HISTORY OF JAZZ




twentieth century




(Classical Music Map)




Introduction Classical Music

The Middle Ages and the Renaissance

The Baroque Era

The Classical Era

The Romantic Era

The Romantic Legacy

The Modern Age


A Brief History of Jazz



 

I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
 
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner

Orff  "Carmina Burana"

II. A Brief History of Jazz








 


History of Jazz


(Encyclopaedia Britannica)
 


Archibald Motley
 

Musical form, often improvisational, developed by African Americans and influenced by both European harmonic structure and African rhythms. It was developed partially from ragtime and blues and is often characterized by syncopated rhythms, polyphonic ensemble playing, varying degrees of improvisation, often deliberate deviations of pitch, and the use of original timbres.

Any attempt to arrive at a precise, all-encompassing definition of jazz is probably futile. Jazz has been, from its very beginnings at the turn of the 20th century, a constantly evolving, expanding, changing music, passing through several distinctive phases of development; a definition that might apply to one phase—for instance, to New Orleans style or swing—becomes inappropriate when applied to another segment of its history, say, to free jazz. Early attempts to define jazz as a music whose chief characteristic was improvisation, for example, turned out to be too restrictive and largely untrue, since composition, arrangement, and ensemble have also been essential components of jazz for most of its history. Similarly, syncopation and swing, often considered essential and unique to jazz, are in fact lacking in much authentic jazz, whether of the 1920s or of later decades. Again, the long-held notion that swing could not occur without syncopation was roundly disproved when trumpeters Louis Armstrong and Bunny Berigan (among others) frequently generated enormous swing while playing repeated, unsyncopated quarter notes.

Jazz, in fact, is not—and never has been—an entirely composed, predetermined music, nor is it an entirely extemporized one. For almost all of its history it has employed both creative approaches in varying degrees and endless permutations. And yet, despite these diverse terminological confusions, jazz seems to be instantly recognized and distinguished as something separate from all other forms of musical expression. To repeat Armstrong's famous reply when asked what swing meant: “If you have to ask, you'll never know.” To add to the confusion, there often have been seemingly unbridgeable perceptual differences between the producers of jazz (performers, composers, and arrangers) and its audiences. For example, with the arrival of free jazz and other latter-day, avant-garde manifestations, many senior musicians maintained that music that didn't swing was not jazz.

Most early classical composers (such as Aaron Copland, John Alden Carpenter—and even Igor Stravinsky, who became smitten with jazz) were drawn to its instrumental sounds and timbres, the unusual effects and inflections of jazz playing (brass mutes, glissandos, scoops, bends, and stringless ensembles), and its syncopations, completely ignoring, or at least underappreciating, the extemporized aspects of jazz. Indeed, the sounds that jazz musicians make on their instruments—the way they attack, inflect, release, embellish, and colour notes—characterize jazz playing to such an extent that if a classical piece were played by jazz musicians in their idiomatic phrasings, it would in all likelihood be called jazz.

Nonetheless, one important aspect of jazz clearly does distinguish it from other traditional musical areas, especiallyfrom classical music: the jazz performer is primarily or wholly a creative, improvising composer—his own composer,as it were—whereas in classical music the performer typically expresses and interprets someone else's composition.
 


Archibald Motley
 

West Africa in the American South: gathering the musical elements of jazz

The elements that make jazz distinctive derive primarily from West African musical sources as taken to the North American continent by slaves, who partially preserved them against all odds in the plantation culture of the American South. These elements are not precisely identifiable because they were not documented—at least not until the mid- to late 19th century, and then only sparsely. Furthermore, black slaves came from diverse West African tribal cultures with distinct musical traditions. Thus, a great variety of black musical sensibilities were assembled on American soil. These in turn rather quickly encountered European musical elements—for example, simple dance and entertainment musics and shape-note hymn tunes, such as were prevalent in early 19th-century North America.

The music that eventually became jazz evolved out of a wide-ranging, gradually assimilated mixture of black and white folk musics and popular styles, with roots in both West Africa and Europe. It is only a slight oversimplification to assert that the rhythmic and structural elements of jazz, as well as some aspects of its customary instrumentation (e.g., banjo or guitar and percussion), derive primarily from West African traditions, whereas the European influences can be heard not only in the harmonic language of jazz but in its use of such conventional instruments as trumpet, trombone, saxophone, string bass, and piano.

The syncopations of jazz were not entirely new—they had been the central attraction of one of its forerunners, ragtime, and could be heard even earlier in minstrel music and in the work of Creole composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (Bamboula, subtitled Danse des Nčgres, 1844–45, and Ojos Criollos, 1859, among others). Nevertheless, jazz syncopation struck nonblack listeners as fascinating and novel, because that particular type of syncopation was not present in European classical music. The syncopations in ragtime and jazz were, in fact, the result of reducing and simplifying (over a period of at least a century) the complex, multilayered, polyrhythmic, and polymetric designs indigenous to all kinds of West African ritual dance and ensemble music. In other words, the former accentuations of multiple vertically competing metres were drastically simplified to syncopated accents.

The provenance of melody (tune, theme, motive, riff) in jazz is more obscure. In all likelihood, jazz melody evolved out of a simplified residue and mixture of African and European vocal materials intuitively developed by slaves in the United States in the 1700s and 1800s—for example, unaccompaniedfield hollers and work songs associated with the changed social conditions of blacks. The widely prevalent emphasis on pentatonic formations came primarily from West Africa, whereas the diatonic (and later more chromatic) melodic lines of jazz grew from late 19th- and early 20th-century European antecedents.

Harmony was probably the last aspect of European music to be absorbed by blacks. But once acquired, harmony was applied as an additional musical resource to religious texts; one result was the gradual development of spirituals, borrowing from the white religious revival meetings that African Americans in many parts of the South were urged to attend. One crucial outcome of these musical acculturations was the development by blacks of the so-called blues scale, with its “blue notes”—the flatted third and seventh degrees. This scale is neither particularly African nor particularly European but acquired its peculiar modality from pitch inflections common to any number of West African languages and musical forms. In effect these highly expressive—and in African terms very meaningful—pitch deviations were superimposed on the diatonic scale common to almost all European classical and vernacular music.

That jazz developed uniquely in the United States, not in the Caribbean or in South America (or any other realm to which thousands of African blacks were also transported) is historically fascinating. Many blacks in those other regions were very often emancipated by the early 1800s and thus were free individuals who actively participated in the cultural development of their own countries. In the case of Brazil, blacks were so geographically and socially isolated from the white establishment that they simply were able to retain their own African musical traditions in a virtually pure form. It is thus ironic that jazz would probably never have evolved had it not been for the slave trade as it was practiced specifically in the United States.

Jazz grew from the African American slaves who were prevented from maintaining their native musical traditions and felt the need to substitute some homegrown form of musical expression. Such composers as the Brazilian mulatto José Maurício Nunes Garcia were fully in touch with the musical advances of their time that were developing in Europe and wrote music in those styles and traditions. American slaves, by contrast, were restricted not only in their work conditions and religious observances but in leisure activities, including music making. Although slaves who played such instruments as the violin, horn, and oboe were exploited for their musical talents in such cities as Charleston, South Carolina, these were exceptional situations. By and large the slaves were relegated to picking up whatever little scraps of music were allowed them.


Field hollers and funeral processions: forming the matrix

Jazz, as it finally evolved as a distinct musical style and language, comprised what Max Harrison calls, in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, a “composite matrix” made up of a host of diverse vernacular elements that happened to come together at different times and in different regions. This matrix included the field hollers of thecotton plantations; the work songs on the railroads, rivers, and levees; hymns and spirituals; music for brass bands, funeral processions, and parades; popular dance music; the long-standing banjo performing tradition (starting in the 1840s), which culminated half a century later in the banjo's enormous popularity; wisps of European opera, theatre, and concert music; and, of course, the blues and ragtime. These last two forms began to flourish in the late 19th century—blues more as an informal music purveyed mostly by itinerant singers, guitarists, and pianists and ragtime becoming (by 1900) America's popular entertainment and dance music.

Ragtime differs substantially from jazz in that it was a through-composed, fully notated music intended to be played in more or less the same manner each time, much likeclassical music, and a music written initially and essentially for the piano. Jazz, by contrast, became a primarily instrumental music, often not notated, and partiallyor wholly improvised. Ragtime had its own march-derived, four-part form, divided into successive 16-bar sections, whereas jazz, once weaned away from ragtime form, turned to either the 12-bar (or occasionally 8-bar) blues or the 32-bar song forms. What the two music genres had in common was their syncopated (thus “irregular”) melodies and themes, placed over a constant “regular” 2/4 or 4/4 accompaniment.

The years from 1905 to 1915 were a time of tremendous upheaval for black musicians. Even the many musicians whohad been trained in classical music but had found—as blacks—no employment in that field were now forced to turn to ragtime, which they could at least play in honky-tonks, bordellos, and clubs; many of these musicians eventually drifted into jazz. Hundreds of other musicians, unable to read and write music, nonetheless had great ability to learn itby ear, as well as superior musical talent. Picking up ragtime and dance music by ear (perhaps not precisely), they began almost out of necessity to embellish these syncopated tunes—loosening them up, as it were—until ornamentation spilled over quite naturally into simple improvisation. This process took on a significantly increased momentum once the piano rags of such master composers as Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb, and James Scott appeared in arrangements performed regularly by bands and orchestras.

That the pianist-composer Jelly Roll Morton was a braggart who claimed to be “the inventor of jazz” should not obscure his major role in the development of that music. As early as 1902 Morton played ragtime piano in the vaunted bordellos of Storyville, New Orleans's famous red-light district. Later he began working as an itinerant musician, crisscrossing the South several times and eventually working his way to Los Angeles, where he was based for several years. As the first major composer of jazz, Morton seems to have assimilated (like a master chef making a great New Orleans bouillabaisse) most of the above-mentioned matrix, particularly blues and ragtime, into a single new, distinct, coherent musical style. Others, such as soprano saxophonistSidney Bechet, trombonist Kid Ory, and cornetists Bunk Johnson and Freddie Keppard—four of the most gifted early jazz musicians—arrived at similar conclusions before 1920.

Johnson and others regarded themselves as ragtime musicians. In truth, in the cases of many musicians of that generation—both black and white—who grew up with ragtime, the listener would be hard put to determine when their playing turned from embellished rags to improvisatory jazz. Musicians confirmed the tenuousness and variety of these early developments in statements such as that of reedman Buster Bailey (speaking of the years before 1920): “I … was embellishing around the melody. At that time [1917–18] I wouldn't have known what they meant by improvisation. But embellishment was a phrase I understood.” And reedman Garvin Bushell said, “We didn't call the music jazz when I was growing up [in Springfield, Ohio].… Ragtime piano was the major influence in that section of the country.… The change to jazz began around 1912 to 1915.”
 


Aaron Douglas
 

Ragtime into jazz: the birth of jazz in New Orleans

In spite of the wide dissemination and geographic distribution of these diverse musical traditions, New Orleans was where a distinctive, coherent jazz style evolved. Between 1910 and 1915 a systematization of instrumental functions within an essentially collective ensemble took shape, as did a regularization of the repertory. Despite the fact that a limited set of instruments was available to black musicians (at that time, typically, cornet, clarinet, trombone, tuba or bass, piano, banjo, and drums—the saxophone did not become common in jazz for about another decade), theyarrived at a brilliant solution emphasizing independent but harmonically linked and simultaneous lines. Each of the seven instruments was assigned a clearly defined individual role in the established polyphonic collective ensemble. Thus, the cornet was responsible for stating and occasionally embellishing the thematic material—the tune—in the middle range, the clarinet performed obbligato or descant functions in a high register, the trombone offered contrapuntal asides in the tenor or baritone range, and the four rhythm instruments provided a unified harmonic foundation.

That this formation, which emphasized independent but harmonically linked simultaneous lines, was not only a brilliant solution but a necessity is confirmed by the inabilityin those early years of most players to read music. It was not long before musicians began to expand upon these materials and to improvise fresh new melodies and obbligatos of their own making. However, these explorationsremained within the collective ensemble concept of New Orleans jazz. Few musicians before 1925 could have created independent, extended, improvised solos. And when the solo as an integral element of a jazz performance arrived, the New Orleans format of a tightly integrated ensemble improvisation went out of fashion.

By approximately 1915 New Orleans had produced a host of remarkable musicians, mostly cornet and clarinet players, such as the legendary Buddy Bolden (legendary in part because he never recorded), Buddy Petit, Keppard, Johnson, and Bechet. Most New Orleans musicians, including scores ofpianists, found steady employment in the entertainment palaces of Storyville, where, incidentally, the term jazz, initially spelled “jass,” was the commonly used slang word for sexual intercourse. It is ironic that the first jazz recordings were made in New York City on January 30, 1917, by a second-rate group of white musicians from New Orleanscalled the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Those recordings, with their entertaining but substanceless barnyard sound effects, present a misleading picture of true New Orleans jazz.

Variations on a theme: jazz elsewhere in the United States

New Orleans was not the only place where jazz was being developed. Depending on how narrowly jazz is defined, some early form of it was practiced in places as far-flung as Los Angeles, Kansas City, Missouri, Denver, Colorado, and the Colorado mining towns—not to mention Baltimore, Maryland, and New York City. The two last-mentioned cities were major centres of ragtime, early pre-stride piano, vaudeville entertainment, large-sized dance orchestras, and musical theatre, including theatre created exclusively by black performers. Several other at least embryonic jazz groups and musicians were active in New York during 1913–19, such as James Reese Europe and his various orchestras, Earl Fuller's Jass Band, Ford Dabney's band, and the pianists James P. Johnson, Abba Labba, and Willie “The Lion” Smith.

The closing of Storyville in 1917 was a disaster for New Orleans musicians, many of whom went on to play in Mississippi riverboat orchestras; Fate Marable's orchestra was the best and most famous of these and included, at times, the young Louis Armstrong. Others headed directly north to Chicago, which rapidly became the jazz capital of the United States.King Oliver, the much-heralded cornet champion of New Orleans, migrated to Chicago in 1918, and in 1922 he sent for his most talented disciple, Armstrong, to join his Creole Jazz Band as second cornetist. The two made history and astounded audiences with their slyly worked out duet breaks, and Armstrong had a chance to cut his musical teeth by freely improvising melodic counterpoint to Oliver's lead cornet. More important still, Oliver's band was able to forge a remarkably unified and disciplined style, integrating at a very high level the players' collective and individual instrumental skills, all couched in an irresistible, wonderfully stately, rolling momentum.
 


Archibald Motley
 

The cornetist breaks away: Louis Armstrong and the invention of swing

In late 1924 Armstrong was wooed away by Fletcher Henderson in New York City. In his year there Armstrong matured into a major soloist and at the same time developed—indeed, single-handedly invented—a compelling, propulsive, rhythmic inflection in his playing that came to be called swing. Early examples of this feeling can be heard in Henderson band recordings and even more clearly on Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings of 1926–27—e.g., “Potato Head Blues,” “Big Butter and Egg Man,” “S.O.L. Blues,” “Hotter than That,” and “Muggles. ”In effect, Armstrong taught the whole Henderson band, including the redoubtable tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, how to swing.

More than that, Armstrong taught the whole world about swing and had a profound effect on the development of jazz that continues to be felt and heard. In that sense alone he can be considered the most influential jazz musician of all time. And beyond his artistic and technical prowess, Armstrong should be remembered as the first superstar of jazz. By the late 1920s, famous on recordings and in theatres, he more than anyone else carried the message of jazz to America; eventually, as entertainer supreme and jazz ambassador at large, he introduced jazz to the whole world. In this crusade Armstrong's unique singing style, in essence a vocalization of his improvisatory trumpet playing, played a crucial role. By often singing without words or texts,he popularized what came to be called scat, a universally comprehensible art form that needed no translation.

After Armstrong's spectacular breakthrough recordings, suchas “West End Blues” (1928), he embarked on a solo career for 10 years, fronting bands whose general mediocrity made him sound by comparison even more brilliant. In the 1940s he formed the Armstrong All-Stars, a group of older New Orleans-style musicians that included trombonist Jack Teagarden. Although by then well past his prime, Armstrong, through his physical vitality and uncompromisingly high musical standards, was able to preserve his art almost to the end of his life in 1971.

