The Evolution of Jazz; 39; Extended Form in Contemporary Jazz Continued, Part Two
Other possible areas of synthesis between improvised jazz and more extended structured have been outlined by Sydney think Goldstein who says that jazz is in part an out of song in the history of music is full of composed songs some of it like songs of personal notes a cubit and so called Ski very close in pattern and a line to the folk in popular songs. These composers knew jazz as an art of dance in the composition of music and dance forms as an honored place in history from the sweets of Bach handling of Animal House through the ballet scores which are found in the work of almost every contemporary composer of the symphony while not a dance form is not divorced from the dance. The symphonies of Haydn are full of dance patterns not only in their minuets and finales but also in the often in the dramatic opening movements and tender slow movements dance patterns are found in the Beethoven symphonies such as the fourth sixth seventh and eighth as well as the symphonies of Schubert voice act and many contemporary composers.
For example the concerto is an interesting form for jazz composers to use and as we've noted several have already especially interesting if they study the light texture and improvisational form of the 18th century and earlier instead of the more elaborate and heavy handed romantic concerto most important of all because it takes in so many of the other musical forms. It perhaps might be opera opera actually being nothing more than drama with music which may take on many different styles from the symphonic fabric of Wagner an album Bad which is at the opposite pull from jazz to the lighter textured song speech and song form of Montevideo the personal side of the scheme which has many parallels to jazz so great a work as Mozart's The Magic Flute was for example almost a kind of popular vaudeville. That's jazz has almost limitless possibilities for use in larger forms of musical composition. The composition must be done however as I pointed out by men who both know the idiom itself and know the
craft of composition. The failure of most composition up to now using jazz is due to the fact that the composers either did not know jazz. Or that they did not know the various tools the history of music and fashion and the purposes of those tools and so it fell back upon the nearest most pretentious platitudes. What conditions he asks rhetorically. Well let me point out to him that in all of this it's essential to remember that the improvised bass must be must be retained in some form either by the use of alternating sections or through the providing of space within the exfoliating of the form. What conditions are necessary for jazz to take this new and most important step. One would be to raise musical instruction in the schools to a more intelligent level. The two arbitrary destructive division between classical and popular are as they say serious in jazz which is particularly infuriating to the jazz musician who takes his jazz very seriously. This dichotomy could well be discarded in
the music school conservatory as in music departments of the universities in addition to the task of analyzing and appraising the great modern composers and composing systems could undertake a systematic study of American music particularly folk in jazz and that's being done more and more as more universities utilize or rather add courses in jazz. There is no reason he continues why a young artist should study temp N-E for example solely in terms of its use in a better symphony. When jazz has so many and new examples of the fine art of using the drums I might point out here as a parenthesis that in every city where I've listened to jazz I've noticed the fact that classical musicians symphony musicians invariably come to a jazz club to see various performers because of their extension of the potentialities of various instruments. Along with the growing but slow local sponsorship of symphony orchestras there's no reason why each community could not sponsor a permanent large jazz band. Here Finkelstein becomes fanciful but
it's better to be fanciful and resigned. A band can easily be put together of men capable of turning out a finished performance of Dixieland of New Orleans classics of Ellington works modern jazz compositions. Any new work that comes along in the jazz idiom. The one sidedness and specialization that characterized jazz in the past has broken down in large part. And the modern jazz performer can enter with good taste into the styles of many periods of jazz. The presence of such permanent organizations would remove much of the wholesome atmosphere that now afflicts jazz and. Which many jazz musicians find very unpalatable. The exhausting travel of the one night stands the night club environment the financial insecurity the long hours the unsettled home life. This has not been chosen by the jazz musician but as of now it is the only context in which he can subsist economically while still playing the music he has to play. It would encourage this sort of thing that think as Steyn suggests would encourage young composers to write for these bands to write a better music than the
