In between, our century has given rise to ragtime, elevator music, jazz, Tin Pan Alley, easy listening, folk-rock, grunge, neo- Romanticism, rock 'n' roll, be-bop, New Age, swing, heavy metal, salsa, chance music, girl groups and hip-hop, among other subdivisions.
Billie Holiday is the jazz singer of the century. No singer, male or female, brought a more moving, emotional edge to a pop tune's lyrics and melody. Tormented by a fatal heroin addiction, plagued by racism and harassed by cops right up until the hour of her death at 44 in 1959, the doomed diva led a life that was as agonizingly disastrous as her art was ecstatically triumphant. Her remarkable collaborations in the 1930s on Columbia Records with such kindred souls as tenor saxophonist Lester Young and pianist Teddy Wilson are among the greatest recordings of the century.
Miles Davis was the champion protean player of the century. Starting as a hip, young bebopper and Charlie Parker protege in the post-war 1940s, the trumpeter transformed chameleon-like through a dizzying array of styles from cool to electronically textured jazz/ rock. But Davis broke his faithful followers' hearts in the 1960s when he committed heresy by converting from acoustic jazz to jazz/ rock. But Davis had always been a restless spirit searching for new elements to fuse with jazz. As the enigmatic master embraced and then shed one musical faith after another, his devotees divided into warring factions as acrimonious as religious cults.