The Evolution of Jazz; 33; Afro-Cuban Influence, Part Two
Seeing the problem this way we can see how modern jazz and Bob can be so creative. Although seeming to use so many disguised pop tunes to spin new melodies over a familiar base is one of the favorite old methods of musical creation as in Bach. And he was demanding upon the performers any method of musical composition. So a great performance regardless of the baseline of the DOPs can be a truly creative piece of musical invention. Nor is this mixture of blues and pop strange to jazz or invented only by the moderns. Charles Edward Smith spoke of the rags is not jazz but an influence on jazz while the blues are so importantly into jazz. What is meant by the influence it has it not that the rag pieces which are not blues can be played with blues phrases and intonations above them. And I demonstrated in the lectures on ragtime. The difference between Maple Leaf Rag is played by the composer the ragtime piano Scott Joplin and then it as it was later played by New Orleans piano
Jelly Roll Morton who was very fluid in the use of the blues and then even later by New Orleans jazz band. The relation of blues to modern jazz to Bob is especially important because it indicates how a great deal of the free harmonic exploration which is so fascinating a part of modern jazz Springs at least in part from the application of the blues. It's well known that a typical blues interval is the addition of the diminished seventh to a common chord as the jazz men call it. I mean calling a diminished seventh. In other words if we play a tonic chord like C E G then add the diminished seventh to B flat we seem to be blowing the court. Now if we make the B flat permanent we're really in a new key the key of F. When we brew the tonic chord of that key by adding another diminished seventh or flat we move to still another key that's by continually blowing the key and which weren't and we can move through the entire circle of keys until we're back at the beginning. But from this simple point we can see how the new use of blue is becomes a factor in the harmonic flights which are so fascinating in modern jazz. And it also explains why the best bop often seems to have them in a
different way. So much of the haunting qualities of the old blues influenced jazz and sometimes of course the jazz men play the blues directly as in the Charlie Parker Parker's mood. Where we played before and in this product a very interesting session with. Several early modern players like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and Philip Philips who was with a Woody Herman band at the time and very much under the influence of the early bop man and some of the older musicians like red Norvell on xylophone and Teddy Wilson on piano who still were willing to absorb such elements of the newer musical languages they could use as well as slam Stewart on bass. Not particularly the blues work of Bach trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie especially as use of the brakes in this recording made at that session of the I am.
And from the same session a few bars of the slam slam blues.
Another perspective. On the evolutionary aspect of mob of early modern jazz was provided in the chapter the new jazz and cygnets Finkelstein's book jazz a people's music he writes that in jazz starting long before a bop there was a search for a solution for the popular ballad problem how to make the usually saccharin and limited harmonically in every other way. Pop ballad proper jazz material proper material for the explorations that are part of jazz and out of the search for the solution came the harmonic exploration and freedom of modern jazz this was done in many ways. The phrases of the ballad melody could be adorned with little chromatic figures or broken chords and Nigel lighted into surprising and distant keys as it happened in the late thirties. And an example of that here I would be calling Hawkins body and soul.
This sort of thing of course was hadn't been happening all through the history of jazz from its very beginnings. But in this sort of virtuoso chronologically advanced by the performance by Coleman Hawkins. By the late 30s it had reached its highest level of development until the experiments of the early Bach musicians. Another way of handling the popular ballad problem was that its phrases could be rhythmically transformed and turned into riffs separated by Blues phrases and this treatment Lester Young was the most extraordinary master and so it was like This went on let me be good and he educated modern tenor saxophone as in the handling of their instrument and in the blue treatment of the popular song Gideon.
All right. I am. I am. I am I am.
I am I am. I am I am Young is playing notes. Finkelstein is completely relaxed and often gives the tune a wholly new musical distinction with the most economical touches sometimes reducing it to a poignantly repeated note or riff. And there's always in his solos a suggestion of the two voice and took in a quality basic to the great jazz solo and a product of the blues. His solos are on the great jazz line not simply playing a ballad with a melody improvisation only but creating a new melodic structure of interest and beauty and other treatment of the popular tune. I used it as a baseline as
we noted over which a new melody was elaborated as a counter voice disguising the real thing. Many pre bop experiments and performances start with such arrangements based on counter voices to popular tunes with the original tunes themselves never heard by the listener. For example Charlie Parker's own of theology is how high the moon. I am. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh.
Oh. Oh oh. 0. 0. 0. 0. 0. 0. 0.
0. 0 0. Partly out of this kind of handling of the popular tune there came a polytonal music but definite use of key two keys at once. Sometimes Maura and Dave Brubeck in later jazz. Dizzy Gillespie as I can get started in the end of Lover Man are examples.
