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A. From Washington we present radio Smithsonian a program of music and conversation in the Smithsonian Institute. Today we begin a three part exploration into the world of jazz where jazz has been where it is today and the significant road jazz has played in American cultural life. Julian Yule guest moderator for this special series is a jazz
bassist sociologist and youth worker and now special assistant for public service here at the Smithsonian. Our guest is Dr. Donald Bud chairman of the department of jazz studies at Howard University in Washington and one of the greatest jazz trumpeters today and reflect on the origins of contemporary jazz. You know the evolution of jazz and so there seems to you know to be well it has it has changed over the years and and
now the guys are beginning to incorporate a lot of the electronic instruments and I understand that you that you have a recording are coming out now that that's using a lot of the Act electronic instruments. And somehow I maintain that it that it that still different than the rock n roll but again we run into the problem a lot of people hearing jazz musicians moving to electrical electronic instant or electric instruments get the feeling that they're moving into a rock n roll thing and they're being influenced by that whether Just because most people. We're hearing electric electrified instruments for the first time to rock and roll and they have they always going to feel it was just invented like people who are a child for the first time when he starts out to sing country and rest in music. Didn't realize that they were 20 years behind. You
say See another thing too that gives they give it more credit to a lot of the rock n roll people because the companies give more and instruments to and backing and they're endorsing their products because the current fad. And so forth but is it better I say jazz is as Ive been used to. I know like. 20 years. Well you know you hear some guys jazz musicians say and they do the bass players and others say man like I'll never touch one of those and it was considered at one time I don't know what that's changed that it's a drag you know to use for a jazz musician was considered at one time for outside of good cards. The guitar player to use some juice as I say you know what I mean what is that. And
and I remember we did we toured Europe way back some years ago and we had to play a lot of open air things outdoor concerts and that's the first time I had seen the Wurlitzer electric piano and all the guys were very uptight because they had to because they had all of the people that dated you know still wasn't considered not really artistic you know he was sort of taking away from the game and it's sort of more gimmicky than that and then artistic and I think that it has its place. I don't think that every place is an acoustic piano. I think it has its own definition and it doesn't sound like an acoustic piano is not supposed to sound like one. All day one is tremendous. I have always despised as a lecturer Gorgon because I definitely come out of the pipe organ in the air and to me there is no sound like a pipe organ mother and the electric organ as an electric organ it has a different thing.
I don't know there. To me an electric organ chimes to preserve me and try to assimilate the sound of a pipe organ where I don't really get the feeling that a lecturing piano is trying to be a piano piano I see. There are certain new electric pianos I tried to imitate but they're dead. They sound like a harpsichord piano and organ and so forth and then they make a bad attempt at all of it. But like the ones that is a piano that is generally accepted by the jazz musician doesn't try to imitate the UTM and they don't they don't even use it in a sense. They don't play it in as as they play it with a different feeling of different types from the acoustic piano. You know Donald is a very good example of how a jazz musician approaches electric piano in the work of Herbie Hancock. Miles Davis recording. Why don't we give it a listen.
This sort of points to some of the new directions that Miles is taking. Home. Home. Home. Home. Home.
Home. Home. Long. Long. Long. Long. Gone. Welcome home. Now in my opinion that's the way a jazz musician should use an electric instrument. You know the one thing I that I really dig about it is that you don't get that tremendous volume you find with the rock now because first of all there's as you know. In jazz like you want to have jazz is the way the musician uses his instrument in a fine musician now a jazz musician is that instrument is supposed to be an
extension of himself. And after you spend like. Years of working with a cruiser go is tremendous. And here comes another instrument and you can't you don't have to control like for instance from a dynamic standpoint you don't have control of because the thing is turned up loud you got to jump over dance which in turn it back until they can figure out a system how you can get where you live and control of volume and get more control over the instrument and probably will take you as long as it took you to master the other one to master the new thing so a lot of you know people are going to get turned off and then it's just like recording you have to learn how to record so you have to learn how to play this electrical instrument and it takes you years to learn how to record it takes years to learn how to play one instrument and I was like hey you got another 10 year chalice in front of you say so it'll be some time before all this madness settles.
