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The following tape recorded program is a presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is a program. In this program we begin tracing the rise of the. Story. Jazz began in the Crescent City the uptown district of New Orleans
Louisiana. Negroes originated Jazz out of their rich musical past the Blues a product of spiritual and work songs were played on trumpets trombones and clarinet in the a billion years of the 1890s. God. Thank. You Orleans was a city of music and fast growing negroes moved to this Mississippi river port from the Carolinas Georgia Alabama Arkansas Texas and Mississippi. They came from Haiti Cuba
Jamaica and South America. They found work in New Orleans work on the levees on the docks in sugar refineries. They found work peddling coal working the rails caring for horses. And they did just about any menial task that could be found. But the negro was now free. And his first taste of freedom though mixed with much bitterness was a happy one. Gone was an expression of a spiritual in the blues with the
notes gave way to music with enjoying happiness with the joy of life. The Negro's voice with its mournful qualities gave way to the brilliant sparkling tones of the trumpet. The running dancing notes of the clarinet and the rasp. The playful and fun provoking of the drama. This was to be the music for the next 25 years. Quarter of a century which was used to develop and perfect a form of ACOs
which still captures our nation today we call it still the city of New Orleans. The earliest names in New Orleans Jazz are almost legendary. Their music was not recorded and most of them were dead by the time record companies going around to being interested. So their musician friends who lived longer lives have told us their stories stories which have all the earmarks of heroic fake folk tales buddy Bowden is the first among these heroes of jazz on still nights buddies cornet could be heard for miles from the river back to Lake Pontchartrain. Buddy Bowden plaited
Johnson pock other bands played at other parks in the early evening. Some nights when time came for a buddy to start play and there wasn't anybody in Johnson Park. Somebody say and it's time to call my children home stuck his horn through a hole in the fence and up people came Russian. Soon all the other parks were emptied but he bowed and may not have been the first jazz musician. But he was the first to create an impression and he apparently was the first to work out the instrumentation of jazz orchestras. Perhaps he was the founder of the New Orleans style too. We know that he used one or two cornets. Anat of our trombone the slide trombone was not in use at the time. A guitar bass and drums. No piano was used in the New Orleans jazz because these bands had to march in the streets and ride in horse drawn carts. A younger contemporary of Bowden's and later second con artist in the
Boden band Buck Johnson had this to say about Bowden and his music. But he could not read a note. But he surely played a good stiff lead and what have you and maybe six sharps before you finished. But I could always go anywhere the king went. We played parades and advertising wagons and excuse me for the expression honky tonks and together we made many famous blues until the king went crazy we killed all the other best bands in New Orleans. This early jazz band established the New Orleans style. What is that style. Well it goes something like this. The song would be played through once by the entire group almost as it was written. If it ever had been written the cornet would lead the clarinet weaving around the cornet and the trombone punctuating the entire chorus. On the second trip through the song almost lost its identity but not quite. Because while all the melody instruments played around the song's original tune
they didn't stray for too long nor too far in the second chorus. Sometimes the cornet would continue to lead the clarinet and trombone and sometimes the cornet would drop out or merely punctuate with short phrases as did the trombone. While a clarinet would assume almost a solo position. This second type of chorus would be repeated over and over again. Sometimes one instrument if the musician playing it had captured some exciting ideas would continue to lead through several choruses or maybe each of the three melody instruments would take a chorus but finally the band would return to a chorus similar to the first one and the rendition would be artistically complete. Here is what Barry Ulanov has to say about the New Orleans style. All of this added up to what has been described as polyphony something of a misnomer for the crude counterpoint of the New Orleans jazz since polyphony requires the
simultaneous combination of several voices each of a clear individuality and the music which Bolden is contemporaries and his successors played was generally a sturdy mixture of the simplest variations on the key melodies. Each man only tentatively for himself. And the end product depended upon the chords to such an extent that the texture was more dominant play harmonic than melodic. What they did do and apparently with great contagious gusto was to administer just that touch of brashness just bad breath of spontaneity just that drive which together were to convert minstrelsy and work songs. Congo Square blasts and cotillion refinements into jazz early Jazz had something less than telepathy or counterpoint as we understand those terms in their original context. Something last and something different went on at least one level. It had something more to and that something more is a spirit
again empty and a sadness depending on the occasion which was entered into without stint. This music is difficult to listen to at first. It sounds corny old high square. If this is your reaction stick with it. Remember you are being taken back to the turn of the century. Very few of you were born then. Never mind old enough to remember Buddy Bolden the man of legend in jazz history ended his career in about nineteen hundred and seven or eight. He died in the early thirties and about 70 years of age. Listening to the music of. The second trumpet
with the Buddy. At the bunker Johnson was rediscovered in the early forties. And we are able to catch a glimpse of the style of play. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Bunk was one of the first. But there were others. Louis Payton who played accordion Alfonse Picco the clarinetist
whose inventive genius created an improvised solo in one number called High Society a solo so difficult and yet so perfect that it has become a standard version for all who are capable. Then there was big guy Louis Nelson whose clarinet inspired so many who would have followed him and in the cornet division there was a manual Perec Freddy kept by Papa much Carrie and papa us got so much done. These are the pioneers of jazz. There are many others of course. Some we know of and no doubt a great many. We know nothing of. But the man who succeeded buddy Bowden was Freddy Couples. And here is what Rex Harris has to say about Freddy. He began by playing violin or alley fiddle as the rapper style was called but soon took up the cornet with which he could better demonstrate his prowess. And from then on
fairly rocketed to the forefront. By 1983 he was playing with the best and it was his Olympia band which became the natural successor to Bolton's an exuberant technician is said to have sounded sometimes like a trombone and yet could exploit the higher register going above high E like Bolden. It was tremendously powerful robust rough almost coarse. Yet strangely enough the Associated with the more finished Creole musicians of downtown New Orleans. Will was was not who was right there. Recordings are rare because he was crying.
