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Cool jazz


Cool jazz followed bop but was entirely different in mood, in its approach to arranging, and even in its choices of instruments. World War II was over-the country was relaxed and jazz relaxed.

In this era, which began in 1947, many instruments were used in jazz for the first time. Softer-sounding instruments, unamplified, created a different mood from that expressed earlier. The G.I. Bill made schooling possible for many jazz players, which encouraged experimentation in jazz that had been previously ignored: new meters, longer forms, and explorations in orchestration. Longer forms were also made possibly by the introduction of long-playing records.

Although Lester Young came primarily out of the swing style and Miles Davis out of the bop style, they are two of the players associated with the development of the cool style. Young’s contribution was the relaxed sound and style of his playing. Davis’s work with Gil Evans that led to the recording of the "Birth of the Cool" signaled the beginning of that period. Although these first recordings appeared in New York, many of he later cool groups worked out of Los Angeles and were former members of the Stan Kenton band. Players like Gerry Mulligan, Shelly Manne, and Stan Getz were often associated with this "West Coast" style. Listen to Young’s style on "Lester Leaps In" and Davis’s "Boplicity" to hear examples of the cool sound. Also listen to Miles Davis on "Summertime" to hear sonorous sounds typical of Gil Evans’s arrangements.

The cool sound was exemplified by players like Paul Desmond on alto saxophone, Chet Baker on trumpet, and George Shearing on piano. These players all typified the relaxed sound and manner of performance associated with cool.

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