рефераты бесплатно


The JAZZ Story

The JAZZ Story

The JAZZ Story

An Outline History of Jazz

In the span of less than a century, the remarkable native American


called Jazz has risen from obscure folk origins to become this


most significant original art form, loved and played in nearly every

land on


Today, Jazz flourishes in many styles, from basic blues and ragtime

through New Orleans and Dixieland, swing and mainstream, bebop and

modern to free form and electronic. What is extraordinary is not that


has taken so many forms, but that each form has been vital enough to

survive and to retain its own character and special appeal. It takes


open ears and an open mind to appreciate all the many and wide-raging

delights jazz has to offer.


Jazz developed from folk sources. Its origins are shrouded in

obscurity, but

the slaves brought here from Africa, torn from their own ancestral


developed it as a new form of communication in song and story.

Black music in America retained much of Africa in its distinctive


elements and also in its tradition of collective improvisation. This


blended with the music of the new land, much of it vocal, produced


than just a new sound. It generated an entire new mode of musical


The most famous form of early Afro-American music is the spiritual.

These beautiful and moving religious songs were most often heard by

white audiences in more genteel versions than those performed in rural

black churches. What is known as gospel music today, more accurately

reflects the emotional power and rhythmic drive of early Afro-American

music than a recording of a spiritual by the famous Fisk Jubilee


from the first decade of this century.

Other early musical forms dating from the slavery years include work

songs, children's songs, and dances, adding up to a remarkable legacy,

especially since musical activity was considerable restricted under




After the slaves were freed, Afro-American music grew rapidly. The

availability of musical instruments, including military band discards,


the new-found mobility gave birth to the basic roots of Jazz: brass


dance band music and the blues.

The blues, a seemingly simple form of music that nevertheless lends


to almost infinite variation, has been a significant part of every

Jazz style,

and has also survived in its own right. Today's rock and soul music


be impossible without the blues. Simply explained, it is and eight (or

twelve) bar strain with lyrics in which the first stanza is repeated.

It gets its

characteristic "blue" quality from a flattening of the third and

seventh notes

of the tempered scale. In effect, the blues is the secular counterpart

of the



By the late 1880's, there were black brass, dance and concert bands in

most southern cities. (At the same time, black music in the north was

generally more European-oriented.) Around this era, ragtime began to

emerge. Though primarily piano music, bands also began to pick it up


perform it. Ragtime's golden age was roughly from 1898 to 1908, but


total span began earlier and lingered much later. Recently, it has


rediscovered. A music of great melodic charm, its rhythms are heavily

syncopated, but it has almost no blues elements. Ragtime and early


are closely related, but ragtime certainly was more sedate.

Greatest of the ragtime composers was Scott Joplin (1868-1917). Other

masters of the form include James Scott, Louis Chauvink Eubie Blake

(1883-1983) and Joseph Lamb, a white man who absorbed the idiom



Ragtime, especially in its watered-down popular versions, was

entertainment designed for the middle class and was frowned on by the

musical establishment. The music not yet called Jazz (in its earliest

usage it

was spelled "jass"), came into being during the last decade of the


century, rising out of the black working-class districts of southern


Like ragtime, it was a music meant for dancing.

The city that has become synonymous with early Jazz is New Orleans.

There is reality as well as myth behind this notion.

New Orleans: Cradle of Jazz

New Orleans played a key role in the birth and growth of Jazz, and the

music's early history has been more thoroughly researched and

documented there than anywhere else. But, while the city may have had

more and better Jazz than any other from about 1895 to 1917, New

Orleans was by no means the only place where the sounds were

incubating. Every southern city with a sizable black population had


that must be considered early Jazz. It came out of St. Louis, which

grew to

be the center of ragtime; Memphis, which was the birthplace of W.C.

Handy (1873-1958), the famed composer and collector of blues; Atlanta,

Baltimore, and other such cities.

What was unique to New Orleans at the time was a very open and free

social atmosphere. People of different ethnic and racial backgrounds


establish contact, and out of this easy communication came a rich


tradition involving French, Spanish, German, Irish and African

elements. It

was no wonder that this cosmopolitan and lively city was a fertile


ground for Jazz.

If New Orleans was the birthplace of Jazz in truth as well as in

legend, the

tale that the music was born in its red light district is purest

nonsense. New

Orleans did have legalized prostitution and featured some of the most

elaborate and elegant "sporting houses" in the nation. But the music,

if any,

that was heard in these establishments was made by solo pianists.