so-called symphonic jazz which is more a product of the mixture of movie palace and concert hall. Such bands could play for dances break up into small New Orleans and jam session groups give dress concerts before many different roles in the community write. Something of the nature of the use of the theatre in the Scandinavian countries particularly Sweden where each community has its own theatrical organisation and as a result the interest in theatre and the production of better playwrights and actors has been immensely. Added to. There is no doubt that such bands in one section of the country would sound different from those in another which would be all of the good they would take on the character of the regional folk guide so far as it means under the layer of manufactured pop music so that the music of New Orleans Kansas City New York Dallas the far west in the north west would be revitalized. Hi Rich. Lauren perishable but. Almost driven into the ground by the destructive
centralization of Hollywood radio and Tin Pan Alley would again have room to grow and all refreshed by an interchange of ideas and musical creations from one center to another. I think as time goes on to say that brick theater is. Could well be sponsored by communities the sponsorship of local theatres with music would provide the ground in which I live operatic God could grow in America one in which blues jazz all of American folk art would flower and take on contemporary themes in which the art of creating honest music for it. Ride groups of listeners could be brought back to life. Leonard Bernstein has a number of theories on this possibility of the evolution of an American kind of opera comparing these projects with the present Mr. Ghost and here he was is a master understatement. These projects may seem utopian. The commercial music networks are well entrenched yet of the methods and principles of factory production of culture we're all conquering both jazz and the art of musical composition in
America would have long ago given up the ghost jazz players if not for the right to create music as it pleased them to create have gone hungry for it. Jazz shows the scars of this battle that is sometimes one sided sometimes narrow in its stock of emotions sometimes suffering in isolation from its proper audiences often and bettered. Sometimes deliberately shocking but it is alive and it is created. And it has audiences people who have tasted the pleasure of music as if she was alive for men's minds and hands. And these audiences will no longer accept counterfeit. The task ahead and connection with that there was a letter published in one of the jazz magazines by a youngster in his early teens who had had an opportunity to hear jazz and the work of people like Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker and thereafter found it impossible to listen to most of the standardized manufactured pop music found almost
exclusively unfortunately on the radio and commercial radio. The task ahead is a difficult one and the results will be limited for a while to individual local achievements. The rise of a new and exciting jazz group here and there of the emergence of a jazz performer composer too powerful to shout down or ignore or the experiments of the groundbreaking new music school here I might add. When it was time to school in New York which aims as we noted at providing the improvising jazz man with the sound as possible background of theory and knowledge of form and the entry and the achievement of a thorough harmonic base on which to improvise. There is the jazz workshop in Boston which under the direction of young jazz musicians trains beginners in improvisation under actual working conditions. But in the workshop itself rather than in the nightclub. And in time perhaps the formation in one locality or another of a community sponsored cultural project Finkelstein also emphasizes that
minority discrimination which is diminishing must be ended entirely as a corollary to the continued growth of jazz in this new direction of extended form in connection with this he writes that as a matter of fact this is corollary to the early lectures in this chorus. We've covered many of the reasons for the predominance of the negro in the evolution of jazz from the very beginning this was not due. To any physical characteristics African or otherwise the Negro people in America have a tradition of achievement and struggle which goes all the way back to Africa. But I have no longer a direct line of physical ancestry to Africa. They are thoroughly mixed in heritage as are all of us. The negro born in a northern city environment is as likely to find the blues and spirituals strange to him. Or to be as clumsy on a dance floor as his white fellow citizen. On the other hand white city dwellers can discover and master a rhythm rather than use the blues when they feel the living
need for these forms of art and life. The negro and white have exactly the same potentialities for jazz or for conducting the Schubert symphony. The predominance of the Negro people in jazz has been due to social and cultural reasons. The need of the negro communities to make their own entertainment the place that song and dance held in the life of Negro children the special social and emotional content. That enter the music created by the Negro people. What they had to say could not be directly expressed otherwise except in a real and sharp struggle such as accompanied the development of jazz. There is a direct line of development from the old jazz to the new line of change not of static preservation of old qualities. Modern Jazz is a human and social musical expression not as some of the self designated purists would have it a commercial conspiracy. The old jazz that is that there are some people who listen only to New Orleans and Dixieland style and consider everything that has happened since a degeneration of the commercialization of the old jazz was a protest against the narrowness of semi feudal
