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The evolution of jazz. A survey of American Art from Scott Joplin to Lenny Tristan on. The evolution of jazz is 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 we had discussed in part the characteristics of the cool style of contemporary jazz with particular listening attention to Stan Getz one of the chief exemplars of that style. A major recording event. In the evolution of contemporary jazz
occurred in 1909 when a group of young musicians influenced by both operas and the cool musicians. Actually all modern jazz men are a combination of the two. No one is exclusively a cool Dylan Iand or exclusively a puncher as the French say or BOP or it is that some qualities qualities we've delineated as pertaining particularly to the cool school often predominate in one man's playing. Other qualities that were listed as being characteristic of the boppers or punch is more evident in other men's work very briefly and always with a cautionary preface that there is constant overlapping of styles. It can be said in summary that the cool musicians. Are extremely concerned with the sound with producing a sound. Sure and so far as possible vibrant showing of a broad Oh a very light pure sound. In the tradition of Lester Young. They are
also apt to be closer to the melodic line in their improvisations than are the rock musicians who are more interested in the chord structures of the tunes they base their improvisations on the boppers or punters have generally a wider of a bridal shop or a more acrid tone and are apt to be more forceful more direct in their playing. While there is a sense of restraint of sobriety and some of the European critics put it in the playing of the cool musicians. These sides. Recorded for a capital in 1949 are among the high points in recorded modern jazz. The writing for the date was brilliant and was by such men as John Lewis and Jerry Mulligan Bud Powell George Wellington Denzel best Miles Davis and others. It was brilliant in the way that the various tambourines of the instruments were utilized
and in the melodic inventiveness of the themes and in the choral writing. These signs were also important in that they introduced a new instrumental combinations pointing the way for the eventual introduction to jazz I believe of several instruments not yet extensively used by Jasmine. The French horn he was to hear the flute the English horn the whole the oboe another it's the personnel and instrumentation. On this date Miles Davis trumpet JJ Johnson trombone Sanford C. Goldstein French horn Liko knits alto saxophone Jerry Mulligan baritone saxophone Bill Bob the first tuba used in the jazz recordings since the old New Orleans Chicago days. John Lewis piano Nelson Boyd bass and on drums I say that has to be US since. Actually some of the New Orleans revival units have been using tubas for some years but this was one of its very few appearances in a modern jazz context and so very effective one.
And I do well to hear three of these sides out of the eight first George Washington's composition godchild. So. I am.
I am. I am. I am. I am. These records in a certain sense represent a synthesis between the harmonic
power and rhythmic inventiveness of the bopper is and the discipline and concern for melodic and sound values of the cool jazz man. But here again a warning against over categorization because of course the bopper is as we've noted in the work of Gillespie and Parker and Powell also had considerable melodic invention and the cool jazz man also experimented with advanced harmony. And so when I use these descriptive passages they're meant to be taken with considerable restraint. There was another side to this one according to Miles Davis who is the nominal leader of the day was the most successful of all. It was written by Cleo Henry and was called Bob sitting. And.
And. And.
Though the writing for these guys was more detailed more extensive than usually occurred in Jazz Sessions there was still ample space for improvisation in the solos here. As a final example of this recording date is Johnny Curry sees Israel and again it's Miles Davis trumpet. JJ Johnson trombone Sanford Siegal Stan French horn the conics Alto Gerry Mulligan baritone Bill Barber tuba John Lewis piano Nelson Boyd bass and drums. I am.
