The Evolution of Jazz; 34; Collective Improvisation and Cool Jazz, Part One
Remember. I am. The evolution of jazz. A survey of American art form from Scott Joplin killed any interest on our. 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. At the close of last week's lecture I had quoted from an article by Leonard Stoneleigh 1947 in which he had pointed out that a significant contribution of Bob was the evolution of the single line and he predicted that the next step after baap will be collective improvisation on a much higher level because the individual lines will be more complex. Collective improvisation as such was markedly absent from much of Bob. And that is what happened or rather what is happening because present day jazz is increasingly concerned with multi linear collective improvisation. As I mentioned in an earlier lecture I shy away from frequent use of the word counterpoint because this is not the academic kind of counterpoint entirely. It doesn't follow the formal classical rules often but the word counterpoint. So far as it means multi linear does apply to the work of such present day Jasmine as Tristan and south Dave Brubeck Gerry Mulligan at times Teddy Cole
and Jimmy Raney and other hits. But before we reach that music it would be well to talk about the men who are influenced by the leaders of brought Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker and the others sort of the second line as there always has been a second line in the evolution of jazz from the early days of New Orleans on. And in the course of studying the second line we'll come to a later development of modern jazz with its antecedents in Bach and in Lester Young particularly among musicians. The cool school. Let me point out by the way that the leading figure in actual playing jazz today continues to be Charlie Parker one of the few men in jazz history who has become the focal musician of his era. Jelly Roll Morton Louis Armstrong and Lester Young and Parker. I think the four such men. And also pop itself continues not only through the playing of Parker but also through the work of Gillespie in the continual explorations of men like the pianist Bud Powell and writers John Lewis and Bam Iran.
In his book on the history of jazz in America Barry Ulanov heads the chapter that follows a discussion of bop with the title The Progressive. That is the kind of word that has so imprecise a meaning that I would prefer not to use it in this course. It brings to mind among other abstract connotations the disputes concerning the 19th century over use of the word progress and the general vagueness of the term which becomes more and more a slogan rather than a musicological or any other kind of description of a process. You and I have talks in this chapter of the Woody Herman band. Of the 1940s. A major modern jazz band surpassed perhaps only by Dizzy Gillespie and his short live band in the late 40s. As an experimental laboratory Herman's first organization was really a cooperative unit formed of alumni of the Isom Jones man in 1936.
This was the band that played the blues as it advertised itself along with regular props. It was a good large band and sort of the Dixieland playing the blues tradition. And this is an example of. Yeah but. I am.
I am. There follows a billion times and second player is now below us. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. The book. The book. In 1943 the band's personnel and perspective was
organically altered and by 1945 the band was composed largely of younger musicians very much under the influence of the BOP leaders. Gillespie Parker and the others as Barry Ulanov describes it. The first records the band made for Columbia in February 1945 caught its quality and every side made until December 1946 just before it broke out. Now the same exultant collective spirit and endless Well not so endless. Let's say extensive individual inspiration there was Caledonian a transformation of a Louis Jordan jazz novelty with a jubilant Woody Herman singing and an extraordinary five trumpet unison chorus built on drop lines but unplayable by almost any other Bob trumpet section before Hermance.
Let. It. Go. 11. 11. 11. 11. 11. It looks so. Good now but no big deal.
Therefore continues you and I have the driving instrumentals Apple honey Northwest Passage The Good Earth your father's mustache wild rude blowing up a store and driving but controlled powerful in their brass flourishes but also subdued and delicate in individual solos in between the blasts and the bellows there was time not only for a solo or two but also for whole numbers of a different volume mood and musical intensity Bijoux Routh Byrne's run by a lounge as was the side that caught Hugo Stravinsky's attention with.
Going. Going going. Going. Going. To Esher going. Allen. If. I am.
I am I ever. Am. I am. I am. With you as. The back of. The barrier
absurd. Wow the. Hearing this another work of the Herman band. You go Stravinsky offered to write. When he later called the ebony concerto where they would have been bands Carnegie Hall concert in 1946. From the recording. Here is part of the first movement not a Ratto with Stravinsky conducting the Woody Herman band.
This. Is the first movement Mod. of Hugo Stravinsky's Ebony concerto with the composer conducting the Woody Herman band. The work will be further discussed in a later lecture on the use of the extended form in jazz though the work itself as is obvious is not in any sense a jazz work. A full description of this forty five forty six Herman band and its key personnel can be found in the chapter The Progressive's invariant of history of jazz. He knows the importance of basses chubby Jackson both with regard to his empathic enthusiasm. And his rhythm conceptions based on the evolutionary work of Jimmy Blanton among others. Constantly experimented and an example of his work as this original composition replete with the doublings of doubled tempos and having Zahava times the rhythm section is composed
of reading over on vibraphone Billy bower. On guitar and on them on drums Jimmy Rowles piano Jackson and bass with other members of the Herman band going for a man on a horse or.