Southern life. In the years before the First World War. Using the idioms and forms given it by semi feudal by modern jazz is a protest against monopoly control of music. And the commodity like exploitation of the musicians. A protest using the idioms and forms given it by commercial music. I should add here that it is not primarily a protest it is not often even consciously a protest it is primarily music. I need to communicate musically on the part of the musicians. There's often been a tendency to use these words protest and. Very odd nonmusical and actually not an actual sentence. To continue in modern times a negro musician has been active in the jazz field for a new added reasons. Not really Haddad. But operates heavily now as the Jim Crow and discrimination directed against the negro in the classical music field. A powerful factor now that the negro musician has slowly won his battle to include in his music. Change or reject if he wishes. Developments in science method and technique of world music. Jim Crow
pervades all the better paying musical jobs and professions. Jim Crow pervades music on radio in Hollywood and opera and symphony and unpalatable fact but it's a fact. It is enlightening to anyone who thinks that discrimination or prejudice come from poor education to discover that discrimination still occurs as we go up the social ladder. Symphony orchestras are far behind jazz bands in recognizing negro talent. A conductor of the outstanding ability of Dean Dixon went to Europe to get a job a regular job conducting singers of the caliber of Marian Anderson Carole bright star of the main or have not received contracts from the Metropolitan Opera which has employed even second rate and third rate singers for their connections and Hollywood glamour them more and more American Negro singers have scored successes in Europe and European opera companies and I think eventually they will be hired here as have a few already by companies like The New York City Center Opera Company.
But still the major symphony orchestras with very few exceptions hire no Negro performers well-equipped as many of them are. And more and more despite the fact that more and more Negroes are. Graduating as highly qualified graduates of the leading conservatory. That's the creative imagination of the negro musician has been poured largely into the natural frame of dance. Light entertainment music especially jazz is often stretching the boundaries of that form and to the very limit. There is also the benefit of American song and dance music by a measurably raising its musical quality. And emotional content. They have permitted great fortunes to be earned less often by the creative musician than by the merchandise or able to cash in cash in on the latest novelty. He could make out of some innovation by jazz musician negro or white. It is because so much talent and genius have been poured into jazz music old and new that this music has its present quality. But modern jazz for this very reason he is not a completely
satisfactory music as we've heard there is too great a disparity between the musical ideas the inventiveness applied to them the emotions demanding expression and the natural forms some modern jazz sounds overweighted harmonically and over elaborate. And instrumental texture without the melodic line and structure to carry the ideas forward. The reason of course is that there is a horizontal as well as vertical character of the music and the two must be proportionate to some musical problems like those facing a painter and writer requires space to work themselves out. Obviously Tolstoy could not have put the emotions of on a car anyone. Into a magazine short short or they told him the emotions of the Appassionata into a scare itself. Jazz has reached a kind of impasse then. The peak beyond which it can go and can go no further. Within the forms in which it exist today as we have seen there are many people who are working to bridge that impasse. There may be slight innovations such as the use of new rhythms new instruments larger orchestras but these are minor
changes. Jazz for its next step forward as these experiment is realized calls for a change as radical and sweeping the organic and deriving from the tradition as that which took place when it moved up the Mississippi River. It is as big as Dion says knocking at the door of musical composition and more ambitious forms and must enter and it will while retaining its basic improvs the Tory nature as we've seen there is no absolute division between improvised and composed music. They are different but not hermetically sealed from one another. And modern jazz is a living music but even more has within it a new music clamoring to be born. There is a further problem. We've touched on it briefly but it must be examined more carefully. If we are to look at the Contemporary Jazz situation realistically
it will take years. For it. These were like sleaze syntheses between formal composition. And basic improvised jazz to mature and to attract the support of a sufficiently. Wide section of the public to ensure some economic independence for their creators is right. Think Goldstein's sketch of future hopes what will happen until then the same thing that has been occurring all along. The experiment is well work. Jobs have differing levels of musical frustration. Some will take positions with early commercial units so long as they can stand it for others. Will have a slightly less disturbing positions and in between these enervating emotionally exhausting compromises