That Armstrong's playing, both technically and conceptually, was many levels above that of most of his contemporaries can be heard on virtually every recording he made between 1925 and 1940, whether he was paired with other soloists or with orchestras. He exerted a wide-ranging influence on all manner of players—not only trumpeters but trombonists, saxophonists, singers (such as Billie Holiday), and even pianists (such as Earl Hines and Teddy Wilson). Armstrong's influence was also absorbed by white musicians, including some of the better ensembles of the time, such as the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Red Nichols and his Five Pennies, and, above all, the outstandingly gifted Bix Beiderbecke. Inheriting a lyrical, romantic bent from his German background, Beiderbecke presented another view of the Armstrong revolution, not only in his superb recorded improvisations of “I'm Coming Virginia” and “Singin' the Blues” (both 1927) but also in such pieces as the simply stated, virtually unimprovised “Ol' Man River” (1928).
 


Archibald Motley
 

Orchestral jazz


Fletcher Henderson, the originator

It was in the 1920s that the first forms of true orchestral jazz were developed, mostsignificantly by Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington. Although large aggregations had begun to appear in the late teens, these were dance orchestras playing the popular songs and novelty pieces of the day, with nary a smattering of jazz. The credit for being the first to perform and record orchestral jazz must go to Henderson, who, starting in about 1923, gathered together from the small beginnings of quintets and sextets a growing number of notable New York-based players and formed a full orchestra. By the mid- to late 1920s, Henderson could boast a 13- or 14-piece band and had the arranging services of the outstanding alto saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Don Redman. It was Redman who developed antiphonal call-and-response procedures in orchestral jazz, juxtaposing the two main choirs of brass and reeds in ever more sophisticated and challenging arrangements.


Duke Ellington, the master composer

Although he was very much aware of Redman's and Henderson's work, Duke Ellington took a somewhat different approach. From the start more truly a composer than an arranger, Ellington blended thematic material suggested to him by some of his players—in particular trumpeter Bubber Miley and clarinetist Barney Bigard—with his own compositional frameworks and backgrounds (e.g., “East St. Louis Toodle-oo,” [1926] and “Black and Tan Fantasy” [1927]). Once ensconced in Harlem's famous Cotton Club as the resident house band (a tenure that lasted three years, until early 1931), Ellington had the opportunity to explore, in some 160 recordings, several categories of compositions: (1) music for the club's jungle-style production numbers and pantomime tableaus, (2) dance numbers for the 16-girl chorus line, (3) dance pieces for the club's patrons (all white—blacks were allowed only as entertainers), (4) arrangements of the pop tunes or ballads of the day, and (5) most important, independent nonfunctional instrumental compositions—in effect, miniature tone poems for presentation during the shows. The most celebrated of thesewas “Mood Indigo” (1930), the first of many pieces with a blueslike character, usually set in slow tempos. In these and in such other song and dance numbers as “Sophisticated Lady” (1932) and “Solitude” (1934), Ellington was able not only to exploit the individual talents of his musicians but to extend and vary the forms of jazz. In addition, he expanded upon his already highly developed feeling for instrumental timbres and colours and his extraordinary forward-looking harmonic sense. In early works such as “Mystery Song” (1931), “Delta Serenade” (1934), and “In a Sentimental Mood” (1935), Ellington experimented with never-before-heard brass sonorities (using mutes peculiar to jazz, including the lowly bathroom plunger) and unusual blendings of brass and reeds, as in his grouping of saxophones and Juan Tizol's light valve trombone sound. Ellington's instinctive genius for harmonic invention, using the outer extensions of basic triadic and dominant seventh chords, led him to use bitonality (two keys at once) or polytonality (several keys) at least a decade before anyone else. Striking examples of this aspect of his work are, to name only a few, “Eerie Moan” (1933), “Reminiscing in Tempo” (1935), “Alabamy Home” (1937), and “Azure” (1937), the last verging on atonality at several points.

All these Ellington innovations, nuanced and fulfilled as they were by the extraordinary cast of characters and individual soloists in his orchestra, served to create a more personal expression and emotional depth than had previously beenachieved in jazz. The heterogeneity of personalities and talents in Ellington's orchestra virtually guaranteed that even the least of their efforts would be superior to the best of most other orchestras of the time. Motored by aremarkably cohesive rhythm section, each instrumental choir boasted dramatically different, individualistic personalities (e.g., Arthur Whetsol and Cootie Williams on trumpet; Rex Stewart on cornet; Lawrence Brown, Joe “TrickySam” Nanton, and Juan Tizol on trombone; and Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Otto Hardwick, and Harry Carney on reeds) who nevertheless whenever needed would blend instantly into perfect ensembles.

Other notables of the 1920s

As remarkable as Ellington's innovations were, they had relatively little impact on the field in general. In the racially still-very-divided world of the 1930s, not only were white bands such as the Casa Loma and Benny Goodman orchestras much more popular than the great black orchestras of Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, Chick Webb, and Bennie Moten, but Ellington's music in particular was considered formally and harmonically too challenging and atthe same time too subtle for the tastes of the average 1930s swing fan. Ellington's big, worldwide success with the public did not come until the 1960s, when he and his orchestra made lengthy annual tours all over the world, had some hugely popular successes with “Satin Doll” (1953) and other compositions, and began to consistently receive accolades—including a Presidential Medal of Freedom and the French Legion of Honour—from the broader musical, artistic, and intellectual community.

Three other musical groups met with outstanding success in the 1920s: Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers, Paul Whiteman's Orchestra, and William McKinney's Cotton Pickers. The 17 sides Morton and his Red Hot Peppers recorded for RCA Victor in 1926–27 are among the finest classics of early jazz. Blending late ragtime with the rapidly burgeoning improvisational advances of the time, Morton gathered a group of veterans of New Orleans-style jazz, then in their prime. By avoiding a random succession of solos—indeed, by careful structural planning that astutely distributed the seven players' efforts over the three-minute limit allowed by a 10-inch 78-rpm disc—and by painstakinglyrehearsing the group before the recording sessions, Morton achieved an almost perfect balance of ensemble and solo. Miraculously, the improvisations and compositions enhanced each other; thus, solos were integrated into arrangements in a way that remained uncommon in jazz for decades thereafter. Morton recorded both multithematic ragtime pieces (including “Black Bottom Stomp” and “Grandpa's Spells”), each piece with several strains in different chord progressions, and monothematic 12- and 32-bar pieces featuring a single passacaglia-like repetitive harmonic sequence (such as “Smokehouse Blues,” “Jungle Blues,” and “Dead Man Blues”). These recordings had nothing to do with the typical dance music of the period. Moreover, by balancing compositional unity with a maximumof textural and timbral variety—to an extent that was remarkable in a three-minute miniature form, with only a small band—and by reconciling composition and improvisation as well as polyphonic and homophonic ensembles in one fell swoop, Morton pointed a way toward the future of jazz. Alas, in the quasi-commercial and career-driven world of the late 1920s and 1930s, his comprehensive lesson was learned by only a handful of musicians. But Morton's example may have influenced Ellington, who for reasons never made clear considered Morton his musical archenemy.

The case of Whiteman, though completely different, is almost equally important, and certainly Whiteman was of enormous influence. Although he is ignored or maligned by most jazz historians, Whiteman made considerable contributions to jazz, not only because of his orchestra's enormous popularity. More important, Whiteman explored hitherto uninvestigated avenues of expression.

By the mid-1920s Whiteman had expanded his band beyond the size of the standard jazz orchestra—five or six brass, five saxophones, a four- or five-piece rhythm section—to include a small violin section and had incorporated into his dance repertory a number of pieces associated with “serious” and “semiclassical” music. The accusations hurledat Whiteman—that he was “contaminating” jazz with classical affectations and trying to “make a lady out of jazz”—were patently unfair. He not only brought into his orchestra such bona fide jazz musicians as Beiderbecke, violinist Joe Venuti, saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer, and guitarist Eddie Lang but also hired such outstandingly gifted orchestrators and arrangers as Ferde Grofé, Bill Challis, William Grant Still, and Lennie Hayton. Furthermore, by adding multiple wind instruments—even oboe, bassoon, heckelphone, and bass clarinet—Whiteman expanded the registral range of his orchestra from the highest piccolo to the lowest tuba and thereby enriched the orchestra's timbral palette. In this way Whiteman's conception of a jazz orchestra was as original and unique as Ellington's, although entirely different. That the orchestra's arrangements and compositions sometimes suffered from severe instrumental and homophonic overweight cannot be denied. But at their best, when conceived by the likes of Challis and Grofé and imbued by Whiteman's improvisers with a true jazz spirit, his musical contributions are surely not to be sneered at.

Both Ellington and Henderson considered McKinney's CottonPickers, a Detroit-based band, their only serious rival. The distinctiveness of the Cotton Pickers' work during the band's heyday is attributable primarily to the remarkable leadership and the composing and arranging talents of John Nesbitt, whose work was mistakenly credited to Redman for many decades. Nesbitt was obviously aware and respectful of Ellington's fast-tempo “stomp” pieces. And like Morton, Nesbitt was intent on utilizing his 10- or 11-piece jazz orchestra to produce the most varied yet balanced integration of solo improvisation and arranged ensemble, as well as a maximum of textural and structural variety. In such recordings as “Put It There,” “Crying and Sighing,” and “Stop Kidding,” Nesbitt and the band demonstrated their virtuosic command of what were for their time rather complex scores, replete with implied metre permutations, challenging rhythmic overlays, hard-driving solos, daring modulations, and—as Morton often urged—“plenty of solo breaks.”

In these ways the orchestras of Morton, Whiteman, and McKinney (as well as that of Ellington) went considerably beyond Henderson's and Redman's method of setting solos off against arranged ensembles, showing that composition, and not mere arrangement, was completely compatible with jazz.
 


Archibald Motley
 

The precursors of modern jazz


Bennie Moten, Casa Loma Orchestra, and Benny Goodman

In the early 1930s two bands made important contributions to jazz: Bennie Moten's, with the recordings of “Toby,” “Lafayette,” and “Prince of Wails,” and the Casa Loma Orchestra, with “Casa Loma Stomp” and “San Sue Strut.” Theblack Moten band had little immediate effect on the greater jazz scene, instead influencing an inner circle of black contemporaries, rivals, and jazz insiders. The driving, explosive, rhythmic energy of the Moten pieces, combined with an unprecedented instrumental virtuosity as well as a splendid balance of solos—by saxophonists Ben Webster and Eddie Barefield, trumpeter “Hot Lips” Page, and others—with riff-based ensembles, forged a breakthrough in orchestral jazz that can be seen as a precursor of modern jazz.

The white Casa Loma band exerted a tremendous influence on a host of dance bands (including, temporarily, some black orchestras, notably those of Jimmie Lunceford, Fletcher Henderson, and Earl Hines). The Casa Lomans' role in the history of jazz remains controversial, but it is clear that theywere, at the very least, the first white orchestra to try to swing, though their rhythms were more often peppy than swinging. The Casa Loma Orchestra was also the first white band to feature jazz instrumentals consistently, rather than playing politely arranged dance tunes with an occasional hotsolo. In these respects they influenced newly formed swing orchestras, including those led by Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet, Artie Shaw, and Larry Clinton.

As far as the average jazz fan was concerned, the next big breakthrough occurred with Goodman's band, particularly on August 21, 1935, in the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. On that night, after a weeks-long, dismally unsuccessful westward trek across the country, Goodman's band suddenlybecame a huge hit. That August night at the Palomar becamethe event that officially ushered in the swing era, with Goodman soon being hailed as the “King of Swing.” That must have been interesting news to the bands of such black bandleaders as Ellington, Moten, Lunceford, Webb, Cab Calloway, and especially Henderson, who had been swingingfor some five to seven years. Scores that Henderson had introduced in the late 1920s and early 1930s—“King Porter Stomp,” “Wrappin' It Up,” and “Down South Camp Meeting”—suddenly became big hits for Goodman, who had acquired both Henderson's arrangements of these numbers and the services of Henderson himself when Henderson's orchestra was forced to disband in 1934. As reinterpreted and energized by the Goodman forces, including the stellar trumpeter Bunny Berigan and the flashy drummer Gene Krupa, these pieces suddenly took on a new life. The Henderson-Redman formula of pitting soloists against ensembles and constantly juxtaposing the different choirs ofthe orchestra in call-and-response patterns became the widely emulated norm. When the Count Basie band from Kansas City, the successor to Moten's orchestra, reintroduced the riff as another extremely useful structural element, the scene was set for the hundreds of orchestras that had sprung up in the wake of Goodman's success to feedthe enormous appetite for swing music of a generation of dance-crazy college-age jazz fans. By the late 1930s the country was awash with dance bands, all adhering to generic swing tenets: antiphonal section work, juxtaposition of solosand ensembles, and increasingly riff-based tunes. Though this led to a great quantity of dross, many talented young arrangers now rushed into the field and produced an impressive amount of astonishingly good music. This excellence is all the more remarkable since the music was created primarily to be danced to, with no pretensions (except in the case of bandleader Artie Shaw) to anything one might call art.


Count Basie's band and the composer-arrangers

Among the innumerable orchestras that populated the jazz scene, Count Basie's achieved enormous importance. Perhaps the most magnificent “swing machine” that ever was, the Basie band strongly emphasized improvised solos and a refreshing looseness in ensemble playing that was usually realized through “head arrangements” rather than written-out charts. Its incomparable rhythm section—Walter Page (bass), Freddie Green (guitar), Jo Jones (drums), and Basie (piano)—supported an outstanding cast of soloists, ranging from the great innovative tenor saxophonist Lester Young and his section mate Herschel Evans to trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets” Edison, trombonists Dicky Wells and Vic Dickenson, and blues singer Jimmy Rushing. The Basie band's steadfast popularity can be measured by the fact that, except for a brief period in the early 1950s, it performed and toured successfully right up to Basie's death in 1984. Even after the height of the swing era, Basie continued to introduce swing masterpieces (including “ShinyStockings,” “The Kid from Red Bank,” “Li'l Darling,” and “April in Paris”), often featuring extraordinary solos by trumpeter-arranger Thad Jones and vocals by Joe Williams.

It was perhaps inevitable that in the excitement of the burgeoning swing era, jazz fans became obsessed with the reigning bandleaders, the new superstars of music. Little did swing fans realize that the music to which they kicked up their heels was the creation not of orchestra leaders but of arrangers who, behind the scenes, forged each band's distinctive style. The history of jazz has too often been described as the story of the improvising soloists, virtually ignoring the important contributions of the composer-arrangers who provided the soloists' framework. These included Sy Oliver (with the Jimmie Lunceford and Tommy Dorsey bands), Mary Lou Williams (with Andy Kirk's band), Walter Thomas (with Cab Calloway), Eddie Durham, Fletcher Henderson, Jimmy Mundy, Edgar Sampson, Eddie Sauter, Jerry Gray, and Benny Carter.


The swing soloists

Major swing soloists also emerged in the 1930s—most notably tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, and Ben Webster; pianists Art Tatum and Teddy Wilson; and singer Billie Holiday. Hawkins had left the Henderson band in 1933 for what turned out to be a six-year stay in Europe, during which he not only taught most Europeans about jazz and swing but honed and perfected his personal style, which culminated—upon his return to the United States in 1939—in his recorded masterpiece, “Body and Soul.” During that period Hawkins's slightly younger contemporaries Young and Webster developed quite divergent and highly distinctive improvisational styles. Webster exerted a powerful influence on Ellington during his 1939–42 tenure with the Ellington orchestra, while Young spawned an important new school of saxophone playing (epitomized by Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, and Al Cohn). In contrast to Hawkins's hyperenergetic, primarily chord-based approach, Young featured a more relaxed, sleek, linear, Southwestern blues-oriented style. Unlike Hawkins's pre-1940s improvisations, which were solidly anchored to their underlying harmonies, Young's lines glided over the harmonies and thereby freed those lines rhythmically.

Tatum and Wilson were both initially inspired by Hines but soon moved in directions different from Hines and from eachother. Tatum, the supreme virtuoso technician, developed anastonishingly rich and advanced harmonic vocabulary, whichhe lavished on his solo improvisations on popular songs. Wilson, more of an ensemble player, led a memorable series of recordings between 1935 and 1937, featuring not only an elite of swing soloists in spontaneously created performances but also the incomparable Holiday.

