Music A level- Jazz History 1910-1950

A brief summary of the eras and of some important jazz figures

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  • Created by: Ella Shaw
  • Created on: 11-06-12 15:34

origins (up to circa 1900)

Blues- originated in the southern united states in rural areas where it developed from Hollers (vocals pieces performed by an individual as accompaniment to field labour) and Ballads; 12-bar blues I, IV, I, V, I; blues notes- flattened 3rd, 5th and 7ths tonally derived from vocal inflections and African slave roots; vocal line couplet line with a rhyming refrain; call and response. Examples- Reckless Blues (Bessie Smith, 1925), Looky Looky yonder (Leadbelly)

Ragtime- highly syncopated rhythms often in 2/4 encapsulating African roots of cross rhythms; stride/march style bass emphasising metre in Left Hand Octaves; became very popular in the USA at the end of the 19th century. Example- Maple Leaf Rag (Scott Joplin 1899)

Plantation songs- popular songs used in minstrel shows in the 1800's; heavily Europeanised use of harmony and stylistic elements of American popular music through the use of plagal cadences and slight syncopation. Example- Oh! Susanna (Stephen Foster, 1848)

Spirituals- associated with liturgical african-american congregations of the deep south, use of antiphony/call and response, individually embellished singing

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New Orleans Jazz (circa 1900-1925)

Military connections- Spanish American war (1898), Sold their instruments cheap to pawn shops so they could go to Storyville (containing Brothels and Honky-Tonks)

Geography- Mississippi port town, Agricultural slaves, rural and urban areas close so blues and plantation songs merged

French Connection-  Liberalism for slaves to sing in congo square so culture kept alive, mistresses created creoles of colour who prided themselves on European ancestry and learned the Piano and Clarinet, Jim Crow laws made them second class citizens and introduced piano and clarinet to jazz

Musicians- Jally Roll Morton, Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Joe "King" Oliver

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Big Band Era (circa 1925-1945)

Originated from Symphonic jazz, Fletcher Henderson lead the way into the Big Band Era with the help of Louis Armstrong

Differences to earlier jazz- new popularity of the saxophone, formal swing due to such large numbers of people, idea of putting on a show, heaped American people to forget about the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Repeal of prohibition 1933 created an appetite for dance music, glamour, well known leaders became celebrities, appealed to the young, white, middle class citizens

Musicians- Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman

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Bebop (circa 1940-1950)

Social History of the 1940's- USA trying to get out of depression and poverty, End of segregation July 1948, decline of white supremacy, radios became affordable so most US hush olds owned one

Background- WWII draft breaks up big bands and opens up competition to new ideas, the first jazz style that was not used for dancing, highlighted improvisation, characterise by fast tempos and asymmetrical phrasing, Teddy Hill fires and then hires drummer Kenny Clarke

musicians- Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Christian, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie

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Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1916-1920)

Members- Nick LaRocca, Larry Shields, Eddie Edwards, Tony Sbarbaro, Henry Ragas

Background- became first jazz band to make phonograph recording (Livery Stable Blues) 1917, no improvisation, use of polyphony, very popular in 1920

Example Track- Livery Stable Blues (1917) features: polyphonic texture, simple verse structure, blues chord sequence, emulation of animal noises- popular due to novelty, fast tempo to fit on a record

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Jelly Roll Morton

Background- 1902 started working in the Brothels in Storyville (N.O), played ragtime, french quadrilles and popular dances, started travelling around cities where he worked in minstrel shows, was the first great composer and piano player of jazz, first recordings made in 1926-27

what he achieved- Formed the Red Hot Peppers, helped the transition from Ragtime to Jazz

Style- mature with advanced writing

Example Track- Black Bottom Stomp (1926): Intro, AAAB, clarinet solo, piano solo, trumpet solo with stop time, banjo with trumpet. Sidewalk Blues (1926): 5 different tone colours in 7 different combinations, no tone colour is ever repeated, N.O polyphony, soloists, 3 different keys Bb, Eb, Ab 2 modulations, intro Bb

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Joe 'King' Oliver

Background- taught Louis Armstrong cornet, had hes 'Creole Jazz Band'

Froggie Moore (1923)- organised structure: new idea, composition, development. Textural development: homophonic. Composition: solo more structured

Sugar Foot Stomp (1926)- rhythm, cornet solo, strong swing, clarinet solo, strikes just before the beat, timbre: waah waah mutes

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Louis Armstrong part 1

Background- lived in poverty as a child in N.O near dance halls and saloons and sang in a vocal quartet on the streets, 1912 got sent to the colored waif's home for delinquency and got his first cornet tuition, 1914/15 began being taught by idol Joe Oliver, joined Oliver's band (Chicago) 1922, 1923 married Lil' Harding, moved to N.Y to join Fletcher Henderson's band, 1925-28 returned to Chicago and set up hot 5/7 for recording, 1928 introduced Earl Hines

Virtuosity- Chromatic triplet figures, arppegiated outlining of melody in solos, speed, vibrato, high registers, alternate *********

Development of ****- 1926 first recorded **** though less lyrical that cornet playing, 1927 recordings feature clear phrasing- imitative of trumpet playing

The rise of the soloist- organised arrangements compared to 10 years earlier, promotion of individual soloists not relying on ensemble, correlated chorus', one from cornet to trumpet 1928

Rhythmic development- Aided the development of moving away from the beat, abandoning the stiffness of following the beat determining rhythmic displacement

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Louis Armstrong part 2

Extension of harmony- C9, F7/Eb, Ao in potato head blues, model trumpeter for others, extended the vocabulary of the jazz soloist

Example tracks- Heebie Jeebies (1926), Skit-Dat-de-Dat (1927), Potato Head Blues (1927), West End Blues (1928), Weather Bird (1928)

