OF JAZZ

History of Bebop:

Bebop or bop is a style of jazz developed in the early to mid-1940s in the United States, which features songs characterized by a fast tempo, complex chord progressions with rapid chord changes and numerous changes of key, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisation based on a combination of harmonic structure, the use of scales and occasional references to the melody. Bebop developed as the younger generation of jazz musicians expanded the creative possibilities of jazz beyond the popular, dance-oriented swing style with a new “musician’s music” that was not as danceable and demanded close listening. As bebop was not intended for dancing, it enabled the musicians to play at faster tempos. Bebop musicians explored advanced harmonies, complex syncopation, altered chords, extended chords, chord substitutions, asymmetrical phrasing, and intricate melodies. Bebop groups used rhythm sections in a way that expanded their role. Whereas the key ensemble of the swing era was the big band of up to fourteen pieces playing in an ensemble-based style, the classic bebop group was a small combo that consisted of saxophone (alto or tenor), trumpet, piano, double bass, and drums playing music in which the ensemble played a supportive role for soloists. Rather than play heavily arranged music, bebop musicians typically played the melody of a song (called the “head”) with the accompaniment of the rhythm section, followed by a section in which each of the performers improvised a solo, then returned to the melody at the end of the song.

Some of the most influential bebop artists, who were typically composer-performers, are: tenor sax players Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and James Moody; alto sax player Charlie Parker; trumpeters Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, and Dizzy Gillespie; pianists Bud Powell, Mary Lou Williams, and Thelonious Monk; electric guitarist Charlie Christian, and drummers Kenny Clarke, Max Roach, and Art Blakey.

Going beyond swing in New York

As the 1930s turned to the 1940s, Parker went to New York as a featured player in the Jay McShann Orchestra. In New York he found other musicians who were exploring the harmonic and melodic limits of their music, including Dizzy Gillespie, a Roy Eldridge-influenced trumpet player who, like Parker, was exploring ideas based on upper chord intervals, beyond the sevenths that had traditionally defined jazz harmony. While Gillespie was with Cab Calloway, he practiced with bassist Milt Hinton and developed some of the key harmonic and chordal innovations that would be the cornerstones of the new music; Parker did the same with bassist Gene Ramey while with McShann’s group. Guitarist Charlie Christian, who had arrived in New York with the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1939 was, like Parker, an innovator extending a southwestern style. Christian’s major influence was in the realm of rhythmic phrasing. Christian commonly emphasized weak beats and off beats and often ended his phrases on the second half of the fourth beat. Christian experimented with asymmetrical phrasing, which was to become a core element of the new bop style.

Bud Powell was pushing forward with a rhythmically streamlined, harmonically sophisticated, virtuosic piano style and Thelonious Monk was adapting the new harmonic ideas to his style that was rooted in Harlem stride piano playing.

Drummers such as Kenny Clarke and Max Roach were extending the path set by Jo Jones, adding the ride cymbal to the high hat cymbal as a primary timekeeper and reserving the bass drum for accents. Bass drum accents were colloquially termed “bombs,” which referenced events in the world outside of New York as the new music was being developed. The new style of drumming supported and responded to soloists with accents and fills, almost like a shifting call and response. This change increased the importance of the string bass. Now, the bass not only maintained the music’s harmonic foundation, but also became responsible for establishing a metronomic rhythmic foundation by playing a “walking” bass line of four quarter notes to the bar. While small swing ensembles commonly functioned without a bassist, the new bop style required a bass in every small ensemble.

The kindred spirits developing the new music gravitated to sessions at Minton’s Playhouse, where Monk and Clarke were in the house band, and Monroe’s Uptown House, where Max Roach was in the house band. Part of the atmosphere created at jams like the ones found at Minton’s Playhouse was an air of exclusivity: the “regular” musicians would often reharmonize the standards, add complex rhythmic and phrasing devices into their melodies, or “heads,” and play them at breakneck tempos in order to exclude those whom they considered outsiders or simply weaker players. These pioneers of the new music (which would later be termed bebop or bop, although Parker himself never used the term, feeling it demeaned the music) began exploring advanced harmonies, complex syncopation, altered chords and chord substitutions. The bop musicians advanced these techniques with a more freewheeling, intricate and often arcane approach. Bop improvisers built upon the phrasing ideas first brought to attention by Lester Young’s soloing style. They would often deploy phrases over an odd number of bars and overlap their phrases across bar lines and across major harmonic cadences. Christian and the other early boppers would also begin stating a harmony in their improvised line before it appeared in the song form being outlined by the rhythm section. This momentary dissonance creates a strong sense of forward motion in the improvisation. The sessions also attracted top musicians in the swing idiom such as Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Roy Eldridge, and Don Byas. Byas became the first tenor saxophone player to fully assimilate the new bebop style in his playing. In 1944 the crew of innovators was joined by Dexter Gordon, a tenor saxophone player from the west coast in New York with the Louis Armstrong band, and a young trumpet player attending the Juilliard School of Music, Miles Davis.