Holiday's singing style was crafted out of an original amalgam of the vocal stylings of Armstrong and Bessie Smith as well as her own vocal-technical limitations—her range was barely more than an octave. With her unique timbre and diction, she reconstructed dozens of popular songs, streamlining and contracting the original melodies and embellishing them with highly personal ornamentations,many of which she absorbed from some of the great instrumentalists of her time. In this sense she was a true jazz singer, constantly re-creating, improvising, and inventing. Moreover, Holiday brought to her art a level of expression and philosophical depth unprecedented in jazz, ranging from abject melancholia and tragedy to the most joyous evocations.


The return of the combo and the influence of the territory bands

In the first decade of jazz, roughly 1915–25, almost all jazz worth considering had been played by small groups, but these were driven away in the 1930s by the arrival of the big bands. Later in the decade there was a return to smaller groups, ranging in size from trios to septets. Foremost amongthese new small groups were the various Goodman-led combos, starting in 1935. These were the first racially mixed jazz groups to tour the United States: Goodman and Krupa were white, Wilson and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton black. By 1939–40 permutations of Goodman's small groups included guitarist Charlie Christian and trumpeter Cootie Williams. Among the several dozen recordings produced by these groups, the superb “Body and Soul,” “Avalon,” “Breakfast Feud,” and “Seven Come Eleven” must be singledout.

In 1937 the 20-year-old Nat King Cole formed a trio, initially featuring himself as pianist; it was not until 1940 that Cole began singing and the trio began recording. Their big hits “Straighten Up and Fly Right” (1943) and “Route 66” (1946) made the group one of the top attractions of the mid-1940s, a success that eventually led to Cole's equally brilliant solo singing career. Piano trios and quartets—such as those of Page Cavanaugh, Clarence Profit, Barbara Carroll, Dorothy Donegan, Art Tatum, Lennie Tristano, and Joe Mooney—were among the many successful small groups of the 1940s.

The success of Goodman's small groups not only affirmed the artistic and commercial viability of a true chamber-jazz concept but inaugurated the notion of extracting a small combo from a larger orchestra. This “band within a band” idea spawned many successful groups, such as Shaw's Gramercy Five, Basie's Kansas City Seven, Tommy Dorsey's Clambake Seven, and, of course, Ellington's many small ensembles led alternately by Hodges, Williams, Stewart, and Bigard. Possibly the most perfect small group recordings are the four sides recorded in Paris in 1939 by three Ellingtonians—Stewart, Bigard, and Billy Taylor (bass)—and the great Belgian Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt.

Also important in the 1930s were the territory bands, notably Walter Page's Blue Devils (out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma),the Jeter-Pillars band (based in St. Louis, Missouri), and thoseof Nat Towles (Omaha, Nebraska), Alphonse Trent (Dallas, Texas), Don Albert (San Antonio, Texas), Jesse Stone and Jay McShann (Kansas City), Zack Whyte (Cincinnati, Ohio), and others. Although their music was only sporadically recorded, these nomadic orchestras had considerable influence, for by roaming the Midwestern and Southern hinterlands in trains and broken-down buses and cars, they brought superb jazz to the public, especially the black population. In addition, these bands functioned as traveling music conservatories in which young talent could grow, develop, and gain vital experience.

Several major innovative soloists emerged during this period, among them trumpeters Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, singer Pearl Bailey, xylophonist Red Norvo, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, and Ellington's bassist Jimmy Blanton. With this roster of solo talent and the era's orchestral, compositional, and arranging developments—all inspired by a high sense of professionalism and an unprecedented artistic (but often also commercial) competitiveness—it was inevitable that a new jazz idiom would soon evolve. Ellington's harmonic lessons were finallybeginning to be appreciated as arrangers forged beyond simple triadic and dominant harmonies into the various types of 9th, 11th, and 13th chords, all manner of substitute harmonizations, and wide-ranging modulations. On the rhythmic side, 4/4 swing had by now completely taken over, providing the basis for a new fluency, freedom, and (as desired) complexity in rhythm sections; this in turn freed thesoloists and ensembles to explore new structural territories—and all of these developments were expressed with a radically new virtuosity.
 


Aaron Douglas
 

Jazz at the crossroads

Bebop takes hold

The first signs of these fresh musical sounds could be heard as early as 1941, particularly in works by such composer-arrangers as Buster Harding, Neal Hefti, Gerry Valentine, and Budd Johnson. Especially explorative and prophetic are such pieces as “The Moose” (1943; by Ralph Burns for the Charlie Barnet band), “Shady Lady” (1942; by Andy Gibson for Barnet), and “To a Broadway Rose” and “ 'S Wonderful” (1941 and 1944, respectively; both by Ray Conniff for Artie Shaw). Unfortunately, most of what was germinating at that time never got recorded because of a recording ban imposed by the American Federation of Musicians during much of 1942–43. This missing auditory linkmay have made the arrival of bebop seem more abrupt than it actually was.

While much of what happened between 1941 and 1945 may have appeared revolutionary to musicians and the public alike, the process was actually evolutionary and inevitable. The older guard held on as long as possible, dominating the airwaves well into the mid-1940s. But ultimately the experiments and forward thrusts of bebop—many of them initiated in such places as Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, in small lounges and obscure nightclubs, on tours, and in even more private situations such as homes and hotel rooms—hadto break through to an expanding public via record companies and the larger, more popular club venues.

The leading figure in jazz was now Charlie Parker, who, along with his colleagues Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk (piano), Kenny Clarke and Max Roach (drums), Oscar Pettiford and Ray Brown (bass), and later Lucky Thompson (tenor saxophone), Milt Jackson (vibraphone), J.J. Johnson (trombone), and Miles Davis (trumpet), reshaped jazz on all three important fronts: harmonically, melodically, and rhythmically. Perhaps the most radical advance was rhythmic, when Parker, with his dazzling technique and fluency, turned the former 4/4 metric substructures into 8/8; quavers now superseded the basic quarter-note beats, and in effect the audible speed of the music doubled. Parker was, for all his startling innovations, a great blues player, as can be heard not only in his constant reference to earlier blues traditions but also in the depth andbeauty of his tone and its often anguished expression. His co-innovators Gillespie and Powell, equipped with both a prodigious technical mastery and a keen sense for harmonic exploration, set dramatically new standards of improvisation. Drummers, too, became more intrinsically involved in the total ensemble effect by introducing a certain contrapuntal independence, expressed polyrhythmically and even melodically.

The new, onomatopoetically named bebop, or bop, used more chromatically convoluted melodic lines. Played at high speed, it was no longer aurally related to the sedate song repertory of the 1930s, and it required a greater variety of chord substitutions and passing harmonies. It also built a whole new jazz repertory by superimposing brand new themes onto older, well-known chord progressions, particularly on such standards as “I Got Rhythm” and “How High the Moon.” This new repertoire was created mostly for small combos but also for larger ensembles such as Gillespie's, Billy Eckstine's, and Woody Herman's orchestras.

As bebop took hold after World War II, the entire jazz scene changed dramatically. Many big bands, even those that triedto make the transition to modern jazz, began to falter both financially and artistically. Touring costs and musicians' salaries skyrocketed. The best musicians preferred to stay inLos Angeles, New York, and Chicago, where they could do the suddenly lucrative studio work. In any case, bebop was played mostly by small combos—quartets, quintets, and sextets. And bebop was made for listening, not dancing; it was not intended to be played to the accompaniment of clinking glasses and nightclub merrymaking.

Swing hangs on, soloists take off

Essentially, the audience for the more or less homogeneous jazz of the 1930s and early '40s (swing) was split three ways. A majority rejected bop and clung to swing, if and wherever they could still find it, or to even earlier styles, such as Dixieland and Chicago-style jazz. Another segment shifted its allegiance entirely to a new breed of singers—Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, and Billy Eckstine—who came out of the bands and embarked on full-time careers as highly paid “single” acts. The third and smallest faction stayed with the boppers, relishing the music's technical and conceptual challenges and returning jazz to a minority art.

Two singular pianists emerged at this time: Thelonious Monkand Erroll Garner. After Morton and Ellington, Monk was the first major composer to enter the field, contributing in such pieces as “Criss Cross,” “Misterioso,” and “Evidence” (all 1948) a uniquely individual repertory. Partly because he had developed a totally unorthodox piano technique, Monk created an inimitable style and touch, as well as highly unusual voicings and chord formations, as can be heard on his Blue Note quartet and quintet recordings of 1947–51 and on his later solo piano recordings of 1957 and 1959.

Equally sui generis yet completely different in intent, technique, and feeling, Garner had developed from his earliest professional days a prodigious both-hands technique (rivaled or surpassed only by Tatum) that allowed him to play asymmetrical rhythmic and melodic configurations and contours with his right hand while maintaining an absolutely steady beat with his left. Not a composer at all in the Monk or Ellington sense and given at times to a certain pianistic pomposity, Garner nevertheless brilliantly recomposed the hundreds of Broadway songs he played during his long career into astonishingly fresh, extemporized pieces.

Although the emphasis of this period was primarily on improvisation—a quintet or sextet did not require an arranger—a number of big bands did try to translate the newfound musical gains into orchestral terms. The results were uneven, inconsistent, and mostly commercially short-lived. Although the best efforts of the Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, Boyd Raeburn, Charlie Barnet, and Harry James bands of the mid- to late 1940s were not without considerable merit, it fell to the Claude Thornhill Orchestra, especially with its many scores by Gil Evans, to produce the only fully original contribution to orchestral jazz apart from Ellington's ongoing work. By adding French horns and woodwinds (including piccolo, bass clarinet, and at times multiple clarinets) and reinstating the tuba in a more melodic and contrapuntal role, Thornhill's orchestra acquireda totally fresh and subtle sound, one considerably softer and more opaque than the bright, loud, brash sonorities of the late swing-era bands. Moreover, with his extraordinary penchant for warm, dark instrumental colours and rich, bitonal harmonizations set in sparkling bop rhythms, Evans went quite beyond mere arranging into recomposing. The best examples can be heard in such pieces as “Robbins Nest,” “Lover Man,” and the Parker themes “Anthropology” and “Donna Lee.”
 


Archibald Motley
 

Cool jazz enters the scene

Chamber jazz and the Modern Jazz Quartet

Perhaps in reaction to the hot, more strident, more frenetic expressions of the postwar bands, or perhaps as a direct influence of the Thornhill-Evans approach, a cool strain entered the jazz scene in the late 1940s. Generated by Young and furthered by such reed players as Lee Konitz and Gerry Mulligan, cool jazz, along with its structural corollary—contrapuntal, harmonically slimmed-down (often pianoless) chamber jazz—was suddenly in. Understatementand a more relaxed expression replaced extroversion and high-tension virtuosity. Examples abound, beginning with the Miles Davis Nonet (1948–50)—a direct offspring in instrumentation and musical intent of the Thornhill band. In such pieces as “Boplicity,” “Israel,” “Move,” and “Moondreams,” fine improvised solos by Davis, Konitz, and Mulligan were meaningfully integrated into the arrangers' scores. Various octets, nonets, and other small ensembles soon followed suit, as did such West Coast-based quartets and quintets as those led by Mulligan, Chet Baker, Shelly Manne, Shorty Rogers, Jimmy Giuffre, and Chico Hamilton.

On a slightly different tack, the Modern Jazz Quartet (made up of John Lewis, piano; Milt Jackson, vibraphone; Percy Heath, bass; and Kenny Clarke, soon replaced by Connie Kay, drums) was formed in 1953. After his years with Gillespie, Lewis had been inspired further by his study of classical music, especially the work of Johann Sebastian Bach. Thus, Lewis brought a new kind of compositional (oftencontrapuntal) integration to the group's repertory, particularly in fugal or quasi-fugal pieces, such as the early “Vendome” or the later “Three Windows” and the album-length work The Comedy. Above all, in these performances Lewis sought to bring collective improvisation back from earlier times; many striking examples can be heard on the recordings made by the Modern Jazz Quartet over a period of 20 years, especially in the frequent, remarkable same-register duets of Lewis and Jackson.


Jazz meets classical and the “third stream” begins

It was also in the 1950s that a greater rapprochement between jazz and classical music began to emerge. Like Lewis, many other jazz musicians were studying much of the great classical literature, from Bach to Béla Bartók, to expand their musical horizons. Classical musicians, too, were listening more seriously to jazz and taking a professional interest in it. The ideological and technical barriers between jazz and classical music were beginning tobreak down. In that climate an apparently new concept or style, termed “third stream” by Gunther Schuller [Ed. note: the author of this article], arose. But third stream music was only apparently new, since European and American composers—including Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Charles Ives (using ragtime), Darius Milhaud, Maurice Ravel, Aaron Copland, John Alden Carpenter, Kurt Weill, and many others—had employed elements of jazz since early in the century. The difference in the 1950s and '60s was that (1) thethird stream amalgams began to include improvisation and (2) the traffic was now no longer on a one-way street from classical music toward jazz but was flowing in both directions. Spearheaded by Lewis and Schuller, the movement produced a wide variety of works and varying approaches to the process of cross-fertilization. Third stream began, particularly in the cultivated hands of pianist Ran Blake, to mate classical concepts and techniques with all manner of ethnic and vernacular musics and traditions as well as with jazz.

Though the term is now seldom used, the concept of third stream remains alive and well; Charlie Haden and Carla Bley's Liberation Music Orchestra works and Randy Weston and Melba Liston's African-influenced compositions are cases in point. Third stream music is also called by other names: crossover, fusion, or world music. So lively and penetrating has the stylistic intercourse been that it is nowadays often impossible to identify a piece as jazz, classical, or ethnic, proof that the third stream ideal of a true and complete fusion (not always technically possible in the 1960s) has at least partially been achieved.

Among the myriad contributions to third stream music over the years, Robert Graettinger's works for various Kenton orchestras are crucial. Major atonal, polyphonically complex Graettinger compositions such as City of Glass (first performed in 1948) and his remarkable arrangements of standard popular songs reveal a talent of astonishing originality—showing little influence of Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Bartók, or any major jazz figures—especially unusual for a man so young (he died at the age of 34).

The mainstream enlarged: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and others

In the meantime, the jazz mainstream continually broadened and expanded through the contributions of a widerange of talents from saxophonists Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, bassist-composer Charles Mingus, andcomposer-theorist George Russell to pianists Cecil Taylor, Bill Evans, and Dave Brubeck. Miles Davis and Coltrane exerted the greatest influence, Coltrane especially; he inadvertently bred thousands of clones who copied his soundand turned his every move into a cliché. Much more difficult to imitate and to absorb was the music of Dolphy, who, along with his unequaled mastery of alto saxophone and flute, wasthe first to conquer the bass clarinet as a jazz instrument. “Stormy Weather” (1960), his nearly 14-minute-long duet improvisation on alto with Mingus, must be counted as one of the greatest creative efforts in all of jazz.

The great wonder of jazz is its open-endedness, allowing truly talented musicians to explore new stylistic and conceptual avenues. Such was the case with Rollins, who—instead of merely releasing a string of unrelated musical ideas—was the first to develop thematic improvisation in such a way that themes or motifs were varied and revisited within a single performance. Equally important was the work of Lennie Tristano, who not only as early as 1945 was successfully exploring the possibilities of atonal improvisation but later through his students (saxophonists Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh and composer Bill Russo) created yet another school of jazz playing that emphasized contrapuntal and polyphonic linearity and lean and clear textures of, at times, almost classical austerity.

Although he was a remarkably gifted musician with a deep humility regarding jazz and his art, Coltrane (probably underthe influence of Davis) abandoned his earlier fascination with the burgeoning harmonic language of bop—especially Monk's unique tonal explorations—and fell into the trap of modal and single chord confinement. This led to extended improvisations, often lasting as long as an hour, that some observers regarded as “practicing in public.”

Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the most renowned and respected of the “traveling conservatories,” held forth in theworld's jazz clubs and concert halls for more than three decades, hatching a long line of talented players ranging from Horace Silver, Kenny Dorham, and Lee Morgan (in the 1950s) to Freddie Hubbard, Keith Jarrett, Woody Shaw, and (inthe 1980s) Wynton Marsalis.

