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The following tape recorded program is a presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the 15th series of programs in the United States. On this program. We hear the music from 1920 to 1930.
When the negroes move north from New Orleans during the decade from one thousand ten thousand nine hundred twenty they moved generally up the Mississippi to Chicago they moved not because of social pressures or prejudice. New Orleans was noted for its tolerance at least of all nationalities and colors of skin. But New Orleans negroes move north principally because of economic pressure. Musicians were in over abundance in the Delta city and jobs were hard to find and pay was low. When Storyville was closed in 1917 the situation became impossible and musicians left by the score. We know of the great ones who went to Chicago via the Mississippi River boats but many moved from town to town playing their way north east and west. Some moved to cities in the north. Others became part of the large negro populations in cities in the south or near North such as Birmingham Atlanta
Nashville St. Louis Kansas City Washington D.C. and both and their music went with them. OK.
Music in any city before the mass media of Radio and Records developed its own peculiarities. Its own traits of expression and interpretation. It undergoes a process not unlike inbreeding. The city becomes a hatchery of ideas in which one idea jogs another and then changes itself and an entire complex emerges which is stamped with an individuality which distinguishes the music of one city from that of another and after the First World War negroes moved again they moved north all through the 1920s not north from New Orleans alone but north from all across the southern belt of the United States. Frederick Ramsey Jr. puts it this way. If we accept the fact that jazz first developed in the water eons then it becomes inevitable that Chicago must have been our first port of call during World War 1. Everything new job opportunities for Negroes where white labor was depleted
direct travel routes and the resulting low costs of transportation tended to bring negroes from the deep south Alabama Louisiana parts of Mississippi Texas and Arkansas direct to Chicago. The same factors operated to bring negroes from the half south parts of Maryland to Virginia Kentucky Tennessee the District of Columbia and the seaboard South the North and South Carolina's Georgia-Florida directed to New York. These Negroes moving to New York had music too. It had some of the New Orleans influence but not the best of New Orleans material. The best was in Chicago. And even what did come from New Orleans. I don't to go on the Amalgamated forces of inbreeding.
The music of Negro and white during the 20s buys dance music dance halls had sprung up first on the West Coast in 1999 then spread across the country until they had like mah jong and flagpole sitting become an American institution and were doing a thriving business as late as 1928 as Variety's show biz notes. By nineteen twenty eight Broadway was going in for tango teas and adagio teams. A good percentage of the section like her male patronage that drifted away from the cabarets with the coming of prohibition found its way to newly mushrooming marts of amusement. The dance halls hip flask toters paid ten cents a dance to hostesses of their choice. All the way from 1919 to 1928 dance halls had been supporting jazz musicians.
Dance was high at all sizes of bands but gradually they grew in size. All over the country orchestras from 10 to 20 musicians were playing music to dance to somewhere white orchestras and some were negro. The day of the mixed jazz band had not yet arrived. Of all of these orchestras we've already heard the music of Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington in New York. But there were other important organizations which were to influence the music of the 30s. Eventually all of these forces focused on New York City but they didn't all stop there. This is the music of one from Kansas City.
This is the music of Bennie Moten Kansas City orchestra recorded in 1928. Benny Monckton's orchestra had been recorded as early as 1923 with the traditional six piece. On this record 11 men were in the band. One of them was a man called William Count Basie played the piano. A few years before this the riff a repeating of a short phrase of music over and over again had been introduced by Fletcher Henderson Moten band developed its use of noise giving the music a jump which became known as Kansas City style.
Even before there was Jimmy. How can we live in and be a baby. That you do not hate and that you say it made it known that he had a male
anatomy and I mean. Oh now you know how when you're in grade 1 1 you know they want a favor and they come at it and not one but only an Enemy Unknown and very mad and I don't mean that it was OK now right.