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Duke Ellington

Background- studied piano from age 7, moved to N.Y with 'The Washingtonians', Enlarged to 10 piece band, stayed at the Cotton Club Harlem where he became a celebrity, his effect was hard to imitate- it depended on the style of the player

East St. Louis Toodle-oo (1926)- Trumpet Growls (Bubber Miley), experimenting with colour/timbre/tone/instrumentation, jungle feel, 10 bar phrases

Mood Indigo (1930)- trombone in top register, trumpet, clarinet in bottom register, inverted instrumentation, changed timbre with mutes, sent them to world fame

Caravan (1937)- emphasis on 2nd beat of 2nd bar, chromatic melody, dissonant harmony with extended chords

Cotton Tail (1940)- antiphonal, melodic development (I Got Rhythm- Gershwin, inverted), extended chords

Clothed Woman (1947)- Atonal beginning, extended harmonic vocabulary

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Count Basie part 1

Background- his Big Band is argued to have had the greatest rhythm section in the history of jazz. 

Example track- Lester Leaps in (1939)-

Count Basie (piano): not filling it up, sparse, bit of constant stride, constant drive

Walter Page (double bass): 4 beats in a bar walking bass with no emphasis on any beat, even walking bass on every crotchet, perpetual not tonic dominant

Freddie Green (guitar): constant steady crisp crotchets, propels and drives rhythm, blends well, acoustic

Jo Jones (drums): brushes, beat on high hat not bass drum

Lester Young (tenor sax): fragmentary phrases, slow vibrato, use of blues scale, light tone, unforceful, pre-empts cool jazz

Other Examples: Jumpin' At The Woodside, One O Clock Jump

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Count Basie Part 2

How does his band differ from other popular swing bands?

head arrangements, less forced antiphony, use of riff and counter riff, no jungle sound, blues scale, rhythm section, solo melody in between riffs, Lester Young style

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Benny Goodman

Background- Classically trained clarinettist, moved to NYC in 1928 worked on Gershwin musicals, started recording with his Big Band 1934, employed Fletcher Henderson to arrange for him

How he contributed to the development of jazz- Teenage hype, non-segregated orchestra, virtuosity, leading player, classical background, jewish (not African-American) 

Example Track- Jumpin' At The Savoy (c. 1938)

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Art Tatum and Coleman Hawkins

Background- Both helped the move from Big Band/Swing to Bebop

Art Tatum- Blind so relied heavily on improvisation, pianist, unparalleled dexterity, highly virtuosic, extended harmony: use of passing chords, fast tempos over 300bpm, played in Jimmie's Chicken Shack where Charlie Parker was sweeping floors. Example Track- Tiger Rag: passing chords in the intro, 370bpm

Coleman Hawkins- Tenor saxophonist, reduced instrumentation, extended harmony and use of passing chords, nurtured new talent for example Miles Davis. Example Track- Body And Soul: example of reduced instrumentation

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Charlie Parker

Background- born in Kansas City, began to pay alto sax aged 13, worked in jazz groups 1935-1939, boo'd offstage 1936 and Jo Jones threw his cymbal at him which spurred him on, had a car accident and got addicted to Morphine, regularly participated in jams at Minton's Playhouse which favoured the development of his personal style, called Yard Bird because he worked at Jimmy's Chicken Shack where Art Tatum played live jazz, developed jazz along with Dizzy Gillespie, developed the practice of 'contrafact'- basing a composition on the chord structure of another

Example Tracks- Ko-Ko (1945), Dizzy Atmosphere 

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Jazz Musical Quotations part 1

Ragtime: Maple Leaf Rag, Scott Joplin (1899)- Tempo di Marcia and 2/4: march influence. Bar 2 and 4: syncopation across the bar. Stride Bass

Chicago Jazz: West End Blues, Louis Armstrong (1928)- C6 Bar 4: High note showboating. Triplets Bar 3: Virtuosity. Move from cornet to trumpet. Rise of the soloist. Cadenza

Big Band Jazz: Jumpin' At The Woodside, Count Basie (1928)- rhythm section. Cmi7 Bar 5: some extended chords. 

Big Band Jazz: Mood Indigo, Duke Ellington (1930)- Trombone in high register clarinet in low. Bar 9: Chromaticism and extension of harmony. Written out arrangements

Big Band Jazz: Caravan, Duke Ellington (1937)- 12 bars after A: chromaticism. 13 bars after A circle of 4ths: F minor, Bb13, Eb9, Ab13, Db9, C7, Fm6/9

Bebop: A Night In Tunisia, Dizzy Gillespie (1942)- Bar 5 triplets: virtuosity. Eb7 Bar 1- D-Bar 2: extension of harmony. Even Quavers: lack of swing. Bridge falling chord sequence (see end of cards)

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Jazz Musical Quotations part 2

Bebop: Dizzy Atmosphere, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker (unison theme)- Bar 1: Even quavers. Bar 1-2 of A: irregular phrase lengths. Extended chords (see end of cards)

Cool Jazz: Boplicity, Miles Davis (1949)- slightly swung. Bar 2: triplets. consolidated harmony. less harmonic/rhythmically complex. starts on supertonic

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Chord Sequences to learn

A Night In Tunisia Bridge- falling chord sequence: Em7(b5), Em(b13)sharp11, Dm6/9, C13sharp9-->sharp11, Gm9(major 7th), C11, Gm9(b5), C13(b9), C13, F6/9, F9, Em7(b5), A7(b9/b6)

Dizzy Atmosphere-unison theme extended chords: Ab6, Fm7, Bbm7, Eb7(b9), Ab6, Fm7

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