Initially a loyal disciple of Gillespie, Davis by the late 1950s knew that he had neither the embouchure nor the ear for Gillespie's pyrotechnics. Under the benign influence of Gil Evans, John Lewis, and others, he turned to an opulent, more lyrical style with which he and Evans were to make dramatic musical history in such recordings as Miles Ahead (1957) and Evans's inspired recomposing of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess (1958). Davis abandoned conventional majorand minor harmonies for modal and pentatonic patterns (firstfully aired in 1959 on the album Kind of Blue), a plunge into a vagrant harmonic no-man's-land that unfortunately infected much of jazz. Modal playing, with its endless pedal points and one-chord bass ostinatos, allowed by definition no harmonic progression or forward movement and resulted in astructural stasis that only, maybe, the greatest improvisers could overcome.

Mingus, together with Parker and Gillespie, was among the most gifted of all the postwar giants. A major composer in the full creative sense as well as a brilliant bass virtuoso andformidable bandleader, Mingus experimented with extendedforms as early as the late 1940s (“Mingus Fingers” with Lionel Hampton). His oeuvre ranges from early simple blues and atonal free-form pieces to such poetically named jazz instrumentals as “Pithecanthropus Erectus” (1956), “HaitianFight Song” (1957), “Fables of Faubus” (1959), and “Peggy's Blue Skylight” (1961) to the monumental two-and-a-half-hour, posthumously premiered Epitaph. Accumulated between the early 1940s and 1962 and composed for 31 instruments, Epitaph is a gigantic summation of everything Mingus felt and heard in music, from the gentlest lyric ballads and earthy blues to the most complex and advanced Ivesian and Stravinskian orchestral excursions.

Free jazz: the explorations of Ornette Coleman

Whereas most of these postwar musicians worked out their individual styles through personal explorations within the central modern tradition, the arrival of saxophonist Ornette Coleman and trumpeter Donald Cherry constituted an even more radical break from the recent past. Eschewing conventional key and time signatures, Coleman also abandoned all the traditional jazz forms, arriving quickly at something that was to be called “free jazz.”

Although partially inspired by the Parker revolution, Coleman's music also harkened back in its linear fragmentation, wailing blues sonorities, and unconventional intonation to a much older, primitive, folklike blues and work song tradition, incidentally more or less cleansed of jazz's earlier European borrowings. Given Coleman's abandonmentof traditional forms such as 12-bar blues and 32-bar song forms, it would be wrong to conclude that such works as “Change of the Century” (1959) or Free Jazz (1960) are therefore formless. Rather, they are simply subject to a new kind of organization where—in Free Jazz, for example—the eight players are each assigned “solo” sections accompanied by all the other players, with the various sections partitioned from each other by predetermined, collectively played motivic materials and the overall formal subdivisions thus clearly delineated.

Though others who followed in Coleman's footsteps—for example, the saxophonists Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, and George Adams—sought to expand on his free-form innovations, they lacked his innate talent and inherent musical discipline. A creative stasis set in during the 1970s and '80s that eventually led, on the one hand, to a gigantic eclecticism where no style or conception took priority and, on the other hand, to a profound sea change that dramatically altered the face of jazz. This fundamental shift can be seen in the fact that, in contrast to past decades whenjazz produced a succession of highly individual artists whose musical styles and personalities could be recognized instantly, by the end of the 20th century jazz had no such distinctive artists.
 


Archibald Motley
 

Jazz at the end of the 20th century

Whether the past was inherently better than the present is questionable. Something was gained and something was lost. The personal, instantly recognizable distinctiveness of the great jazz players of the past was replaced by an astonishing technical assurance and stylistic flexibility. Most younger players in the 1990s sounded very much alike—with the exception of a few standouts such as trumpeters Wynton Marsalis, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, and Dave Douglas, saxophonists Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano,trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff, pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and bassist John Patitucci. Whereas later players functioned well in any stylistic context—even beyond jazz in ethnic andclassical realms—the earlier players, great as they were, could not reach out into other stylistic regions. The players of yore did not—could not, in most cases—go to music schools and were in essence self-taught, having learned on the job and to a large extent from each other and from their seniors.

Whether the eclectic versatility of these later generations is good for the future of jazz is as yet hard to say. One fact, however, is clear: in the wake of these changes, composition moved much more into the front and centre of activities—as in the works of Leo Smith, Henry Threadgill, and Dave Douglas—which suggests that the long-standing conflict between improvisation and composition may have finally been resolved. A good part of the reason for this is that most later jazz musicians went to music school—conservatories and university or college music departments—where they took theory, music history, and general music survey courses, and in most cases they also studied with teachers who were themselves major jazz figures. In addition, starting in the 1970s, the enormously expanding number of recordings made available an infinite variety of musical traditions encompassing all jazz styles as well as a rainbow of ethnic, popular, and vernacular musics of all persuasions and philosophies. The younger generations took advantage of this plethora of musical and stylistic resources.

Where this leaves jazz and where jazz goes in the future—indeed, whether jazz can endure as a distinct musical idiom or language—were unanswerable questions atthe end of the 20th century. The one truism about jazz is that it remains distinguishable not by what is played but by how it is played.

Gunther Schuller
 


The King and Carter Jazzing Orchestra
1921

* * *
 



George Gershwin

 


born September 26, 1898, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
died July 11, 1937, Hollywood, California



original name Jacob Gershvin one of the most significant and popular American composers of all time. He wrote primarily for the Broadway musical theatre, but important as well are his orchestral and piano compositions in which he blended, in varying degrees, the techniques and forms of classical music with the stylistic nuances and techniques of popular music and jazz.
Early career and influences

Gershwin was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants. Although his family and friends were not musically inclined, Gershwin developed an early interest in music through his exposure to the popular and classical compositions he heardat school and in penny arcades. He began his musical education at age 11, when his family bought a second-hand upright piano, ostensibly so that George's older sibling, Ira, could learn the instrument. When George surprised everyone with his fluid playing of a popular song, which he had taught himself by following the keys on a neighbor's player piano, his parents decided that George would be the family member to receive lessons. He studied piano with the noted instructor Charles Hambitzer, who introduced his young student to the works of the great classical composers. Hambitzer was so impressed with Gershwin's potential that he refused payment for the lessons; as he wrote in a letter to his sister, “I have a new pupil who will make his mark if anybody will. The boy is a genius…”

Gershwin continued to broaden his musical knowledge and compositional technique throughout his career with such disparate mentors as the idiosyncratic American composers Henry Cowell and Wallingford Riegger, the distinguished traditionalist Edward Kilenyi, and Joseph Schillinger, a musical theorist known for his mathematically grounded approach to composition. After dropping out of school at age 15, Gershwin earned an income by making piano rolls for player pianos and by playing in New York nightclubs. His most important job in this period was his stint as a song plugger (probably the youngest in Tin Pan Alley), demonstrating sheet music for the Jerome Remick music-publishing company. In an era when sheet-music salesdetermined the popularity of a song, song pluggers such as Gershwin worked long hours pounding out tunes on the piano for potential customers. Although Gershwin's burgeoning creativity was hampered by his three-year stint in “plugger's purgatory” (as Gershwin biographer Isaac Goldberg termed it), it was nevertheless an experience that greatly improved his dexterity and increased his skills at improvisation and transposing. While still in his teens, Gershwin was known as one of the most talented pianists in the New York area and worked as an accompanist for popular singers and as a rehearsal pianist for Broadway musicals. In 1916 he composed his first published song, "When You Want 'Em You Can't Get 'Em (When You've Got 'Em You Don't Want 'Em)," as well as his first solo piano composition, "Rialto Ripples." He began to attract the attention of some Broadway luminaries, and the operetta composer Sigmund Romberg included one of Gershwin's songs in The Passing Show of 1916.

These early experiences greatly increased Gershwin's knowledge of jazz and popular music. He enjoyed especiallythe songs of Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern—referring to Berlin as “America's Franz Schubert” and stating that Kern was “the first composer who made me conscious that most popular music was of inferior quality, and that musical comedy was made of better material”—and he was inspired by their work to compose for the Broadway stage. In 1919 entertainer Al Jolson performed the Gershwin song "Swanee"in the musical Sinbad; it became an enormous success, selling more than two million recordings and a million copies of sheet music, and making Gershwin an overnight celebrity. That same year, La, La Lucille, the first show for which Gershwin composed the entire score, premiered; its most popular songs included "The Best of Everything," "Nobody but You," and "Tee-Oodle-Um-Bum-Bo." Also in 1919, Gershwin composed his first “serious” work, the Lullaby for string quartet. A study in harmony that Gershwin composed as an exercise for Kilenyi, Lullaby's delicate beauty transcends its academic origins. Ira Gershwin published the work several years after George's death, and it has gone on to become a favourite with string quartets and with symphony orchestras, for which it was subsequently scored.


Rhapsody in Blue

During the next few years, Gershwin contributed songs to various Broadway shows and revues. From 1920 to 1924 he composed scores for the annual productions of George White's Scandals, the popular variety revue, producing such standards as "(I'll Build a) Stairway to Paradise" and "Somebody Loves Me." For the Scandals production of 1922, Gershwin convinced producer White to incorporate a one-act jazz opera. This work, Blue Monday (later reworked and retitled as 135th Street), was poorly received and was removed from the show after one performance. Bandleader Paul Whiteman, who had conducted the pit orchestra for the show, was nevertheless impressed by the piece. He and Gershwin shared the common goal of bringing respectability to jazz music, which in 1922 was still being regarded, as evidenced in a New York American editorial, as “degrading, pathological, nerve-irritating, sex-exciting music.” To this end, in late 1923 Whiteman asked Gershwin to compose a piece for an upcoming concert—entitled “An Experiment in Modern Music”—at New York's Aeolian Concert Hall. Legend has it that Gershwin forgot about the request until early January 1924, when he read a newspaper article announcing that the Whiteman concert on February 12 would feature a major new Gershwin composition. Writing at a furious pace inorder to meet the deadline, Gershwin composed Rhapsody inBlue, perhaps his best-known work, in three weeks' time.

Owing to the haste in which it was written, Rhapsody in Blue was somewhat unfinished at its premiere. Gershwin improvised much of the piano solo during the performance, and conductor Whiteman had to rely on a nod from Gershwin to cue the orchestra at the end of the solo. Nevertheless, the piece was a resounding success and brought Gershwin worldwide fame. The revolutionary work incorporated trademarks of the jazz idiom (blue notes, syncopated rhythms, onomatopoeic instrumental effects) into a symphonic context. Gershwin himself later reflected on the work:

There had been so much chatter about the limitations of jazz, not to speak of the manifest misunderstandings of its function. Jazz, they said, had to be in strict time. It had to cling to dance rhythms. I resolved, if possible, to kill that misconception with one sturdy blow…No set plan was in my mind, no structure to which my music would conform. The Rhapsody, you see, began as a purpose, not a plan.

The work, arranged by Ferde Grofé (composer of the Grand Canyon Suite) for either symphony orchestra or jazz band, isperhaps the most-performed and most-recorded orchestral composition of the 20th century. It is the only one of Gershwin's major works that Gershwin himself did not orchestrate.

Popular songs

For the remainder of his career, Gershwin devoted himself to both popular songs and orchestral compositions. His Broadway shows from the 1920s and '30s featured numeroussongs that became standards: "Fascinating Rhythm," "Oh, Lady Be Good," "Sweet and Low-Down," "Do, Do, Do," "Someone to Watch over Me," "Strike Up the Band," "The ManI Love," "'S Wonderful," "I've Got a Crush on You," "Bidin' My Time," "Embraceable You," "But Not for Me," "Of Thee I Sing," and "Isn't It a Pity." He also composed several songs for Hollywood films, such as "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "They All Laughed," "They Can't Take That Away from Me," "A Foggy Day," "Nice Work if You Can Get It," "Love Walked In," and "Love Is Here to Stay." His lyricist for nearly all of these tunes was his older brother, Ira, whose glib, witty lyrics—often punctuated with slang, puns, and wordplay—received nearly as much acclaim as George's compositions. The Gershwin brothers comprised a somewhatunique songwriting partnership in that George's melodies usually came first—a reverse of the process employed by most composing teams. (When asked by interviewers, “Which comes first, the words or the music?”, Ira's standard response was, “The contract.”) So facile was George's musical imagination that quality songs were often composed within a few minutes of improvisation; other times, he dipped into his notebooks of song sketches that he accumulated over time (he once said, “I have more tunes in my head than I could put down on paper in a hundred years”) and embellished an old melody he had labeled “g.t.” (for “good tune”). Ira would then spend a week or more fitting words to the tune, polishing each line (to the extent that he was nicknamed “The Jeweller” by other songwriters) until he was satisfied. Songwriter Arthur Schwartz regarded Ira's efforts to be “a truly phenomenal feat, when one considers he was required to be brilliant within the most confining rhythms and accents.”

One of the Gershwins' best-known collaborations, "I Got Rhythm," was introduced by Ethel Merman in the musical GirlCrazy (1930). The following year, Gershwin scored a lengthy, elaborate piano arrangement of the song, and in late 1933 he arranged the piece into a set of variations for piano and orchestra; “I Got Rhythm” Variations has since become one of Gershwin's most-performed orchestral works. In addition, the 32-bar structure of "I Got Rhythm" has become the second-most frequently used harmonic progression in jazz improvisation, next to that of the traditional 12-bar blues.

Gershwin's piano score for "I Got Rhythm" was part of a larger project begun in 1931, George Gershwin's Songbook. Acollection of Gershwin's personal favourites among his manyhit tunes, it featured the composer's own adaptations designed “for the above-average pianist.” Offering valuable insight into Gershwin's use of rhythm and harmony, as well as his own piano style, the Songbook selections have become concert staples for several noted pianists throughout the years and have occasionally been adapted into full orchestra arrangements.


Other works for orchestra

In 1925 Gershwin was commissioned by the Symphony Society of New York to write a concerto, prompting the composer to comment, “This showed great confidence on their part as I had never written anything for symphony before…I started to write the concerto in London, after buying four or five books on musical structure to find out what the concerto form actually was!” The resulting work, Concerto in F (1925), was Gershwin's lengthiest composition and was divided into three traditional concerto movements. The first movement loosely follows a sonata structure of exposition, development, and recapitulation, and it appropriates themes and rhythms from the popular "Charleston." The second movement—the “high water mark of [Gershwin's] talent,” according to conductor Walter Damrosch, who conducted the work's premiere performance—is a slow, meditative adaptation of blues progressions, and the third movement—“an orgy of rhythms,” according to Gershwin—introduces new themes and returns, rondo-like, to the themes of the first. Although not as well received at the time as Rhapsody in Blue, the Concerto in F eventually came to be regarded as one of Gershwin's most important works as well as perhaps the most popular American piano concerto.

An American in Paris (1928), Gershwin's second-most famous orchestral composition, was inspired by the composer's trips to Paris throughout the 1920s. His stated intention with the work was to “portray the impressions of anAmerican visitor in Paris as he strolls about the city, listens to various street noises, and absorbs the French atmosphere”; for this purpose, Gershwin incorporated such touches of verisimilitude as real French taxi horns. It is this piece that perhaps best represents Gershwin's employment of both jazz and classical forms. The harmonic structure of An American in Paris is rooted in blues traditions (particularly the "Homesick Blues" middle section), and soloists are often required to bend, slide, and growl certain notes and passages, in the style of jazz musicians of the 1920s. The melodies that are repeated and embellished throughout the work, however, are never subject to alteration—the antithesis of the jazz philosophy that regards melody as a mere loose outline for imaginative decoration. With its varied rhythms and free structure (“Five sections held together more or less by intuition,” according to one critic), An American in Paris seemed more balletic than symphonic and, indeed, the piece gained its most lasting fame 23 years after its premiere, when it was used byGene Kelly for the closing ballet sequence of the classic, eponymous film musical in 1951.

Gershwin's other major orchestral compositions have grown in stature and popularity throughout the years. His Second Rhapsody (1931) began life under the working titles “Manhattan Rhapsody” and “Rhapsody in Rivets” and was featured, in embryonic form, as incidental music in the film Delicious (1931). Perhaps the most experimental of Gershwin's major works, it has been praised as his most perfect composition in terms of structure and orchestration. Gershwin's Cuban Overture (1932), which he stated was inspired by “two hysterical weeks in Cuba where no sleep was had,” employed rhumba rhythms and such percussion instruments as claves, maracas, bongo drums, and gourds, all of which were generally unknown at the time in the UnitedStates. It is a work frequently revived by symphony conductors, who find its brash, festival-like mood to be a rousing concert-opener.

