Psychedelic Rock and Jazz – The Rythems of the Universe

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Psychedelic Rock and Jazz music has always had a strong connection, with both genres often sharing similar riff patterns and chord progressions.

Psychedelic Rock

Psychedelic rock, also known as psychedelia, is a style of rock music that is inspired or influenced by psychedelic culture and attempts to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. The style is marked by a preoccupation with altered states of consciousness, mystical or transcendental experiences, and the use of mind-altering drugs. Musically, it often incorporates extended improvised sections, odd or experimental Instrumentation, and sometimes unusual effects.

The Beatles

The Beatles were an English rock band, formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential group in pop music history. They were integral to the development of 1960s counterculture and popular music’s recognition as an art form. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, their sound incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways; the band later explored auto-tune and other technological innovations such as multitracking. Their songs summarised themes of love, identity, relationships, liberation and spirituality.

The Rolling Stones

Psychedelic Rock and the Rolling Stones-The Rythems of the Universe
The Rolling Stones were one of the first and most important bands in what is now called Psychedelic Rock. In their own words they were “experimenting” with sounds and textures never before heard in rock music. They pioneered the use of feedback, distorted guitars, sitars, and other sonic effects in popular music. They also popularized the use of light show visuals (often withi projectors) to create an ” Psychedelic ” experience at their live concerts.

Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd was an English rock band formed in London in 1965. They achieved international acclaim with their progressive and psychedelic music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, complex album art, and elaborate live shows. One of the first groups to incorporate classical and electronic elements in rock music, they are credited as influencers in the development of progressive rock and ambient music. They were inducted into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005. By 2013, they had sold more than 250 million records worldwide.

Psychedelic Jazz

Psychedelic Jazz is a genre of music that emerged in the late 1960s. The style is characterized by complex, abstract, and often improvised musical passages, often incorporating elements of rock, funk, and world music. Psychedelic Jazz is often seen as a fusion of jazz and psychedelic rock, and is sometimes referred to as “jazz-fusion” or “jazz-rock”.

Miles Davis

Miles Davis was born on May 26, 1926, in Alton, Illinois. He began playing the trumpet at age 13, and within a few years was performing with local bands. In 1944, he moved to New York City to study at the Juilliard School of Music. After working with various bandleaders, he joined the legendary bebop innovator Charlie Parker’s quintet in 1945.

Davis made his first recordings as a leader in 1947 and 1948, but it was not until 1949 that he began to gain national attention with his nonet recordings for the Birth of the Cool sessions. These innovative recordings featured Davis’s compositions performed by a group that blended both jazz soloists and classical-trained musicians. The sound of the sessions was unlike anything that had been heard before in jazz and would have a profound influence on the music’s development over the next two decades.

In the 1950s, Davis continued to experiment with different styles and ensemble sizes. He made a series of classic recordings with alto saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, including Miles Ahead (1957) and Porgy and Bess (1958). He also collaborated with arranger Gil Evans on several projects, including the groundbreaking Miles Ahead (1957) and Sketches of Spain (1960).

In the 1960s, Davis increasingly turned his attention to electric instruments and rock-influenced grooves. He formed a classic quintet featuring tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter, pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Tony Williams. With this group, he made some of his most acclaimed recordings, including In a Silent Way (1969) and Bitches Brew (1970).

Throughout his career, Davis remained active as both a performer and a recording artist. He continued to experiment with new styles and sounds up until his death from pneumonia on September 28, 1991.

John Coltrane

John Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer, who was one of the most important and influential musicians of the 20th century. He played a major role in the development of jazz, both as a performer and as a composer. His workaday psychedelic jazz explorations enlarged the harmonic possibilities of jazz and influenced many other musicians.

The Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. Ranging from quintet to septet, the band is known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of country, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, rock, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, space rock, and gospel on long jams. They are considered one of the most influential rock bands of their era.

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