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1960s

A change is gonna come…

British Trad Boom stars - Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk and Chris Barber – topped the hit parade, before rock music redefined popular culture from 1963. But jazz continued to develop as an underground movement and American legends still toured Britain to full theatres.

Following the American innovations of saxophonists Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, British artists began to explore ‘free jazz’ which deliberately challenged the existing rules of improvisation. Jazz also responded to the new sounds of the rock revolution. In 1965 the National Youth Jazz Orchestra (NYJO) was founded by Musical Director Bill Ashton OBE, and has since maintained its position as Britain’s university for young jazz musicians. British Jazz continued to consolidate its European identity, moving further away from its formative American inspirations.

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