Porgy and Bess

Throughout his career, Gershwin had major successes on Broadway with shows such as Lady, Be Good! (1924), Oh, Kay! (1926), Strike Up the Band (1930), Girl Crazy (1930), and, especially, the daring political satire Of Thee I Sing (1931), for which Ira and librettists George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind shared a Pulitzer Prize. (Rules of the Pulitzer committee at the time did not allow for composers to share in a drama award. Ira objected that George was not a corecipient, but George insisted that the rules be obeyed. In protest, Ira hung his Pulitzer certificate in his bathroom.) These shows, smash hits in their time, are (save for Gershwin's music) largely forgotten today; ironically, his most enduring and respected Broadway work, Porgy and Bess, was lukewarmly received upon its premiere in 1935. Gershwin's “American Folk Opera” was inspired by the DuBose Heyward novel Porgy (1925) and featured a libretto and lyrics by Ira and the husband-wife team of DuBose and Dorothy Heyward. In preparation for the show, Gershwin spent time in the rural South, studying firsthand the music and lifestyle of impoverished African Americans. Theatre critics received the premiere production enthusiastically, buthighbrow music critics were derisive, distressed that “lowly” popular music should be incorporated into an opera structure. Black audiences throughout the years have criticized the work for its condescending depiction of stereotyped characters and for Gershwin's inauthentic appropriation of black musical forms. Nevertheless, Gershwin's music—including such standards as "Summertime," "It Ain't Necessarily So," "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," and "I Got Plenty O' Nuttin'" —transcended early criticism to attain a revered niche in the musical world, largely because it successfully amalgamates various musical cultures to evoke something uniquely American and wholly Gershwin. Porgy and Bess received overdue recognition in the years 1952–54 when the U.S. State Department selected it to represent the United States on an international tour, during which it became the first opera by an American composer to be performed at the La Scala operahouse in Milan. While it still raises political issues, contemporary attitudes towards the work are reflected in a statement by Grace Bumbry, who portrayed Bess in the Metropolitan Opera's widely praised revival in 1985: “I resented the role at first, possibly because I really didn't know the score, and I think because of the racial aspect. I thought it beneath me, I felt I had worked far too hard, that we had come too far to regress to 1935. My way of dealing with it was to see that it really was a piece of Americana, of American history.” Many now consider the score from Porgy and Bess to be Gershwin's greatest masterpiece.


Aftermath and assessment

Gershwin was known as a gregarious man whose huge ego was tempered by a genuinely magnetic personality. He loved his work and approached every assignment with enthusiasm, never suffering from “composer's block.” Throughout the first half of 1937, Gershwin began experiencing severe headaches and brief memory blackouts,although medical tests showed him to be in good health. By July, Gershwin exhibited impaired motor skills and drastic weight loss, and he required assistance in walking. He lapsedinto a coma on July 9, and a spinal tap revealed the presence of a brain tumor. Gershwin never regained consciousness and died during surgery two days later. He was at the peak ofhis powers with several unrealized projects ahead of him (among them, some sketches for a new string quartet and a new symphony, a proposed ballet score, and musical comedy collaborations with George S. Kaufman and DuBose Heyward). His death stunned the nation, whose collective feelings can be summed up in a famous statement from novelist John O'Hara: “George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to.”

Ira Gershwin, so devastated that he could not work for more than a year after George's death, became the keeper of his brother's legacy. In later years, he supervised the release of several unpublished Gershwin compositions, including several works for piano, the Lullaby for string quartet, and the Catfish Row Suite from Porgy and Bess (a work cobbled together after the show had closed and now considered to bethe last orchestral work to be composed and scored by Gershwin). Ira also put lyrics to tunes from George's notebooks, creating “new” Gershwin songs for the films The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947) and Kiss Me, Stupid (1964). He had continued success with other collaborators, including Kurt Weill, Jerome Kern, and Harold Arlen.

Gershwin's music remains a subject of debate among prominent international conductors, composers, and music scholars, some of whom find his works for orchestra to be naively structured, little more than catchy melodies strung together by the barest of musical links. In 1954, Leonard Bernstein summed up the feelings of many classical musicians, saying, “The themes are terrific—inspired, God-given. I don't think there has been such an inspired melodist on this earth since Tchaikovsky. But if you want to speak of a composer, that's another matter.” Nevertheless, Gershwin's accomplishments are considerable: he ranks (along with Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and Richard Rodgers) as one of the four greatest composers for the American musical theatre, as well as the only popular composer of the 20th century to have made a significant and lasting dent in the classical music world. He had great admirers in the classical field, including such luminaries as Arturo Toscanini,Fritz Reiner, Arnold Schoenberg, Maurice Ravel, Sergey Prokofiev, and Alban Berg, all of whom cited Gershwin's genius for melody and harmony. His orchestral works, now performed by most of the world's prestigious symphony orchestras, have attained a status for which Gershwin longedduring his lifetime. Aaron Copland and Charles Ives may rivalGershwin for the title of “great American composer,” but their works tend to be admired, whereas Gershwin's are beloved. As the noted musicologist Hans Keller stated, “Gershwin is a genius, in fact, whose style hides the wealth and complexity of his invention. There are indeed weak spots, but who cares about them when there is greatness?”
 

Rhapsody in Blue  (fragment)
Kristian Banatzianou








"Porgy and Bess" (fragments)

"Porgy and Bess"
Jennifer Graf
Summertime
Daniela Stigliano

Summertime
N'kenge Simpson-Hoffman
Summertime
Nate Robinson
It ain't necessarily so

Piano Preludes
Linda Love

Do It Again
Robin Alciatore

Nice Work If You Can Get It
Sara MacKimmie

Oh, Kay!
Sara MacKimmie
Someone to Watch Over Me

* * *
 




Louis Armstrong
 

born August 4, 1901, New Orleans, La., U.S.
died July 6, 1971, New York, N.Y.


byname Satchmo (diminutive of “Satchel Mouth”) the leading trumpeter and one of the most influential artists in jazz history.

Armstrong grew up in dire poverty in New Orleans, Louisiana, when jazz was very young. As a child he worked at odd jobs and sang in a boys quartet. In 1913 he was sent to the Colored Waifs Home as a juvenile delinquent. There he learned to play cornet in the home's band, and playing music quickly became a passion; in his teens he learned music by listening to the pioneer jazzartists of the day, including the leading New Orleans cornetist, King Oliver. Armstrong developed rapidly: he played in marching and jazz bands, becoming skillful enough to replace Oliver in the important Kid Ory band about1918, and in the early 1920s he played in Mississippi riverboat dance bands.

Fame beckoned in 1922 when Oliver, then leading a band in Chicago, sent for Armstrong to play second cornet. Oliver's Creole Jazz Band was the apex of the early, contrapuntal New Orleans ensemble style, and it included outstanding musicians such as the brothers Johnny and Baby Dodds and pianist Lil Hardin, who married Armstrong in 1924. The young Armstrong became popular through his ingenious ensemble lead and second cornet lines, his cornet duet passages (called “breaks”) with Oliver, and his solos. He recorded his first solos as a member of the Oliver band in such pieces as “Chimes Blues” and “Tears,” which Lil and Louis Armstrong composed.

Encouraged by his wife, Armstrong quit Oliver's band to seek further fame. He played for a year in New York City in Fletcher Henderson's band and on many recordings with others before returning to Chicago and playing in large orchestras. There he created his most important early works, the Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings of 1925–28, on which he emerged as the first great jazz soloist.By then the New Orleans ensemble style, which allowed few solo opportunities, could no longer contain his explosive creativity. He retained vestiges of the style in such masterpieces as “Hotter than That,” “Struttin' with Some Barbecue,” “Wild Man Blues,” and “Potato Head Blues” but largely abandoned it while accompanied by pianist Earl Hines (“West End Blues” and “Weather Bird”). By that time Armstrong was playing trumpet, and his technique was superior to that of all competitors. Altogether, his immenselycompelling swing; his brilliant technique; his sophisticated, daring sense of harmony; his ever-mobile, expressive attack, timbre, and inflections; his gift for creating vital melodies; his dramatic, often complex sense of solo design; and his outsized musical energy and genius made these recordings major innovations in jazz.

Armstrong was a famous musician by 1929, when he moved from Chicago to New York City and performed in the theatre review Hot Chocolates. He toured America and Europe as a trumpet soloist accompanied by big bands; for several years beginning in 1935, Luis Russell's big band served as the Louis Armstrong band. During this time he abandoned the often blues-based original material of his earlier years for a remarkably fine choice of popular songs by such noted composers as Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, and Duke Ellington. With his new repertoire came a new, simplified style: he created melodic paraphrases and variations as wellas chord-change-based improvisations on these songs. His trumpet range continued to expand, as demonstrated in the high-note showpieces in his repertoire. His beautiful tone and gift for structuring bravura solos with brilliant high-note climaxes led to such masterworks as “That's My Home,” “Body and Soul,” and “Star Dust.” One of the inventors of scat singing, he began to sing lyrics on most of his recordings, varying melodies or decorating with scat phrasesin a gravel voice that was immediately identifiable. Althoughhe sang such humorous songs as “Hobo, You Can't Ride This Train,” he also sang many standard songs, often with an intensity and creativity that equaled those of his trumpet playing.

Louis and Lil Armstrong separated in 1931. From 1935 to the end of his life, Armstrong's career was managed by Joe Glaser, who hired Armstrong's bands and guided his film career (beginning with Pennies from Heaven, 1936) and radio appearances. Though his own bands usually played in amore conservative style, Armstrong was the dominant influence on the swing era, when most trumpeters attempted to emulate his inclination to dramatic structure, melody, or technical virtuosity. Trombonists, too, appropriated Armstrong's phrasing, and saxophonists as different as Coleman Hawkins and Bud Freeman modeled their styles on different aspects of Armstrong's. Above all else, his swing-style trumpet playing influenced virtually all jazz horn players who followed him, and the swing and rhythmic suppleness of his vocal style were important influences on singers from Billie Holiday to Bing Crosby.

In most of Armstrong's movie, radio, and television appearances, he was featured as a good-humoured entertainer. He played a rare dramatic role in the film New Orleans (1947), in which he also performed in a Dixieland band. This prompted the formation of Louis Armstrong's All-Stars, a Dixieland band that at first included such other jazz greats as Hines and trombonist Jack Teagarden. For most of the rest of Armstrong's life, he toured the world with changing All-Stars sextets; indeed, “Ambassador Satch” in his later years was noted for his almost nonstop touring schedule. It was the period of his greatest popularity; he produced hit recordings such as “Mack the Knife” and “Hello, Dolly!” and outstanding albums such as his tributes to W.C. Handy and Fats Waller. In his last years ill health curtailed his trumpet playing, but he continued as a singer. His last film appearance was in Hello, Dolly! (1969).

More than a great trumpeter, Armstrong was a bandleader, singer, soloist, film star, and comedian. One of his most remarkable feats was his frequent conquest of the popular market with recordings that thinly disguised authentic jazz with Armstrong's contagious humour. He nonetheless made his greatest impact on the evolution of jazz itself, which at the start of his career was popularly considered to be little more than a novelty. With his great sensitivity, technique, and capacity to express emotion, Armstrong not only ensured the survival of jazz but led in its development into a fine art.

Armstrong's autobiographies include Swing That Music (1936) and Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans (1954).
 

1. Mack The Knife

2. What A Wonderful World

3. Basin Street Blues

4. Muskrat Ramble

5. Hello Dolly

6. Cabaret

7. On The Sunny Side Of The Street

8. Blueberry Hill

9. The Bucket's Got A Hole In It

10. When It's Sleepy Time Down South

11. A Kiss To Build A Dream On

12. Ain't Misbehavin'

13. Body And Soul

14. St. Louis Blues

15. La Vie En Rose

16. West End Blues

17. Black And Blue

18. C'Est Si Bon

Old Rockin' Chair

2
I'll Be Glad When You're Dead

3
Wild Man Blues

Confessin

Lazy River

Dinah

7
I Ain't Got Nobody

8
Georgia Bo Bo

9
You're Lucky To Me

10
A Monday Date

11
St. James' Infirmary

12
Georgia On My Mind

13
West End Blues

14
Ain't Misbehavin

15
Knockin' A Jug

16
Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me

17
St. Louis Blues

18
Chinatown, My Chinatown

19
Drop That Sack

20
My Sweet

 

 

* * *
 




Duke Ellington

 

born April 29, 1899, Washington,D.C., U.S.
died May 24, 1974, New York, N.Y.


byname of EdwardKennedy Ellington American pianist who was the greatest jazz composer and bandleader. One of the originators of big-band jazz, Ellington led his band for more than half a century, composed thousands of scores, and created one of the most distinctive ensemble sounds in all of Western music.

Ellington grew up in a secure middle-class family in Washington, D.C. His family encouraged his interests in the fine arts, and he began studying piano at age seven. He became engrossed in studying art during his high-school years, and he was awarded, but did not accept, a scholarship to the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. Inspired by ragtimeperformers, he began to perform professionally at age 17.

Ellington first played in New York City in 1923. Later that yearhe moved there and, in Broadway nightclubs, led a sextet that grew in time into a 10-piece ensemble. The singular blues-based melodies; the harsh, vocalized sounds of his trumpeter, Bubber Miley (who used a plunger [“wa-wa”] mute); and the sonorities of the distinctive trombonist Joe (“Tricky Sam”) Nanton (who played muted “growl” sounds) all influenced Ellington's early “jungle style,” as seen in such masterpieces as “East St. Louis Toodle-oo” (1926) and “Black and Tan Fantasy” (1927).


Extended residencies at the Cotton Club inHarlem (1927–32, 1937–38) stimulated Ellington to enlarge his band to 14 musicians and to expand his compositional scope. He selected his musicians for their expressive individuality, and several members of his ensemble—including trumpeter Cootie Williams (who replaced Miley), cornetist Rex Stewart, trombonist Lawrence Brown, baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges, and clarinetist Barney Bigard—were themselves important jazz artists. (The most popular of these was Hodges, who rendered ballads with a full, creamy tone and long portamentos.) With these exceptional musicians, who remained with him throughout the 1930s, Ellington made hundreds of recordings, appeared in films and on radio, and toured Europe in 1933 and 1939.

The expertise of this ensemble allowed Ellington to break away from the conventions of band-section scoring. Instead, he used new harmonies to blend his musicians' individual sounds and emphasized congruent sections and a supple ensemble that featured Carney's full bass-clef sound. He illuminated subtle moods with ingenious combinations of instruments; among the most famous examples is “Mood Indigo” in his 1930 setting for muted trumpet, unmuted trombone, and low-register clarinet. In 1931 Ellington began to create extended works, including such pieces as Creole Rhapsody, Reminiscing in Tempo, and Diminuendo in Blue/Crescendo in Blue. He composed a series of works to highlight the special talents of his soloists. Williams, for example, demonstrated his versatility in Ellington's noted miniature concertos “Echoes of Harlem” and “Concerto for Cootie.” Some of Ellington's numbers—notably “Caravan” and “Perdido” by trombonist Juan Tizol—were cowritten or entirely composed by sidemen. Few of Ellington's soloists, despite their importance to jazz history, played as effectively in other contexts; no one else, it seemed, could match the inspiration that Ellington provided with his sensitive, masterful settings.

A high point in Ellington's career came in the early 1940s, when he composed several masterworks—including the above-mentioned “Concerto for Cootie,” his fast-tempo showpieces “Cotton Tail” and “Ko-Ko,” and the uniquely structured, compressed panoramas “Main Stem” and “Harlem Air Shaft”—in which successions of soloists are accompanied by diverse ensemble colours. The variety and ingenuity of these works, all conceived for three-minute, 78-rpm records, are extraordinary, as are their unique forms, which range from logically flowing expositions to juxtapositions of line and mood. Tenor saxophonist Ben Webster and bassist Jimmy Blanton, both major jazz artists, were with this classic Ellington band. By then, too, Billy Strayhorn, composer of what would become the band's theme song, “Take the ‘A' Train,” had become Ellington's composing-arranging partner.

