thumbnail of Roots of jazz; Bop and 1940s progressive groups
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The following tape recorded program is a presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the 22nd in a series of programs on the roots of jazz in the United States. On this program we discuss and listen to the music of Bob and progressive groups of the 1940s.
You are listening to the guitar playing of one of the greatest jazz personalities the late Charlie Christian who became well-known in the late 30s as the Spock of many of Benny Goodman. Small groups Christian symbolizes the transition from hot to cool jazz. He was at Minton's Playhouse as early as the beginning of 1941 Minton's was a club room in the Hotel Cecil in Harlem Minton's is where modern jazz began. This is a recording of Charlie Christian playing at Minton's in May of 1941.
They began playing with Benny Goodman in the last half of 1939.
Every evening he played in jam sessions at the Harlem club room and exactly two years after John had been discovered in an Oklahoma City he was confined to Bellevue sanatorium suffering from to the losses. He died in March of 1942. Christian was the first important jazz musician to use the electric guitar setting of Vogue which continues increasingly important today. The guitar had replaced the banjo as a rhythm instrument back in the days of Chicago jazz. It remained a rhythm instrument. It's like chords setting a firm basis upon which other instruments could improvise. But it never possessed enough volume to be noticeable as a solo instrument. The electric guitar became a new and beautiful solo voice in jazz groups from the time of Charlie Christian. Then
there are some men in the history of jazz who are as Barry who in an office called them figures of transition. Charlie Christian was one of them. Another was the trumpet player Roy Eldridge. The following quotation is in the woods of Roy rich commenting on his mentors in the jazz world. When I first came to New York I had to play everything fast and double bass. I couldn't stand still like a lot of youngsters today all my ballads had to be double time. I was fresh I was full of ideas augmented chords nines the cats used to listen to me. Well they'd say he's nice but he don't say nothin. Consequently I didn't work. I was playing fine saxophone on the trumpet. Try to hold notes longer than they should be held. Trying to get a sound which I couldn't and shouldn't get. When I discovered that the trumpet has a sound all its own and a way of playing all its own.
Then I began to play really learned from two great saxophonist. He says the two men who have been my favorites ever since I began playing music are Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins. They really inspired me. I'd listen to them and be stunned. I didn't know the right names for anything at first but I knew what knocked me out. They do eight bars and then play what I call the turn around eight and the turnaround changes. I dug and he learned also from Louis Armstrong. I went up to the Lafayette theater to try and discover what he was doing. I sat through one show and nothing happened. I figured this couldn't be it. I sat through another. Then Louis started to build chorus after chorus. He came to a real climax and organized climax right clean clear. I stood up with the rest of them. I couldn't see why people were digging him. It was feeling it's always feeling when it's right. It's
also building. Giving your solo shape going somewhere when it's there. Nothing matters. Range speed sound. They just come. It's nothing I see. I can be cold sober from somewhere it comes afterward I sit up in my room and try to figure it out. I know I haven't cleaned my horn but the sound was gone. I know my lip isn't that in that good shape but I made an artist MOOC as big and fat as a C two octaves lower. It just doesn't figure. I just don't seem to make it I'm not sure I ever made a good record. Usually the tunes are bad or everybody's in a hurry. Yeah there's one anyway. I like the rockin chair I made with Jean. I don't know what I'd played until Ben Webster played it for me on the coast. I didn't even know who it was when I heard the introduction I thought it was Louie. I can truthfully say that I played what I wanted to play on that record and maybe two on the Embraceable You I made with a studio band.
And here is Roy Eldritch figure of transition in his solo on the rocking chair. Thank you.
And I. Am I.
Am. The next figure of transition is the tenor saxophone man lest a young
Prez as he is called it by most modern jazz sax man. Coleman Hawkins gave the town a saxophone its first style and made the instrument a popular one in jazz. But Young took over and we had a coolness. His phrases were long and possessed great a variety but no matter what the reason we no know that what Kristian did for guitarists and Eldridge did for trumpet as Lester Young did for saxophonist. These were the prototypes of modern jazz. They made the transitions while searching for a style good taste and satisfaction in the artistry of that music. They are known as musicians musicians since much of what they do is not fully appreciated save by fellow Johnson. Here is Lester Young solo on an old ball Kalyan when he was playing with comp bases orchestra the number is 12st. Hey.
I am. This is Lester Young in the 1940s with jazz at the Philharmonic. How does the song as played by.
