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I'm writing articles for a website about music and musical instruments. Usually, our team writes about topics that have already been conceived. But sometimes we can suggest our own topics as well. I have an idea to write about jazz. It is a really huge topic, so I'm thinking about separating it into small articles dedicated to different musical instruments. We have a string instruments section and it would be great to write about a cello (frankly speaking, it is my favorite musical instrument there).

Is it possible to play jazz on a cello? I've watched some videos on YouTube, it definitely sounds like jazz, but the guy who played the cello didn't say a lot about it. As for the articles, I didn't find a lot of them, and they contain too little information. Maybe some of you can share your experience or knowledge related to this topic, I'd appreciate any information.

I hope I could publish an article about playing jazz on a cello someday.

Many thanks!

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  • It appears that the site you're writing for is geared toward product reviews. Can you give some more information about what kind of article you have in mind? – Aaron Oct 8 '20 at 6:35
  • @Aaron Yes, most of the articles are product reviews, but we also write articles like "How to Play the Ukulele?" or "How to Clean Cymbals?" which are not related to any specific brand. And I'm planning to write an expository article with descriptive elements without any product review. That's why I need more info about how is it possible, etc. It is a great opportunity to share this information with our readers. – iJaneSmith Oct 8 '20 at 7:22
  • One of the most ingenious jazz duos I ever heard was "Night And Day" arranged for cello and piano. (And it wasn't arranged the way you might expect, either.) – Kilian Foth Oct 8 '20 at 8:11
  • Mostly not jazz, but are you familiar with the "2Cellos" guys? – Carl Witthoft Oct 8 '20 at 18:28
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    Folks, this is clearly link spam and OP is likely a bot. Just flag it and move on. – J... Oct 8 '20 at 19:46
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Jazz cello is absolutely possible. Here are resources to get you started in your project. Note that most if not all of these come with contact information. You should not be shy about contacting musicians or organizations to ask questions or even to request interviews.

History of cello in jazz

An introduction to the history of the cello in jazz, including many links to additional resources like articles about musicians and recordings of jazz cellists.

Jazz cellists

List of jazz cellists

Artist's website, including contact information

Artist's website, including contact information

Artist's website. Contact information not immediately found.

Reviews/Articles/Interviews

Article about jazz cellist Jacob Szekely, including several live, in-studio recordings.

Interview with jazz cellist David Eyges

Article about David Eyges

Review of David Eyges album

List of jazz cello recordings.

Jazz cello opportunities

Cello division of the jazz studies program at the University of North Texas, considered among the top jazz schools in the U.S.

Event billed as the finals of world jazz cello championship with Jacob Szekely and Artyom Manukyan. Unclear if this was an actual competition, or just the way the concert was billed.

Music written for jazz cello

Library of Congress image of a jazz cello piece published (registered) in 1917.

Google search results for jazz cello sheet music

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  • It is a great idea to contact organizations and musicians. I will send some emails :) It is immediately evident that you are a more knowledgeable person than me and know what information to look for! I will check all the links and will continue to search for the info in the same direction. Thanks so much! – iJaneSmith Oct 9 '20 at 3:54
  • @iJaneSmith Glad to help out. All best with your article. – Aaron Oct 9 '20 at 4:06
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I think that Jazz, more than any other genre, supports non-standard instrumentation. There is a horn-centric tendency, but I've definitely heard music with minimal horn and maximal swing.

On the strings side, I can name more violinists — Stephane Grappelli, Jesn-Luc Pointy, Regina Carter, Stuff Smith — but I'm sure there are some great players in cello, especially since they're trying to push their way into a genre without a regular space for them.

But, if Bela Fleck can get in with banjo, and Ralph Towner with classical guitar, and Jaco with fretless bass, I don't see why not.

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  • Certainly you would think that Jazz would lend itself to experimentation with different instruments, but my observation is that it's one of the more conservative genres in that aspect... – topo Reinstate Monica Oct 8 '20 at 20:28
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Here's a band I don't think anyone's mentioned:

Turtle Island Quartet - Moment's Notice (John Coltrane)

Here's a solo by their cellist: (Julie-O by Mark Summer Cellist from Turtle Island String Quartet)

Not my kind of music but relevant I think.

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Some of Ernst Reijseger's music is jazz, some is less classifiable.

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There’s no technical reason why a cello couldn’t play jazz, and I can imagine it working very well with the right cellist.

However like @Dave Jacoby I can’t personally name any jazz cellists, but it’s not my area. (I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find Yo Yo Ma has given it a good go on some project or other)

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Also Ron Carter played cello sometimes, for example on Mal Waldron's record "The Quest".

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for a less US-centric approach, check Vincent courtois and Valentin Ceccaldi's works

or the (quite famous) bumcello duo https://www.deezer.com/fr/artist/4027

also check this great interview of Vincent Courtois: https://www.jazzhalo.be/interviews/vincent-courtois-interview-with-the-french-cello-player/

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