Source: Wikipedia

History of Big band jazz:

Big band jazz made a comeback as well. The Stan Kenton and Woody Herman bands maintained their popularity during lean years of the late 1940s and beyond, making their mark with innovative arrangements and instrumental combinations, and high level jazz soloists (Shorty Rogers, Art Pepper, Kai Winding, Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff, Gene Ammons, Sal Nistico). Lionel Hampton was a leader in the R&B genre during the late 1940s then re-entered big band jazz in the early 1950s, remaining a popular attraction through the 1960s. Count Basie and Duke Ellington had both downsized their big bands during the first half of the 1950s, then reconstituted them by 1956. Ellington’s venture back into big band jazz was encouraged by its reception at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. The Basie and Ellington bands flourished creatively and commercially through the 1960s and beyond, with both veteran leaders receiving high acclaim for their contemporary work and performing until they were physically unable. Drummer Buddy Rich, after briefly leading one big band during the late 1940s and performing in various jazz and big band gigs, formed his definitive big band in 1966. His name became synonymous with the dynamic, exuberant style of his big band. Other big jazz bands that drove the 1950s-60s revival include those led by Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Quincy Jones, and Oliver Nelson. Big band jazz remains a major component of college jazz instruction curricula.

In 1935 the Benny Goodman Orchestra had won a spot on the radio show “Let’s Dance” and started showcasing updated repertoire featuring Fletcher Henderson arrangements. Goodman’s slot was on after midnight in the East, and few people heard it. It was on earlier on the West Coast and developed the audience that later led to Goodman’s Palomar Ballroom triumph. At the Palomar engagement starting on August 21, 1935, audiences of young white dancers favored Goodman’s rhythm and daring arrangements. The sudden success of the Goodman orchestra transformed the landscape of popular music in America. Goodman’s success with “hot” swing brought forth imitators and enthusiasts of the new style throughout the world of dance bands, which launched the “swing era” that lasted until 1946.

A typical song played in swing style would feature a strong, anchoring rhythm section in support of more loosely-tied woodwind and brass sections playing call-response to each other. The level of improvisation that the audience might expect varied with the arrangement, song, band, and band-leader. Typically included in big band swing arrangements were an introductory chorus that stated the theme, choruses arranged for soloists, and climactic out-choruses. Some arrangements were built entirely around a featured soloist or vocalist. Some bands used string or vocal sections, or both. Swing-era repertoire included the Great American Songbook of Tin Pan Alley standards, band originals, traditional jazz tunes such as the King Porter Stomp, with which the Goodman orchestra had a smash hit, and blues.

Hot swing music is strongly associated with the jitterbug dancing that became a national craze accompanying the swing craze. Swing dancing originated in the late 1920s as the “Lindy Hop,” and would later incorporate other styles including The Suzie Q, Truckin’, Peckin’ Jive, The Big Apple, and The Shag in various combinations of moves. A subculture of jitterbuggers, sometimes growing quite competitive, congregated around ballrooms that featured hot swing music. A dance floor full of jitterbuggers had cinematic appeal; they were sometimes featured in newsreels and movies. Some of the top jitterbuggers gathered in professional dance troupes such as Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers (featured in A Day At the Races, Everybody Dance, and Hellzapoppin’). Swing dancing would outlive the swing era, becoming associated with R&B and early Rock&Roll.

