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The evolution of jazz is a survey of American art form from Scott Joplin to Lenny Tristan. The evolution of. The tape recorded feature presented under the auspices of the Eastern 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 examined the influence of the New Orleans musicians in Chicago on the young white Chicago musicians as well as on musicians from other cities who visited Chicago intermittently during the 20s and also the influence of these New Orleans line men who may never have good
King Oliver and Louis Armstrong and the other men from New Orleans and Chicago but were none the less influenced by their records or through hearing the members of the second line or playing with the members of the second line that is the young white Chicago kids like Freeman intension Mike and Dave Tuff who had heard the New Orleans jazz man and had been as we saw last week greatly affected by them. Also subject to the influence of the New Orleans jazz men were not New Orleans negro musicians in Chicago. In the 20s like William Buster Bailey from Memphis Tennessee and Omar Simeon who was born in Chicago. Bill Hines from Pittsburgh. In any case they later white Dixieland musicians were more fluid in the use of the basic jazz language than were the members of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band or most of the early Red Nichols units as we demonstrated last week. Dixie Land is still played in many places
today by both white. And negro musicians and by young revival groups which will be commented on separately in a later lecture. It has produced many rewarding jazz soloists but no major figures like Morton Oliver strong and later as will see Ellington Lester Young Parker and Gillespie the main chorus of the evolution of jazz in the 30s and 40s past these men buy for a large percentage of them. But their music as I noted last week is still a valid personal communication. Often of great emotional power. And their music does keep alive the memory of how jazz sounded to him three decades ago. Though inevitably a musician playing in the 50s. Has absorbed some of the later language of jazz even if only by osmosis a few musicians in this older group who were trained. In Chicago but also by ram a flying circles of influence all over the United States did eventually contribute to later jazz in important ways. They were the few dissatisfied with what they
regarded as the limitations of the Dixieland idiom and so they absorbed what they could of the evolving jazz patterns. I should note parents radically here that in terms of Dixieland musicians I'm speaking primarily of the white musicians of the 20s and 30s. One of them Dave tuff for example in the 40s was the dynamic impetus in the rhythm section of a young Woody Herman band that was playing some of the most advanced jazz of that time. And there were men like the white bunny Berrigan from Wisconsin who played where Ben was influenced by the older Dixieland musicians many of them Chicago alumni but who produced an original a powerful voice based on Armstrong and his own conception of the changing jazz language. Perhaps a major contribution of these Dixieland jazz men. In the eye consciously and precise nature of that adjective. It covers many varying ways of playing jazz. One of their major contributions was symbolic. Many listeners have been introduced to jazz first through the playing of a Pee-Wee
Rosseau or through Eddie Condon's promotional activity and later added to their listening scope both older and newer jazz. The Dixie band musicians were symbolically important in another way during very difficult economic years in the 30s. Many of them refused until it was essential economically to commercialize their music refused to join the popular dance bands and those that did generally returned after a time to playing jazz with great relief. So these men symbolized in part the integrity of the jazz musician the honesty of jazz itself because jazz in one sense is one of the most naked forms of personal musical communication and to compromise their music for these men was therefore inseparable from compromising their whole being. This was also true of course of the negro musicians in the 20s and 30s. But we'll find that many of the negro jazz men the younger ones many of whom were babies or in their early teens when Oliver and Armstrong were in Chicago these musicians were able to grow in
large bands in the 30s and 40s without compromising with. As a matter of fact the greatest possible scope for musical growth. And that points the way for the next major channeling of the main jazz tradition the growth of the large jazz band almost a contradiction in terms to many theorists. But we'll examine that paradox when we come to the subject the paradox of being able to create a free flowing improvisational jazz in the context of a large organized group. But the point is that the great voices of the 30s and 40s were to come mostly from the large bands of Henderson basi Ransford Ellington Crick and the McKinney cotton pickers and others. And here the semi-autonomous jazz developments along the Eastern Seaboard and those through the middle and Southwest began to play an important part in the evolution of jazz so we shall examine them as part of the survey the development of the large jazz bands. Some
of the voices of the 30s and 40s also came from a few of the large white bands. Later Woody Herman Groves Prince of Bray Benny Goodman's band was important in that it introduced many new listeners what was then called Sway. And these listeners then examined the sources of jazz further. But as a band the goodman band was not an influential force in jazz history it could not have existed except for the influence on it. Of such groups as Henderson. And they say Goodman himself was molded by the New Orleans jazz of Chicago in the 20s among other forces. He later became influential as a soloist. And he helped the course of evolving jazz considerably when he introduced into his small units. And then like Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton and later the key figure one of the key figures in modern jazz antecedents is the guitarist Charlie Christian. Before examining the onward course of jazz in the 30s principally through the large bands we shall have to discuss a few more aspects of the 20s. One of the more important things that came out of