Jimmy runs a Fisk University graduate recruited the nucleus of his first band at a Memphis high school. Where he was an athletic instructor. He picked up in the early thirties and his style was set never to very importantly until his and his band's demise. That style sooner or later influenced almost every important band in jazz. It was the most effective utilisation of two beat accents discovered by any Jasmine. It made a kind of impressive last gasp for dying Dixie land with its heavy anticipations its almost violently strong and whisperingly weak beats its insistent unrelenting syncopation. But despite this effort to beat music most bands played four beat and Count Basie is supposed to have said I don't dig that to be
Jai the New Orleans cats play because my boys and I got to have four heavy beats to a bar and no cheating. This was the song influence on most things back in 1932.
James Ramsey Jr. says that all evidence points to the fact that basi gave them open and this swing for beat music and that basically the pianist got it in turn from the driving for beat boogie woogie piano music of Pete Johnson. There is little doubt that Bookie had strong influence on Kansas City music. Here is an orchestra with the only really great woman bookie piano player Kansas City's Mary Lou Williams and the orchestra is Andy Cooke and his Clouds of Joy.
But back now to our original thesis music was everywhere in the 20s and Kansas City style of its own or not. Druids musicians from all over the South in 1932 the Moten band had men from Houston Texas Dallas Texas and San Marcos Texas. Anybody from Des Moines Iowa count basi from Red Bank New Jersey and the rest from Missouri Kansas Nebraska and some even from Kansas City in Detroit. William McKinney had a band known as McKinney's cotton pickers. And in 1927 Don Redmond took over their musical direction and on to his arranging genius. This group made significant contributions.
You know we'll do it. OK so you say.
To give you an idea of how these many divergent forces began to blend into one total change and big band music we can look at the energetic activities of a range of musician Don Redmond while at the Graystone with McKinney from one thousand twenty seven thousand nine hundred twenty nine. Don was also doing some arranging for the band Pollock and Louis Armstrong band and some recording with the latter organization in Chicago. Don made a routine of traveling to the Windy City every week or so to bring a new arrangement for Pollock and to rehearse it with the band when it was in town. After several hours with Pollock he would rush over to work with Louis at the savory ballroom and then to record with Armstrong's savory ballroom five. Louis recorded three originals of Don's save it pretty mama. Yeah Me talking to you and no one else but you.
The White Lodge which with the arrangements.
Politics taught all over the country with varying degrees of success. But it wasn't the only Chicago big band. Others were for recording only. Here is a recording of the probably recorded in New York but its musicians were Chicagoans including Glenn Miller Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa. This was recorded in 1931.
Thank you.
And besides Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington there was one other New Yorker who demands recognition. Louis Russell saw him claim he had the first swing man to be exact Russell's type of pop music was not the same as that of any other colored orchestra. It was a smaller band and the accent was on the solo technique of the accomplished musicians. But there were arranged passages and the solos themselves were all carefully prepared. The records Russell made sixteen because of the vitality and exuberance of the man like Higginbotham and Holmes and the fact that the arrangements are not blatant and repetitive. In 1935 the Russell band became Louis Armstrong's large swing orchestra. But until then and afterwards the music was New York column.
So in the late 20s and early 30s from Kansas City Memphis Detroit Chicago New York Washington D.C. from the Negro and the white paint dance music with big bands and arrangements and all the prerequisites of what in 1936 became new news this way. But before we lose those years we must listen to the same musician playing jazz with small numbers and no arrangements and mostly for recording. Next week New York combo music. This has been.
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Roots of jazz
Big Bands: 1922-1935
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 the music of the big bands from 1922 to 1935.
Series Description
Music-documentary series in 26 parts, covering various aspects of jazz.
Broadcast Date
Big bands--History
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: 56-24-15 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:10
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Chicago: “Roots of jazz; Big Bands: 1922-1935,” 1956-10-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 4, 2023,
MLA: “Roots of jazz; Big Bands: 1922-1935.” 1956-10-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 4, 2023. <>.
APA: Roots of jazz; Big Bands: 1922-1935. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from