Chamber jazz is a genre of jazz involving small, acoustic-based ensembles where group interplay is important. It is influenced aesthetically by the small ensembles of chamber music in musical neoclassicism and is often influenced by classical forms of Western music as well as non-Western music or culture. That stated, in many cases the influence is traditional Celtic music, Central European folk music, or Latin American music instead.
|Cultural origins||1960s, Germany and United States|
|United States and Germany|
American bassist John Kirby (1908-1952) is arguably the first chamber jazz musician with a sextet he led in the 1930s and '40s. However, many other early exponents originated in Europe so significant neoclassical composers of Europe, like Igor Stravinsky, are important. The German ECM Records also played a role in it beginning in the late 1960s. It is also noted for using instruments not normally associated with jazz. For example, chamber jazz will make use of the oboe, mandolin, cymbalum, or the tabla.
The non-Western influences or instrumentation make chamber jazz at times listed as a kind of world music. At other times the fusion of neoclassical with jazz is deemed to be New Age and several albums of chamber jazz were released by Windham Hill Records. Windham Hill itself was co-founded by a musician linked to chamber jazz and was initially known for folk or world music.
The term is also used, on occasion, to simply mean the fusion of chamber music with jazz. In this case, it means something similar to third stream but without the orchestral aspect third stream leans toward. Jazz is not traditionally considered chamber music. According to the definition of "chamber music", which is defined by Chamber Music America (CMA), chamber music is "works for small ensembles of 2–10 members, playing one to a part and generally performing without a conductor." Although the term "chamber jazz" might not be accepted by all, there are still musicians who play jazz in the tradition of chamber music. There are also chamber music groups that play chamber music in a style that can be considered "jazz".
Musician Ahmad Jamal performed "Chamber Music of the New Jazz", which can be a representative music piece of chamber jazz. During recent years, chamber jazz is performed more and accepted by a larger audience.
The following have sources describing them as musicians who have performed chamber jazz. In some cases it is unclear if they agree with that description. Further many or most of these musicians are primarily known for other genres of jazz or other genres of music.
- Billy Childs
- Eddie Daniels
- Dave Douglas
- Mark Feldman
- Erik Friedlander
- Jimmy Giuffre
- Chico Hamilton – An early proponent.
- Mark Isham
- John Kirby - perhaps the first chamber jazz musician.
- Brad Mehldau
- Modern Jazz Quartet
- Meg Okura – She has been dubbed "The Queen of Chamber Jazz."
- Peter Sprague
- Russel Walder
- Catalano, Nick (11 December 2010). "Chamber Jazz". All About Jazz. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Marc Myers (2013). Why Jazz Happened. University of California Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-520-26878-4.
- JazzTimes, Inc. (September 1999). "JazzTimes". Jazz Times. JazzTimes, Inc.: 51–. ISSN 0272-572X.
- William P. Gottlieb (1995). The Golden Age of Jazz. Pomegranate Artbooks, ISBN 9780876543559
- Richard Lawn (2013). Experiencing Jazz. Routledge. p. 344. ISBN 978-0-415-69960-0.
- California Business. California Business News, inc. 1984. p. 103.
- William C. Banfield (16 October 2011). Representing Black Music Culture: Then, Now, and When Again?. Scarecrow Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-8108-7786-3.
- "Jazz Times". Archived from the original on 2014-10-07. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
- Eddie Daniel website
- NPR's "5 Great Works Of Modern Chamber Jazz" by Matt Ulery
- "Jazz Times". Archived from the original on 2015-02-20. Retrieved 2014-09-24.
- Will Friedwald (2 November 2010). A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. p. 359. ISBN 978-0-307-37989-4.
- "Chico Hamilton, jazz drummer who performed with Charles Mingus, Chet Baker and others, dead at 92". NY Daily News. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Yanow, Scott. "Chico Hamilton: Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
- Orlando Sentinel
- Ted Gioia (27 September 2012). The Jazz Standards: A Guide to the Repertoire. Oxford University Press. pp. 27–. ISBN 978-0-19-993739-4.
- Hartford Courant
- UT San Diego
- Los Angeles Times