Sound image of impressionism

A group of musicians creates a new style of music

Jazz & impressionism

The saxophone appears in the second half of the 19th century in France and developed in parallel with impressionism in painting. Towards the end of the 19th century it was already known in the United States and in the 20th century it became one of the favorite instruments of jazz musicians.

Jazz musicians paint their sound images by improvising, freely and in their way. Something similar happened in impressionist painting where painters create their works by painting freely and in their way. Manet said: “I paint what I see, and not what others want to see.” The spirit of jazz is very close to this idea, moment impressions are the most important question for the jazz musician.

Approximately in the 1880s in Europe, a young generation of composers known as the “new school” created their music exploring new sonorities, integrating ecclesiastical or Gregorian modes, whole tone scale, pentatonic scale, Andalusian scale, influences from the music of Javanese gamelan, the resonance of Spanish and American popular music, harmonic spatiality. Always in search of a sound ideal evocative of serenity and beauty.

In musical impressionism, classical and modern techniques coexist, functional and non-functional harmony, and tonal, modal, and atonal fields. There is also a certain tendency to dissolve the pulse, a predilection for melodic arabesque, timbre refinement, and the use of instruments such as the flute or the harp.

Both Impressionist composers and jazz musicians influenced each other, both receiving criticism and praise. However, the work of painters, composers, and jazz musicians left a deep impression on art history. Impressionism is present in the music of Claude Debussy, Duke Ellington, Paul Dukas, George Gershwin Jean Sibelius, Miles Davis, Alexander Scriabin, Dave Brubeck, Stravinski, Charlie Parker, Manuel de Falla, Bill Evans, Béla Bartók, Ahmad Jamal, Sergei Prokofiev, Alban Berg, Olivier Messiaen, Paul Desmond among many others.

April 1, 2023, at 5:30 Pm. We will be playing Piano and Saxophone at Worcester Art Museum opening the exhibition
Frontiers of Impressionism.