Bebop-The dance elements gradually faded away into a true art of real music by the musicians Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Clifford Brown, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Stitt, and Ray Brown who wanted to steer away from the commercial type music. These musicians sought to use examples of the Jazz musicians of the past such as Lester young, Coleman Hawkins, Earl Hines and Art Tatum to expand Jazz music to another level.

At this time, Jazz music moved away from the basic melodic element of the piece to produce a more abstract chordal sound of dissonant tones, and chromatic patterns. The dissonant tones in Jazz music can be heard when two tones are played simultaneously in a clashing manner that can either sound strange or terrible depending on how the tones of the chord fit together as melody notes from a particular key. Clashing sounds can also occur from the use of lowered fifths and raised fourths.

The chromatic sound of the music allows the musician to freely play each of the twelve tones of the instruments without restriction. Musicians were able to play substitute chords as well as altered chords that could change the key of the piece in a whim. The change in rhythm became more discreetly energetic in sound which is used predominantly in Jazz music today. For instance, the cymbal was hit in beat of a 1+a 2+ a 3 +a 4 +a while the snare and bass drum are suddenly hit without warning.

Soul Jazz- From the late 1950's, a style of music that derived from gospel and soul using the tenor saxophone, repetition with melodic groove hooks, and less intricate improvisation that occurred over the chordal harmonies. The music from the popular radio artist of the time known as Ramsey Lewis wrote "The In Crowd" a hit in 1965. Souls Jazz music signature was powerful bass lines and changing tempo of the song.

Modal- Bill Evans a pianist of this time made his mark in the making of new jazz music styles by using examples of major and minor medieval church modes which produced altered sounds between two notes. This music broke the rules by allowing the musicians to form new harmonies regardless of the key.

Jazz Fusion- Between the 1960's and 1970's, Jazz music infused with rock to the horror of Jazz lovers. The sound of Jazz fusion is complicated chordal harmonies, and oddly mixed meters with syncopating rhythms. The instruments used is similar to the instruments used in today's bands such as the electronic guitar, electric bass guitar, electric piano and synthesizer. The musicians Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Tony Williams and Frank Zappa and many others performed this music.

Smooth Jazz- From the 1970's and 1980's Jazz became a lighter pop style of fusion which begat muzak an electronic form of popular music on the radio. This music made popular by Kenny G., Najee and Grover Washington Jr. is played in many businesses to entertain customers.

 

Billie Holiday was one of the most famous jazz music singers in America. Her real name was Eleanora Fagan. Like most lives of musicians, she had a very bad time growing up which damaged her career. Her life is written about in the autobiography Lady Sings The Blues, but there are many things in there that are not really valid. Her stage name is from an actress, Billie Dove and her father Clarence Holiday.

Billie grew up in the poorest area of Baltimore. Her parents married when she was three years old, but it did not last. They divorced and she was raised by her mother and various relatives. She had been raped when she was eleven years old, and skipped school a lot, so she was placed in The House of the Good Shepherd in 1925. The House of the Good Shepherd was a reform school for Catholics. A friend of the family helped her out of there a couple of years later. She then went to New York to live with her mother. A year later, her mother discovered a neighbor was raping Billie, the man spent three months in jail.

Things seemed to go from bad to worse. Billie had said a brothel claimed her where she worked as a prostitute , and then was in prison for awhile. She started singing for tips in the Harlem night clubs in the 1930's. It was said when she had not a dime to her name and was about to be evicted, she sang "Trave'lin All Alone" at a club and had the audience crying. She kept singing for tips until she ended up at a popular jazz club called Pod's and Jerry's in Harlem. A lot of her performing cannot be discovered, but it is said she was working at Monette's, another club in 1933 when John Hammond, a talent scout found her.

John got her to record with Benny Goodman that same year. She sang in a group with Teddy Wilson, a pianist. Their debut was the song "Miss Brown You", and "What A Little Moonlight Can Do", which made her a famous jazz singer. The year following that, she began recording under her own stage name. Some of the musicians who she performed with her the best, such as Lester young, a tenor sax player. Lester was a boarder in her mother's house, so they were good friends. He was the one who gave her the nickname Lady Day. She gave him the nickname Prez. She also performed with Artie Shaw and Count Basie.

When Billie was on the Columbia label, someone gave her the song "Strange Fruit" about lynching. She sang the song at a club in 1939, afraid of some kind of retaliation. Later on, Billie said that it was similar to the death of her father, and that is part of the reason why she performed it. She was upset that a lot of people didn't understand the song. She said," They'll ask me to sing that sexy song about the people swinging." Columbia didn't record it, but Commodore Records did. She sang that song for twenty years.

She began doing drugs in the 1940's, married Jimmy Monroe, a trombonist in 1941. At the same time, she was with her drug dealer Joe Guy living with him common law. She divorced her husband in 1947, and departed from her drug dealer, but spent eight months in a correctional facility for women. Because her Cabaret Card was taken, she couldn't perform in clubs in New York City for the last twelve years of her life, except once at the Ebony Club with permission.

She continued on with substance abuse, and getting into the worst relationships with men. She died in 1959 from cirrhosis of the liver. She was just 44 years old. All she had was seventy cents in the bank, and a $750 tabloid fee. A movie Lady Sings The Blues was done about her life starring Diana Ross. It wasn't the real story but it gave Diana a Best Actress nomination. Billie has been an inspiration for many people and is still one of the best jazz music vocalists today.