The figure of friends if. They were artists searching for a much greater freedom than either swing Dixieland or Chicago style had afforded them. They tried everything. Some of it was meaningful. Some was waste. But the importance of their contribution was in their effort to find a new style a new freedom from old form. All of this experimentation resulted in two concerted efforts big bands moved in the direction of what became known as progressive jazz. The music of what Herman's herds the varied product of Stan Kenton Charlie Barnett and Boyd raver. These were the high powered orchestras that bring us up to the present. They are they were all fortunate enough to attract young vibrant modern musicians with extremely capable Rangers. Ralph Burton's arranger for Woody Herman Bill Harris and George handy arrangers for Boyd Reva
and Pete wriggle 0 4 stand can. This is the sound of freedom in Woody Herman's orchestra. The second output resulted from the experimentation of Christian young Outteridge
and Charlie Parker was the small group jazz which became known as Bach. There are many names in this field and we cannot treat all of them. Billy Eckstein and Mel Torme certainly with the vocal champions of the music. Dizzy Gillespie the trumpet of Charlie Parker the saxophonist and Fats Navarro and how of Niggy trumpet as J.J. Johnson and Kay winding trombone it's part of a basis and many of us follow here. In the words of one of the most creative minds of modern jazz Lenny Tristan and artistically the situation is deplorable. These little monkey men of music steal note for note the phrases of the master of the new idiom John Burks Dizzy Gillespie. There are endless repetition of these phrases makes living in their midst like fighting one's way through a nightmare in which bebop or is out of the walls the heavens and the
coffee pot. Most boppers contribute nothing to the idea whether they play drums saxophone piano trombone or glockenspiel. It still comes out gasping. This he probably thinks he's in a house of mirrors but in spite of this barrage of dead echoes he still sounds great. They managed to steal some of his notes but his soul stays on the record and Lenny has analyzed Bob better than anyone else from a musician's point of view. This is a long quotation but perhaps all the more valuable because it relates to what went before. It must be understood that Bebop is diametrically opposed to the jazz that preceded it. Swing as applied to large groups and Dixieland as applied to the small ones swing was hot and heavy and loud Bebop is cool light and soft. The former bump along like a beat locomotive. This was known in some quarters as Dr.. The
latter has a more subtle beat which becomes more pronounced by implication at this low volume level. Many interesting and complex accents may be introduced effectively the phraseology is next in importance because every note is governed by the underlying beat. This was not true of swing. For example the long arpeggios which were executed with no sense of time. The prolonged tremolos and the sustained scream notes though Dixieland presents a single and crude form of counterpoint. It's contrapuntal development ends in a blind alley. Each line is governed by the end result which is collective improvisation collective improvisation is limited by a small number of chords perhaps 6 or 7. A good melodic line is sacrificed completely the boppers discarded collective improvisation and placed all emphasis on a single line.
This is not unfortunate since the highest development of both would probably not occur simultaneously. Perhaps the next step after bebop will be collective improvisation on a much higher plane because the individual lines will be more complex. Bebop has made several contributions to the evolution of the single line the arpeggio 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 precludes this seesaw motion. The skillful use of scales fosters the evolution of many more ideas than does the use of arpeggios. Since an arpeggio merely restates the chord instead of a rhythm section pounding out each chord four beats to a bar so that three or four soloists can blow the same chord and arpeggio form in a blast of excremental vibrations. The bebop rhythm section uses a
system of chordal punctuation. By this means the soloist is able to hear the chord without having it shoved down his throat. He can think as he plays a chorus of bebop may consist of any number of phrases which vary in length a phrase may consist of two bars or twelve bars. It may contain one or several ideas. Then music is thoughtful as opposed to the kind of music which is no more than an endless series of notes somewhat bent. And here is John Burke's Dizzy Gillespie. Some say that even followed in the footsteps of Charlie aka. And
that may well be true because God is considered by many to be the greatest improviser of modern jazz. Papa was born in Kansas City in 1920. He started playing out of saxophone with Jay Machado in Kansas City in 1943. He joined the great Hines band where he worked with Dizzy and vocalist Billy Eckstein and Sarah Vaughan. Up to 1946 dizzy and Jada had led the field in Bach and created the groundwork for modern jazz. In 1949 and 1950 pocket toward Europe and in one thousand fifty five he died. Jazz critic learned father had this to say. Charlie was a very strange complex person but he was the greatest jazz artist of the modern era and certainly one of the four or five
greatest of all time. Oh. This has been the twenty second series of programs on the roots of jazz in the United.
The roots of jazz is written and produced by Norman was the reader and sound technician. As has been clearly speak. The preceding program was tape recorded. This is a radio network.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
Roots of jazz
Bop and 1940s progressive groups
Producing Organization
Iowa State University
WOI (Radio station : Ames, Iowa)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-p26q3q2p).
Episode Description
This program focuses on the music of bop and the progressive jazz groups of the 1940s.
Series Description
Music-documentary series in 26 parts, covering various aspects of jazz.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Director: Cleary, Norman
Engineer: Vogel, Dick
Host: Clark, Kenneth Bancroft, 1914-2005
Performer: Parker, Charlie, 1920-1955
Performer: Gillespie, Dizzy, 1917-1993
Producing Organization: Iowa State University
Producing Organization: WOI (Radio station : Ames, Iowa)
Speaker: Geesy, Ray
Writer: Cleary, Norman
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-24-22 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:38
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Roots of jazz; Bop and 1940s progressive groups,” 1956-11-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
MLA: “Roots of jazz; Bop and 1940s progressive groups.” 1956-11-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Roots of jazz; Bop and 1940s progressive groups. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from