They're fat. Oh. Yeah. I am. I am. I am. In that chapter The progressives Ulanoff rights of the interesting but not major band of Boyd Rayburn
and of Stan cannon. I think Dave Brubeck most succinctly pointed out the importance of cantons his importance I believe is not musical but rather publicity wise. He has attracted a great deal of attention and many listeners. And so what Kenton is doing is going more or less in front of the rest of us with that tremendous personal drive of his attracting a great amount of publicity. He's actually establishing an audience which will stand with Gerry Mulligan and myself and other groups like ours. An analogy of sorts would be the role that Benny Goodman and Audi show though both were far finer Jasmin than Canton and their bands played in the 30s. Many youngsters were first attracted to music through these bands and later learned to go beyond and hear Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins and Count Basie and Lester Young. Today youngsters who listen for us to Canton are then to go beyond and hear Charlie Parker Dizzy Gillespie Brubeck and other modern jazz men can't in the music itself. Has often been of considerable interest his earliest bands as Brubeck once noted were the closest to jazz through the years. His music
unwittingly became quite pretentious and stiff. Lately he has added new young jazz men to his group like Al Lewis Lee Cohen it's intended Zoot Sims and the band has more swing more freedom than it has had for some time. Cannon has always had good side men but the arrangements he has written and commissioned more often than not been the work of men who try to superimpose many of the musical devices of the classical impressionists and recently of the atonal this on a jazz bass. This kind of hybridization by external forces so to speak has never worked in jazz or anywhere else. It doesn't work in cantons music. Let me give you a brief example the best section from the long work for a focused writing lengthy is the Warren by Bob Gratton jerk called City of Glass. The work as a whole Canton regards as a major one a mark of cantons own a deficiency of taste. Though let me point out that his personal sincerity integrity are unquestioned. This is the dance of me for the mirror. I will play all of it but enough for you to get the idea of
Mormons understand canon of history and. Clue. The clue to her womb. Oh
absolutely. You going to. Tell You. The Klu Klux. Klan. Oh no. I am going to exclude elusive elusive. Loose. Clues. Clue. With her. Well really that's enough. And the people who admire this music and
can't it has thousands of fervent advocates and almost invariably people who have not had much listening orientation in classical music in the work of biotite and debut CD and other contemporary composers of the late 19th and early and 20th centuries and so I feel that this is really something new which it is not. However as was afore pointed out Canton does manage to acquire a great deal of publicity and perhaps through him many listeners will investigate the more active more creative more original sources and developments of contemporary jazz. From the detour we made to cover Stan Kenton we know arrive at a phase of contemporary jazz called cool jazz. Like all adjectival categorizations this one is semantically and musically imprecise.
So far as I can I'll try to indicate what the qualities of the cool school are and what you want to remember that all these categories overlap. And that they are last used by the musicians themselves then by critics and if you see and I know as a musician is more apt to rely on the statement that there was good jazz and bad jazz rather than to set up these orbits within orbits. They are however if used guardedly have some use in depicting the evolution of the art and also since these terms do become current. It's well to examine their basis that is what they claim to encompass musically. The most penetrating analysis of cool jazz I've seen in print. I should say analyses have appeared in the French magazine jazz hot by writers over you and Lucy and also on Jackass. Shockingly I think on the whole day a whole bale. And much of the following material is based on their work. This list of names by the way and their other capable French writers on jazz indicates that the French I believe have been especially valuable as critics and analysts of jazz as possible reasons for this I'll go into
in the final lecture in the discussion of jazz criticism. One can speak in a sense of classicism. As it is illustrated in the works of Charlie Parker Dizzy Gillespie Bud Powell Ted Damron and other early innovators in the form. From these beginnings there has been a rapid evolution in many directions going back for a moment to pre Second World War jazz there were two major influences on the young tenor sax player as well as the tenor as an illustrated influence because of the primacy of Lester Young. One school was led as we've noted by Coleman Hawkins and he was followed by men like Don by as Lucky Thompson. I quit back and inquired and most notably by Ben Webster. The other major influence was Lester Young and most of the younger musicians followed him more and more of the younger men as time went on. The last young school itself branched out once modern jazz had become established. One group was called by the French the puncher is influenced by Charlie Parker and in terms of the tenor this is where using the tenor they have transposed to that instrument Parker's way of phrasing their sonority is powerful
- The Evolution of Jazz
- Episode Number
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- This program explores the growth of collective improvisation in jazz.
- 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.
- Asset type
- Jazz musicians--United States--Biography.
- Media type
Host: Hentoff, Nat
Producer: Hentoff, Nat
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-32-34 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 34; Collective Improvisation and Cool Jazz, Part One,” 1954-07-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 5, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-x05xbq85.
- MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 34; Collective Improvisation and Cool Jazz, Part One.” 1954-07-02. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 5, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-x05xbq85>.
- APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 34; Collective Improvisation and Cool Jazz, 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 http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-x05xbq85