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B. Stetsiuk

Contemporary Piano Jazz: Typical Stylistics and Individual Representations

This article is devoted to contemporary stylistics in the art of piano jazz improvisation. The author believes that two main trends could be observed there. The first trend features approximation of jazz to academic music, manifesting itself in such genres as “baroque jazz”, “romantic jazz”, “jazzing” and “free jazz”. The second trend is defined as intralayer, related to the “fusion” style and manifesting itself in “jazz rock” and “pop jazz” genres. It was noted that a distinguishable feature of contemporary piano jazz is its integrative basis and intellectualism of jazzmen who combine such “polar” genres in their works as folk stylistics and contemporary composer’s avant-garde (Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Brad Mehldau and others). In this regard, two genres have been highlighted in contemporary jazz pianism: jazz neo-classics characterized by transformation of formulas and construction of academic clavier music, and jazz neo-folklorism that uses elements of traditional music, in particular, Latin American rhythm intonations (“Latino jazz”). The article offers characteristics for a number of individual piano jazz styles of the musicians representing these genres: Oscar Peterson, George Shearing, Bill Evans (jazz neo-classics), Michel Camilo, Chucho Valdés, Gonzalo Rubalcaba (jazz neo-folklorism). The article concludes that in contemporary piano jazz, stylistic diversity is manifested especially vividly in the works of jazz pianists at the turn of the new millennium, as demonstrated in Vadim Neselovskyi’s style (example: Music for September album) defined in this article as “program piano jazz” combining the aforementioned stylistic aspects represented via juxtaposition of improvisation, composition and performing skill as general trends in contemporary piano jazz.

Key words

jazz, piano jazz, jazz neo-classics, jazz neo-folklorism, program piano jazz, Vadim Neselovskyi.