Century Study of Music
Session 6 20th Century To be specific – focusing on five performances: First one comes before this period. Laying down framework that comes later: A concert at the Carnegie Hall, 1938, called Spirituals to Swing. Second one, in 1939 another concert-same title. Then we come to Post war period – A concert, in 1953 that became known as Jazz – Massey Hall, Canada. Referred toot times as the quintet of the year – the five musicians that played were some of the foremost Bebop musicians at the time. Both live events.
Subsequently those tunes became part of the Males Davies repertoire.Coming into sass’s – another studio performance called Ascension, which was led by saxophone player, John Chlorate, who was very much associated with ‘the new thing,’ I. E free improvisation. Finally-beyond the period Sun Ra-1989. In those pieces we go a little bit before the period and a little after – taking us Into the ‘popular level’ of the digital era-early ass’s. * Chose these specific performances because they encapsulate something very important that was happening in Jazz – very new, blue, consolidating. Place in social context as well as musical and artistic concepts.
A very general outline – ‘ Ideologies’ (or frameworks of Ideas we might apply to what was going on). Placed In a sort of logical order, although no need as Grass roots Jazz carries on to this day-is referring to early 20th century. -Grassroots Pragmatism (Practical, matter of fact way of approaching and assessing music. Jazz grassroots dimension. Sass’s onwards – Increasing commercial Interests In Jazz.Particularly In the ass’s and ass’s – led to two things: *African-American essentialist (Spiritual swing concert) an ideology, put black Americans first (form of music comes from these people) – in a ay counterpoised to commercialism if you look at racial politics of America at that time – white people making big bucks out of the white musicians. *Normalization (beginning of Bebop).
This Is where musicians keen to put themselves outside of the commercial nexus- after hours In little clubs they would evolve a new type of music.Idea putting themselves on the margin and musicians aspiring to being considered as artists despite the racist snobbery that suggested they would find it more difficult to be genuine artists-this is part of the normalization and the sod you attitude, as they were not actually thinking in immemorial terms, the first and foremost thing was not to make money out of the music. America, enormous amount of promotion of Jazz – example of how wonderful America was. Happy to use Jazz in a propaganda sense. E. , Communist world doesn’t know this kind of music and they were happy to use Jazz in that propaganda sense because one of the big criticisms that the Russians/communists had was that in America people are not all equal and you Just wanted to look at the racial issue. America was happy to come back with, well yes there’s an awful lot of black people hat play this music as well, so it was good propaganda which led to some extraordinary results.
*Backlash to all of that, against this in the ass’s where Jazz became very associated with the freedom movement and the civil rights movement.This is very much where Free Jazz, Free improvisation and really Ascension-Sun Era’s work were associated with that. *ass’s – ass’s – Finally, Jazz becomes multi-dimensional , in the ass’s, ass’s, maybe. Ref (15:00) To some degree-black Americans musicians- searching for the history in the roots, in relation to freedom in the civil rights-made heir Journeys through Africa, and tried to find ways in which the two types of music enmeshed. * Two famous examples-albums recorded by Jazz musicians – perhaps a Jazz sax player and made albums with drummer ensembles etc, so you get this kind of fusion. Ass’s – If you look back as far as the ass’s, you get another Jazz fusion – Jazz Rock-Miles Davies, one of the first people that got on to that one. * Very good rock guitarists like John McLaughlin would perform with Miles Davies Jazz band-introduces a very different feel to it.
Miles Davies-interesting career-had made a hip hop record by the mime he died in the ass’s. Multi-dimensional things that come in, in Jazz. The boundaries of the genre had melted somewhat. Repertoire became very fluid. Wasn’t Just Jazz tunes/blues/or 32 bar popular song forms/Jazz classics, but an enormous amount else that was allowed in to the repertoire.Quote from two Jazz critics – political propaganda-linking music with politics-Cold War stuff. Normalization.
