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Article

William Kirk Bares

Hybrid genre with origins in London’s acid house scene of the late 1980s. Originating with the English DJ and producer Gilles Peterson, the label denotes a craze, a marketing category, and a durable transatlantic jazz subculture with links to hip hop, rave and club music. Notable bands include the Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Galliano, and Us3 in the UK and Digable Planets, Groove Collective, and Brooklyn Funk Essentials in the USA. During the music’s heyday in the 1990s, groups fused improvised live jazz with soul-jazz beats and elements of hip hop, including lyrics by established rappers like Guru and MC Solaar. The dance-oriented music tapped into the era’s fascination with jazz history, DJ culture, and retro kitsch. Jazz publications of the 1990s, including the UK-based ...

Article

Musical subculture of the late 1980s and 90s. Acid jazz is largely a fusion of black American musical styles such as funk, soul and hip-hop combined with a visual aesthetic which borrows extensively from both British popular culture of the 1960s and black American street style of the 70s. Fundamentally a form of street style, it combined music, fashion and recreational drug use to create an ‘attitude’ that owed much to the beatniks of the 1960s (hence ‘jazz’) and a nostalgia for the 1960s and 70s, regarded as a time when musicianship was vital to good dance music as opposed to the more contemporary technological emphasis. The term covers a wide range of musical styles, from the electronic disco styling of bands such as Jamiroquai and Brand New Heavies to the Santana-inspired funk rock of Mother Earth and the Mendez Report. The common denominator is usually the influence of funk, drawing on syncopated rhythmic interplay between the instruments and the use of chromatic chord sequences used widely in post-bop jazz but rarely in mainstream pop or dance music....

Article

Peter Manuel

The field of Afro-Caribbean music comprises a vast and heterogeneous corpus of genres and practices, with most forms of Caribbean music evolving as syncretic products of diverse African- and European-derived elements. Many of these genres have established substantial presences in or influences on music culture in the mainland United States, whether through the activities of diasporic communities or via cross-cultural interactions....

Article

Gunther Schuller

A jazz style. It was created from a fusion of bop with traditional Cuban elements, that arose in the 1940s, primarily in the work of Dizzy Gillespie; it is distinguished from the more general Latin jazz by the specific influence of Cuban dance, folk and popular idioms. Although a Latin-American or Caribbean influence (Jelly Roll Morton called it the ‘Latin tinge’) is discernible in jazz from the late 19th century, the earliest use of Cuban elements is traceable only to Alberto Socarras and Mario Bauzá in the late 1930s. Afro-Cuban jazz became a clearly defined style and acquired an international following only when Gillespie, who had been influenced by Bauzá, began to collaborate with the outstanding Cuban percussionist Chano Pozo. For Gillespie, Bauzá, and others, the main impulse for the Afro-Cuban movements came from their feeling that American jazz of the 1930s and 1940s, being essentially monorhythmic, needed the kind of enrichment that an infusion of Afro-Cuban polyrhythms would provide....

Article

Nancy P. Riley

The term “alternative country” refers to Country music of the late 20th century that existed outside of mainstream country (as represented by Nashville and contemporary country radio) and incorporated country music with aspects of punk, rock and roll, and roots influences. During the 1990s, alternative country identified with a punk rock do-it-yourself ethos and a connection to indie-rock fans and scenes, with live venues and independent record labels playing a crucial role in its emergence. Further, the term owes much to the success of underground rock bands like R.E.M. and Nirvana that became commercially successful, marketed as “alternative.”...

Article

Stephen D. Winick

Government agency and archive. The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress was created by the US Congress in 1976 to “preserve and present American Folklife,” the first time US federal law mandated the conservation of folk culture. The Center soon acquired the Archive of Folk Culture, which had been established by the Library of Congress’s music division in ...

Article

Katherine Meizel

American television show. Developed by the music executive Simon Fuller of 19 Entertainment, American Idol is one of more than 40 “Idol” programs that have been televised around the world, each designed for a particular nation or region. The show was first broadcast on British television as ...

Article

Michael Ethen

A genre of recorded music and performance that peaked in the 1970s. After a decade of the music’s development, the label stabilized in critical discourse around 1977. It describes a subset of rock music either designed for, or to evoke, performance in large venues, delivered chiefly by American groups backed by powerful conglomerate record companies. As a marker of its wide popularity, the genre drew the scorn of rockist critics but the adoration of unabashed entertainment seekers. Typical songs are either anthemic, encouraging the vocal and visceral participation of audiences, or of a ballad type, providing moments of repose. Instrumental solo features also figure prominently, showcasing drummer proficiency and reinforcing the ideals of guitar-hero culture. Designed for live performance, these songs also succeed as sonic artifacts, since recordings that include pre-recorded audience noise and rhythmic hand claps frequently give the illusion of concerts. Although recordings are equally deserving of the term, more illumination derives from an examination of its performance history....