Not limiting himself to jazz innovation, Ellington also wrote such great popular songs as “Sophisticated Lady,” “Rocks in My Bed,” and “Satin Doll”; in other songs, such as “Don't GetAround Much Any More,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” “Solitude,” and “I Let a Song Go out of My Heart,” he made wide interval leaps an Ellington trademark. A number of these hits were introduced by Ivy Anderson, who was the band's female vocalist in the 1930s.

During these years Ellington became intrigued with the possibilities of composing jazz within classical forms. His musical suite Black, Brown and Beige (1943), a portrayal of African-American history, was the first in a series of suites he composed, usually consisting of pieces linked by subject matter. It was followed by, among others, Liberian Suite (1947); A Drum Is a Woman (1956), created for a television production; Such Sweet Thunder (1957), impressions of William Shakespeare's scenes and characters; a recomposed, reorchestrated version of Nutcracker Suite (1960; after Peter Tchaikovsky); Far East Suite (1964); and Togo Brava Suite (1971). Ellington's symphonic A Rhapsody of Negro Life was the basis for the film short Symphony in Black (1935), which also features the voice of Billie Holiday (uncredited). Ellington wrote motion-picture scores for The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and composed for the ballet and theatre—including, at the heightof the Civil Rights Movement, the show My People (1964), a celebration of African-American life. In his last decade he composed three pieces of sacred music: In the Beginning God (1965), Second Sacred Concert (1968), and Third Sacred Concert (1973).

Although Ellington's compositional interests and ambitions changed over the decades, his melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic characteristics were for the most part fixed by the late 1930s, when he was a star of the swing era. The broken, eighth-note melodies and arrhythms of bebop had little impact on him, though on occasion he recorded with musicians who were not band members—not only with other swing-era luminaries such as Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Coleman Hawkins but also with later bop musicians John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. Ellington's stylistic qualities were shared by Strayhorn, who increasingly participated in composing and orchestrating music for the Ellington band. During 1939–67 Strayhorn collaborated so closely with Ellington that jazz scholars may never determine how much the gifted deputy influenced or even composed works attributed to Ellington.

The Ellington band toured Europe often after World War II; it also played in Asia (1963–64, 1970), West Africa (1966), South America (1968), and Australia (1970) and frequently toured North America. Despite this grueling schedule, some of Ellington's musicians stayed with him for decades; Carney, for example, was a band member for 47 years. For the most part, later replacements fit into roles that had been created by their distinguished predecessors; after 1950, for instance, the Webster-influenced Paul Gonsalves filled the band's solo tenor saxophone role originated by Webster. There were some exceptions to this generalization, such as trumpeter-violinist Ray Nance and high-note trumpet specialist Cat Anderson.

Not least of the band's musicians was Ellington himself, a pianist whose style originated in ragtime and the stride piano idiom of James P. Johnson and Willie “The Lion” Smith. He adapted his style for orchestral purposes, accompanying with vivid harmonic colours and, especially in later years, offering swinging solos with angular melodies. An elegant man, Ellington maintained a regal manner as he led the bandand charmed audiences with his suave humour. His career spanned more than half a century—most of the documented history of jazz. He continued to lead the band until shortly before his death in 1974.

Ellington's sense of musical drama and of his players' special talents and his wide range of moods were rare indeed. His gift of melody and his mastery of sonic textures, rhythms, and compositional forms translated his often subtle, often complex perceptions into a body of music unequaled in jazz history. Charles Ives is perhaps his only rival for the title of the greatest American composer. Ellington's autobiography, Music Is My Mistress, was published in 1973.
 

01 Rockin' In The Rythm

02 Such Sweet Thunder

03 Newport Up

04 St. Louis Blues

05 Walking And Singing The Blue

06 Theme From "Anatomy Of A Murder"

7 THE CAT

8 HANK SANK

9 JAM WITH SAM

10 THINGS AIN'T WHAT THEY USED TO BE

11 MEDLEY

12 I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart

   

* * *
 




Fats Waller

 

born May 21, 1904, New York City
died Dec. 15, 1943, Kansas City, Mo., U.S.


byname of Thomas Wright Waller American pianist and composer who was one of the few outstanding jazz musicians to win wide commercial fame, though this was achieved at a cost of obscuring his purely musical ability under a cloak of broad comedy.

Overcoming opposition from his clergyman father, Waller became a professional pianist at 15, working in cabarets and theatres, and soon became deeply influenced by James P. Johnson, the founder of the stride school of jazz piano. By the late 1920s he was also an established songwriter whose work often appeared in Broadway revues. From 1934 on he made hundreds of recordings with his own small band, in which excellent jazz was mixed with slapstickin a unique blend.

His best-known songs include “Ain't Misbehavin',” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and his first success, “Squeeze Me” (1925), written with Clarence Williams. He was the first jazz musician to master the organ, and he appeared in several films, including Stormy Weather (1943). Usually rememberedas a genial clown, he is of lasting importance as one of the greatest of all jazz pianists and as a gifted songwriter, whose work in both fields was rhythmically contagious.
 

1 12th STREET RAG  

2 I AIN'T GOT NOBODY

3 DINAH  

4 MY VERY GOOD FRIEND THE MILKMAN

5 I'M ON A SEE-SAW

6  I'M GONNA SIT RIGHT DOWN AND WRITE MYSELF A LETTER

7 BASIN STREET BLUES piano solo

8 WHY DO HAWAIIANS SING ALOHA?

9 PASWONKY

10 LOST LOVE

11 DON'T YOU KNOW OR DON'T YOU CARE

12 SHE'S TALL, SHE'S TAN, SHE'S TERRIFIC

13  I'M ALWAYS IN THE MOOD FOR YOU

14 ST. LOUIS BLUES piano duet with bennie paine

15  SHORTNIN BREAD

16 SUGAR ROSE

17 THAT NEVER-TO-BE-FORGOTTEN NIGHT

18 AFTER YOU'VE GONE piano duet with bennie paine

19 OLD PLANTATION

20 HONEYSUCKLE ROSE

   

* * *
 





Cab Calloway
 

born December 25, 1907, Rochester, New York, U.S.
died November 18, 1994, Hockessin, Delaware

byname of Cabell Calloway III American bandleader, singer, and all-around entertainer known for his exuberant performing style and for leading one of the most highly regarded big bands of the swing era.

After graduating from high school, Calloway briefly attendeda law school in Chicago but quickly turned to performing in nightclubs as a singer. He began directing his own bands in 1928 and in the following year went to New York City. There he appeared in an all-black musical, Fats Waller's Connie's Hot Chocolates, in which he sang the Waller classic "Ain't Misbehavin'." In 1931 he was engaged as a bandleader at theCotton Club; his orchestra, along with that of Duke Ellington's, became one of the two house bands most associated with the legendary Harlem nightspot. In the sameyear, Calloway first recorded his most famous composition, "Minnie the Moocher," a song that showcased his ability at scat singing. Other Calloway hits from the 1930s include "Kickin' the Gong Around," "Reefer Man," "The Lady with the Fan," "Long About Midnight," "The Man from Harlem," and "Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day."

Calloway was an energetic and humorous entertainer whose performance trademarks included eccentric dancing and wildly flinging his mop of hair; his standard accoutrements included a white tuxedo and an oversized baton. He was a talented vocalist with an enormous range and was regarded as “the most unusually and broadly gifted male singer of the '30s” by jazz scholar Gunther Schuller. Although his band rose to fame largely on the strength of his personal appeal, some critics felt that Calloway's antics drew focus away fromone of the best assemblages of musicians in jazz. Calloway led a tight, professional unit during the early 1930s, but many regard his band of 1937–42 to be his best. Featured sidemen during those years included legendary jazz players such as pianist Bennie Payne, saxophonists Chu Berry and Ike Quebec, trombonist-vibraphonist Tyree Glenn, drummer Cozy Cole, and trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie, Doc Cheatham, Jonah Jones, and Shad Collins. The decline in popularity of big bands forced Calloway to disband his orchestra in 1948, and he continued for several years with a sextet.

Calloway also had a successful side career as an actor. He appeared in several motion pictures, including The Big Broadcast (1932), Stormy Weather (1943), Sensations of 1945 (1944), and The Cincinnati Kid (1965). George Gershwinhad conceived the role of “Sportin' Life” in his 1935 jazz opera Porgy and Bess for Calloway; the entertainer finally got his chance at the part during a heralded world tour of the show in 1952–54. In the 1960s, Calloway appeared on Broadway and on tour in Hello, Dolly!, portraying the role of Horace Vandergelder opposite Pearl Bailey as Dolly Levi, and he again starred on Broadway in the 1970s in the hit musical Bubbling Brown Sugar. His best-known acting performance was also his last, as a jive-talking music promoter in director John Landis's comedy The Blues Brothers (1980). The film featured Calloway singing "Minnie the Moocher" every bit as energetically and eccentrically as he had performed it in 1931.
 

I GOT A GIRLNAMED NETTY

THIS IS ALWAYS

JEALOUS

A BLUE SERGE SUIT

ONE O'CLOCK JUMP

FRANTIC IN THE ATLANTIC

JUMPIN' JIVE

AIRMAIL STOMP

CRUISIN' WITH CAB YOU GOT IT

THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC

EVERYBODY EATS WHEN THEY COME TO MY HOUSE

THE DUCK TROT

 

   

 

* * *





Artie Shaw

 

born May 23, 1910, New York City

byname of Arthur Arshawsky American clarinetist and popular bandleader of the 1930s and '40s. He was one of the few outstanding jazz musicians whose commitment to jazz was uncertain.

Shaw began playing in high school andturned professional in 1925. The first signs of indecision became apparent in the early 1930s, when he retired from music for a year. In 1935, at a New York swing concert, he played one of his own compositions accompanied by a string quartet. A jazz and dance band with a string section followed, but in 1937 he re-formed his band along more conventional lines and a year later became internationally known through his recording of Cole Porter's “Begin the Beguine.”

From 1939 Shaw lived alternately in Mexico and the United States, experimenting occasionally with small jazz combos that he called the “Gramercy Five” regardless of membership. While several public comebacks followed, including leadership of a U.S. Navy orchestra, he dissociated himself from jazz almost totally after the early 1950s. An oft-married man of some wit, he wrote a revealing autobiography, The Trouble with Cinderella (1952).
 

THEME: NIGHTMARE

SOFTLY, AS IN A MORNING SUNRISE

GUE LE LE

HE'S FUNNY THAT WAY

COOL DADDY

THE GRABTOWN GRAPPLE

YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME

CROSS YOUR HEART

MINNESOTA

SMOOTH AND EASY

TEA FOR TWO

I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU

CARNIVAL

SO IN LOVE

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP

KRAZY KAT

INNUENDO

BEDFORD DRIVE

THE PIED PIPER

'SWONDERFUL, 'SMARVELOUS

LET'S FALL IN LOVE

STARDUST

BEGIN THE BEGUINE

 

* * *
 





Benny Goodman
 

born May 30, 1909, Chicago
died June 13, 1986, New York City

byname of Benjamin David Goodman American clarinetist and orchestra leader, called the “King of Swing,” a variety of American jazz of the 1930s and early 1940s with fast insistent rhythm, improvisation riding over melody, and collective use of syncopated rhythm. Goodman's opening theme song was “Let's Dance,” his closing signature “Goodbye.”

After early training with musicians in Chicago, he joined the Ben Pollack jazz band and made his first recordingin 1926. He lived in New York City from1929 and, in 1933–34, organized an orchestra that became one of the most popular of the swing bands. The band served as career springboards for trumpeter Harry James, drummer Gene Krupa, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, and pianist Teddy Wilson. Orchestrations by Fletcher Henderson and later (from 1940) by Eddie Sauter made a notable contribution. His band generated great enthusiasm for jazz among white listeners, and his small groups, particularly the trio (1935–36) and quartet (1936–39), returned jazz to its original emphasis on small performing groups and indirectly encouraged the development of modern jazz, which Goodman decried. For these small groups he hired the black musicians Wilson, Hampton, and Charlie Christian, guitarist, presenting for the first time a racially mixed popular jazz group. During the 1950s he intermittently led bands, and in 1955 he recorded the sound track for a film biography, The Benny Goodman Story. In 1962 he took a jazz band to the Soviet Union on a U.S. State Department tour. Thereafter he appeared sporadically with former players in special concerts and played clarinet with symphonic orchestras and smaller groups.

Goodman's jazz solo playing, noted for its technical purity, was a highly refined version of the Chicago clarinet style. As a classical clarinetist he recorded with the Budapest String Quartet and commissioned works by the contemporary composers Béla Bartók, Paul Hindemith, and Aaron Copland. The Kingdom of Swing (1939), with Irving Kolodin, is his autobiography. A discography, B.G. on Record, by D. Russell Connor and Warren W. Hicks, was published in 1969.
 

KING PORTER STOMP

CLARINADE

AND THE ANGELS SING

ALL THE CATS JOIN IN

THE MAD BOOGIE

ONE O'CLOCK JUMP

CLARINET A LA KING

'SWONDERFUL

JEALOUSY

RATTLE AND ROLL

I WANT TO BE LOVED

REMEMBER

SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL

DON'T BE THAT WAY

TATTLE TALE

BLUE SKIES

MAHZEL (GOOD LUCK)

MOON-FACED AND STARRY EYED

OLD BUTTERMILK SKY

OH BABY

THEME (GOODBYE)

 

 

* * *




Nat King Cole
 

born March 17, 1917, Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
died February 15, 1965, Santa Monica, California

byname of Nathaniel Adams Cole , family name originally Coles American musician hailed as one of the best and most influential pianists and small-group leaders of the swing era. Cole attained his greatest commercial success, however, as a vocalist specializing in warm ballads and light swing.

Cole grew up in Chicago where, by age12, he sang and played organ in the church where his father was pastor. He formed his first jazz group, the Royal Dukes, five years later. In 1937, after touring with a black musical revue, he began playing in jazz clubs in Los Angeles. There he formed the King Cole Trio (originally King Cole and His Swingsters), with guitarist Oscar Moore and bassist Wesley Prince (later replaced by Johnny Miller). The trio specialized in swing music with a delicate touch in that they did not employ a drummer; also unique were the voicings of piano and guitar, often juxtaposed to sound like a single instrument. An influence on jazz pianists such as Oscar Peterson, Cole was known for a compact, syncopated piano style with clean, spare, melodic phrases.

During the late 1930s and early '40s the trio made several instrumental recordings, as well as others that featured theirharmonizing vocals. They found their greatest success, however, when Cole began doubling as a solo singer. Their first chart success, "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (1943), was followed by hits such as "Sweet Lorraine," "It's Only a Paper Moon," "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons," and "Route 66." Eventually, Cole's piano playing took a backseat to his singing career. Noted for his warm tone and flawless phrasing, Cole was regarded among the top male vocalists, although jazz critics tended to regret his near-abandonment of the piano. He first recorded with a full orchestra (the trio serving as rhythm section) in 1946 for "The Christmas Song,"a holiday standard and one of Cole's biggest-selling recordings. By the 1950s, he worked almost exclusively as a singer, with such notable arrangers as Nelson Riddle and Billy May providing lush orchestral accompaniment. "Nature Boy," "Mona Lisa," "Too Young," "A Blossom Fell," and "Unforgettable" were among his major hits of the period. He occasionally revisited his jazz roots, as on the outstanding album After Midnight (1956), which proved that Cole's piano skills had not diminished.

Cole's popularity allowed him to become the first African American to host a network variety program, The Nat King Cole Show, which debuted on NBC television in 1956. The show fell victim to the bigotry of the times, however, and was canceled after one season; few sponsors were willing to be associated with a black entertainer. Cole had greater success with concert performances during the late 1950s and early '60s and twice toured with his own vaudeville-stylereviews, The Merry World of Nat King Cole (1961) and Sights and Sounds (1963). His hits of the early '60s— "Ramblin' Rose," "Those Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer,"and "L-O-V-E" —indicate that he was moving even farther away from his jazz roots and concentrating almost exclusively on mainstream pop. Adapting his style, however,was one factor that kept Cole popular up to his early death from lung cancer in 1965.

The prejudices of the era in which Cole lived hindered his potential for even greater stardom. His talents extended beyond singing and piano playing: he excelled as a relaxed and humorous stage personality, and he was also a capable actor, evidenced by his performances in the films Istanbul (1957), China Gate (1957), Night of the Quarter Moon (1959), and Cat Ballou (1965); he also played himself in The Nat “King” Cole Musical Story (1955) and portrayed blues legend W.C. Handy in St. Louis Blues (1958). His daughter Natalie is also a popular singer who achieved her greatest chart success in 1991 with "Unforgettable," an electronically created duet with her father.
 




