The West Coast And World Weariness (2)

Despite the indelible impression made by the Miles Davis nonet, West Coast music may have seemed true to the image conveyed by California beaches: sunny and carefree. But the apparent easiness hid a fundamentally disciplined innovative spirit.

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Shorty Rogers

Among the names in California jazz, the trumpet player Shorty Rogers was prominent. Combining the colours of Miles Davis with the spontaneous and 'swinging' writing of Count Basie's middle years, Shorty Rogers also borrowed from the sophisticated structure of classical music.

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Dave Brubeck

These borrowings were legal currency on the West Coast. Dave Brubeck's quartet popularized a number of processes foreign to jazz in this manner and encountered widespread success - so much so that even today he remains suspect in the eyes of purists.

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Jimmy Giuffre

The experiments of the saxophone and clarinet player Jimmy Giuffre during the fifties, however, were far more radical. With an unusual ensemble - clarinet, trumpet and drums - he anticipated the liberties taken by 'free jazz' in the sixties. His taste for the intimate atmosphere of chamber music made him the precursor of the options that bloomed in the seventies.


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