Monday June 16, 2014
14 Iconic Solos That Showcase Jazz Music’s Incredible History
By: Andrew Chow
In a recent study at Johns Hopkins, jazz musicians improvised with each other while sitting in MRI machines. No doubt many of them were used to playing in tight spaces, but this was, all the same, odd.
What the study found, though, was even odder: Jazz improvisation is rooted in the same places of the brain as spoken language. When musicians play with each other, for us, they’re actually communicating just as intentionally as if they were speaking English.
Jazz is arguably the truest American music. It has shaped the greatest moments of our history, our legends and our dinner parties. This study, then, revealed something we knew to be true: Jazz is a universal language, the great American glue. Indeed, some of the greatest jazz improvisations have been just as eloquent and expressive as the most renowned poems or speeches in history, and they’re just as important to know.
But if jazz musicians are one thing, it’s prolific. Here, then, are the 14 iconic jazz solos that tell the history of jazz — and the last American century…
14. “Hide and Seek” by Joshua Redman (1996)
Redman’s register-hopping, seemingly physically impossible intro speaks for itself. It is a hallmark of technical excellence and a pure joy to listen to. It’s the perfect culmination of all the history that’s come before him — it shows that the newest generation of jazz greats are, to some extent, historians. If you listen, you’ll find Coltrane between the notes.
He’s a member of a younger generation carrying the torch on, exploring fresh techniques and sounds while still paying tribute to the old guard. Jazz will never die, but it’ll always be following the changes.
To read the full list click here