IT'S ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE

IT'S ONLY A PAPER MOON

JUMPY JITTERS

NOTHING EVER HAPPENS

LET'S DO THINGS

SENTIMENTAL BLUE

WHAT СНА DOING TO MY HEART

LOVE ME SOONER

I'M THROUGH WITH LOVE

FLO AND JOE

GO BONGO

YES SIR, THAT'S MY BABY

TINY'S EXERCISE

GEE BABY, AIN'T I GOOD TO YOU?

BABY, I NEED YOU

BOP KICK

NON DIMENTICAR

NEVER LET ME GO

WHO'S SORRY NOW

AROUND THE WORLD

SEPTEMBER SONG

LUSH LIFE

EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO ME

AUTUMN LEAVES

LOVER COME BACK TO MEI

TENDERLY

THESE FOOLISH THINGS

IF I GIVE MY HEART TO YOU

LOST APRIL

AT LAST

FASCINATION

LOVE IS HERE TO STAY

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN

MOON LOVE

UNFORGETTABLE

LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDOURED THING

MONA LISA

THIS CAN'T BE LOVE

BLUE GARDENIA

SMILE

LET THERE BE LOVE

TOO YOUNG

I SHOULD CARE

ANGEL EYES

A BLOSSOM FELL

NATURE BOY

STARDUST

AGAIN

YOU STEPPED OUT OF A DREAM

SONG OF DELILAH

AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER

I REMEMBER YOU

 

 

 

* * *




Glenn Miller

 

born March 1, 1904, Clarinda, Iowa, U.S.
died Dec. 16, 1944, at sea en route from London to Paris

U.S. composer and trombonist, one of the most remarkable of all popular music figures because of the intensity of his posthumous reputation.

Miller was educated at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and in 1926 became a professional trombonist with Ben Pollack's band. By 1930 he was a much sought-after New York City free-lance musician. Later he became an organizer of other men's bands, particularly those of the Dorsey brothers (1934) and Ray Noble (1935). After an abortive attempt to form his own orchestra (1937), he tried again a year later and by 1939 had achieved world fame as a big-band leader. He became captain and then major as leader of the U.S. Air Force band in Europe. While flying to Paris from England, he disappeared; neither bodies nor wreckage were ever sighted or recovered.

Miller's triumphs in the ballrooms were based on sweet orchestrations meticulously executed. The Miller saxophone sound, instantly recognizable and much copied, was based on quite simple musical precepts, as were all his big successes, including his own composition, “Moonlight Serenade,” which grew out of an exercise he had written while studying with Joseph Schillinger. His two Hollywood films, Sun Valley Serenade (1941) and Orchestra Wives (1942), contributed to his reputation; but by far the biggest factor in the persistence of his memory was the release in 1953 of the somewhat sweetened movie biography, The Glenn Miller Story. Some critics hold that the jazz content of his orchestra was negligible, but others regard its sound as the definitive popular music of its time. Because of its great popularity, the orchestra was held together for a time under saxophonist Tex Beneke, and an organization known as the Glenn Miller Orchestra, which purveyed its original leader's sound, performed into the 1980s.
 

JEEP JOCKEY JUMP (Jirry Gray)

SYMPHONY

RHAPSODY IN BLUE (Gershwin)
SEVEN-O-FIVE

MEDLEY: KILLARNEY-I'VE GOT A HEART FILLED WITH LOVE-WASBASH BLUES

EVERYBODY LOVES MY BABY (Williams Pilmar)

IN THE MOOD
THERE'LL BE A HOT TIME

SPEAK LOW

KEEP 'EM FLYING

MOONLIGHT SERENADE

WHY DREAM

HERE WE GO AGAIN

FELLOW ON A FURLOUGH

PASSAGE INTERDIT

LITTLE BROWN JUG

DEEP PURPLE

JUKE BOX SATURDAY NIGHT

NOW I KNOW

BUBBLE BATH-CLOSING THEME

   

 

* * *





Miles Davis

 

born May 25, 1926, Alton, Ill., U.S.
died Sept. 28, 1991, Santa Monica, Calif.

in full Miles Dewey Davis III American jazz musician,a great trumpeter who as a bandleader and composer was one of the major influences on the art from the late 1940s.

The son of a prosperous dental surgeon, Davis began playing the trumpet at age 13 and was soon performing with local jazz bands in St. Louis. He moved to New York City in 1944 to study at the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School), which he soon left to play bebop with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and others. He played primarily in Parker's bands from 1945 until becoming the leader of a short-lived nonet (1948–49) whose studio recordings became the album Birth of the Cool (1949). One of the pioneering cool jazz groups, the no net featured the saxophonists Gerry Mulligan and Lee Konitz and the pianist-arrangers Gil Evans and John Lewis.

Davis' great period began in 1954 with his classic, blues-centred all-star album performances Walkin' and Bags Groove. In contrast to the bebop trumpet virtuosos, Davis played a direct, unornamented melodic style, based upon quarter-notes and rich with inflections, in his horn's middle registers. Growing confidence in his technique led to the most daring improvising of his career, with his intermittent 1955–57 quintet, which included tenor saxophonist John Coltrane and drummer Philly Joe Jones. The great tension of this group's playing resulted from the drastic rhythmic contrasts of its members. In his 1957–60 recordings of Gil Evans' colourist orchestrations (Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain), Davis played flugelhorn and trumpet and improvised upon static harmonies, a practice that came to be called “modal improvising.”

Possibly the most famous of Davis' albums was Kind of Blue, by his 1959 sextet that included saxophonists Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley and pianist Bill Evans. Subsequently Davis returned to modal playing only intermittently for several years, meanwhile gradually piecing together a new quintet centred on drummer Tony Williams and including pianist Herbie Hancock, bassist Ron Carter, and saxophonist Wayne Shorter. This group, too, achieved peaks of nervous tension and rhythmic contrast, using the harmonic techniques of free jazz by 1966.

By 1969 Davis was playing an original kind of jazz-rock fusion music, accompanied by electronic instruments on the highly influential album Bitches Brew. The emotional and technical range of his music narrowed in his fusion years, especially after a brief retirement (1975–80).

Though occasionally given to multinote flurries, Davis generally displayed one of the most economical and thoughtful trumpet styles in modern jazz. The deliberation, pacing, and lyricism in his improvisations are striking. Davis was the most popular jazz artist of the post-World War II era. Many younger musicians arrived at the beginnings of their own popularity while playing in his groups. He has been credited with composing several jazz standards, including “Four,” “Milestones,” and “So What.”
 

SO WHAT

 

FRAN-DANCE

 

ALL BLUES


THE THEME

 

* * *




John Coltrane

 

born Sept. 23, 1926, Hamlet, N.C., U.S.
died July 17, 1967, Huntington, N.Y.

in full John William Coltrane American jazz saxophonist, bandleader, and composer who exerted an influence on the jazz of the 1960s and '70s that was at least as strong as Charlie Parker's had been in the 1940s and '50s.

After growing up in Philadelphia, Coltrane worked with Eddie Vinson, Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic, and Johnny Hodges and then came to wide attention by recording with Miles Davis intermittently from 1955 to 1960 and briefly with Thelonious Monk in 1957. During those years Coltrane's tone on the tenor saxophone was huge and dark, with clear definition and full body, even in the high register and with the split-note multiphonics that became his trademark. The cascade of notes during his powerful solos showed his infatuation with chord progressions, culminating in the virtuoso performance of his difficult “Giant Steps.”

In the early 1960s Coltrane focused on mode-based improvisation in which solos were played atop one- or two-note accompanying figures that were repeated for extended periods of time (typified in his recordings of the Rodgers and Hammerstein “My Favorite Things”). From 1960to 1965 he performed with his own highly acclaimed quartet, featuring drummer Elvin Jones, pianist McCoy Tyner, and bassist Jimmy Garrison. At the same time, his study of the native musics of India and Africa was ultimately expressed on the instrument Coltrane popularized—the soprano saxophone. These influences, combined with a unique interplay with the drums and the steady vamping of the piano and bass, made the Coltrane quartet among the most influential combos of the 1960s.

The short period between 1965 and Coltrane's death saw the dissolution of his quartet, but it also marked the expansion in his work of a free, collective improvisation based on prearranged scales clustered around tonal centres. Coltrane's wife Alice (also a jazz musician and composer) played the piano in his band during the last years of his life. This period is best represented in his albums Ascension and Meditations.
 

ON GREEN DOLPHIN STREET (Washington-Kaper)

WALKIN' (R. Carpenter)

THE THEME
(M Davis)

 

 

 

* * *




Lionel Hampton
 

born April 20, 1908, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
died August 31, 2002, New York,New York

in full Lionel Leo Hampton , byname Hamp American jazz musician and bandleader, known for the rhythmic vitality of his playing andhis showmanship as a performer. Best known for his work on the vibraphone, Hampton was also a skilled drummer, pianist, and singer.

As a boy, Hampton lived with his mother in Kentucky and Wisconsin before finally settling in Chicago, where he received tuition on the xylophone from percussionist Jimmy Bertrand. Hampton got his start playing drums in the Chicago Defender Newsboys' Band before moving to California in the late 1920s. There he played drums in a succession of bands, the most notable being Paul Howard's Quality Serenaders, with which Hampton made his recording debut in 1929. He next joined Les Hite's band and accompanied Louis Armstrong on several recordings. At one session in 1930, Armstrong asked Hampton to play a vibraphone that had been fortuitously left in the studio. The results were "Memories of You" and "Shine," the first jazz recordings to feature improvised vibraphone solos. From this point on, the vibes became Hampton's main instrument.

During the early 1930s, Hampton studied music for a brief period at the University of Southern California and appeared in a few films featuring Armstrong and Hite. After leaving Hite, Hampton led his own band in Los Angeles's Paradise Cafe, where he was discovered by Benny Goodman in 1936. Soon thereafter, the Benny Goodman Trio (Goodman, pianistTeddy Wilson, and drummer Gene Krupa) became a quartet with the addition of Hampton. As a member of the Goodman group for the next four years, Hampton made some of his most heralded recordings, taking memorable solos on such songs as "Dizzy Spells," "Avalon," and "Moonglow." Hamptonwas an extroverted, energetic performer who provided the Goodman quartet with drive and dynamism. He was also, for a brief period, drummer with the Goodman orchestra after Gene Krupa left in 1938.

While still with Goodman, Hampton led recording sessions under his own name during the years 1937–39. The majority of these represent some of the best jazz of the era and feature such legendary musicians as Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Nat Cole, Cootie Williams, Harry James, Red Allen, Ben Webster, and Charlie Christian. On these recordings, Hampton occasionally plays piano (on which he performed vibraphone-style with two fingers) or drums, but most feature him on the vibes and reveal him to be as sensitive with ballads as he is extroverted on up-tempo numbers.

Hampton left Goodman and formed his own band in 1940. He had his first major hit in 1942 with "Flying Home," the numberthat became his perennial theme song. One of the most long-lived and popular assemblages in jazz, Hampton's band included such noted musicians as Wes Montgomery, Clifford Brown, Art Farmer, Dexter Gordon, Quincy Jones, Jimmy Cleveland, and Cat Anderson; and the band's vocalists included Joe Williams, Dinah Washington, Betty Carter, and Aretha Franklin. The band's hit recordings of the 1940s included "Hamp's Boogie Woogie," "Midnight Sun," "Million Dollar Smile," and "Central Avenue Breakdown." As the 1940s progressed, Hampton's band incorporated bebop stylings into the arrangements, but it returned to old styles and played rhythm and blues with greater frequency (especially evident in the saxophone work of Illinois Jacquet)in the '50s. It was also during this decade that Hampton released two of his most celebrated recordings, "September in the Rain" (1953) and "Stardust" (1955), both featuring some of his most beautiful and creative vibes solos.

Hampton continued to lead big bands and small groups for the remainder of his career, which extended into the 21st century. He participated in an outstanding series of combo recordings during the mid 1950s on which he proved himself one of the few musicians not to be intimidated by the genius of pianist Art Tatum. In the 1960s Hampton started his own record label and undertook extensive tours of Europe, Africa,Japan, and the Philippines. He had a few reunions with the Benny Goodman Quartet throughout the years, none so memorable or poignant as an appearance at the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival, a few months before Gene Krupa's death. In the 1980s and '90s, Hampton was still drawing sellout crowds throughout the world. Despite bouts of ill health, he continued to perform on a limited basis into his 90s.

Although Red Norvo is credited as the first jazz musician to play the vibraphone, it was Hampton who extended the instrument's possibilities and made it a standard item in the jazz world, especially in small-group settings. A true jazz icon, Hampton received numerous awards and honours, including 15 honorary doctorates from universities throughout the world, and the music school at the University of Idaho is named in his honour.
 

Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In

Glenn Miller - In The Mood

Duke Ellington - Caravan

Count Basie - Lady Be Good

Lionel Hampton - Undecided

Benny Goodman - Stompin At The Savoy

Harry James - The Man I Love

Woody Herman - Mood Indigo

Louis Armstrong - St. Louis Blues

Glenn Miller - String Of Pearls

Duke Ellington - Creole Love Call

Count Basie - Jumpin' At The Woodside

Tommy Dorsey - Somebody Stole My Gal

Lionel Hampton - Jeepers Creepers

Benny Goodman - Bugle Call Rag

Harry James -I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good

   

 

* * *




Teddy Wilson
 

Teddy Wilson was born at Austin, Texas on November 24, 1912 and died in 1986. He started recording during 1932.

As a pianist and composer, he was well-respected in the jazz community. His influences were Fats Waller, Art Tatum, and Earl Hines.

Wilson had an affinity for the American Songbook and recorded many songs by George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Duke Ellington, and other composers. Wilson composed songs, and one was "Little Things Mean So Much."

During the Swing Era of American Jazz, he worked with many jazz legends, formed his own popular trio, and was a bandleader. He recorded with Billie Holiday and Benny Goodman, among many others.

As a teacher of piano, his pupils included pianists Roger Williams and Dick Hyman. Much has been written about Teddy Wilson as an articulate pianist with a highly developed talent for phrasing.

Suggested reading is the book, TEDDY WILSON TALKS JAZZ by Teddy Wilson with Arie Ligthart and Humphrey Van Loo (2001). A prolific recording artist, Teddy Wilson's performances are available on CDs.

 

 

* * *




Dizzy Gillespie

 

born Oct. 21, 1917, Cheraw, S.C., U.S.
died Jan. 6, 1993, Englewood, N.J.

byname of John Birks Gillespie American trumpeter, composer, and bandleader who wasa founder of the modern jazz style known as bebop.
Gillespie received early instrumental training from his father and instructionin theory at Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina. He composed, arranged, and soloed with the Teddy Hill and Cab Calloway bands in the late 1930s and with the Benny Carter and Earl Hines bands, among others, in the early 1940s. He took an active part in the jam sessions at Minton's Playhouse in Harlem, where such musicians as pianist Thelonius Monk, drummer Kenny Clarke, and saxophonist Charlie Parker were experimenting with a new style of jazz composed of numerous altered chord progressions and rapid syncopated rhythms. Gillespie became co-leader of a group on 52nd Street with bassist Oscar Pettiford, which marked the birth of the bebop era. When Gillespie and Parker joined Billy Eckstine's band in 1944, it became the first big band to showcase the new style.
Gillespie took the saxophone-style lines of advanced swing-era trumpeter Roy Eldridge and executed them faster, with greater ease, and with further harmonic daring. He played his jagged melodies with abandon, reaching into the highest registers of the trumpet range and improvising into precarious situations from which he seemed always to extricate himself. He thought much like a drummer and was partly responsible for the assimilation of Afro-Cuban elements into modern jazz. Gillespie helped popularize the interval of the augmented eleventh (flat fifth) as a characteristic sound in modern jazz.
Gillespie influenced many modern jazz trumpeters, including such leading figures as Miles Davis, Thad Jones, and Kenny Dorham. His improvised lines with their abrupt changes in direction were incorporated into the improvisations of pianists, saxophonists, guitarists, bassists, and vibraphonists. Though associated mostly with small combos, especially those he co-led with Parker, Gillespie led and wrote for his own swing-era-sized big bandsthroughout the late 1940s and sporadically during the '50s, launching such outstanding saxophone soloists as John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Dexter Gordon, and James Moody.
The Gillespie compositions “Night in Tunisia,” “Manteca,” “Con Alma,” and “Birks Works” became jazz standards. His bent trumpet (originally the result of its being sat on) and hisonstage clowning became personal trademarks. His memoirs, To Be or Not To Bop, were published in 1979.

