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Jazz Today, Jazz Tomorrow (1990 - 2020 +)

V. Hip-Hop's Influence on Jazz and Vice Versa


A. Influence of Hip-Hop on Jazz

      

1.

Rhythmic Influence 

            

a.

use of repeated backbeat patterns that imitate drum breaks and drum loops in hip-hop 

            

b.

use of intentionally loose backbeat patterns inspired by the production style of hip-hop artist J Dilla 

      

2.

Harmonic Influence 

            

a.

use of chord qualities and chord progressions found in hip-hop but not in mainstream jazz 

            

b.

creative use of non-functional harmony inspired by sampling in hip-hop in which disparate pieces of music in multiple keys are layered together in one recording 

      

3.

Inclusion of a rapper on contemporary jazz/hip-hop fusion recordings and performances 

      

4.

Eminent contemporary jazz artists influenced by hip-hop include: 

            

a.

Robert Glasper

Listen to The Robert Glasper Experiment performing John Coltrane's composition, watch video "Afro Blue." Note the hip-hop beat influenced by hip-hop producer J Dilla played by hip-hop/jazz drummer Chris Dave; also note how the other instruments repeat a four measure loop similar to a looped sample in hip-hop. 

            

b.

Herbie Hancock

Listen to Herbie Hancock performing his groundbreaking genre bending composition, watch video "Rockit." This recording was heavily influenced by the sound of early rap, incorporating drum machine and synthesizer sounds that would, in turn, impact the hip-hop genre from then on. The song also held a major role in presenting record scratching and the use of the turntable as an instrument. “Rockit” and its accompanying watch video video – as well as watch video Hancock's live performance at the 1984 Grammy Awards – have been cited by numerous hip-hop producers and artists as having had a major influence on their creative development. 

            

c.

Jason Moran

Listen to jazz pianist Jason Moran performing the early rap composition watch video "Planet Rock." Note how Moran reworks the drum machine and synthesizer approach of the watch video original recording by rapper Afrika Bambaataa into a live band plus electronics version. Also note how Moran improvises his piano solo in the rhythm of the rap lyric performance. 


B. Influence of Jazz on Hip-Hop

      

1.

Use of the sampling of jazz recordings for hip-hop songs 

            

a.

Many hip-hop producers re-use parts of jazz recordings and manipulate them by isolating sections, speeding them up, slowing them down, reversing them, and layering them with other recordings to create tracks or beats for rappers. 

            

b.

See Robert Glapser's watch video “Jazz is the Mother of Hip-Hop” video for an explanation of why hip-hop producers gravitate towards jazz samples. 

      

2.

Use of jazz instruments (and jazz artists playing them) on hip-hop recordings 

            

a.

Instruments closely associated with jazz – especially saxophone, piano, and upright bass – are found on many hip-hop tracks. 

            

b.

Jazz musicians who have performed on hip-hop recordings include such eminent artists as Kris Bowers, Robert Glasper, Bob Hurst, Branford Marsalis, Karriem Riggins, and Kamasi Washington. 

      

3.

Eminent hip-hop artists influenced by jazz include: 

            

a.

A Tribe Called Quest

Listen to A Tribe Called Quest performing watch video "Excursions" from their album, The Low End Theory. On "Excursions," the Art Blakey recording of watch video "A Chant for Bu" is sampled (in fact, nearly every song on The Low End Theory includes a sample of a jazz recording, and the album even features a performance by jazz bassist Ron Carter).

Note how the opening bass ostinato in 6/4 meter on the Art Blakey recording is changed to 4/4 meter for the hop-hip song as most hip-hop is in 4/4 to allow for an easier meter for the rapper. The sample is also a half step lower in pitch and slightly slower than the original. These alterations are common in sampling. “Excursions” also features the lyric, “You could find the Abstract (the nickname of Q-Tip, a member of A Tribe Called Quest) listening to hip-hop, my pops used to say it reminded him of bebop.” 

            

b.

J Dilla

Listen to Slum Village performing watch video "Get Dis Money," produced by J Dilla who sampled the Herbie Hancock recording of watch video "Come Running to Me" at 2:08. 

            

c.

Kendrick Lamar

Listen to Kendrick Lamar performing watch video "These Walls" from his album, To Pimp a Butterfly. Note how this song features a brief keyboard solo (with clear jazz vocabulary) at 2:38, and a jazz influenced alto saxophone melodic line from 2:48 to the end. 


C. ExcursionsRadio: Connecting the Dots Between Hip-Hop and Jazz

      

1.

ExcursionsRadio is the world's one and only hip-hop and jazz radio show. It is hosted by Dan Seeff, West Coast Director of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz and also a bassist, guitarist, writer, and producer who has appeared on albums by such artists as Drake, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay Z. 

      

2.

The show, broadcast and streamed weekly around the world from Los Angeles, focuses on the connections between the two genres, playing hip-hop tracks that include jazz samples back to back with the very jazz recordings that were sampled

      

3.

ExcursionsRadio also features live interviews with guests from both worlds. Recent interviewees have included such jazz artists as Terri Lyne Carrington, Billy Childs, Gerald Clayton, and Christian McBride; and such hip-hop artists as Antman Wonder, DJ Khalil, the Pharcyde, and Slum Village. 

      

4.

ExcursionsRadio airs every Thursday night from 10:00 pm until midnight PST in Los Angeles on KJazz 88.1 FM, and also streams worldwide at kjjz.org. Archived shows can be found online by clicking here

Video Clips

videospacer John Coltrane - Afro Blue
the Herbie Hancock institute of jazz
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