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WestCoast Jazz

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West Coast Jazz After the Second World War, the sound of jazz underwent a massive transformation. Jazz split into different subgenera: bop, hard bop, and cool. Even more so, jazz broke into two coastal camps: West Coast and East Coast. The West Coast sound was characterized by a more structured, learned sound while the East Coast sound possessed more freedom. Mirroring these styles were two record labels that recorded the majority of music that arose from the period. On the East Coast, Blue Note Records captured many of the Hard Bop musicians while Los Angeles' Pacific Jazz label recorded the best music to come from West Coast musicians. The West Coast jazz sound was defined by a laid back, swinging feel. The style also referred to as "Cool" jazz. The music was soothing to the ears and created and overall feeling of relaxation. The East Coast sound, led by John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Theo Monk was much more intense and frenzied. Compared to the hour-long solos of Coltrane, the West Coast sound was much more accessible to the general public.

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The Gerry Mulligan Quartet -One of the most dominant and well-known figures of the West Coast sound was saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and trumpeter Chet Baker. The two were the first artists to record for the Pacific Jazz label. Mulligan was the defining musician of the West Coast movement and his name was synonymous with the style. Mulligan was also able to combine his style with the East Coast as he sat in with Miles Davis on numerous occasions. Chet Baker also had an tremendous impact on the sounds of the Pacific coast. When Mulligan and Baker first got together, their influence on the musical world would have been hard to foresee. Mulligan had just arrived in Los Angeles after hitchhiking from NYC, while Baker had been living the life of a struggling Dixieland band trumpeter. When these two got together and started creating their clean swinging sound, they created a ripple effect for so many other musicians to follow. After the immediate success of Mulligan and Baker's collaboration, Los Angeles became a hotbed for musicians and the great immigration of talent had begun.