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I am. I am. I am.
I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. Yeah. I am. Yeah yeah. I and yeah. Yeah I am. I am. I am. I
am. Yeah. Yeah I am. Yeah. I am. Yeah I am. I am. I am. I am. I
am. Both groups also regarded muskrat ramble must read ramble as a Dixie manual and standard but this was the first time it had ever been recorded by a modern jazz group. First the Jimmy McPartland band with Edwin Hall and Vic Dickinson in the usual three part
multi linear beginnings that did that are to be found in a Dixie manual in group 2 most read ramble. The modern jazz group in addition to making the harmony more complex decided to add an
Afro-Cuban rhythmic touch. And. I am. OK. OK. OK.
OK. OK. OK. OK. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. As a final example of a contrast in usages of the jazz language in this particular session.
Here is the performance by both groups of how high the moon for us the Dixieland was Jimmy McPartland Victor kinsmen and then Hong. Kong. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. So.
Yes. I am. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah but yeah. Yeah but the. Yeah. Yeah but yeah wow. Wow yeah but yeah but yeah. Yeah out. Yeah but. Yeah but.
Yeah. Yeah. I am. I am. Then the interpretation by Dizzy Gillespie and Diane Elliott Ray Abrams Ronnie ball and the others of the song that in the early days of modern jazz was one quite frequently associated with the early bop. I have invited this is dizzy and I'm yet ready for the battle of jazz.
We're going to start without waiting in the room. No. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am.
I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. With. The but. I am. Now but I am.
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah but I am the boy. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. These recordings have been played both to indicate how differently the same song can be played while remaining. A jazz performance and also in a
sense very limited sense as a review preparatory to discussing the possible areas of further development in contemporary jazz. Since so much emphasis has been placed on the word improvisation in this course and in projecting possible future developments of jazz it will be well to review the essential meaning of the term and for this I return to Sydney Finkelstein who writes that jazz is largely improve his ation but the division between improvisation and composition is not as drastic as believed. Nor is jazz so completely different from all other world music as to exist wholly by its own invented laws. Jazz follows old and familiar patterns of music. And is new only in that it follows these patterns in terms of its own rhythms melodies harmonic synthesis and tambourines improvisation as a form of composition. Improvisation is music that is not written down composition as music that is. The ability to write music makes possible the bigness of form and richness of expression that is beyond the limits of improvisation in jazz before an album. It is a great advantage to be able to plan a major complex work and spend many months on working out
its structure in detail. It is an advantage to have such forms as opera Sonata and symphony. Granted that the cultural life of the times makes it possible for the composer to put living human images into them. These forms make possible the treatment of music of broad dramatic and psychological experiences that are necessary to do a full cultural life. This difference the extension of forms and expressive possibilities. Is the real difference between improvisation and composition not the inaccurate charge that improvisation is alive and composition is dead or mechanical. Certainly a work of composed music properly performed should sound as alive as if it were being improvised. And as we have been saying even this difference is the extension of forms and expressive possibilities in compose music. Even this difference between. It's improvised jazz and contemporary classical music is being eliminated in a sense in contemporary jazz as improvisation takes place within more and more complex
forms. Number of position was always a basic method of folk art and it continued into the most advanced forms of musical composition such as concerto an opera up to the 19th century when the drastic separation was finally established between the performer and composer. Handel in the early 18th century wrote his organ concerto as with many ad lib directions and all his composed work showed an almost improvisational flexibility. JM Coopersmith points out in his edition of The Messiah for example that the same aria was written by Handel and six different versions ranging from a soprano solo to a duet for to control those with chorus. Each version like the several versions of a hot solo as right as the other hand Obama outside Beethoven were famous improvisers. And while we have no record of their improvisations there is every reason to believe that some of the material was incorporated into their compositions. If we examine carefully what happens in jazz improvisation we see that it is really a kind of composition. It's the height of support superficiality to imagine that a hot soul emerges directly from a performer's unconscious.
