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The evolution of jazz is. A survey of American art form from Scott Joplin to Lenny Tristan. 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 were discussing some of the changes in the rhythmic usages of jazz brought about by Bach and had given illustrations of that both in terms of jazz drumming and bass playing
rather ironically in the early days of BOP the guitar had dubious status. Ironically because it was in the hands of its greatest innovator Charlie Christian that many of the formative influences on Bob were brought into the consciousness of many musicians. However in recent years especially with the advent of the cool school which we'll explore at length in a few lectures the good time has increased its importance in the jazz ensemble. More of which later the modern piano style is the culmination of a long swing toward spareness and rather a far cry from the two handed plenitude of Fats Waller. Although the return to two handed piano is also an aspect of the very contemporary jazz. But speaking in the early terms of the early days
of the new style derived from Count Bass a part they say a swing pianist who would not find himself at all out of place in the BOP rhythm section. They say as Ross Russell points out did not think of the piano as a foundation instrument entirely as did Ellington and Louis Russell emulated and weaving a hard bright line through brass reeds like Joe Jones bass or use the piano to add dynamics to the overall orchestra sound bases technique of lean chords short runs offbeat dissonances and percussive single notes has been adopted and modified by the contemporary pianists. He was of course a fan. He did of course regard the piano as a foundation instrument rhythmically. In addition to tonal and rhythmic objectives the purpose of modern pianists of early pianos was to unfold the successive chord changes for the solo man
and supply them with feed fill and Echo chords. This manner of playing was referred to as dropping the soloists whereas outstanding bass men and drummers were relatively few it for us. There were many excellent pianos for a section where I had damn Iran Bud Powell Al Haig Felonious Monk although Monk was of more interest in his solo exploration some of them winding up and the socks. And recently there have been such vital names as Lenny Tristan or Dave Brubeck George Wellington Errol Garner but they also have to be discussed in a later section as they derived in part from the early Bob but were not active at that period at least in terms of the Bach musical activities. Here is an example. In any case let me say by the way that I'm not
attempting anything approaching in any of these lectures an all inclusive listing of the better jazz men either in New Orleans or in Chicago and or in the early period of Bob. I use representative names and men of equal ability to those names certainly exist. But Paul was influenced as we demonstrated by Art Tatum as have been so many modern pianists. In fact Ross Russell says that the shadow of Tatum continues to linger over the keyboard of the solo piano. Here's an example of Powell and his use of the left hand that influenced many other pianists. Paul was always light and his left hand is constantly in action either in chords placed contrapuntally in relation to the right hand or an eye staccato series of bass notes in the convoy. A French critic of the Leno remarks that his left hand furnishes a rhythmic support comparable to that of bop drummer is punctuated as it is frequently by a series of brakes that launches out the right hand and that
right hand is of a dexterity and rapidity when required but only taken before he quote Max Roach is on drums or curly Russell on bass. But Paul takes here they frequently heard Indiana when makes a performance out of it. Note the dialogue between piano and drums at the end of the night. Right.
And. Unfortunately many of the early pianists unlike Powell who are rather deficient in their mastery of the left hand and for a time it seemed as if the left hand piano had atrophied from lack of use However in recent jazz This has been more and more a remedy. Like all modern jazz men of whatever instrument has examined harmonic potentialities more than his jazz predecessors and it advanced knowledge of harmony is expected today of the young jazz musician. As Teddy Wilson recently wrote you can only play you can only improvise on what you know harmonically and transform his complex idea patterns into improvised jazz. The modern jazz man had to acquire an extensive extensive knowledge of harmony. And in the jazz tradition as it existed from New Orleans on wood he has not limited himself to the rules of harmony. Once having mastered these rules he has experimented for himself. He has noted
examples of some of these utilizations of harmony and early noted examples can be found in the second part of Leonard Feather's book Inside Bach earlier in the book than to describe some of the early material on which pop musicians worked. It was Dizzy Gillespie who took a popular hit parade song of 1940 called How High the Moon and changed from a slow ballad to a jump tempo instrumental. How High the Moon which has since become the virtual national anthem of Bob and the most recorded jazz tune of the decade was born in September 1939 when Morgan Lewis a University of Michigan graduate who had contributed to the scores of a couple of little shows and a new faces review produced a chord sequence that pleased him. The song was staged by Mary Anderson and two for the show in the winter of 1940 with Alfred Drake singing the Nancy Hamilton lyrics. The song got up to the fourth place on the hit parade then disappeared and it wasn't until the click happened to seize on it as a
