cool jazz

noun
a restrained, fluid modern-jazz style of the 1950s, marked by intricate harmonic structures, de-emphasized dynamics, and carefully controlled phrasing and ensemble playing, often with a slight lagging behind the beat. Also called West Coast jazz. Compare bop1, hard bop, modern jazz, progressive jazz.

Origin:
1945–50

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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

cool jazz

a style of jazz that emerged in the United States during the late 1940s. The term cool derives from what journalists perceived as an understated or subdued feeling in the music of Miles Davis, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Gerry Mulligan, Lennie Tristano, and others. Tone colours tended toward pastels, vibratos were slow or nonexistent, and drummers played softer and less interactively than in bop, hard bop, and other modern styles that coexisted with cool. There was also a renewed interest in contrapuntal collective improvisation among melody instruments. Within the style, however, there is considerable variety in emotional range, level of intricacy, and instrumentation. For example, the term cool describes the intricate, intense music of New York-based pianist Lennie Tristano as well as the tuneful and light-hearted music of Los Angeles-based saxophonist Dave Pell

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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