Cool Jazz

Qingwen Wang 8P

How and where did it evolve?

The Be-bop style of jazz (Bop for short) was very fast with complex harmonies and wild improvisation on solo instruments.

It was developed during the 1950s by Charlie Parker, also known as Bird - a virtuoso saxophonist and brilliant improviser.

By the second half of the 20th Century, jazz orchestras had a full range of saxophones, including soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.

Jazz greats of this period include Miles Davis (trumpet), Ella Fitzgerald (singer) and Chet Baker (singer, trumpet).

About that time cool jazz evolved from Be-bop. It is characterised by relaxed tempos and lighter tone, in contrast to the tense and complex bebop style. Cool jazz is a style of modern jazz music.

The first and most important cool jazz artist was trumpeter Miles Davis;2 the first important cool jazz album was his Birth of the Cool.

What are the features of the music that he would love?

Cool jazz often:

  • make you feel breezy, casual, carefree and of course, cool.
  • They ranged in size from trios to nonets (nine-piece band).

  • “Classical” instruments such as flute, French horn, tuba, and vibraphone (vibes) were often found in cool jazz groups.

  • Cool jazz was a blending of jazz and classical music.

  • included counterpoint, that is, two or more melodic lines occurring at the same time

  • both the arrangement and the improvised solos were important

  • was arranged (written) ahead of time

Are there any interesting facts about the musicians who performed in that style?


  • BORN: MAY 26, 1926
  • DIED: SEPTEMBER 28, 1991
  • trumpeter and bandleader
  • he began in the circle of modern jazz
  • “I don’t want you to like me because of Kind of Blue,” he insisted. “Like me for what we’re doing now.” - Miles

Give me an example to listen to

  • The Miles Davis Nonet’s “Boplicity”
  • Gerry Mulligan Quartet’s “Bernie’s Tune”
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five”
Jazz Legends Ft. Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Lennie Tristano - A Cool Jazz Story