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The following tape recorded program is a presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters. The development of jazz was a continuous line from 1890 to 1930. Forty years of unprecedented creative activity from negro to white from white back to Negro from New Orleans to Chicago from New Orleans to the entire South. From Chicago to New York from the south to New York. And New York produced 1930 it took 40 years for jazz to get to New York.
And when it got there it went underground. It went to New York. It became dissipated. It almost disappeared. We've reached 1930 in our tracing of the roots of jazz. We reached it in all respects save one. This is the 16th in a series of programs on the roots of jazz in the United States. In this program we discuss small band jazz up to 1930 in New York. Ten pound Alley is in New York the stock market. The record industry radio
the theatrical world the booking agent for bands money is in New York City. These are the forces which make New York a city of expatriates brains talents skills genius from the rest of the country migrate some slowly some in one fell swoop to the metropolis from 1910 until the present. Jazz musicians have moved in the direction of available money. First up the Mississippi then east to the coast. Native New Yorkers don't mention where they are from out of town is rule the roost in New York City. It's a pool a gathering place a marketplace for the nation's talent and jazz musicians had to eat just as anyone else must. All through the 20s there were two musical forces developing two forces
that met head on in New York City. Towards the end of the period the first was begun on the cotton plantation. It was the old story of a musician being an artist independent to a large degree of the writing man in fact not knowing how to read. It was the suffering man the moaning his slavery the bent up man decrying his labored poverty. It was all a man from Buddy Bolden to Bix Beiderbecke expressing themselves as they saw fit within the limits of their musical know how. It was the musical force of jazz in the purest sense a spontaneous improvisation. It was being played all through the 20s in Chicago and everywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line and east of New York City. The second for us was the strong influence of European tradition in the
development of musical orthodoxy of technique style correctness. A musician should know the proper fingering of his instrument. He should know what his instrument is supposed to do and what it's not supposed to do. He should know how to read music produce a pure tone. Use the right finger on the right valve to get any note he wants. This was the long long tradition of what was called a European offer doxy in music the ease with the musicians of New York. They weren't born they came. New York was where bands were formed. Music was published dance tows organized and New York was the Vienna of the United States the heart of legitimacy. Jazz was known but it was not copied. It was used tin pan alley used everything as a cook uses condiments they like to spice up the leftovers of
yesteryear and serve them up as ragtime blues jazz. Anything you want to call it so long as it could be written and the musicians could read it and the people would buy it. But New York had money and during the 20s the illiterate musicians of jazz came to New York and met the literati yo tenpin
alley Fletcher Henderson Duke Ellington Louis Russell Paul Whiteman and Vincent Lopez absorbed these musicians and were influenced by them. And even in New York all through the 20s there was small groups of musicians who clung to their freedom. Men like myth mo Phil Napoleon and Jimmy light oh here is a recording of this group made probably in one thousand twenty two when they're still lingered. The early influence of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band at rising with his cafe. But recordings such as that were a far cry from what was going on in
Chicago and of the thousands of records being made in New York these few were rarities. These small groups did play and did attempt to provide themselves with a degree of freedom. Otis Fergusons says it this way. They played with some of the old Dixieland rip and with some of the Dixieland repertoire but they toned it down putting in rehearsed effects piano clarinet trumpet trombone in chords brass duets ensemble modulations and so forth. The rhythm element was weak which is a characteristic of all the small outfits of this place and period. Then in 1923 a red headed man named Nichols came out of the West from Utah and when he combined with myth mole trombonist from Long Island we had the beginnings of a New York combo development. But in 1923 it still sounded like the 1917 version of Dixie Land. Nine hundred twenty five brought another cornet player
from Davenport Iowa in 1919 to New York in 1925 came Bix Beiderbecke and Otis Ferguson says. But before that in 1925 something else had happened that gave the boys in this deadly enlarging recording room a taste of what was going to overtake them overriding the more cautious heads in their small group. The Wolverines decided to come to town and came bringing Bix Beiderbecke Bix played cornet away they'd never heard. And while he didn't stay long at the Cinderella ballroom he stayed around long enough before going back to Chicago so that Bret Nichols received an impression he never got over no matter how famous he might get. He wanted to play that kind of Trumpet. And this I should say is a typical meeting of the two kinds of things that were going on in the country. The Wolverines flopped in New York in spite of banks because they were in the old music tradition with a lot
of steam but limited repertory and little or no arrangement. The manager had tried to get them to vary things with a few straight numbers but they found every time the reversal would start with the best of intentions and then someone would just have to stick in a hot note at the end of his chorus or take a break and they'd be off after him first one and then the next. New York by then was a tough place to break into because the New York men had worked up a pretty high standard of all around musicianship and already had themselves pretty big names. Nicholas Rocco wouldn't have taken the town by storm in 1925. Still in all there were these men playing all the time and in demand everywhere and they could record 20 different numbers to the Wolverines won but they could no more cut this kid from this weed water circuit than they could slice a cobblestone. They had almost forgotten that music might be that way. What they had been a long time from home. I am.
