Chicago style jazz

A style of small band jazz popular in Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s that derived from New Orleans style, but emphasized greater solo space, fixed ensembles, and a more prominent role for the rhythm section.


An antiphonal pattern common to jazz and all African American folk music, with a "call" played by a soloist and "answered" by the ensemble.

Big John's Special (1931)
Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra


Also "chachachá." A mambo and/or danzón-derived rhythmic style and dance form (Latin).

Spurier's Dream (2000)
Chris Washburne & The SYOTOS Band


A series of chords; the harmonic structure of a piece of music; the chords for a particular melody.


Originally a Cuban orchestra of a flute, violins, and rhythm section, now more often with brass instruments added.

El Danzon De La Reina Isabel (2000)
La Charanga Rubalcaba


A musical arrangement.


A series of short musical passages (trading fours or twos) played by several players at a fast tempo.


Technical ability; the lips of a brass player.


The simultaneous sounding of three or more tones.

chord progression

See changes.


The refrain or the main body of a popular song. See popular song forms.


The use of all 12 tones of a scale

circle of fifths

A series of twelve perfect fifths that circle back to the original tone.

circular breathing

A technique used by wind instrument players and singers to produce a continuous stream of notes without stopping for air. (The air is inhaled through the nose simultaneously while the mouth continues to produce musical sounds.)


A five-beat pattern that underlies all salsa music.


A pair of wooden sticks used to play the clave pattern (Latin).


The conclusion to a piece of music that functions like a summing-up, or an afterthought. A short coda is called a tag.

collective improvisation

Simultaneous improvisation by several musicians (most often heard in early jazz and free jazz).


A small instrumental group of fewer than ten musicians.


The pattern of rhythmic placement of harmony used by keyboardists and guitarists while accompanying soloists.


"Combo": a band of guitar, tres, bass, bongos, trumpets, piano, percussion, and three vocalists, first formed for playing in Cuban carnival (Latin).


See counterpoint.

cool jazz

A jazz style characterized by moderate volume, quiet rhythm sections, low vibrato, and sometimes improvised counterpoint; c. 1950s. (See also West Coast jazz.)

Gerry Mulligan Quartet, "Line For Lyons"

Gotta Dance (1956)
Jimmy Giuffre

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"Chorus": the two or three-voice refrain sung against a montuno.


Call-and-response between soloist and the coro (Latin). \


Independent improvised or composed melodies played against each other.

cross rhythm

The simultaneous use of two or more different rhythmic patterns; a basic feature of most African American musics.


To outplay other musicians, usually in a jam session.

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