the Chicago second line. Having had a chance to learn from the New Orleans negro jazz man. And let it be said having later done some influencing on their own. Benny Goodman for example is the favorite clarinetist of Edmond Hall who came out of New Orleans in the 20s. But even here the Goodmans influence is relatively slight. Hall's is still a predominantly New Orleans style with the added influences from the swing era. Anyway one of the things that happened from this early interaction was the making of records together. It didn't happen often until the late 30s all the way Condon and others were responsible for MC States in New York in the early and middle 30s. But mixed record dates did not become common practice until the late 30s just as makes jazz bands in live nightclub dates were not a common occurrence until then. One of the earliest mixed record dates occurred in 1929. And the personnel comprised happy CALDWELL One of the earliest saxophonists in jazz. Louis Armstrong
who had recently arrived in New York for the second time this time more or less permanently after having decided that Chicago as a jazz center had pretty much lost its force. Kaiser Marshall on drums was a member of the then Fletcher Henderson band Jack Teagarden from Texas originally had emigrated to New York as had many of the white Chicago musicians. Lang the guitarist from South Philadelphia who had played with Nichols groups in the 20s and later Bix Beiderbecke Kaiser Marshall the drummer on this day. Describes how the session was made. He said we had all been working in various bands the night before. This was a pick up recording date and occurrence quite common through the 30s and 40s when musicians from different bands would get together just for a record date. He says we have been working the night before and the record date was for 8 in the morning so we didn't bother about going to bed. I rolled the boys around in my
car in the early morning hours and we had breakfast about 6:00 so we could get to the studio at 8. We took a gallon jug with us after we recorded that number the studio man came around with his list to write down the usual information composer name of tune and so on. He asked Louis Armstrong what the tune was called and then he said I don't know. Then he looked around and saw the empty jug sitting in the middle of the floor and he said Man we should knock that jug. Why don't you call it not going to jog. And that's the name that went on the record. Here is another mixed record Dave made in 1929. Of particular
interest among the participants are read Mackenzie from St. Louis who plays an instrument made of a cold and tissue paper. Peewee Russell the clarinetist from Oklahoma and St. Louis who also played for awhile with the Kelly band in Texas that had Gene Jack Teagarden and traveled through the country as far as California. And on one trip with bands like band politics from Cologne Clarinda Iowa a young trombonist named Glenn Miller who was never to become a major jazz soloist but who did become the leader of one of the most popular dance bands not jazz bands but popular dance bands of the 30s and early 40s. Morgan on bass a young musician from New Orleans who had received his early training on the river boats with some years after men like Louis Armstrong and King Oliver had left the city of New Orleans.
Jeanne Cooper on drums. An example of a young Chicago white musician who had been very much influenced by what he heard at the Lincoln Gardens cafe and by the drumming for example of such a New Orleans musician as baby dogs Jack bland on guitar. Eddie Condon on banjo both plan from St. Louis and Condon from Chicago in terms of their jazz influences and symbolic jazz to come. In the 30 days of the new mainstream of jazz is the presence on the date of a tenor sax player named Coleman Hawkins who at that time was a member of the Fletcher Henderson orchestra who was to become one of the chief representatives of the jazz of the 30s who had a musical training as we'll discover in the section on Henderson quite different from that of the New Orleans musicians.
And who was to make the tenor sax or the saxophone in general really a major instrument in the Jazz Orchestra. There had been saxophonist before Hawkins but not until his development of the instruments potentialities was it to assume a major role in jazz. Here then are these musicians from disparate geographical and influential sources in terms of their music development in this 1929 recording of one hour. This is read Mackenzie's Express.
The thing to remember all through this post New Orleans evolution of jazz
and even in the New Orleans period and in the other early periods in other sections of the country is that as Sidney Finkelstein notes Jazz had become the music of white people as well as Negro. The language of dance poetry and song with such realistic evocative power found a response in all who came in contact with it. The Negro people in large part created such a language because they themselves were meeting the world on the sharpest most harsh and demanding turns. Their art reflected their struggle show the lines it engraved in the human mind and body it was an art of powerful realistic human images and concentrated emotional strength. You know its undiluted form it is influenced through the years hundreds of white musicians actually thousands many of whom have become outstanding performers and in present day jazz the contributions of white and Negro are so injury influenced that there is no point in making a quantitative or qualitative distinction between them in terms of color.
