 1960s, particularly the Civil Rights, Black Arts, and Black Power movements. Free Jazz is a new and accessible introduction to this exciting, controversial, and often misunderstood music, drawing on extensive research, close listening, and the author’s experience as a performer. More than a catalog of artists and albums, the book explores the conceptual areas they opened: freedom, spirituality, energy, experimentalism, and self-determination. These are discussed in relation to both the political and artistic currents of the times and to specific musical techniques, explained in language clear to ordinary readers but also useful for musicians.
Jeff Schwartz is a writer, bassist, and librarian in Los Angeles, California.
"Jeff Schwartz, Los Angeles-based, all-genres skilled bassist and respectable musicologist, presents here an epic achievement and a huge delight: the entire history of free jazz over the past sixty years refracted through the great performers and creators that have defined and dominated it. This is a book about a less-known music everyone should discover, and about the decades-long argument over its origins and development. Jeff Schwartz's incisive and enthusiastic look at this musical art form, from its very inceptions to the influences that shape it, deserves everybody's recognition. Schwartz's magnum opus uncovers ever-new and thrilling realizations about the redemptive liberation that free music brings us all." — Andrea Centazzo. composer, percussionist, musicologist