vehicle for improvisation. But it began its new and far more prosperous life than the story of how high the moon illustrates how in Congress lead the worlds of popular music and jazz sometimes provide each other with inspiration. At one time Federer points out it was considered corny and commercial to use popular songs as a basis for jazz improvisation. Some jazz musicians and a large number of jazz fans and critics believe that it destroyed the authenticity of jazz to use anything but the traditional Tiger rags and ragtime standard songs for ad libbing purposes. Actually of course jazz has always been an extremely tied up with popular songs to some extent and even in the early twenties such numbers as Dinah and Margie were used by many pioneer jazz men. Later jazz artist turned more and more frequently to the Gershwins Cole Porters and even less distinguished in Finale sources for a new chord patterns. The pioneers were acutely aware of the limitations so far as it as it regarded the needs of Honeysuckle Rose and some of the Blues and other form
Eli. Though the latter is still used especially the blues the bopper like to come back to me or a Cherokee for contrast and harmonic variety. This does not mean the jazz men are obliged to turn a tin pan alley for musical ideas. On the contrary to many of its most successful tunes on musical phrases that were born spontaneously at a jazz session. But if some particular tune which he has heard on the air happens to strike a musician as a good foundation for jazz improvisation he'll use it to build a new and inspired creation of his own which will often bear no relationship to the original two melodically and even change it harmonically in many cases the tunes have acquired new melodies and are given new titles and become really separate entities. And he has listed a number of bop recordings like Little Willy leaps recorded by Miles Davis is based on the same chords as all God's children got rhythm suburbanized recorded by Thelonious Monk based on the same chords as all God's children got rhythm
and the chords of Cherokee. These three songs blue serge dialogue and Coco. On the chords of how high the moon Coleman Hawkins being at the met Charlie Parker's bird larvae in Gary's hopscotch the Esquire All-Stars Indiana winter. Darrell Booker has a low ceiling Charlie Parker's own Athol AJ Jill Marsal is slightly dizzy on the chords of stopping at the Savoy Charlie Ventura's jackpot Don bias's buys a drink stand Housel guard sweet and hot mop on the cords of whispering Coleman Hawkins stomping Dizzy Gillespie is grooving high. Let's demonstrate how this works on the chords of Indiana. Charlie Parker is Donna Lee fats Navarro's ice freezes red and Howard McGee's trumpet at Temple have been based here first is Charlie Parker's Donnelly based on the corps of Indiana.
There. Are also based on the goods of Indiana fans Navarro's ice freezes really.
Will the. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
I am. Also on the chorus of Indiana closer to the melodic line is Howard McGhee his trumpet at Temple.
Thank you. Given how the jazz man not happen to have contact with the world of popular songs they would certainly fed the notes not have been at a loss for thematic ideas at the same period when they were borrowing How High the Moon and other
thematic structures on the chords of Indiana and other songs were composing harmonic and melodic structures of their own. Some were simple jump tunes based on a repeated riff. Others were harmonic departures like Clark originally mentioned here that are a few bars of it.
That was performed by the pianist Tony as Monk whose technique unfortunately is often inadequate to express all of his ideas. In that he differs from most modern pianists who are generally prodigious technicians. Another kind of the original material that was being produced in the early days of Bach where the slow tempo rather pretty tunes with unusual chord changes like Mr Monk's round of midnight performed by the composer.
To return for a moment to the Bob rhythm section there are additional notated illustrations of the complexity of Bob's drumming contained and body to Franco's illuminating pamphlet called a new approach to modern music which is available almost anyplace without cost. Where musical instruments are sold also in terms of the Bob rhythm section Sidney Finkelstein noted that there is the frequent use of the 16 to the bar of Bach beat in the when and when accelerated tempos were used the basic beat of course was still a 4 4 and those intensive occasions control the melodic lines which run counter to the basic beat entering and leaving off beats and accenting the off beats. All of these rhythmic intensification could become sheer powerhouse effects and Bach However there was an extraordinary new rhythmic work which was at the same time genuinely musical the solos ended and left at any point when the 16th no divisions of the bar they spun phrases of varying length seemingly at random and yet
satisfyingly controlled. And the drums were handled more freely and supporting the solos and producing brilliant drum brakes brakes and surprise clusters of beats and of course above all the important function of the drum providing the basic pulsation Max Roach as was noted as build up especially an amazing drum style often employing what seems to be a steady 60 note beat on the cymbals as its foundation and moving about freely and rhythmic patterns with the bass drums and snares. Think has a few words to say about Bob harmony which while oversimplified may serve as an introduction to the further investigations of Bob instrumentation. We're about to make. He points out that in addition to the intensification of rhythm and its increasing complexity and Bob there was the absorption of the popular tunes which we've noted in part the development of its diatonic idiom into extended chords such as 1911 so familiar chords diminished or augmented the use of chromatic notes and free and continual change of key and the
The Evolution of Jazz
Episode Number
Bop, Part One
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This first part of this program talks about bop and its place in the history of 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.
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Host: Hentoff, Nat
Producer: Hentoff, Nat
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-32-30 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 30; Bop, Part One,” 1954-06-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 18, 2021,
MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 30; Bop, Part One.” 1954-06-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 18, 2021. <>.
APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 30; Bop, 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