People simply cannot create on a consistent level this way. A major hot solo is generally worked up from performance to performance using the same material. If we follow the work of a jazz performer we can trace the growth of these solos. When the player arrives at a creation that satisfies him he remembers it and repeats it to a certain extent I never exactly had a jam session of high quality some solos are new and some old though the spirit of the occasion the contagion of the performance makes them all sound fresh and new and none for that matter a wholly new A-hole the old to say this is not to detract from the jazz players originality but merely to point out the conditions under which every creative mind works solo creation of the great jazz solo is a form of musical composition. If improvisation sounds to us more alive and contagious it's because of fine improvisation is much more exciting than bad composed music or even good if played by an interested performers. Hot jazz improvisers have become workmen and fine craftsmen they generally know what they're doing every step of the way. Jazz improvisers are inspired by each other's solos but composers are also stimulated by hearing other composers
music. Number of zation is a basic characteristic of jazz and that's why they will never be a complete fusion between contemporary classical and contemporary jazz music jazz will always remain jazz in its use of its particular idioms and Tambor is and harmonic usages and melodies and the like. But jazz musicians to continue are not a new kind of genius who pour forth music upon every any provocation like water from Moses rock the meaty vocal quality and dullness of the music that frequently results from all star combinations brought together for recording purposes is due to the theory that places all its belief in the mystical improvisational genius and forgets the need for musical material and a common language with which to improvise. Many jazz musicians are phenomenal music thinkers. Their improvisation however is a product of infinite pains of the slow germination and maturity of musical ideas. When we understand jazz improvisation as a process of unwritten composition consciously worked out and carefully built up from performance to
performance much becomes clear about jazz it is otherwise a mystery. We can see why it is impossible to last that a performance be wholly invented on the spur of the moment wholly fresh and different in every phrase. A great improvised performance must necessarily be a combination of old and new familiar and fresh material. If HOF of what is heard is truly new the performance is miraculous. We can see why a group of the very finest performers generally do better with a familiar number than with a wholly fresh melody. They know all the nuances the ins and outs of the old piece they have worked it out many times and have a base from which to go further. A fresh number is generally approached gingerly played straight until its possibilities begin to be felt out. We can see on the other hand why so many performances by second rate large bands where everybody seems to be improvising in White Heat sound abysmally doll. The reason is that the soloist having made their bow to the starting tune proceed to knock out the same hot solos they performed 20 times before I did 20 other number its solos that in many cases are only a noodling of chords with a heart attack and intonation. This
aimless swing all style and no melanin. Springs from the fallacy that improvisation is everything in the material worked with does not matter. The poorer the material the more the solos themselves tend to fall into Dell's standardised patterns. This leads us continues Finkelstein to a most important point to remember about improvisation. It is not only method but matter. It requires not only the ability to invent but a language in which to invent. If the average classical musician of today were asked to improvise most would be at a loss in the 18th century However the average performing musician would improvise very willingly just as he could also tune out a respectable composed piece. What happens today generally in classical music and like jazz is that the average conservatory graduate thinks of music in terms of the past language one completely set and contained within the masterpieces of ascending masterpieces he performs. He can love the music of Mozart Beethoven and Brahms but not improvise in that language except as a clever but artistically worthless reshuffling of their music to improvise successfully. And some classical musicians are extremely
capable in this. You must have a musical language that has become part of his thought process is the blues and rags were such a language to the early hot jazz musician and they remained so transformed throughout the evolution of jazz as did other forms of folk and popular and even classical music as they became part of the jazz man's musical thinking. The jazz improvisers mind is well stocked with musical phrases capable of countless variation and formation into new patterns. It may sound paradoxical but it is true that only because this body of musical language exists in hot jazz continue to be so fresh an invented one is impossible without the other. A performer in a jam session could not carry on so well from a previous performer solo did he not speak the same musical language in the 2 and 3 voiced improvised ensembles of New Orleans jazz. What we generally hear is basic blues line among other elements from trumpet clarinet and trombone. One little fresh nuance from any
instrument is enough to make the entire ensemble take on vibrancy in life. One new phrase or old phrase in a new combination is enough to transform the entire musical texture. It's because the jazz improviser in any form of jazz from New Orleans to contemporary has so familiar a base to rise from that he can soar next week. A further discussion of the nature of improvisation and the beginnings of a more complete investigation of the use of the extended form with improvised contemporary jazz. You have been listening to the evolution of jazz recorded series prepared and produced by Nat Hentoff under the auspices of Northeastern University and presented by the Lowell Institute cooperative broadcasting Council. The evolution of jazz was recorded in the Boston studios of WGBH Af-Am. This is the national educational radio network.
The Evolution of Jazz
Episode Number
Hot Jazz, Part Two
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program talks about the resurgence of hot 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: 55-32-37 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:36
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Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 37; Hot Jazz, Part Two,” 1954-07-23, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 26, 2024,
MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 37; Hot Jazz, Part Two.” 1954-07-23. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 26, 2024. <>.
APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 37; Hot Jazz, Part Two. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from