Article

Peter Dickinson, H. Wiley Hitchcock and Keith E. Clifton

A short vocal piece of serious artistic purpose. During the 18th century “art song” came to have its predominant modern meaning of secular solo song with an independent keyboard accompaniment; for a discussion of songs for more than one voice (or partsongs) see Choral music...

Article

Katherine K. Preston and Michael Mauskapf

This article addresses the history of individuals and organizations devoted to the management of musical artists and their careers in the United States.

Musicians who toured the United States during the first half of the 19th century relied on individuals to manage their tours. Some of the most important early impresarios included William Brough, ...

Article

Loren Kajikawa

Record label based in San Francisco, California. Founded by Jon Jang and Francis Wong in 1987, it was inspired by African American musicians, including Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Sun Ra, and members of Chicago’s AACM, who turned to self-production as a way to maintain creative control of their work. With its name derived from the phrase “Asian American Improvised Music,” the label initially functioned as an outlet for recordings by Jang and pianist Glenn Horiuchi, two early leaders in ASIAN AMERICAN JAZZ. In ...

Article

Bachata  

Sydney Hutchinson

Dominican musical genre and dance. Bachata developed out of earlier rural string musics, principally bolero but also son, merengue, and ranchera. The term originally applied to the informal rural parties where such music was played. In the 1960s, as peasants moved to the cities, bachata...

Article

Baguala  

William Gradante

A lyric song form of Paraguay and northern Argentina. The baguala is characterized by melodies that use only the three pitches of a single major triad. Accompanied by the caja (frame drum) and tambor (bass drum), it is typically performed in Carnival season by men, women and children, grouped in a circle and singing choruses in unison and in octaves, while a leader uses falsetto and ...

Article

William Gradante

A couple-dance common to the indigenous peoples of Bolivia and northern Argentina, featuring zapateo (foot-stamping), handkerchief-waving and other circular movements. Melodies are frequently pentatonic and performed in parallel 3rds to melancholy seguidilla verses. A common trait is the contrast between the 3/4 melodies of the voices, violin, harp and accordion, and the syncopated 6/8 accompaniment of the ...

Article

Balada  

Daniel Party

Spanish-language variant of the international pop music ballad. A hybrid of Mexican bolero, Italian and French orchestrated love songs, and early rock and roll ballads, balada emerged simultaneously in Spain and throughout the Americas in the late 1960s. Lyrics are invariably about love and purposely lack references to socio-political issues or local events to maximize potential target audiences. Most often performed by a solo singer, early balada moves at a slow to moderate tempo, and the musical accompaniment, by either a rock ensemble or a studio orchestra, is secondary to the voice. Early baladistas include Mexicans Carlos Lico and Armando Manzanero, Cuban American La Lupe, Spaniards Raphael and Julio Iglesias, Brazilian Roberto Carlos, Argentines Leonardo Favio and Sandro, and Chilean band Los Ángeles Negros....

Article

Charles Garrett

A short popular song that often features a narrative element. The word often signifies a slow-tempo love song, and ballads became especially important to jazz repertory and Tin Pan Alley song. In recent decades, ballads have been performed frequently by modern-day crooners, jazz singers, pop superstars, and hard rock groups (“power ballads”)....

Article

Gavin Mueller

A style of house music influenced by hip hop that originated in Baltimore in the late 1980s. During that decade house and hip-house from Chicago and New York were popular in Baltimore’s clubs, leading to several local productions. Early club tracks, notably Scottie B’s “I got the Rhythm” (...

Article

Bambuco  

William Gradante

The national dance of Colombia. It is said to have been the favourite of Símon Bolívar, Colombia's independence leader (1824). Early references identify it with the Bunde, a dance of African origin. In the 19th century Colombian national composers wrote bambucos and pasillos...

Article

Banda  

Helena Simonett

Banda (band) is a generic Spanish term for a variety of ensembles consisting of brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments found throughout Latin America. Introduced in the mid-1800s, brass bands were a fixture of Mexico’s musical life in the late 19th century and flourished in both rural and urban areas. With the revolutionary movement (...

Article

Jeffrey J. Noonan

A loose association of instrument manufacturers, music publishers, professional performers, teachers, and amateur players dedicated to promoting the banjo, mandolin, and guitar (BMG) as solo and ensemble instruments for the concert hall. The movement coincided with the spread of mass production and mail order magazines in the music industry and remained closely tied to music publishers and instrument manufacturers. Rooted in the activities of Samuel Swaim Stewart, a banjo manufacturer, music publisher, and creator of ...