 

 

 

1. Benny Goodman - Jersey Bounce

2. Louis Armstrong - Mack The Knife

3. Duke Ellington - Sophisticated Lady

4. Glenn Miller - Moonlight Serenade

5. Tommy Dorsey - I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

6. Harry James - Flash

7. Lionel Hampton - Dizzy Spells

8. Count Basie - One O'clock Jump

9. Woody Herman - Caldonia

10. Glenn Miller - Little Brown Jug

11. Duke Ellington - Perdido

12. Louis Armstrong - Hello Dolly

13. Harry James - Chiribiribin

14. Count Basie-All Of Me

15. Benny Goodman - Don't Be That Way

16. Louis Armstrong - On The Sunny Side Of The Street

 



* * *




Ella Fitzgerald

 

born April 25, 1917, Newport News, Va., U.S.
died June 15, 1996, Beverly Hills, Calif.

American singer who became world famous for the wide range and rare sweetness of her voice. She became an international legend during a career that spanned some six decades.

Singing in a style influenced by the jazz vocalist Connee Boswell, Fitzgerald won amateur talent contests in New York City before she joined the Chick Webb orchestra in 1935; Webb became the teenaged Fitzgerald's guardian when her mother died. She made her first recording,“Love and Kisses,” in 1935, and her first hit, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” followed in 1938. After Webb's death in 1939, she led his band until it broke up in 1942. She then soloed in cabarets and theatres, toured internationally with such pop and jazz stars as Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, the Mills Brothers, the Ink Spots, and Dizzy Gillespie, and recorded prolifically.

During much of her early career she had been noted for singing and recording novelty songs. Her status rose dramatically in the 1950s when jazz impresario Norman Granz became her manager. From 1956 to 1964 she recordeda 19-volume series of “songbooks,” in which she interpreted nearly 250 outstanding songs by Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, and Johnny Mercer. This material, combined with the best jazz instrumental support, clearly demonstrated Fitzgerald's remarkable interpretative skills. Although her diction was excellent, her rendition of lyrics was intuitive rather than studied. For many years the star attraction of Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic concert tours, she was also one of the best-selling jazz vocal recording artists in history. She appeared in films (notably Pete Kelly's Blues in 1955), on television, and in concert halls throughout the world. She also recorded a number of live concert albums andproduced a notable duet version of Porgy and Bess (1957) with Armstrong. During the 1970s she began to experience serious health problems, but she continued to perform periodically, even after heart surgery in 1986, until about 1993.

Fitzgerald's clear tone and wide vocal range were complemented by her mastery of rhythm, harmony, intonation, and diction. She was an excellent ballad singer, conveying a winsome, ingenuous quality. Her infectious scatsinging brought excitement to such concert recordings as Mack the Knife: Ella in Berlin and was widely imitated by others. She won 12 Grammy Awards and several other honours.
 


1. Woody Herman
2. Charlie Barnet
3. Peggy Lee
4. Louis Armstrong
5. Jack Tegarden
6. Ella Fitzgerald
7. Lionel Hampton
8. Harry James
9. Duke Ellington
10. Fats Waller
11. Nat King Cole
12. Sonny Rollins
13. Tommy Dorsey
14. Ella Fitzgerald
15. Woody Herman
16. Benny Goodman
17. Billie Holiday
18. Louis Armstrong
19. Sarah Vaughan
20. Count Basie

   


* * *




William Count Basie
 

born August 21, 1904, Red Bank, New Jersey, U.S.
died April 26, 1984, Hollywood, Florida

byname of William Basie American jazz musician noted for his spare, economical piano style and for his leadership of influential and widely heralded big bands.

Basie studied music with his mother and was later influenced by the Harlem pianists James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, receiving informal tutelage on the organ from the latter. He began his professional career as an accompanist on the vaudeville circuit. Stranded in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1927,Basie remained there and eventually (in 1935) assumed the leadership of a nine-piece band composed of former members of the Walter Page and Bennie Moten orchestras. One night, while the band was broadcasting on a shortwave radio station in Kansas City, he was dubbed “Count” Basie by a radio announcer who wanted to indicate his standing in a class with aristocrats of jazz such as Duke Ellington. Jazz critic and record producer John Hammond heard the broadcasts and promptly launched the band on its career. Though rooted in the riff style of the 1930s swing-era big bands, the Basie orchestra played with the forceful drive andcarefree swing of a small combo. They were considered a model for ensemble rhythmic conception and tonal balance—this despite the fact that most of Basie's sidemen in the 1930s were poor sight readers; mostly, the band relied on “head” arrangements (so called because the band had collectively composed and memorized them, rather than using sheet music).

The early Basie band was also noted for its legendary soloists and outstanding rhythm section. It featured such jazzmen as tenor saxophonists Lester Young (regarded by many as the premier tenor player in jazz history) and Herschel Evans, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets” Edison, and trombonists Benny Morton and Dicky Wells. The legendary Billie Holiday was a vocalist with Basiefor a short stint (1937–38), although she was unable to recordwith the band because of her contract with another record label; mostly, vocals were handled by Jimmy Rushing, one of the most renowned “blues bawlers.” The rhythm unit for the band—pianist Basie, guitarist Freddie Green (who joined the Basie band in 1937 and stayed for 50 years), bassist Walter Page, and drummer Jo Jones—was unique in its lightness, precision, and relaxation, becoming the precursor for modernjazz accompanying styles. Basie began his career as a stride pianist, reflecting the influence of Johnson and Waller, but the style most associated with him was characterized by spareness and precision. Whereas other pianists were noted for technical flash and dazzling dexterity, Basie was known for his use of silence and for reducing his solo passages to the minimum amount of notes required for maximum emotional and rhythmic effect. As one Basie band member put it, “Count don't do nothin'. But it sure sounds good.”

The Basie orchestra had several hit recordings during the late 1930s and early '40s, among them "Jumpin' at the Woodside," "Every Tub," "Lester Leaps In," "Super Chief," "Taxi War Dance," "Miss Thing," "Shorty George," and "One O'Clock Jump," the band's biggest hit and theme song. It had continued success throughout the war years, but, like all big bands, it had declined in popularity by the end of the 1940s. During 1950 and '51, economy forced Basie to front an octet, the only period in his career in which he did not lead a big band. In 1952 increased demand for personal appearances allowed Basie to form a new orchestra that in many ways was as highly praised as his bands of the 1930s and '40s. (Fans distinguish the two major eras in Basie bands as the “Old Testament” and “New Testament.”) The Basie orchestraof the 1950s was a slick, professional unit that was expert at sight reading and demanding arrangements. Outstanding soloists such as tenor saxophonists Lucky Thompson, Paul Quinichette, and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and trumpeters Clark Terry and Charlie Shavers, figured prominently. Singer Joe Williams, whose authoritative, blues-influenced vocals can be heard on hit recordings such as "Every Day I Have theBlues" and "Alright, Okay, You Win," was also a major component in the band's success. Arrangers Neal Hefti, Buster Harding, and Ernie Wilkins defined the new band's sound on recordings such as "Li'l Darlin'," "The Kid from Red Bank," "Cute," and "April in Paris" and on celebrated albums such as The Atomic Mr. Basie (1957).

The 1950s band showcased the sound and style Basie was toemploy for the remainder of his career, although there were to be occasional—and successful—experiments such as Afrique (1970), an album of African rhythms and avant-gardecompositions that still managed to remain faithful to the overall Basie sound. Throughout the 1960s, Basie's recordings were often uninspired and marred by poor choice of material, but he remained an exceptional concert performer and made fine records with singers Ella Fitzgerald,Sarah Vaughan, and Frank Sinatra. When jazz record producer Norman Granz formed his Pablo label in the 1970s, several established jazz artists, including Basie, signed on in order to record unfettered by commercial demands. Basie benefited greatly from his association with Granz and made several recordings during the '70s that rank among his best work. He recorded less often with his big band during this era(although when he did, the results were outstanding), concentrating instead on small-group and piano-duet recordings. Especially noteworthy were the albums featuringthe duo of Basie and Oscar Peterson, with Basie's economy and Peterson's dexterous virtuosity proving an effective study in contrasts. Many of Basie's albums of the '70s were Grammy Award winners or nominees.

Suffering from diabetes and chronic arthritis during his later years, Basie continued to front his big band until a month before his death in 1984. The band itself carried on into the next century, with Thad Jones, Frank Foster, and Grover Mitchell each assuming leadership for various intervals. Basie's autobiography, Good Morning Blues, written with Albert Murray, was published posthumously in 1985. Along with Duke Ellington, Count Basie is regarded as one of the two most important and influential bandleaders in the history of jazz.
 

1. Count Basie
2. Glenn Miller
3. Duke Ellington
4. Sarah Vaughan
5. Louis Jordan
6. Cab Calloway
7. Nat King Cole
8. Artie Shaw
9. Lester Young
10. Billie Holiday
11. Glenn Miller
12. Count Basie
13. Tommy Dorsey
14. Artie Shaw
15. Art Tatum
16. Peggy Lee
17. Nat King Cole
18. Charlie Parker
19. Duke Ellington
20. Lena Horne

   

* * *




Charlie Parker

 

born August 29, 1920, Kansas City, Kan., U.S.
died March 12, 1955, New York, N.Y.

byname of Charles Parker, Jr. , also called Bird or Yardbird Americanalto saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, a lyric artist generally considered the greatest jazz saxophonist. Parker was the principal stimulus of the modern jazz idiom known as bebop, and—together with Louis Armstrong and Ornette Coleman—he was one of the three great revolutionary geniuses in jazz.

Parker grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, during the great years of Kansas City jazz and began playing alto saxophone when he was 13. At 14 he quit school and began performing with youth bands, and at 16 he was married—the first of his four marriages. The most significant of his early stylistic influences were tenor saxophone innovator Lester Young and the advanced swing-era alto saxophonist Buster Smith, in whose band Parker played in 1937. Two years later Parker experienced a personal stylistic breakthrough during a jam session in New York City. He described this moment of revelation in Hear Me Talkin' to Ya (1955), edited by Nat Hentoff and Nat Shapiro:

I'd been getting bored with the stereotyped changes (harmonies) that were being used all the time. … I found that by using the higher intervals of a chord as a melody line and backing them with appropriately related changes I could play the thing I'd been hearing. Icame alive.

Parker recorded his first solos as a member of Jay McShann's band, with whom he toured the eastern United States in 1940–42. It was at this time that his childhood nickname “Yardbird” was shortened to “Bird.” His growing friendship with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie led Parker to develop his new music in avant-garde jam sessions in New York's Harlem. Bebop grew out of these experiments by Parker, Gillespie, and their adventurous colleagues; the music featured chromatic harmonies and, influenced especially by Parker, small note values and seemingly impulsive rhythms. Parker and Gillespie played in Earl Hines's swing-oriented band and Billy Eckstine's more modern band. In 1944 they formed theirown small ensemble, the first working bebop group. The nextyear Parker made a series of classic recordings with Red Norvo, with Gillespie's quintet (“Salt Peanuts” and “Shaw Nuff”), and for his own first solo recording session (“Billie's Bounce,” “Now's the Time,” and “Koko”). The new music he was espousing aroused controversy but also attracted a devoted audience. By this time Parker had been addicted to drugs for several years. While working in Los Angeles with Gillespie's group and others, Parker collapsed in the summer of 1946, suffering from heroin and alcohol addiction, and wasconfined to a state mental hospital.

Following his release after six months, Parker formed his own quintet, which included trumpeter Miles Davis and drummer Max Roach. He performed regularly in New York City and on tours to major U.S. cities and abroad, played in a Gillespie concert at Carnegie Hall (1947), recorded with Machito's Afro-Cuban band (1949–50), and toured with the popular Jazz at the Philharmonic troupe (1949). A Broadway nightclub, Birdland, was named after him, and he performed there on opening night in late 1949; Birdland became the most famous of 1950s jazz clubs.

The recordings Parker made for the Savoy and Dial labels in 1945–48 (including the “Koko” session, “Relaxin' at Camarillo,” “Night in Tunisia,” “Embraceable You,” “Donna Lee,” “Ornithology,” and “Parker's Mood”) document his greatest period. He had become the model for a generation of young saxophonists. His alto tone was hard and ideally expressive, with a crying edge to his highest tones and little vibrato. One of his most influential innovations was the establishment of eighth notes as the basic units of his phrases. The phrases themselves he broke into irregular lengths and shapes and applied asymmetrical accenting. Hisbrilliant, innovative technique—speed of execution, full sound in all registers, and precision during very fast tempos—was widely imitated.

Parker's most popular records, recorded in 1949–50, featuredpopular song themes and brief improvisations accompanied by a string orchestra. These recordings came at the end of a period of years when his narcotics and alcohol addictions had a less disruptive effect on his creative life. By the early 1950s, however, he had again begun to suffer from the cumulative effects of his excesses; while hospitalized for treatment of an ulcer, he was informed that he would die if he resumed drinking. He was banned from playing in New York City nightclubs for 15 months. He missed engagements and failed to pay his accompanying musicians, and his unreliability led his booking agency to stop scheduling performances for him. Even Birdland, where he had played regularly, eventually fired him. His two-year-old daughter died; his fourth marriage fell apart. He twice attempted suicide and again spent time in a mental hospital.

If Parker's life was chaotic in the 1950s, he nonetheless retained his creative edge. From roughly 1950 he abandonedhis quintet to perform with a succession of usually small, ad hoc jazz groups; on occasion he performed with Latin American bands, big jazz bands (including Stan Kenton's andWoody Herman's), or string ensembles. Recording sessions with several quartets and quintets produced such pieces as “Confirmation,” “Chi-Chi,” and “Bloomdido,” easily the equals of his best 1940s sessions. Outstanding performances that were recorded at concerts and in nightclubs also attest to his vigorous creativity during this difficult period. He wanted to study with classical composer Edgard Varčse, but, before the two could collaborate, Parker's battle with ulcers and cirrhosis of the liver got the better of him. While visiting his friend Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter, he was persuaded to remain at her home because of his illness; there, a week after his last engagement, he died of a heart attack.

The impact of Parker's tone and technique has already been discussed; his concepts of harmony and melody were equally influential. Rejecting the diatonic scales common to earlier jazz, Parker improvised melodies and composed themes using chromatic scales. Often he played phrases that implied added harmonies or created passages that wereonly distantly related to his songs' harmonic foundations (chord changes). Yet for all the tumultuous feelings in his solos, he created flowing melodic lines. At slow tempos as well as fast, his were intense improvisations that communicated complex, often subtle emotions. The harmonies and inflections of the blues, which he played with passion and imagination, reverberated throughout his improvisations. Altogether, Parker's lyric art was a virtuoso music resulting from a coordination of nerve, muscle, and intellect that pressed human agility and creativity to their limits.

Parker's influence upon modern jazz was immense. His many followers included Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and Albert Ayler—leading figures in the development of free jazz. His difficult life was the subject of Bird (1988), a film directed by Clint Eastwood.
 

1. Glenn Miller
2. Count Basie
3. Al Hirt
4. Sarah Vaughan
5. Lionel Hampton
6. Duke Ellington
7. Ella Fitzgerald
8. Charlie Parker
9. Miles Davis
10. Nat King Cole
11. Duke Ellington
12. Ella Fitzgerald
13. Donald Byrd
14. Freddie Hubbard
15. Sarah Vaughan
16. George Benson

 

 

 

* * *


The Beatles & Jazz
 


 

 

1 Michelle

2 Let It Be

3 Something

4 I Wanna Hold Your Hand

5 With A Little Help

6 Can't Buy Me Love

7 Yesterday

8 Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da

9 A Hard Day's Night

10 Girl

11 Heyjude

12 Yellow Submarine

13 Ticket To Ride

14 I Feel Fine

15 Penny Lane

16 Get Back

17 Remember John

 

 

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