I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. Jasmine all over the world were influenced by these recordings because they indicated the beginnings of a new stage in contemporary jazz. It's one of the men on the date now Lois Lee Cohen it's has been largely trained by letting Tristan know Tristan I was technically equal to any pianist in jazz so period by far the most. As a technician
his knowledge of theory probably excels that of any of his contemporaries in his teaching. He emphasizes the primacy of your knowledge of the most complex harmonic patterns including patterns he has evolved in self. The graduate of the Tristan old school theoretically can improvise with more harmonic knowledge and therefore freedom than any other jazz man one who has studied with Tristan I was the Chicago tenor man bud Freeman one who has always been eager to evolve in the use of the jazz language. According to writer George hope for Freeman feels that Lenny is chiefly guiding thoughts for a music that is beautiful and intelligently played. Freeman has no qualms in making the statement that Tristan was the best music teacher in the country when his whole method of teaching is legitimate he begins at the bottom by teaching scales and progresses in the same manner as music teachers have always done. However running has thousands of combinations of scales and intervals that cannot be found
in books and says Freeman Tristan is the best system of study because everything you get from Tristan he will keep in your head and don't find in written music. Tristan offers a good basic course of study and there are no short cuts to the modern approach. Lenny did not give broad jazz ideas he says but he learned to use his own ideas to better musical advantage. Unfortunately most of Tristan his pupils have been so influenced by him and I realize it's been a very incomplete summary of his methodology. That they tend both to create a coterie and to pattern their styles too much after he has. He has however helped develop individual talents like those of one tenor Liko knits trombonist Willie Denison piano sound Moscow Tristan his own music has been criticized as being too intellectual and not as emotional as the best of jazz. Some jazz men themselves have said it lacks a swinging beat he has on the other hand many champions including contemporary musicians like Charlie Mingus. Some of
whom believe that Tristan will be in fact already is one of the leading influences in the further evolution of jazz a particular exponent of Tristan no one has been indefatigable and calling attention to his contributions to jazz has been critic Barry Ulanov editor of Metro magazine. This is what you want off writes in his history of jazz in America. At 8 o'clock on Friday evening May 13th one thousand forty nine after two hours of fairly orthodox recording. Lenny and four other men guitarist Billy bar bassist Arnold Fisher who was Liko nits and tenor Warren my group themselves around two microphones and began to make permanent one of the most audacious experiments yet attempted in jazz the experiment was to create out of scale intuition and spontaneous music that would be at once atonal contrapuntal and improvised on a jazz bass. Logically enough intuition was the name when he gave the first side of the four recorded between 8:00 and
9:00 that night not logically but perhaps understandably capital was bewildered by an uncertain about what it heard that is the capitol recording company. As a result of the signs were erased from the recording tape and of the remaining two of those chosen as the best of the four only one was released and that two years after it was recorded. Intuition both the record and the procedure it names is the inevitable development of continuos of money Tristan 0 0 years of laboratory experiments in actual playing on the job and at home and in his studio. You can hear his growth he continues from the Kotas of the six sides made for keynote later gathered together in a mercury album through the two sides disc records issued and the many a Didn't through subconsciously and Judy on the new jazz label later issued on prestige and the six capital sides. You're going to hear the individual melodic lines lengthened First Lenny and
Billy Bowers in the trio performances on keynote then leaves and Warren marshes with an official bass take place prior to taking on more and more individual life. You can almost see the long lines pair off side by side the improvised counterpoint taking shape. With suggestions of a tonality. All strung together with a beat. You can't miss the evolution from other men's chords from established chorus ranks from familiar sounds to the individual freedom and group interdependence of integration. Let's then trace this development by means of the records. Here is a keynote recording of 19. Forty six I believe with Bruce Dano on piano. Billy Barnes guitar and Clyde Lombardi bass. This was Tristan I was in a reinterpretation of I Can't Get Started. A later recording on disc. Tristan on piano believe fish
can base this time with clarinet is John the porter added. L A P O T A who you and believes is also one of the focal figures in the evolution of contemporary jazz. This is a composition of the porters called through these portals. A few. It was still later recording put out on the new jazz
label. With a bar on guitar bass Tristan and piano. Shelley man on drums and Liko knits Alto in subconsciously. Oh yeah. OK.
OK. OK. I am. Yes. I am. I am. I am. OK. OK. OK. OK OK OK. OK OK. Yes.
OK. Next one of the capital's scions with Tristan on a piano in baseball a guitar. Denzel best drums the Coneheads Alto and Warren Marsh on tenor. This was written by Billy Barr and is called marionette I.
The Evolution of Jazz
Episode Number
Cool Jazz Continued, Part One
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the "cool school" of jazz.
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
Jazz musicians--United States--Biography.
Media type
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Host: Hentoff, Nat
Producer: Hentoff, Nat
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-32-35 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:57
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Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 35; Cool Jazz Continued, Part One,” 1954-07-09, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 35; Cool Jazz Continued, Part One.” 1954-07-09. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <>.
APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 35; Cool Jazz Continued, 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