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3

Jazz’s Beginnings

footnotes

8. all styles of jazz from Dixieland to contemporary are still being performed and recorded today; all style dates given are approximations of when each respective style came to the forefront of jazz and experienced its most concentrated development; of course, styles and dates overlap

9. break (aka stop time): the part of a tune in which everyone stops playing except for a soloist who improvises a short solo

10. a mute is an attachments inserted into the bell of a horn (particularly trumpets and trombones) which reduces an instrument’s volume and changes its tone color (different kinds of mutes offer different alterations of an instrument’s general sound); bathroom plungers have been used as mutes providing the “wah-wah” effect heard most commonly in Dixieland and Swing music

IV. Early Jazz (Dixieland) 1900-1928

jazz images 1

Armstrong Hot Five

jazz images 2

Jelly Roll Morton

jazz images 3

Sidney Bechet

jazz images 4

Armstrong & Teagarden

jazz images 5

Louis Armstrong


A. New Orleans - considered the birthplace of jazz

   

Why New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz (social, economic, political, and geographical reasons): 

      

1.

New Orleans was a seaport city 

            

a.

meeting place for many different ethnic groups and cultures 

            

b.

market for music and entertainment 

            

c.

much work available in a port city 

      

2.

New Orleans had a liberal atmosphere 

            

a.

strong influence of French, Spanish, West Indian traditions and Catholic religious attitudes 

            

b.

no prohibitions against drums, known in certain cirlces as “devil” instruments 

            

c.

different attitude towards African Americans; pride in being a cosmopolitan, sophisticated city 

            

d.

African Americans had more mobility 

      

3.

long-standing tradition of music and entertainment 

            

a.

from Congo Square in the 19th century to present day Mardi Gras 

            

b.

Congo Square provided performance opportunities for African music 

      

4.

Storyville (a district of New Orleans) provided places for pre-jazz and early jazz groups to perform: houses of prostitution, cabarets, saloons, dance halls, etc. (1897-1917) 

      

5.

reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment to justify segregation 

            

a.

forced downtown and uptown (Creoles) African Americans together, depriving the Creoles of their privileged status 

            

b.

the Creoles had conservatory training, good instruments, and the pop market (balls and other social events); the downtown African Americans had a long-standing vocal tradition with no preconceived notion about what was or was not possible on instruments 


B. The music

      

1.

typical instrumentation: trumpet or cornet, clarinet, trombone, piano, tuba or string bass, banjo, drums 

      

2.

each instrument has an assigned role (carry-over from the brass bands) 

            

a.

trumpet/cornet: melody 

            

b.

clarinet: embellishes the melody 

            

c.

tuba/string bass: bass lines 

            

d.

trombone: embellishes bass line, sometimes plays melody or afterbeats (adding to the rhythm, adds sound effects such as smears and slides 

            

e.

piano and banjo have the dual function of providing chordal (harmony) and rhythmic accompaniment 

            

f.

drums (via military style drumming): keep a steady tempo, provide rhythmic accompaniment, and set up breaks9 via fills 

      

3.

tune sources 

            

a.

ragtime tunes 

            

b.

military music 

            

c.

religious music 

            

d.

classical music (overtures, operas, etc.) 

            

e.

popular tunes of the day 

            

f.

blues tunes 

            

g.

original tunes (music written specifically to be played in the jazz style) 

      

4.

characteristics and performances practices 

            

a.

everybody plays all the time except for the solos which occur in during the break (besides adding musical interest and allowing each soloist the opportunity to show off his musical prowess, the breaks also serve a functional purpose in that they give the other players a chance to rest) 

            

b.

collective improvisation, i.e., everyone is improvising at the same time (very little, if any, written music) 

            

c.

simple harmonies (simple chords) 

            

d.

improvisation based on embellishing the melody 

            

e.

usually learned by ear (not by reading music) 

            

f.

dramatic effects proliferate: slides, trills, vibrato, mutes10 (e.g., bathroom plunger mute for wah-wah effect); influenced by vocal tradition 

      

5.

reasons for style losing its popularity 

            

a.

stylistically static; once the style was established, there was very little room for growth and exploration 

            

b.

as great soloists emerged (such as Louis Armstrong), more emphasis was placed on the solo and less on collective improvisation 

      

6.

most important musicians of this style: 

            

a.

King Oliver (trumpet) 

            

b.

Louis Armstrong (trumpet) 

            

c.

Jelly Roll Morton (piano) 

            

d.

Bix Beiderbecke (trumpet) 

      

7.

first jazz recording: "Livery Stable Blues," Original Dixieland Jazz Band (an all-white group), 1917 


C. Play examples of Early Jazz

   

      

1.

"Dippermouth Blues," King Oliver/Louis Armstrong (IHJ) or "Working Man Blues," King Oliver/Louis Armstrong (Web)  

      

2.

"Dixie Jazz Band One Step," Original Dixieland Jazz Band (IHJ) or "Livery Stable Blues," Original Dixieland Jazz Band (Web) 

      

3.

"Jelly Roll Blues," Jelly Roll Morton (Web) 

      

4.

"Singin' the Blues," Bix Beiderbecke (Web) 

Audio Snippets

speakerspacer Working Man Blues - Louis Armstrong
speakerspacer Livery Stable Blues - Original Dixieland Jazz Band
speakerspacer Jelly-Roll Blues - Jelly-Roll Morton
speakerspacer Singin' The Blues - Bix Beiderbecke
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