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The evolution of jazz is a survey of American art form from Scott Joplin to Lenny Tristan and. The evolution of jazz as a tape recorded feature presented under the auspices of Northeastern University by the Lowell Institute cooperative broadcasting Council Nat Hentoff associate editor of Downbeat Magazine discusses the growth of jazz from its roots in Europe and Africa and considers the musical as well as the sociological forces that shaped it. Mr Hentoff. Last week you know I description really New York jazz. We had arrived at the piano with Fats Waller who in turn derived from James P. Johnson who in turn derived from the ragtime background before further tracing and then into modern jazz piano there's a brief digression from our.
Evolutionary pattern I would like to make another point or rather to give another illustration of a point made last week in the discussion and that's why I noted that jazz musicians are contemptuous of popular artists the pop singers one hears on the disc jockey shows and Band Man of the type of Guy Lombardo and his musicians and they will often express this contempt well Bleakley sometimes often quite directly. On the occasions when they them sounds are asked to record popular songs. Some never do. Some. Effect a protective coloration so to speak. But I was like That's why I did let his attitude become quite clear. And here is another example. You want
to make Carlyle who can sing better than she does in this record allowed herself to become his for oil. Note the contrast between their approach to the sun and purely musical terms. That's why I was playing with the beat and singing. And his piano playing and his vocal instrumental on his use of his voice with the use of the brakes and other elements of the jazz language. I can't give you anything but the comments but I think it's one. I don't mean to imply that there was anything malicious in Mr. Wallace parrot is he
was a man of a man's goodwill but he did find that many of the artifacts of the popular music world were hilariously absurd. Now a knowledgeable entertainer Fats Waller was no before he was a major pianist in the jazz tradition who helped greatly to influence the man who was perhaps the best of our Art Tatum. His gift for popular melody has been one of our best. I mention many of his compositions last week. And he was one of the first jazz men if not the first to use the organ meaning for a as a jazz instrument. Here is a recording made in Europe with
his own composition. And he loved to play this
particular on the organ. As a jazz pianist.
As I noted he turned out to have been one of the focal influencers. This was his 1929 recording of another original composition handful of Kiev's. Tatum who was perhaps the most highly regarded of our jazz pianists
has frequently acknowledged his debt to fats and his very human rights from fats. The left hand patted him on the netting single notes and chords the so-called stride piano to fats out of the tenth the bass beat based on the chord of that interval from FATS Tatum to touch soft so he was some classically disciplined. To him he brought the execution deftly inserted arpeggios appoggiaturas and other brilliantly inter-related ornament performed with an ease that has won him the high praise of a number of quite prominent classical pianists and the listeners like myself. And it was the major influence on Bud Powell and hence a prime factor in
the evolution of contemporary jazz piano. Because most younger pianists today are taser powers pianistic So this is another example of the constant interweaving of influences personal and geographical in jazz. It may be doubly interesting both as a tracing of the influence of totem on power. And at the same time an example of the infinite number of variations. A jazz man can play on the most familiar song. They're both played their versions of a song that is quite familiar perhaps all too familiar to many of you. Tea for Two. This is an early record by Tatum relatively early followed by a recent one by Bud Parr. Another set of variations on the same song by. A man who
has expressed the same kind of detail in the Tatum. And then Why did James P. Johnson young Bud Powell. Neither Mr. Tatum or Mr. Parr let it be said hastily
always play nor even nearly always play at that precipitous a tempo. But I wanted to illustrate the degree of technical mastery of pianistic resources. Both have attained as have many other modern jazz pianists. That enables men like Tatum and Powell to improvise at that rate. They were of course many other piano lines of influence in the 20s and 30s as well as the James P. Waller Tatum want one just illustrated just as they were parallel. Actually interweaving rather than parallel lines of influence on our other jazz instruments. Tatum for example was secondarily influenced by Earl Hines. Hines described style has been described by Barry Ulanov. And as. The trumpet style. The adjective has been used across many commentators long since and long before you and if it's more accurately described continues
Barrett. Has trumpet with a band style. Because while Earl was establishing the trumpets melodic line with his right hand. He is setting up Lige ensemble chords with his left splashes of Konna rhythms tremolo sometimes suspending the beat with that characteristic a ringing pedal tone he strikes out with full chords far removed from the C major and C seven fundamentals of blues piano. We had several examples of the Heinz piano in the Chicago Jazz period and we will return to it again during the big band section. And other murders of the evolving piano tradition where Teddy Wilson in a later period who was also influenced by Hines Count Basie Mary Lou Williams and others we shall come to in the course of these like trees. Before reaching Bud Powell and the entire context of contemporary jazz we'll have to examine the development of jazz in the 30s especially in a large band environment.
But to do that we have to go back again and resume the main thread of our course return to New York and Kansas City in the 20s or.
The Evolution of Jazz
Episode Number
Fats Waller, Part One
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program continues to explore the music and influence of Fats Waller.
Series Description
Jazz historian Nat Hentoff presents a series that traces the history of jazz, from its musical and cultural roots to its contemporary forms. "The Evolution of Jazz" was originally broadcast from WGBH in 1953-1954, and was re-broadcast by the National Educational Radio Network in 1964.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Waller, Fats, 1904-1943. Works. Selections
Media type
Embed Code
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Host: Hentoff, Nat
Producer: Hentoff, Nat
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-32-20 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:21
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Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 20; Fats Waller, Part One,” 1954-03-26, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 20; Fats Waller, Part One.” 1954-03-26. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 20; Fats Waller, Part One. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from