Do Jazz & Hip-Hop Mix?

The world of jazz criticism was thrown into mayhem during the 1960s. Jazz had begun to move into new and unanticipated places. Artists like Ornette Coleman, inspired by Avant-Garde musicians, did away with harmony, rhythm, and melody. Miles Davis began to include electric instruments and delved into rock and funk for new sounds. By the 1970s the seeds had been planted for what would later be a fusion between hip-hop and jazz. Gil Scott-Heron, an important progenitor of hip-hop, began to perform spoken word poems over jazz music.

Jazz critics were split into two camps. One group embraced the change and believed these influences could contribute to the evolution of jazz. The other group argued that these new sounds should not be considered jazz and were in fact of inferior quality to “real” jazz. These two camps remain divided to this day. Two bloggers for jazz.com recently weighed in on the debate. Jared Pauly wrote two articles in which he defended the blending of hip-hop and jazz and gave an in-depth history lesson on how the two have intermingled throughout the years. Alan Kurtz, jazz.com’s so-called “resident curmudgeon”, retorted with his own article.

Although both bloggers make good points, I am prone to agree with Jared Pauly. Mr. Kurtz seems to focus solely on low quality hip-hop artists, rather than those that have creative new ideas. One such band is Yesterday’s New Quintet. Oddly, this quintet is comprised of only one member, hip-hop producer/rapper Madlib. Madlib records himself playing various instruments and then samples these recordings to create a unique sound that blends hip-hop, jazz, and electronica. Madlib, like many other artists who blend jazz and hip-hop, are a boon to jazz music, not a detriment.

March 6, 2010


Thomas Prieto

Contributing Columnist

Around the Web

Instead of in-person celebrations at Hard Rock Stadium, President Julio Frenk announced that the University of Miami will hold its four observances online because of updated COVID-19 data. ...

The newly chartered Peruvian Students Association seeks to expand its impact and influence beyond campus, supporting protests against education cutbacks in the South American country and connecting students across the United States to their Andean roots. ...

Leyna Stemle found that by attaching green LED lights to fishing nets in Ghana, the illumination was able to divert most of the reptiles from becoming entangled and hurt. ...

As the world observes the 32nd annual World AIDS Day, a University of Miami team is shining a bright light on a neighborhood initiative to curtail the epidemic. ...

With the acquisition of the new instrument and an accompanying nanoindenter, studies at the College of Engineering are entering a new and advanced era of materials characterization. ...

TMH Twitter
About Us

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.