Friday, April 24, 2015

5 Remarkable Jazz Artists of All Time

Jazz had originated at the start of the 20th century in the African American communities of the United States. Eventually, it spread around the world and the incorporation of various cultural sounds resulted in many distinctive styles of jazz music. Following are five great jazz artists that have brought remarkable changes and made great contributions to the world of jazz.

Django Reinhardt


Born on January 23, 1910, Django became famous for his unique musical sound, blended with American Jazz and traditional European and Roma music. He was largely self-taught and his first instrument was a hybrid of guitar and a banjo. He didn’t know how to read and write music so he had to depend on others to transcribe his compositions. In 1928, Reinhardt went through a tragic accident in which he had lost the use of two fingers and had to spend the next two years recuperating. However, even after that, he still played great music and created some legendary compositions. Some of his best include – ‘Minor Swing’, ‘Nuages’, ‘Beyond the Sea’ and ‘Dinah’.

Joe Pass

Joe had nearly 50 years of experience as a professional guitarist. When he turned 9 years old in 1938, his father gave him a $17 Harmony steel-string flat-top guitar using which he practiced for at least 5 hours a day. One of his most famous albums is called 'Virtuoso'. During the 1970s and 1980s, he became the most recorded jazz guitarist and he produced solo records and music with other great artists like Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and Zoot Sims. He released his last album, Joe Pass & Co. with guitarist Pisano after which he died of liver cancer in May 23, 1994.

Wes Montogomery


Wes grew up in a musical family. Both his brothers were jazz performers and he would release a number of albums as The Montogomery Brothers. He is especially well known for playing with his thumb instead of a plectrum. He grew this habit from playing at night without a plectrum and using his thumb so that his wife wouldn't wake up. He took up the tenor guitar at age nineteen and moved to the six-string electric. He was greatly inspired by Charlie Christian and he memorized Charlie's solos and played them in a local band.

Charlie Christian


Charlie was the founding father and the primary architect of the modern jazz guitar. He gave his first public performance at age 14 with the Don Redman orchestra at Honey Murphy's club in Oklahoma City. After he was discovered by John Hammond in 1939 while playing in a jazz band, he was brought to New York by Benny Goodman. Christian's innovative single string picking technique was what gave his guitar a voice equal to the trumpet and the saxophone. Some of the best albums by Charlie are 'The Genius of The Electric Guitar', 'The Original Guitar Hero' and 'After Hours'.

Allan Holdsworth

Allan Holdsworth is one of 20th century's most prominent guitarists. He is best known for his work in jazz fusion and has played a variety of musical styles in a period of more than four decades. He first recorded in 1969 with 'Igginbottom' after which he did multiple collaborations before becoming widely popular for his solos. He picked up the guitar at 17 and learned the instrument quickly. In the 90s, Holdsworth also created his signature guitar model with the Carvin company. 'The Sixteen Men of Tain' was released in 2000 and is very popular because it marks the shift to feature an all-acoustic rhythm section. He was born on August 6, 1946 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England.

These artists have inspired many after them for years. You might want to try out your hand if you’re interested in Jazz. The best start-up guitars and also useful for professional playing can be found in the range offered by Epiphone guitars. Although the others are good as well, these come in a little cheaper but make wonderful quality sounds. Contemporary jazz artists have blended the styles of the ones who have passed away but left their art behind. The new artists are taking bits and pieces of that and creating new sounds for future generations.