So let me ask you a hard question I think it's a hard question but as you reflect back on your musical experience who would you identify are what musicians would you add to the party as being a key factor or playing a key role in changing the direction of jazz music. Probably two of them. Charlie Parker and Leslie Yeah. I was not only were the great people on their instrument but they were also by extremely intelligent human beings. As it has a lot to do and I got in this is going to be great. Just remember as that doesn't mean he's going to be a hell of an intellect. You send a guy who can reshape and write and write and influence a new director.
He's not only got to turn around my musical standby but he's also got to turn it around from philosophical side as the bird was the type of person that could turn you on off the stage in less than a yard or two. That's true he said. Where I don't think that philosophically speaking Louis Armstrong ever attain that status is not the only other person but if I were the name I would name three people Miles Davis Charlie Parker and Lester Young and I think most of the descriptions and people that you talk to the vibe they weren't there I'd say Miles he doesn't that I mean because he's still alive the other two are dead. It is the descriptions of Lester Young. It was also a dynamic person off the stage. His
saxophone play was as revolutionary as one of his forebears I say like Coleman Hawkins who was one of the greatest innovators a saxophone but less Young had more character and had more impact in primary source. I see a tree and Charlie Parker carried the same thing I think it jolly BB popularize actually I guess he was a alto sax while he he was Johnny Hodges was Coleman Hawkins as Charlie Parker was Lester Young and to the alto saxophone trumpet does a last page through me I think is the world's greatest from of the latter. Louis Armstrong probably one of the great innovators but.
I really don't know about that I would say I'd have to say there. I think I've had to re-evaluate that. I would say to people in trumpet does a mile because dizzy had a very very strong. He has strong character and everybody acted philosophize like crazy and modernise. I was in the last 15 years because dizzy goes before that I was miles and miles today. I was a Charlie Parker combination Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. I would say today that there is a you know a saxophone player that has that kind of charisma depths of philosophy because of most of the saxophone players what Miles has transcended many years anyway and he's and he continues on continues to
develop for you know some people don't agree with his development. Miles was always moving and moving and I could see where he I could see just like there's this and there is a saxophone player today. That carries that has been respected are coming out of the eye thing like Miles Davis or most of them a day. I was there maybe John Coltrane and I was you know I was going to ask God John I seem to have a lot of input not as much as Charlie Parker although you since you know the years have a tendency to distort things and or time and a lot of guys almost built train which I did which I'm sure would annoy him he wouldn't agree with himself above John Parker. Yeah well the thing is that I was well trained and live long enough to get the
school going like Charlie Parker. You know Don when talking about those musicians who were most influential on the jazz scene in the last 25 years you mentioned the names of Charlie Yardbird Parker of course that Lester Young great Dizzy Gillespie Miles Davis and others. I'd like to start out by playing some examples of these artist and and hopefully we can get a clearer picture of how these guys contrast in a sense in terms of styles and I think you know you can hear one leading into the other in a sense. Lester Young sort of laid down a certain. For Matt and Charlie Parker certainly was influenced by him. And then we have a heavy yard taking it in and going somewhere else with it and running almost simultaneously with that kind of move
was the great Dizzy Gillespie. So let's start out by doing a an oldie which is kind of a jazz classic now called Indiana Les Dion is a company very able to buy the Oscar Peterson trio with great Ray Brown on bass and a big pan of drums. We'll follow this up with it with a side by Charlie Parker called Bird of Paradise which is actually all of things you are on this particular date that was done some years ago we have two very great jazz musicians and in the person of Miles Davis and Max Roach. And finally we'd like to play you an example of John Burke scholastically and his big man. Home.
To. Do it. The earth.
The earth. Thought. The thing. Let. Us. Wow. What can you say behind that.
We could go on listening to that kind of music all day. But Tempus fugit and time is running out. So I think maybe you will have to continue next week. But before we go let's let's have a last listen to Charlie Yardbird Parker playing scrapple from the apple. Has been talking with the chairman of the department of jazz studies at Howard
University and one of the greatest jazz trumpeters and composers forming his own group played with jazz musician Max Roach. John Coltrane and Dylan is my next week and continue on to a radio exploration of the jazz radio Smithsonian is presented week at this time produced by the Office of Public Affairs Frederick M. Phillips director. This is Cynthia. This is the national educational radio network.
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Radio Smithsonian
Episode Number
Jazz Scene Part I
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-17-30 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “Radio Smithsonian; 30; Jazz Scene Part I ,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2024,
MLA: “Radio Smithsonian; 30; Jazz Scene Part I .” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2024. <>.
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