Actually, Jazz was first heard in quite different settings. New

Orleans was

noted for its many social and fraternal organizations, most of which

sponsored or hired bands for a variety of occasions -- indoor and


dances, picnics, store openings, birthday or anniversary parties. And,


course, Jazz was the feature of the famous funeral parades, which


even today. Traditionally, a band assembles in front of the church and

leads a slow procession to the cemetery, playing solemn marches and

mournful hymns. On the way back to town, the pace quickens and fast,

peppy marches and rags replace the dirges. These parades, always great

crowd attractions, were important to the growth of Jazz. It was here


trumpeters and clarinetists would display their inventiveness and the

drummers work out the rhythmic patterns that became the foundation for

"swinging" the beat.

The best way to account for the early development of jazz in New Orleans

is to familiarize yourself with the cultural and social history of this

marvelously distinctive regional culture.

One might say that jazz is the Americanization of the New Orleans music

developed by the Creoles, occuring at a time when ragtime, blues,

spirituals, marches, and popular "tin pan alley" music were converging.

Jazz was a style of playing which drew from all of the above and

presented an idiommatic model based on a concept of collective, rather

than solo, improvisation.

Ultimately, New Orleans players such as Louis Armstrong and Sidney

Bechet developed a new approach which emphasized solos, but they both

began their careers working in the collective format, evident in the

early recordings by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band (1917), Kid Ory's

Sunshine Orchestra (1921), the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (1922, 1923) and

King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (1923).

Armstrong's impact became apparent with the popularity of his Hot Five

and Hot Seven recordings (1925-28), redirecting everyone's imagination

toward inspired solos. Meanwhile, in New Orleans, community connections

such as "jazz funerals" in which brass bands performed at funerals held

by benevolent

associations continued to underline the role of jazz as a part of

everyday life.

Jazz may have been a luxury (entertainment) in New York, Chicago, and

Los Angeles, but in New Orleans it was a necessity--a part of the fabric

of life in the neighborhoods. And it still is.

THE EARLY MUSICIANS - Buddy, Bunk, Freddie and The King

The players in these early bands were mostly artisans (carpenters,

bricklayers, tailors, etc.) or laborers who took time out on weekends


holidays to make music along with a little extra cash.

The first famous New Orleans musician, and the archetypal jazzman, was

Buddy Bolden (1877-1931). A barber by trade, he played cornet and


to lead a band in the late 1890's. Quite probably, he was the first to


the basic, rough blues with more conventional band music. It was a

significant step in the evolution of Jazz.

Bolden suffered a seizure during a 1907 Mardi Gras parade and spent


rest of his life in an institution for the incurably insane. Rumor

that he

made records have never been substantiated, and his music comes from

the recollection of other musicians who heard him when they were


Bunk Johnson (1989- 1949), who played second cornet in one of Bolden's

last bands, contributed greatly to the revival of interest in classic


Orleans jazz that took place during the last decade of his life. A


storyteller and colorful personality, Johnson is responsible for much

of the

New Orleans legend. But much of what he had to say was more fantasy

than fact.

Many people, including serious fans, believe that the early jazz


were self-taught geniuses who didn't read music and never took a


lesson. A romantic notion, but entirely untrue. Almost every major


in early jazz had at least a solid grasp of legitimate musical


and often much more.

Still, they developed wholly original approaches to their instruments.


prime example is Joseph (King) Oliver (1885-1938), a cornetist and

bandleader who used all sorts of found objects, including drinking


a sand pail, and a rubber bathroom plunger to coax a variety of sounds

from his horn. Freddie Keppard (1889-1933), Oliver's chief rival,


use mutes, perhaps because he took pride in being the loudest cornet


town. Keppard, the first New Orleans great to take the music to the

rest of

the country, played in New York vaudeville with the Original Creole

Orchestra in 1915.


By the early years of the second decade, the instrumentation of the


Jazz band had become cornet (or trumpet), trombone, clarinet, guitar,

string bass and drums. (Piano rarely made it since most jobs were on

location and pianos were hard to transport.) The banjo and tuba, so


identified now with early Jazz, actually came in a few years later


early recording techniques couldn't pick up the softer guitar and

string bass


The cornet played the lead, the trombone filled out the bass harmony


in a sliding style, and the clarinet embellished between these two


poles. The first real jazz improvisers were the clarinetists, among


Sidney Bechet (1897-1959). An accomplished musician before he was 10,

Bechet moved from clarinet to playing mainly soprano saxophone. He was

to become one of the most famous early jazzmen abroad, visiting


and France in 1919 and Moscow in 1927.

Most veteran jazz musicians state that their music had no specific

name at

first, other than ragtime or syncopated sounds. The first band to use


term Jazz was that of trombonist Tom Brown, a white New Orleanian who

introduced it in Chicago in 1915. The origin of the word is cloudy and


initial meaning has been the subject of much debate.