I am. I am. Red Nichols and his five pennies and Miss mobile and his mobile. These were the recording groups of a lot of 20s. Hundreds of musicians were coming to New York the Chicago boys were here. The Kansas City boys were coming through and from Pennsylvania. Memphis Tennessee and the south. New York was filling with jazz and the impresario of jazz records was trumpeter Fred Nichols. I am ok
here. Barry Lynn off catalogs the many redneck groups read Nichols records other counterparts in distinction and quantity of Fletcher Henderson sides under many recording names Red introduced some of the most distinguished White Jazz musicians to a large listening public besides the red heads and his most familiar recording group Bret Nichols and his five pennies read led bands under the names of the Louisiana Rhythm Kings the Wabash dance orchestra of the Charleston chasers the hopping tots the midnight Airedales the Arkansas Travelers red mist stoppers the Goofus five The New York syncopated the dates miff mole that were signed with moles Motors and here are sums up the Nichols contribution the size of Red's contribution must not be measured only by the quality of the musicians he brought to records or by the effective sketchy ensemble writing or by the generally fine performance of his
musicians. Red zone playing is a considerable part of the accomplishment of these records. For reasons difficult to ascertain this playing has often been disparaged by the most casual hearing of his records makes clear why he was given so many record dates became so popular and through so many distinguished musicians to play with him. He played ballads with a sweetness that suggest Bix Beiderbecke although it is not of that unique excellence. He plowed his way through jazz figures with a brass authority and rhythmic integrity worthy almost of Louis Armstrong. He was neither a big nor elderly but he was close enough to each to deserve high praise and both as a soloist and a leader. He maintained jazz standards over hundreds of sides that few other recording musicians could be equal. Red Nichols and his five pennies with Glenn Miller Benny Goodman
Jack Teagarden Jimmy Dorsey Joe Sullivan and Gene Krupa. And why nine hundred twenty nine in 1930 all of the jazz musicians in New York
and that was most of them were combining the technical proficiency of European tradition with the spirit and approach of the main stem of jazz from New Orleans through Chicago. Here are the words of Frederick Ramsey Jr. The evidence is clear enough in the recordings even if it is not possible to tick off a precise moment and say it happened here out of town streams and rich by the talent that kept turning up from almost every state in the union began to merge. As this non-regional music of jasmine in New York was beginning to gel Jack Teagarden came up from Vernon Texas. If his arrival had meant just another name to stick up on the roster of arrivals departures and available zip pockets the story might have been different. But Teagarden brought something else a real love blues. And better still unknowing sympathy for Negro jazz before Teagarden. Not a single member of the entire white group congregating at bars and
dance halls and playing for radio and records could have sung a creditable blues vocal and before Teagarden there was no talent to equal the easy manipulation of the eloquent trombone that came along way with him from the Lone Star State and so Teagarden without any conscious pushing of a Vogue or a way of playing became the bridge that took the white jazz men. Into swing. And here is the easy influence of Jack Teagarden and his blues brought with him from the south. One of the greatest male blues singers and practically the only white one. Liner. LOL LOL.
LOL LOL LOL. No. 0 0 0 0 0 0. 0 0 0 0. Tea Gardens lyrics I'd rather drink muddy water laud sleep in a hollow
log than to be away up here in New York treated like a dirty dog may well indicate both the difficulty of getting paid for producing this sort of music as well as it might be a prophetic forecasting of the years immediately ahead. When the money left New York and jazz really went underground jazz had reached one thousand thirty. Forty years have left their impression. New York had the musicians and the heritage the music had been for 10 years working into something new. Going through a transition a more complete fusing of the arts of the arranger and the musician and in the offing was that product swing. In the middle of the 1930s the economic condition of our country was improved.
People were able once again to be entertained. And even during the early 30s the experiments had been going on. And next week we'll discover their results. This has been the 60 in a series of programs on the roots of jazz in the United States. Roots of jazz is written and produced by Norman Cleary Nick Vogel is the sound technician and is the reader. This is Norman Cleary speaking. Of. The preceding program was tape recorded.
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Roots of jazz
Small band jazz to 1930 in New York
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 focuses on small band jazz up to 1930 in New York City.
Series Description
Music-documentary series in 26 parts, covering various aspects of jazz.
Broadcast Date
Jazz--New York (State)--New York--History and criticism.
Media type
Director: Cleary, Norman
Engineer: Vogel, Dick
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: 56-24-16 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:44
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Chicago: “Roots of jazz; Small band jazz to 1930 in New York,” 1956-10-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Roots of jazz; Small band jazz to 1930 in New York.” 1956-10-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Roots of jazz; Small band jazz to 1930 in New York. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from