Free jazz is a style of avant-garde jazz or an experimental approach to jazz improvisation that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s when musicians attempted to change or break down jazz conventions, such as regular tempos, tones, and chord changes. Musicians during this period believed that the bebop and modal jazz that had been played before them was too limiting, and became preoccupied with creating something new. The term "free jazz" was drawn from the 1960 Ornette Coleman recording Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. Europeans tend to favor the term "free improvisation". Others have used "modern jazz", "creative music", and "art music".
This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2018)
|Cultural origins||late 1950s, United States|
The ambiguity of free jazz presents problems of definition. Although it is usually played by small groups or individuals, free jazz big bands have existed. Although musicians and critics claim it is innovative and forward-looking, it draws on early styles of jazz and has been described as an attempt to return to primitive, often religious, roots. Although jazz is an American invention, free jazz musicians drew heavily from world music and ethnic music traditions from around the world. Sometimes they played African or Asian instruments, unusual instruments, or invented their own. They emphasized emotional intensity and sound for its own sake, exploring timbres.