In fact going back to the Dixieland musicians of the late 20s and early 30s the young white musicians influenced by the early negro jazz men those of the Dixieland is who failed to achieve important stature in jazz failed not because they were white but because their way of playing the music did not develop along with the jazz language itself. It remained largely static being so derivative many of them of New Orleans Jazz and Chicago variance their styles with a few exceptions lack the eloquence and power of their New Orleans models and they failed to achieve distinctive styles of their own. Furthermore jazz as all must. It is constantly evolving in some manner of inordinate ability like Louis Armstrong and to a lesser extent Jack Teagarden the personal style is so powerful and so distinctively creative that as an influence it cuts across time markers so that
Luise voice is still an important one in the shaping of contemporary jazz even the BOP he himself for a time so deplore it. But there are very few Armstrongs in jazz. So for example another early New Orleans musician is still a very powerful and a very expressive performer but he has no influence on younger musicians in present day jazz. Most other jazz men. Who grew up in the 20s both white and negro had to evolve with the music or remained behind as valuable reminders of jazz history history which could not have evolved without them. That is the Shea as part of the New Orleans tradition influenced the further course of jazz. Quite a bit but in terms of his present impact none of the younger musicians would attribute any direct influence to him. Well many would. Louis Armstrong because of Louie's remarkable stature.
These musicians as they play today are still good musicians with much to say on their instrument but as I said no longer important influences on the young musicians just entering jazz. And I'm speaking in terms of just that influences I don't mean that the music of the original New Orleans jazz man or the blues singers or the honky tonk pianists is any less exciting or any less valuable as music today than it was 50 years ago or twenty five years ago. But it is exciting and valuable as in classical terms listening to Bach is for a young composer. But the contemporary composer must also be aware of what has happened since Bach. Similarly the young jazz man must be aware of what has happened since New Orleans and the early centers of Chicago of young jazz. In short they could have been Charlie Parker who was one of the main figures of the present jazz era. Without the man of New Orleans and Chicago and Kansas City in the eastern seaboard. But it is Parker who was among the main direct influences on young musicians today
as a show in Bergen Albon beg on many young classical composers and the remainder of this chorus on the evolution of jazz will be concerned with tracing the forces and individuals who helped form contemporary jazz and figures like Charlie Parker with the. Realization always at base that these formative forces themselves could not have come into being except for the growth of jazz in New Orleans and other places in the twenties. The older idioms continued all through the 30s and 40s and still do. For example in 1941 a mixed band recorded Joe Oliver is a dipper mouth blues a sugar foot stomp as it's called here of the men in the band Max Kaminski the trumpet player spoke. What could be very loosely termed the jazz language of the Middle West in the
late 20s and 30s and later New York jazz is influenced by the encounter in New York. Musicians from Chicago with other musicians from other sections of the country in the late 20s and early 30s clarinetist Edwin Hall as I noted before grew up in New Orleans in the 1920s also had big band swing experience trombonist Dickinson from Ohio. Then as now could speak almost any jazz language fluently and adapted here to the needs of the session. Pianist art holidays is a notable product of Chicago influences of the 20s and 30s and of the direct blues tradition. Drummer Danny Alvan also a Chicago in terms of jazz background. Bassist Sid Weiss grew up in contact with a combination of both New York and Chicago influences the latter as brought there by the large emigration of white and Negro Chicago jazz men in the late 20s and
early 30s. Guitarist Jimi surely spoke a swing idiom of the 30s and yet none of the voices as represented in this session. In 1941 spoke the newly evolving jazz language of that same year that year in 1941 when men like Dizzy Gillespie Joe guy Charlie Parker Charlie Christian Felonious Monk and many other young musicians were experimenting with what was soon to be called bop. Just as in the early days of Storyville in New Orleans musicians like Buddy Bolden and his contemporaries were experimenting with the language that was to be the early jazz. But even in terms of 1941 and of now as well there's musicians Edmond hall makes Kaminski art Hodes and LA and the like had something of jazz validity to say even if what they had to say was no longer a direct
influence on the younger jazz musician.
The Evolution of Jazz
Episode Number
Bix Beiderbecke, Part One
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on Bix Beiderbecke, the jazz cornetist, pianist, and composer.
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
Dixieland music
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Host: Hentoff, Nat
Producer: Hentoff, Nat
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-32-17 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:27:23
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Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 17; Bix Beiderbecke, Part One,” 1954-03-05, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 23, 2024,
MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 17; Bix Beiderbecke, Part One.” 1954-03-05. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 23, 2024. <>.
APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 17; Bix Beiderbecke, 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