However what he would say was was. Record your hearing after a
cruise. Here is what a contemporary of camp bonds Pablo much Kerry had to say of the successor to Buddy Bowden when Freddy got on the street. It was the king on the street. Louis will tell you that Gephardt was the first man I ran into in a band battle and it was just my hard luck to run into the King. It was certainly an experience for me I'll never forget. Freddie had a lot of ideas and a big tome to when he had a note. You knew it was hit. I mean he had a beautiful tone and he played with so much feeling too. Yes he had everything. He was ready in every respect Gephardt could
play any kind of song good technique attack tone and ideas were all there. He didn't have very much formal musical education but he sure was a natural musician. All you had to do was play a number for him once and he had it. It was a natural. I know papa must carry him so something should be said because he is thought by some to have influenced somewhat the style of Joel about whom we are yet to meet. Papa must carry 18 0 1 to 1948 played a cornet and his early career contained one or two setbacks. Not the least of which was the occasion when in a cutting contest aboard two wagons he was cut to pieces by the accomplished kept guard. But what made good apart from his all round ensemble playing. He was clever with muted effects and it may well be that King Oliver himself copied some of Tom's tricks. It was associated for the most important period of his jazz life with Kid Ory with whom he
played in New Orleans and in the early 1920s in California when the spike brothers recorded the Ori band. Papa much was lost to jazz for many years after this. There was also a soloist who died in New Orleans in December of 1954 and who in the year 953 played for President Eisenhower in Washington D.C.. The second instrument and importance in the New Orleans style was the clarinet not as commanding as the cornet or the trumpet but more versatile and with a greater range. The early players of this instrument were George back a big guy Louis Nelson Jimmy Newman Alfonse bicoastal and Sidney Vishay who later played a soprano saxophone. Of these the two best known are Jimmy Newman and Sidney Vishay. Here is the clarinet of Julian Newman on an Old and New Orleans favorite called
play that. Was. Was. Was was. That was clarinetist Jimmy Newman. Playing in both the high and the low registers of his instrument. Here is a recording of Sidney Bush. You will notice anybody uses a tremendous amount of a bra when he's told
his her bra to control is excellent. Here is what Rex Harris has to say about Sidney Vishay until quite recently it was almost a universal supposition that Sidney but she's a must have been born about the same year as Buddy Bolden and various guesses it is age in recent years have placed him at between 60 and 80 years of age. The main reason for this fallacy was probably the knowledge that in his early days in New Orleans he had played with all the great jazz pioneers. Most of them had died long ago. Sidney was in fact born on May 14 1897 but he was interesting himself in the clarinet as early as
1903. He used to practice surreptitiously on his brother's instrument and eventually when his mother realized his son's talents said they received it as a gift. Being something of an infant prodigy he soon began to play it all around the clubs in cabarets. At the age of 10 he was playing with Freddie kept hard. And here is what bunk Johnson had to say which again indicates the youth of the shade. When he began I went to Sydney to Shay's mother's house and asked her to let him play clarinet with me in the Eagle band. She told me yes but here is what I would have to do. You'll have to bring Sidney home after he's through playing each and every job. That would be the only way that I could let him go in your care if you promise me that you will do that. And we'll hear more about Sydney Vishay in our next program. The third melody instrument in New Orleans style of jazz is the trombone. It can always be hood punctuating the antics of
the more staccato cornet and the more glib clarinet. But it's Oldham was cast in the role of a solo instrument. New Orleans music gave to the trombone man a style that is so peculiar to the uses of that city's music that a wood was devised to describe it. Perhaps the greatest of these early jazz man with the trombone was Ed Wood. Kid Ory who was born in 1889. Here is what writer Max Jones says about Kid Ory already he was never a virtuoso but he was unequalled as a band player. Not too happy and long solos he makes more out of a break than almost anyone and enriches the music's bass harmonies adding to the red mix strength when needed. And that was the essence of the trombones road in New Orleans jazz. Of course these bands didn't always march. They quite frequently traveled in
wagons on advertising campaigns and on such occasions the slide trombone man had to sit on the tailgate of the wagon with his instrument pointing off the back so that the slide had plenty of room and thus we still call the New Orleans style of playing a trombone tailgate. Playing here is Kid Ory taking a break and then punctuating the final chorus of a jazz tune named as so many were. After a New Orleans street buddy Joe. And those are the prerecording men of New Orleans.
They have become the heroes of the past. There were others and we'll follow their exploits programs yet to come. These are individual.
This has been the fifth and a series of programs on the roots of the United
States. The next program will discuss the dispersed roots of jazz is written and produced by Norman Cleary in the studios of WUOM Radio Iowa State take mission Regie. He was the reader and this is Norman Cleary speak. This is the key.
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Roots of jazz
New Orleans: King of jazz
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 talks about the ascension of New Orleans to the unofficial status of jazz's capital city.
Series Description
Music-documentary series in 26 parts, covering various aspects of jazz.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Director: Cleary, Norman
Engineer: Vogel, Dick
Host: Chotzinoff, Samuel, 1889-1964
Interviewee: Ulanov, Barry
Interviewee: Harris, Rex
Interviewee: Jones, Max, 1917-1993
Performer: Ory, Kid, 1886-1973
Producing Organization: Iowa State University
Producing Organization: WOI (Radio station : Ames, Iowa)
Writer: Cleary, Norman
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-24-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:05
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Chicago: “Roots of jazz; New Orleans: King of jazz,” 1956-07-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Roots of jazz; New Orleans: King of jazz.” 1956-07-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Roots of jazz; New Orleans: King of jazz. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from