The band that made the word stick was also white and also from New

Orleans, the Original Dixieland Jass Band. This group had a huge

success in New York in 1917-18 and was the first more or less


Jazz band to make records. Most of its members were graduates of the

bands of Papa Jack Laine (1873-1966), a drummer who organized his

first band in 1888 and is thought to have been the first white Jazz

musician. In any case, there was much musical integration in New


and a number of light skinned Afro-Americans "passed" in white bands.

By 1917, many key Jazz players, white and black, had left New Orleans

and other southern cities to come north. The reason was not the


1917 closing of the New Orleans red light district, but simple


The great war in Europe had created an industrial boom, and the


merely followed in the wake of millions of workers moving north to the

promise of better jobs.


King Oliver moved to Chicago in 1918. As his replacement in the best

band in his hometown, he recommended an 18-year-old, Louis Armstrong.

Little Louis, as his elders called him, had been born on August 4,

1901, in

poverty that was extreme even for New Orleans' black population. His

earliest musical activity was singing in the streets for pennies with

a boy's

quartet he had organized. Later he sold coal and worked on the levee.

Louis received his first musical instruction at reform school, where


spent eighteen months for shooting off an old pistol loaded with

blanks on

the street on New Year's Eve of 1913. He came out with enough musical

savvy to take jobs with various bands in town. The first established

musician to sense the youngster's great talent was King Oliver, who


Louis and became his idol.


When Oliver sent for Louis to join him in Chicago, that city had


the world's new Jazz center. Even though New York was where the

Original Dixieland Jass Band had scored its big success, followed by


spawning of the first dance craze associated with the music, the New


bands seemed to take on the vaudeville aspects of the ODJB's style

without grasping the real nature of the music. Theirs was an imitation

Dixieland (of which Ted Lewis was the first and most successful

practitioner), but there were few southern musicians in New York to


the music a New Orleans authenticity.

Chicago, on the other hand, was teeming with New Orleans musicmakers,

and the city's nightlife was booming in the wake of prohibition. By


odds, the best band in town was Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, especially

after Louis joined in late 1922. The band represented the final great

flowering of classic New Orleans ensemble style and was also the

harbinger of something new. Aside from the two cornetists, its stars


the Dodds Brothers, clarinetists Johnny (1892-1940) and drummer Baby

(1898-1959). Baby Dodds brought a new level of rhythmic subtlety and

drive to jazz drumming. Along with another New Orleans-bred musician,

Zutty Singleton (1897-1975), he introduced the concept of swinging to


Jazz drums. But the leading missionary of swinging was,


Louis Armstrong.


The Creole Jazz Band began to record in 1923 and while not the first


New Orleans band to make records, it was the best. The records were

quite widely distributed and the band's impact on musicians was great.

Two years earlier, trombonist Kid Ory (1886-1973) and his Sunshine

Orchestra captured the honor of being the first recorded artists in


category. However, they recorded for an obscure California company

which soon went out of business and their records were heard by very


Also in 1923, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, a white group active in

Chicago, began to make records. This was a much more sophisticated

group than the old Dixieland Jass Band, and on one of its recording


it used the great New Orleans pianist-composer Ferdinand (Jelly Roll)

Morton (1890-1941). The same year, Jelly Roll also made his own




Morton, whose fabulous series of 1938 recordings for the Library of

Congress are a goldmine of information about early Jazz, was a complex

man. Vain, ambitious, and given to exaggeration, he was a pool shark,

hustler and gambler a well as a brilliant pianist and composer. His


talent, perhaps was for organizing and arranging. The series of

records he

made with his Red Hot Peppers between 1926 and 1928 stands, alongside

Oliver's as the crowning glory of the New Orleans tradition and one of


great achievements in Jazz.


That tradition, however, was too restricting for a creative genius

like Louis

Armstrong. He left Oliver in late 1924, accepting an offer from New

York's most prestigious black bandleader, Fletcher Henderson

(1897-1952). Henderson's band played at Roseland Ballroom on

Broadway and was the first significant big band in Jazz history.

Evolved from the standard dance band of the era, the first big Jazz


consisted of three trumpets, one trombone, three saxophones (doubling


kinds of reed instruments), and rhythm section of piano, banjo, bass


or brass) and drums. These bands played from written scores

(arrangements or "charts"), but allowed freedom of invention for the

featured soloists and often took liberties in departing from the



Though it was the best of the day, Henderson's band lacked rhythmic

smoothness and flexibility when Louis joined up. The flow and grace of


short solos on records with the band make them stand out like diamonds


a tin setting.

The elements of Louis' style, already then in perfect balance,

included a

sound that was the most musical and appealing yet heard from a

trumpet; a

gift for melodic invention that was as logical as it was new and


and a rhythmic poise (jazzmen called it "time") that made other


sound stiff and clumsy in comparison.

His impact on musicians was tremendous. Nevertheless, Henderson didn't

Страницы: 1, 2, 3


© 2009 Все права защищены.