1959: The year before I was born changed jazz, but not much else.


In a documentary ostensibly about jazz in 1959, the narrative never veers very far away from the state of race relations in America.

That’s right, 1959.

Or 2016.

The decline of jazz appreciation may be the only significant difference.

1959: The Year That Changed Jazz (Open Culture)

1959. It was a pivotal year for jazz. Musicians started breaking away from bebop, exploring new, experimental forms. And four absolutely canonical LPs were recorded that year: Kind of Blue by Miles Davis; Time Out by Dave Brubeck; Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus; and The Shape of Jazz to Come by Ornette Coleman. 1959 also found America on the cusp of great social and political upheaval. Integration, Vietnam, the Cuban Missile Crisis — they were all coming around the bend, and sometimes figures like Mingus and Coleman commented musically on these events.