An interesting essay by American -Norman Mailer, came out in 1957, called ‘The White Negro: Superficial reflections on the hipster. All about normalization-this is al about white people, when white people feel disaffected. *Pose of resistance – because they were not happy with mainstream society, we are taking this stance against it, in order to do so they were parodying taking on black expression/ black culture.Telethons Monk-We want music they cannot play. Pre Beatnik, person that represented it the most was Dizzy Gillespie – Jive talking, black berets, extra words syllables – one of the fatuity words was a Rooney! Meant to be hip. Record shops in New York displaying – ‘Bebop spoken here. ‘ were promoted by John Hammond.
John Hammond- wealthy man-quite young at that mime. Promoted many performers: *Billie holiday-later on Bob Dylan and then later in the ass’s Bruce Springiness. He was plugged in to what was happening both in Jazz and popular music. He thought unconventionally for his class and was outraged at the condition of black people in America at that time-how difficult it was to get on if you were black and particularly if you were a musician and particularly in the Jazz world. Hammond motivations for putting on this concert was to give African Americans some respect, some profile and to acknowledge that one of America’s contributions to USIA had come from black people-this is how he wanted it to be seen. Wasn’t easy to get sponsorship- both these concerts were at Carnegie Hall-the pucker concert hall in the Unites States, therefore the most expensive to hire and despite the fact of him being wealthy himself he was trying to raise some support/sponsorship. He didn’t manage to get anyone from the commercial world – possibly due to racist reasons as the concert was going to be for an integrated audience and there had to be black and white and a lot of the commercial sponsors opted out.
He did get a pompons in a way from a very predictable source-a Journal called – the new masses. A journal that was produced by the American Communist Party.They agreed to finance it, although not entirely surprising if you think of the philosophy of equality and all the rest. What Hammond was trying to do with these concerts: *To write or establish a narrative of Jazz, in other words a story that would be its history, it would be the story that Jazz told about itself. In a way if your trying to give a sense of dignity, you’re trying to put a group of people on the map, you need to tell a story about them. Very often these stories are invented but Hammond intentions were absolutely pure , no doubt he was politically, socially, artistically committed to the plight of black people in America.On the other hand he did write a narrative -(it’s in the title: ‘Spirituals To Swing’.
) Hammond did tell a story of Jazz that we have been telling ever since and has sometimes got in the way of the way we think about Jazz. It’s in the title: ‘Spirituals To Swing’. The narrative was (in the title) – (sass’s was the swing era, era of big bands – Tommy Dorset- Glen Millard) big by today’s standard with 20 to 30 musicians. Played for dancing – So swing was where the story had got to.What he was trying to prove in these concerts was this: * There was a story that started in West Africa ( when we talked about early Jazz, it was emphasized that there was also a white European, very strong influence in Jazz) Undoubtedly the people that led this formation of this style where African Americans. All of them had been very heavily Ragtime might have been a compromise between – black American rhythms and European parlor music but Hammond didn’t say anything about the European bit. *sass’s back then people were much more static.
Didn’t travel around the world the way we do today.If you were putting something like this on today and you wanted to represent the fact that the music came from African roots, you’d have bought a few plane tickets and flown a troop of African drummers over from iambi to New York, they would have done their concert and gone home. Would have been impossible to organist that project those days. At the beginning of one of (maybe both) those concerts – he put a gramophone player on the stage-played very rare recordings of African tribal drumming-to give people some idea of this is where it started even though they loudest actually get the people there that played this.So this is how it started: You go to a posh concert at Carnegie Hall-you wouldn’t be paying peanuts to go there-you got all these Jazz stars that are on the bill. -It starts with someone walking on the stage and putting a needle on the record. There onwards he tried to show that there was a logical development from that point -To slavery- the slave trade – black people in the Southern States singing work songs/call and response/early versions of gospel coming up to early versions of blues.
He tried very hard to get hold of the lees singer, Robert Johnson(legendary in ass’s/inspiration to ass’s rock bands, e. Rolling stones) He was a bit of a legend in his own time-very hard to trace him. Hammond went around to try to find this character but in the end they found that he had only Just died. They found another singer called – Big Bill Brown/fantastic guitar player singer and he took Robert Johnson place. Other people invited to perform in his concert – The Golden Gate Quartet, four black singers who sang gospel songs in a more modern style. If you had been around ass’s years or even a hundred years earlier you would not have heard the same style that The Golden Gate did. -Plays audio clip – Mitchell Christian Singers, What More Can My Jesus Do.
