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MUSC 2140
Howard Spring

Unit 5 (Chapter 8) Objectives:  Identify and describe recordings by Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy  Identify and describe recordings by the Count Basie Band  Identify and describe recordings by Duke Ellington  And develop criteria for appraising these performances Musical Terms: 1. Downbeat and Meter: Meter – the organization of recurring pulses into patterns. Most common form of meter is: Duple meter – the most common form of meter, grouping beats into patterns of twos or fours; every measure, or bar, in duple meter has either two or four beats In recent years, Jazz musicians have adopted: Irregular meter – a meter featuring beats of unequal size (some are divided into twos, others into threes). A meter of five, for example, features two beats—one divided into three notes, the other divided into two notes. Similar combinations of 7, 9, and 11 are possible Some pieces use: Triple meter – a meter that groups beats into patterns of threes; every measure, or bar, of triple meter has three beats Downbeat – the first beat of a measure, or bar. (Or the place where we agree to begin our counting). The distance between downbeats is a measure. *The professor does a great job explaining this in simpler terms. 2. Countermelody: Countermelody – in homophonic texture, an accompanying melodic part with distinct, though subordinate, melodic interest; also known as obbligato (a sub- category of homophonic texture) Basically, instruments have a melodic interest of their own, though not strong enough to compete with the main melody. 3. Soli: Soli – a passage for a section of a jazz band (saxophones, trumpets, trombones) in block-chord texture Block chords – a homophonic texture in which the chordal accompaniment moves in the same rhythm as the main melody Basically, all the horns in a section can be playing the same melody, but they will all be in different pitch of the certain chords that are being played (one in high pitch, one in lower pitch, on in main or middle pitch). Called ‗soli‘ since they sound like one improvised solo. Readings: (Chapter 8. Pgs. 195-196, and then from p. 200 until the end of the chapter) The southwest:  Swing was already a national music, disseminated by recordings and radio across the country  Southwest pulled that sound in a new direction (west of the Mississippi, such as Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Headquarters in Kansas City)  Heavily populated by African Americans since the civil war From the Margins to the Center: Boogie-Woogie:  Boogie-Woogie – a blues piano style (impossible to know where this came from)  This style spread rapidly during the 20‘s  Huge in Kansas City and Chicago (main cities)  Doubled the pace of even Ragtime music (which was already double the pace of standard music)  Used Ostinatos (insistently repeated melodies) divides each beat into 2 so that the four beat measure feels like 8 beats  Was a social music—inexpensive and great for dancing  Good examples include: o Honky tonk train blues – Meade Lux Lewis o Pine top‘s boogie-woogie – Clarence ‗pine-top‘ Smith Territory Bands: (dance bands scattered across America in the 20s and 30s)  Andy Kirk (1898-1992) and Mary Lou Williams (1910-1981): Andy Kirk was the Tuba player for The Twelve Clouds of Joy and the musical genius of the group was said to be Mary Lou Williams who played piano o Territory band during the great depression that was always touring and threatened by lack of money o Had future star saxophonists Ben Webster, Lester Young, and Buddy Tate pass through o Singed with Decca records in 36 o Took the ballad of the streets known as ―slave song‖ and recorded it and copyrighted it as ―Until the Real Thing Comes Along‖ o Mary Lou was inspired by pianist Earl Hines o Was always backstage until one time got the opportunity to play and was then a member of the band o At first couldn‘t even read music! (most women had very little training at that time) o Known for the song “Walking and Swingin’” (written in 1936 by Mary Lou). *Goes on to describe the song on page 201 with the musical breakdown on pages 202 and 203  Count Basie (1904-1984) o Most famous bandleader from Kansas City, but he grew up on the New Jersey shore o Dropped out of junior high school to become a musician because he simply loved it o Moved to the southwest in the 20s after learning his trade in NY o Heard the Blue Devils in the back of a truck out his hotel room window and soon after became an irregular member o It was a commonwealth band (which never seemed to work out for financial reasons) lead by Walter Page o Page and Basie soon joined a band led by Benny Moten (not a musician but he got them the jobs if they made the music) o Moten passed away which lead to Basie‘s band o The unwritten arrangements of Basie‘s band were known as head arrangements (music was stored in musicians head, not on paper) o Most places around there employed a drummer and pianist. Different musicians would go up and play their own things with the drummer and pianist o Lots of solos with the other musicians accompanying the soloist (they would all take turns soloing) o “One O’Clock Jump” was a great example. (explained on page 206 with musical analysis on pages 207 and 208)  The Basie Band: (Trombonist – Eddie Durham, Pianist – Count Basie, Bassist – Walter Page, Drummer – Jo Jones, Guitarist –Freddie Green) o In Kansas City, Basie was limited to a ten-block neighborhood o John Hammond brought Basie and his band into commercial mainstream o They singed with Decca Records o After having a hard time the band finally got it together in 1937. Page 208 (near the bottom) has words from Basie himself o Basie worked with Eddie Durham to arrange the music (take it out of his head and record it on paper and ultimately on records) o Count Basie insisted on simplicity and refusing to interfere with the groove. Known as the most laconic (using very few words) pianist every  Later Basie o They had a peaking career that lasted a total of 4 years (1936-1940). o After WWII, like most musicians, Basie broke up the band and was left only with a septet. o Several years later he restarted his career with only one original member. Needless to say there sound was different as these new musicians (New Testament Basie Band) were able to play both new modern jazz and mainstream swing. o Songs such as ―Lil Darling‖ prove the bands unique style as it is considered to be one of the ―slowest swing songs ever written‖. (P. 210) o With a long career of close to thirty years on stage, Basie is known as the definition of the swing sound and even influenced many later artists. (Sinatra, Tony Bennett)  Duke Ellington o Before the big growth in swings popularity (1935), Ellington was made nationally known for his renowned performances at the Cotton Club in late 1920. o He was the most prominent black dance band in the business. o He was a man who loved to play as, like most swing ban
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