Cool Cats, Hot Music And All That's Jazz

The uprising that began when Louis Armstrong blew his first hot notes grew into a revolution. Continually shifting--Big Band, bebop, cool--and propelled by the sorcery of improvisation, jazz absorbs, transforms, discards, but always replenishes itself. Here are some of the other cats who made things swing.

--By David E. Thigpen

DUKE ELLINGTON (1899-1974) From the 1930s to the '50s, the master composer's Big Band was jazz's gold standard, creating such classics as Black, Brown and Beige. Duke's compositions--timelessly elegant and invested with rich textures and emotional fullness--helped push jazz to unparalleled heights. Just as his popularity seemed to be fading,...

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