This was recorded at this concert. Old style with lead singer and harmonistic voices alongside. Plays more audio from those concerts: Harmonica player Sonny Terry/ well known as a fantastic blues-harp player/had most peculiar style of falsetto singing, wasn’t that uncommon. People that came to the concert (particularly left-wing white intellectuals, must have thought it extremely primitive and loved it for sure for that reason. Plays Sonny Terry – percussionist laying a washboard. Lots of different techniques used, thimbles on fingers/bells attached to boards etc. Not many knew much about this in those days-fairly common for us now.
So what you have got with these concerts: -The African roots -The beginnings of blues and gospel progress from those forms to a modern swing band. The band they got to do this was Count Basis and his orchestra. They were difficult to get but Hammond was promoting them himself, obviously why and how he got them to play. Basis’s music was very blues based, although like a swing band in some respects, it was like an overgrown blues band in other respects. Probably had at least a couple of each sax, two tenors, two altos possibly a baritone, probably didn’t use soprano very much those days.Perhaps two trumpets, trombones and a rhythm section But Count Bastes own tunes were all based on the 12 bar blues sequence – plays audio: One O’clock Jump. Other musicians were involved as well: -Benny Goodman- white clarinet player.
It wasn’t that there was a color bar against the whites, the idea was to tell this story in the black context. Benny Goodman was considered the king of swing on the clarinet. There were other examples of mainly black musicians Plays audio-Count Basis’s One O’clock Jump-fast swing movement but very rehearsed, e. We heard a key change -Some room for improvisation as it is very riff based -If band is riffing behind you, playing key phrase over and over then lot of scope to put a solo over it. -Typical of the time, what you will hear is they are not long protracted solos -Don’t give musician much opportunity to expand -Modern Jazz solos tend to go on much longer -Kind of a rehearsed improvisation -More of a composition with some room for improve Lots you can say about these Spiritual of Swing concerts: In one very particular way the beginnings of rock and roll actually owed something to these concerts. There was a whole style of piano playing in the States -Very Urban -Not that many people doing it -But common enough to go in to a bar and hear someone playing Boogie Woozier _Which was basically a speeded-up form of 12 bar blues -Typically with those left hand patterns and right hand cliches *What never happened in Boogie Woozier was: -Groups of musicians started to play together in these concerts -Three very famous Boogie pianists – not so sure if they even knew each other before the concert -JohnHammond managed to get three pianos on the stage and got all three playing -You get this fantastic three voice Boogie Woozier Then there was the big shouter – Big Joe Turner got up and sang with these Boogie Woozier pianists -It does sound a bit like early rock and roll -Without that shuffling back beat that was so typical. Discuss this in two weeks time) This concert really profiled that music -spread it and made groups were there hadn’t previously been groups -Lots of people there -Most importantly the musicians were put in contact with one another -So very quickly they began to bring this very urban blues style together And that really is the first hint of rock and roll.
So, John Hammond may have done a whole lot more than essentially profile black music. He might of been a pioneer in the rock and roll world.That’s that concert. A recap – He tried to create a narrative of Jazz, he gave it a history. Not entirely accurate but a nice story to tell. (1953) We move on to Jazz in Massey Hall in 1953 Discusses bebop itself before moving on to this concert. -Has given already a couple of hints as to what the origins of bebop were: -One was a opposed quotation of Telethons Monk who said: We wanted to play something they couldn’t”.
2 -When he said ‘they couldn’t’ – actually reflects something of the history of Jazz.What actually happened to Jazz -Entrepreneurs, impresarios, people in other words from the commercial area had heavily moved in and marketed Jazz. -In particular the swing bands were there was some room for improve but if you played in the majority of swing bands and particularly those led by white musicians, improvisation almost disappears-listen to Glen Millard or Dodder’s band for e. G -Part of the reason for that is that they were selling a product. Improvisation is notoriously unreliable, one day brilliant, next day not so. If you are selling records you want your customers to know what they are getting. -At least in the more popular dimension of things _-But majority of Jazz musicians if they wanted to make a living at all by playing music found themselves at one time or another in one of these swing bands.