these men will try to create will try the experiment in extended form with what energy they have left to make it more difficult most of these men will not have the opportunity to work closely with similarly minded musicians over a period of months and years. And so the kind of communal empathy which is especially essential in this new form of jazz will be hard to achieve even mildly experimental jazz groups really can keep together for more than a few months. Bookings fall off a key member takes a better paying job somewhere else because of family responsibilities. Others become discouraged when the group dissolves and yet without the sense of community without the economic and spiritual security that a steadily weight working group affords. Not even Duke Ellington could have achieved what he did. And it took many years of. Working together for the Ellington musicians to reach the magnificent heights of the early forties of the Ellington band. Similarly the Dave Brubeck Quartet contribution to
contemporary jazz and doo is due in large part to the fact that he and Paul Desmond have been able to work steadily. And together over a long period of time. But just as Ellington was an exception of the 30s and 40s. So Brubeck is one of the few experimenters in contemporary jazz with at least i degree of economic security. The major contemporary jazz drummer Max Roach is not working steadily because he will not work under the conditions that are offered him. Charlie Parker the greatest single. Jazz soloist and thinker for that matter in terms of actual performance of contemporary jazz has no single continuing evolving group with which to work. Charlie Mingus a potentially major Jazz theorist and writer is not working steadily and for a time was working in the post office in New York rather than work a commercial jazz job rather commercial property that's commercial jazz is an anomaly in terms of Dizzy Gillespie the authoritative modern voice of jazz
trumpet has gone to the coast to work as a single for a great deal of money. But more I'm afraid as a comedian and as an immensely gifted musician. That is the problem. It's not a new one and yet at no time in the history of jazz has it been more essential. To provide time and security for young jazz experimenters than now young classical composers and instrumentalists certainly do not have a particularly easy particularly the young composers. But at least they benefit from musical foundations throughout the country. Hundreds of scholarships are awarded each year and scores of grants are given to young composers. And even a few commissions. Certainly the jazz man deserves this kind of consideration as well. Jazz is America's uniquely valuable contribution to world music many believe. And it will continue to be but must it always have to grow against all these are odds. This is surely a matter for the newly formed Institute of Jazz studies to act on
organized by professional Professor Marshall Stearns of hundreds. College includes on its board many of the nation's leading music colleges music historians sociologists anthropologists writers psychologists and other representatives of complimentary areas of the academic community. It's a highly responsible organisation has already established a jazz library as a clearinghouse for jazz research. It will shortly begin the publication of a quarterly magazine and hope soon to be in a position to give grants for research study to qualified students and writers. But I hope they will also realize that however interesting a research grad. The results of the research grant would be on the nature of let's say American Indian influences on the music of really New Orleans. It would be much more valuable to allow a man like John Lewis or Charlie Parker or Lenny Tristan know a year or two years to write to play to conceive of the evolution of jazz as he wants to or has to
to help to try to affect the synthesis we've been discussing between extended forum end and jazz and the established foundations. Should I believe finally begin to evaluate the importance of jazz. If a scholar can receive $6000 as one recently did to investigate the court costumes of 16th century Spain and I'm not ridiculing that grand within that field it's a valuable study. A creative jazzman of proven merit. Might well be entitled to a similar sum to investigate the viable potentialities of musical communication in our present society. Much has been written and rightly so on the lack of maturity of some of our jazz performers. But so little has been written on the lack of maturity with which they have been treated. As we come to the close of this chorus I am all too cognizant of the fact that there are many aspects of jazz musicological
historical psychological and sociological that have not been as fully covered as I would have liked. But for that to have been done would have necessitated many more hours. The main aim after all of the course has been as is stated in its title to depict primarily the evolution of jazz with the hope that if you are interested in furthering your knowledge of it you will do so. I omitted. Any detailed account for example of the influence on jazz and classical composers of this century. Because while this influence has been interesting and occasionally productive it has had no pregnant effect on the evolution of jazz parents say. Similarly I have not covered the colorful story of jazz in Europe in 1919. Conductor musicologist and his dance when they rode in the hope of reviewing a blues performance by the very young Sidney the Shea then fresh from New Orleans visiting Europe with the Southern syncopated orchestra he wrote I quote. These
