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The following tape recorded program is a presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the 25th in a series of programs on the roof in my state. On this program we have a vocal. We.
Jazz like all things had its beginnings and before its beginning it had precedent music out of which it develops. The music out of which jazz developed was almost entirely vocal. So it is not surprising to find a close parallel between instrumental and vocal jazz even up to the present day. The negro spirituals religious songs and work songs were almost exclusively opera power. When the negro moved to cities his song forms slowly became dominated by the blues. Still a folk medium they were usually song to the accompaniment of a guitar banjo drums or piano. The Blues are still sung in this way while a spiritual hymn and work song have disappeared except for the few remaining negro singers who have made a specialty out of preserving folk creations. The Blues reflect the city life. A different world outlook between the country and plantation life of the spiritual
and the work song. Other forces which have already been discussed in these programs guided and encourage the development of an instrumental music not have a little influence in the style of early instrumental jazz was the Blues themselves. Here is a quotation from a letter written to Joe Oliver in the year 1926. He was writing to a friend of his in New Orleans but he passed it and he said if you've got a real good blues have someone to write it just as you play them to me. We can make some jack on them. Now I have the blues wrote down just as you play them it's the originality that counts. By the way what become a bunker. I'd like very much to hear from him. Well I won't take up any more of your time. I will close and hope to hear from you real soon. And he must have heard from Bank Johnson because in one thousand thirty he wrote a letter to bunker inside. Have you got any good blues. If so send them to me and I will make them bring you some real
money. When making my arrangements. Always write that cornet real low down solo Alabang remember how you used to drive the blues down and the Blues continued to be song and are today. But time has rapped some singers of the past with mantles of Fame. We can only guess at their real stature because while we have recordings of most of them they are anything but high fidelity. Most of the master recordings have been lost in the never ending shuffle of small recording companies and the copies have been played hundreds of times in the 30 years that they've existed. The list of the great singers of blues is studded with women. Bessie Clara Trixie Mamie and Laura Smith none related to any of the others in any way except musically. I don't Cox chippie Hill Ma Rainey and Billie Holiday Ella Fitzgerald and Ethel Waters. I for one has started singing blues. But man there are two in this list
Joe Turner Jimmy Rushing Jack Teagarden Louis Armstrong and those great guitar playing troubadour as Lonnie Johnson. How do you lead better. And Big Bill Broonzy. And here are some of those records. First Bessie Smith.
The next. Thing on Margaret Johnson. And now we strong no such mime So this is the record on which he supposedly created his scat singing style.
A more modern recording as we listened to Jimmy Rushing.
And now one of the best white interpreters of the blues song. Harder. From.
My. Heart or. How Big Bill Broonzy. Want to.
Jazz through the 20s and 30s became increasingly scholarly musicians learned instrumental technique and played more and more the written down music of ballads singers followed step the jazz or improvised personal interpretations remained but the blues no longer dominated the vocalists repertoire. The priest swing and swing era of jazz produced vocalists of great interpretive genius generally that tone of performance changed from blue music to happy if not downright gay music. The 20s produced being Crosby Jelly Roll Morton. They kept in step with the times and Billy Cox singing with the old Duke Ellington. First we hear Crosby.
And now here is Jelly Roll Morton. Dr. Jazz.
Cab Calloway. And now we move back to the Duke Ellington days and baby Cox singing Hot bonnet. The 30s are brought us Wayne Ella Fitzgerald and Helen O'Connell. And first here is home. His eloquence. Hallelujah.
You know. You. Can. Help. Helen O'Connell and keep an eye. Never.
Brought us a revival in Dixie. And with a return to the blues Billie Holiday is Billie Holiday. Ham. I. Don't. Know.
You're going to be sorry. The Ford brought on Bob and progressive jazz and the vocal Representatives women like Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Kenton vocalist
Christie and Mel Torme. Here is. One of. Them my life. When.
I needed it. And John Christine. Oh. Boy.
And today well there are a great many styles and voices. So I'm fated to last August to disappear. Why should we try to protect one voice it seems to me still retains all a feeling that is so meaningful to jazz that the voice of lean on one one me me all of me be you know me you need me. No vocalists have become increasingly sophisticated just as the jazz musicians generally they are no longer focused. They have become a part of the more dominant culture but they have brought with them through the years their own peculiar way of looking at civilization their own mode of operation their own world outlook that outlook when
focused on things music O has and does produce Jazz want to know that someone is you. But I don't want the bar to have to go back tomorrow. You. Know there's.
A joke. You. See. To them it comes.
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Roots of jazz
Vocal tradition in jazz
Producing Organization
Iowa State University
WOI (Radio station : Ames, Iowa)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program explores the history and evolution of vocals in jazz.
Other Description
Music-documentary series in 26 parts, covering various aspects of jazz.
Broadcast Date
Jazz vocals--History and criticism.
Media type
Director: Cleary, Norman
Engineer: Gardner, Merv
Host: Clark, Kenneth Bancroft, 1914-2005
Producing Organization: Iowa State University
Producing Organization: WOI (Radio station : Ames, Iowa)
Speaker: Geesy, Ray
Writer: Cleary, Norman
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-24-25 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:29
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Chicago: “Roots of jazz; Vocal tradition in jazz,” 1956-12-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 24, 2022,
MLA: “Roots of jazz; Vocal tradition in jazz.” 1956-12-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 24, 2022. <>.
APA: Roots of jazz; Vocal tradition in jazz. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from