The original themes are invented serving as opening and closing riffs themes of great interest and emotional power often non-diatonic in that they do not fall completely into any diatonic key many of the themes are based like Ellington's COTTONTAIL theme on the blues. Also rhythmically and melodically free but the original Blues exists only in the performers mind and it's very progress jazz has made a full turn of the wheel and come back to certain qualities of which it started but on a new level. A wonderful characteristic of the old jazz continues Finkelstein had been its feeling of melodic freedom of harmonic freshness of speaking its own human and disturbing melodic language. This quality returns in modern jazz. And was of course 7 and all through the 30s and early 40s but needed a revitalisation which he did receive in the early bop and later contemporary jazz. There are differences between old and new and important ones. On the one hand the present language evolves and is consciously absorbed the system of diatonic music the concert hall in ballad music to its immense enrichment in fact its possibilities are
far richer than the uses that have so far been made of it. On the other hand the old New Orleans musician as you recall made no distinction between his public and private music in the present. A musician suffers from a divided mind from thinking in terms of two different musical worlds. He doesn't feel as much a part of the active community as much a natural part of that. That is rather that his music is a natural part of daily life as the old New Orleans musician did. There is today as in the past the conscious interplay of different musical languages in one work with fascinating results the next true blues are of chromatic counter melodies with popular ballads. The momentary quotation of sweet melodies often semi-classical classical fragments. In a recent Parker and Davis performance an old hymn tune sometimes the effect of the mix languages as atonal as if he scents were completely absent. Sometimes polytonal is with melodies in two and maybe more distinct he's moving against each other. The sign of the freedom one by modern jazz and its return the qualities of the old music on a higher level in terms of evolutionary level is the comeback of the blues bringing as they
did in the past the most haunting expressive personal and collective emotions. But the modern blues are enriched and transformed the old phrases can be recognized but with more chromatic twists richer harmony is more fluid and varied melodic movement. The Blues have taken on more subtle changes of personal mood as well. Charlie Parker for example is often a blues performer as moving in his own way as Johnny Dawes in the New Orleans music here for example is Charlie Parker and Billy's bones. Right. Now.
I am. The but.
The but the but. The but. The bad. I am. Yes. I am I out. Yes I am. I am.
That. Friend. A trumpet player was Miles Davis one of the many blues bridges to the cool school before reaching the cool school. What qualities make it different from other modern experimental jazz concludes. I think goes to an experimental jazz like that of Ellington Teddy Wilson let's say there's a shot cleavage all that can really be said is that Bob worked out a conscious sometimes rigid system from the new elements and starting themes were definitely atonal polytonal or chromatic. And then you write the themes seem to start in one key move immediately new into another interval such as seconds for this diminished sevenths night's flatted fifths are consistently used. So it was consciously worked out their performance in terms of these harmonies both in supporting one another and
playing against one another. The sixteenth note by divisions were consistently used in solos and beat performances are based on counter voices to melodies that are never heard straight. Bob came close to compose music and that worked out performances were and are highly prized and I repeated many times almost note for note though that bass had remained and still remains improvised jazz. A fine melodic theme is an achievement and is used as the basis for different performances as the themes of the chase of dizzy atmosphere of hothouse. And Bob brought negro musicians working together in a closer unity and matching of ideas than ever before. The modern experimental jazz has a bundle of contradictions. It works with the basic method of folk I improvise ation but demands the utmost harmonic education and sensitivity from the improvisers. It advances broadly in the composition but because of the conditions under which it must work out its ideas. It often sounds like a magnificent opening to a musical work not followed by any development. And as we said it brings together Negro
and white musicians and a tighter unity and musical collaboration than ever before in the history of jazz. So that in terms of the cool school we're coming to it is really misleading and not at all pertinent to speak of Negro or white influences it's all a part of jazz and that is one of the many healthy results of the evolution of jazz. In 1947 in an article in Metro magazine let me Tristan know jazz pianist theorist and teacher. Pointed out that an early brought the musicians had discarded the kind of collective improvisation found in the Dixieland on anyones front line and even to some extent in the small groups of the thirties there were all through the 30s as you may recall the emphasis was on solo rather than on collective improvisation. The BOP musicians then continued Tristan o placed emphasis on the single line and made several contributions to the evolution of the single line. The arpeggio and I'll quote directly from Tristan has ceased to be important. The line is primarily
diatonic. The procedure is not up one chord and down another nor is it up one scale and down another the use of skips of more than a third preclude the seesaw motion. The skillful use of scales fosters the evolution of many more ideas than does the use of arpeggios broken chords since an arpeggio merely restates the chord instead of a rhythm section pounding out each chord for beats to the bar so that three of four solo was going to blow the same chord and arpeggio form the BB rhythm section uses a system of choral punctuation. By this means the soloist is able to hear the chord without having it as just a phrase as it shoved down his throat. He can think more extensively as he plays. A chorus of bop may consist of any number of phrases which vary in length the phrase may consist of two bars or 12 by as it may contain one or several ideas. There and then to repeat his big has become primarily diatonic and the arpeggio always seems to be important in connection with this statement by Tristan know if any of you read French and somehow can find access in libraries to
back issues of the excellent French magazine Jazz Hot musicologist on the way home. Then among other writers has transcribed various modern jazz solos from records in the pages of the magazine and has analyzed them at considerable and illuminating length in the course of which is done a lot of good we had this to say concerning the fact that brought the emphasize the single line. This is not unfortunate he stated since the highest development of both a single line and collective improvisation would probably not occur simultaneously. Perhaps the next step after brought up will be collective improvisation on a much higher level because the individual lines will be more complex. And that is what happened or rather what is happening because present day jazz is increasingly concerned with multi linear corrective improvisation. Next week we shall discuss the cool school. And its evolution into a linear corrective improvisation. You have been listening to the evolution of jazz recorded series prepared and produced by
- The Evolution of Jazz
- Episode Number
- Afro-Cuban Influence, Part Two
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program explores the Afro-Cuban influence on jazz.
- Other 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
Host: Hentoff, Nat
Producer: Hentoff, Nat
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-32-33 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 33; Afro-Cuban Influence, Part Two,” 1954-06-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 11, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jq0svz5g.
- MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 33; Afro-Cuban Influence, Part Two.” 1954-06-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 11, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jq0svz5g>.
- APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 33; Afro-Cuban Influence, 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 http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jq0svz5g