_AI the famous Jazz musicians in the bebop era, like Charlie Parker (alto sax player) Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet player) both of whom we hear. -Many many others, bass players drummers the lot, at some time or another went on this swing band thing to make a paving. Read somewhere it was something of a treadmill, read that Benny Goodman band toured 365 days a year -They had a gig every day including smash day and on Sundays would play in the afternoon and evening. -Evening performances very long, often went on after midnight. Then they would pack up their gear and on a train to some other part of the Country in time for the next gig. -Every day of the year and playing the same stuff. -It was hard work – they were very hard-working bands.
-There was the audience for it. On the whole they were playing dance halls. The music of course was quite simplified. Minds -you had to be blended good. -You wouldn’t be able to stand the touring schedule if you were struggling for notes or techniques. (sass’s) – What you actually hear if you listen to those bands that toured in the sass’s: -You hear excellent musicians/also hear quite a formulaic music. So this is where a lot of early black Jazz musicians where earning their living, and what tended to happen is you would do your gig and then after hours you would go to one of these clubs.
A very famous one in New York, called Moutons. -Musicians who wanted to play one of their own stuff and didn’t want to be on this readily all the time, playing same riffs day after day. However they met together after hours. You get this very high technique but were musicians bursting forth, as they were very creative artists who were being very frustrated by the fact that they were playing this formulaic music, so this is one of the very strong origins of bebop. Often the tunes they played (despite the fact that they would often play a 2 bar blues sequence or other popular tunes that were very well known, usually the 32 bar popular tune formula but they would start to play outside the chords. Particularly sax player, Charlie Parker who was very good at introducing chromatics’s or little shifts. E.
G the pianist may be playing a chord of G but then very briefly you might play something a semitone above it and then back to G. -A lot of what they did was trying to see how far outside the chords they could get. Also playing in many cases, very very fast.Plays an audio from a concert a few years before it. -Plays Charlie Parker – Coalescence – tune was derived from a very well known love song-Lover Come Back To Me’ . Was usually performed very slowly. -You would get a ironer like Being Crosby or a heart throb that would croon this song very gently.
However, once Charlie got hold of it – the tune is unrecognizable but what you do have is the chord sequence . The important thing here, is that you have got a new tune, a very fast and a very complicated tune-very difficult to play and based on a very conventional chord sequence.Plays audio. Performances regarded as a little bit heroin-fueled. *Gave is the sax solo and trumpet solo, trumpet solo was Miles Davies when in his teens. Miles Davies had moved to New York to be near this kind of music – went to he Jailbird school of music, trained them to the highest caliber-classical musicians. He only did a year there and dropped out and went and got a real music education amongst the Jazz players.
Charlie Parker was a very tragic case, a heroin addict and killed him in the end. So, that’s a good example of bebop, kind of all about chops, it’s showy, very fast. The chord changes which would normally be quite simple if it was an original love song but first he is doing it at twice the speed and adding, passing chords in. -Very hard to describe this. You can analyses it musically and see what sass’s is the date of this. So bebop was well on the way by then as an established style and there were vast numbers of players. -Was true what Telethons Monk had said, that they wanted something that white musicians couldn’t play and it was true for only a very brief period because there were some very excellent white musicians who got into that style and became very well known for it.
On the other hand it was very much run by black musicians . (1953) So by 1953 when this concert took place, bebop was very much an established Jazz idiom and the people who were in the quintet, the five of them were all really well known in their own way. One of them was Charlie Parker who we Just heard on the alto sax, the trumpeter that we shall hear is Dizzied Gillespie, they had Matt Roach on drums on Lingua on bass, Bud Powell on piano. Monk was a very idiosyncratic player but he didn’t play here !!!!