performances give the idea of a style and the form was gripping abrupt highish with a brusque and pitiless ending like that of Bach's second Brandenburg Concerto. I wish to set down the name of this artist of genius. This is written in 1919. As for myself I shall never forget it it is Sidney but Shane. When one is tried so often to rediscover in the past one of those figures to whom we owe the advent of are those men of the 17th and 18th centuries for example who made expressive works of Dan sayers clearing the way for Haydn and Mozart who Mark not the starting point but the first milestone. What a moving thing it is to meet this man who is very glad his boy really was very glad one likes what he does but who can say nothing of his art save that he followed his own way and when one thinks that his own way is perhaps the highway the whole world a large prints of it will swing along tomorrow. End of quotation. From that time interest in jazz in Europe has been extensive long
before many classical musicians and listeners here began to appreciate jazz. European classes with on Sunday is a particularly distinguished example. Many of them were studying the form. Of jazz and its potentialities in the first serious critical works on jazz came from Europe. Both before and after the Second World War some American Negro musicians went to Europe to live to escape Jim Crow conditions here. Well most have been content with a visit. I spoke recently with drummer Max Roach about residents in Europe and he answered No. The flight is here the fight for a greater appreciation of jazz and against Jim Crow and all forms of music and everywhere else and we're winning both the most negro jazz men agree in the 30s Benny Carter became a staff arranger for the BBC a position at that time he could not have achieved here I doubt if he could now in the major networks. But he came back a few have stayed sitting to share his permanent residence is now in France though he plays here a few months a year. Bill Coleman
Don Byas Nelson Williams lil Armstrong seem to have made Paris their home. Tours of American jazz men through Europe are becoming increasingly frequent. Strong Ellington Norman Graham says jazz at the Philharmonic troops have toured Europe several times. Stan Kenton went in 1953 jazz at the Philharmonic will toward Japan this year following the successful the temporary two years ago. Of Gene Krupa in Sweden has proved a hospital visiting plays for such modern jazz men a stand gets Liko nits and older experimenters like Teddy Wilson European jazz festivals have invited leading jazz men of all styles from Dixieland trombone is Big Chief Russell Moore to Charlie Parker and European musicians have been playing jazz for years. Until recently if you achieved Mark stature Django Reinhardt in France was an exception. But as was pointed out in an earlier lecture a few of the contemporary Swedish musicians are of an ability comparable to many American jazz men. So far the Europeans have yet to evolve their own regional styles. But visiting musicians like Atari's Barney Kessel observed that
Swedish musicians are beginning to play jazz with its own distinctive idiom. Exchange of musicians from country to country is also becoming more frequent. Swedish musicians come here to work and learn as well as playing host to visiting Americans. In fact the only section of Europe where jazz is not welcomed is in Russia and the satellite countries because jazz is so directly and so irrepressibly a music of freedom. And even in those countries interest in jazz exists among some of the younger people but they are careful to hide their predilections interest in jazz in Australia South America Asia and Africa increases continually. Jazz magazines are published in all those areas and all over the world American jazz records are listened to with a care and dedication that would surprise I imagine the man who made the recordings. And this continues to be impressive the power of jazz to communicate its freedom to peoples all over the world jazz after all is almost entirely Afro-American in origin and evolution. And yet thousands of people in India Japan South East Asia Australia Latin America and Europe
have had no difficulty in instantly apprehending the releasing will do individuality to be found in jazz. Usually music formed as an integral part of a particular cultural context is not easily exportable. The rhythmic models of music are unfortunately alien to the understanding of most non-Indians. Similarly the quite indescribable pleasures of Balinese sounds are difficult for most occidentals to assimilate and the formal magnificence of classical structure from Bach's to Shoenberg and beyond is a decidedly limited interest not only to most non occidentals but to a large percentage of Europeans and Americans. Jazz more than any other form of music has been able to communicate across all kinds of national cultural and ethnic divisions. You have been listening to the evolution of jazz as a 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.
- The Evolution of Jazz
- Episode Number
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- This program continues the exploration of the usage of extended form in jazz improvisation and composition.
- 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.
- 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: 55-32-39 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 39; Extended Form in Contemporary Jazz Continued, Part Two,” 1954-08-06, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 21, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-k06x1t7r.
- MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 39; Extended Form in Contemporary Jazz Continued, Part Two.” 1954-08-06. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 21, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-k06x1t7r>.
- APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 39; Extended Form in Contemporary Jazz Continued, 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-k06x1t7r