As with many new popular musical styles, swing met with some resistance because of its improvisation, tempo, occasionally risqué lyrics, and frenetic dancing. Audiences used to traditional “sweet” arrangements, such as those offered by Guy Lombardo, Sammy Kaye, Kay Kyser and Shep Fields, were taken aback by the rambunctiousness of swing music. Swing was sometimes regarded as light entertainment, more of an industry to sell records to the masses than a form of art, among fans of both jazz and “serious” music. Some jazz critics such as Hugues Panassié held the polyphonic improvisation of New Orleans jazz to be the pure form of jazz, with swing a form corrupted by regimentation and commercialism. Panassié was also an advocate of the theory that jazz was a primal expression of the black American experience and that white musicians, or black musicians who became interested in more sophisticated musical ideas, were generally incapable of expressing its core values.[15] In his 1941 autobiography, W. C. Handy wrote that “prominent white orchestra leaders, concert singers and others are making commercial use of Negro music in its various phases. That’s why they introduced “swing” which is not a musical form” (no comment on Fletcher Henderson, Earl Hines, Duke Ellington, or Count Basie).[16] The Dixieland revival started in the late 1930s as a self-conscious re-creation of New Orleans jazz in reaction against the orchestrated style of big band swing. Some swing bandleaders saw opportunities in the Dixieland revival. Tommy Dorsey’s Clambake Seven and Bob Crosby’s Bobcats were examples of Dixieland ensembles within big swing bands.

Between the poles of hot and sweet, middlebrow interpretations of swing led to great commercial success for bands such as those led by Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey. Miller’s trademark clarinet-led reed section was decidedly “sweet,” but the Miller catalog had no shortage of bouncy, medium-tempo dance tunes and some up-tempo tunes such as Mission to Moscow and the Lionel Hampton composition Flying Home. “The Sentimental Gentleman of Swing” Tommy Dorsey made a nod to the hot side by hiring jazz trumpeter and Goodman alumnus Bunny Berigan, then hiring Jimmie Lunceford‘s arranger Sy Oliver to spice up his catalog in 1939.

New York became a touchstone for national success of big bands, with nationally broadcast engagements at the Roseland and Savoy ballrooms a sign that a swing band had arrived on the national scene. With its Savoy engagement in 1937, the Count Basie Orchestra brought the riff-and-solo oriented Kansas City style of swing to national attention. The Basie orchestra collectively and individually would influence later styles that would give rise to the smaller “jump” bands and bebop. The Chick Webb Orchestra remained closely identified with the Savoy Ballroom, having originated the tune Stompin’ at the Savoy and become feared in the Savoy’s Battles of the Bands. It humiliated Goodman’s band,[11] and had memorable encounters with the Ellington and Basie bands. The Goodman band’s 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert turned into a summit of swing, with guests from the Basie and Ellington bands invited for a jam session after the Goodman band’s performance. Coleman Hawkins arrived back from an extended stay in Europe to New York in 1939, recorded his famous version of Body and Soul, and fronted his own big band. 1940 saw top-flight musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Don Byas, Charlie Christian, and Gene Ramey, whose careers in swing had brought them to New York, beginning to coalesce and develop the ideas that would become bebop.

Source: Wikipedia

History of Swing jazz:

Big band jazz made a comeback as well. The Stan Kenton and Woody Herman bands maintained their popularity during lean years of the late 1940s and beyond, making their mark with innovative arrangements and instrumental combinations, and high level jazz soloists (Shorty Rogers, Art Pepper, Kai Winding, Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Serge Chaloff, Gene Ammons, Sal Nistico). Lionel Hampton was a leader in the R&B genre during the late 1940s then re-entered big band jazz in the early 1950s, remaining a popular attraction through the 1960s. Count Basie and Duke Ellington had both downsized their big bands during the first half of the 1950s, then reconstituted them by 1956. Ellington’s venture back into big band jazz was encouraged by its reception at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. The Basie and Ellington bands flourished creatively and commercially through the 1960s and beyond, with both veteran leaders receiving high acclaim for their contemporary work and performing until they were physically unable. Drummer Buddy Rich, after briefly leading one big band during the late 1940s and performing in various jazz and big band gigs, formed his definitive big band in 1966. His name became synonymous with the dynamic, exuberant style of his big band. Other big jazz bands that drove the 1950s-60s revival include those led by Thad Jones, Mel Lewis, Quincy Jones, and Oliver Nelson. Big band jazz remains a major component of college jazz instruction curricula.

Source: Wikipedia