thumbnail of The Evolution of Jazz; 33; Afro-Cuban Influence, Part One
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Yes. I am. I am. I am. I am. The evolution of jazz. A survey of American art form from Scott Joplin to Lenny Tristan know. The evolution of jazz. It's a tape recorded feature presented under the auspices of Northeastern 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 began a discussion of the influence of Afro-Cuban music on early modern jazz
particularly rhythmically and largely through the influence of the light and quite amazing Cuban drummer channel Prozone. Cause those influences we were saying on jazz drummers was directly direct and electric. Max Roach for example. Perhaps the leading temporary jazz drummer went out of his way to say that he was fascinated by Pozo the regular drummer with Dizzy Gillespie and Professor Marshall Stearns writes in Harper's magazine who had to take a back seat while pozole was in the limelight admits it gave him an inferiority complex and insists that Pozo was the was the most apparently rhythms show these drummers the right a new and limitless possibilities Pauley rhythmically. And in terms of cross excellence and authentic sound offbeat accents. This is a recording made by pozole before his death with a group of modern jazz men Pozo on both vocal
and drums. And he composed this with a lot of tin Tyndale. Can. That. Be. I am.
I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. The.
Plaza was by no means an isolated phenomenon continues Professor Stern's lawyer when Stan Kenton decided the Jazz rhythms were too monotonous he borrowed the entire drum choir from the Tito's orchestra to furnish a background for his recording of the peanut vendor. Then cannoneers the Afro-Cuban drama coddled the doll at one time or another Gene Krupa or Woody Herman Jerry Wald King Cole Trio employed an Afro-Cuban drummers. Here is a composition by Pete riddle played by Stan Kenton's rhythm section with jack stands on bongo and there on a Tuesday on Cuban rhythm Jellyman drums can on piano made a guitar and it is a friend's Cubase. This being the composition. It's called a rhythm section. Next.
Time. Thank you.
And on the other hand pop musicians have played with Afro-Cuban bands such as my Cheetos. But you don't play at a club on Broadway with musicians like jazz men like Howard McGee challenge your own broom or as some of us and for years jazz man of played in Afro-Cuban bands and jazz drummers of playdates with various Spanish bands in Harlem. But in these early modern jazz days the two streams meet and merged here is a recording of the much Tito band. He's Thank you. saying. Oh
and oh and ever to. Lose. I am the owner of. The. Luau but. The s o n her. Luann.
The most successful blending of this kind that is between Afro-Cuban jazz and Afro-Cuban music rather and jazz. Took place in a recording of Mongo among gay by my Cheeto featuring a solo saxophone work of the leading soloist in contemporary jazz Charlie Parker professor Stearns describes it this way the harmony of material as a company meant as elementary. But the rhythmic background is superb and plays a fascinating counterpoint to the rhythmic suspensions in Park Road.
Parker's solo biker heard the tune exactly twice in the studio before he made the record. When asked about it his eyes lit up with pleasure and exclaimed that Afro-Cuban rhythm is real gone and I like to play with those drummers because it's so completely relaxed. The S. A L. E n.
E n. O s. Eh. You. Know you. Lose You. Know. The area in. The. Loop You know you to lay a. Low end
you. Know. I am I am. I am. I am. I am. Another example of the merging of Cuban music and jazz
band and the terrorists. We. Need. To.
Let's. Look. Eh. Lou. Let let let let
the years of Afro-Cuban rhythms has declined somewhat in more recent contemporary jazz but the impact of its influence remains strong and it indicates has so many other of the musical examples we've utilized that in Professor Stern's words brought in early modern jazz if you will renewed a precedent for open minded experimentation in jazz and the jazz musicians taught a better technique. A broader understanding of musical theory and a keener appreciation of rhythm or rather the potentialities of rhythm. Another aspect of early modern jazz and its relationship to the blues was written about in an article in the record changer by Sidney Finkelstein. He begins by saying that the connection between the blues and modern jazz particularly early Bob. Has aroused considerable dissent and questioning in his book Finkelstein and stated that there were blues phrases blues feeling and many jazz performances not labeled blues even in many whose starting point was a pop tune.
This he says seems to have aroused the wrath of a whole school of critics. Their theory is the familiar set of cliches the blues are a definite chord structure in every blues performances placed on that chord structure which they will describe right down in real notes even playing the piano for any listener. Modern Jazz especially bop on the other hand they say is based on the chord structure of a popular tune and this can't possibly be the blues. I still think that to find the blues in terms of the simple chords used to accompany them is as accurate as to define a building in terms of its seller or a critic in terms of his haircut. Every building needs a cellar as a substitute in the cellar is planned to the needs of the building but it still doesn't define what goes on above. When Bessie Smith sings the blues are Johnny Dodds plays them. What moves me so deeply is what she sings or she plays not the chord structure underneath. And this what she sings or he plays is to me the blues if the Blues were defined by a few simple chord progressions how explain the fact that there are literally thousands of blues records vocal and instrumental which can be listened to with pleasure three records or not since they would contain all the blues chord structures but they
improvise Yet even this magic word doesn't explain everything. What is it that they improvise. To me again these melodic phrases and breaks that they improvise out of the blues and the character of this blues melody is nothing mysterious that can be analyzed in terms of a definite scale structure. Certain groups of notes and intervals refer to there is a certain haunting phrases that recur again and again in different combinations all of the chord structure describes the harmonic limit within which the blues move the simple pillars used to support the rich melodic structure. This is particularly important to know when it comes to modern jazz roots here that the chord structure theory blows up what is meant by improvising on the chord structure of a popular tune. It's a common practice of to have one person write a melody and another harmonize it then does the improvisation on a pop tune really use only the chords of the harmonizer ads. This is obviously not so for it seems to the ear that something of the character of the original melody remains throughout the improvisation. Obviously the same chords can be used for thousands of different tunes as we illustrated on an early in a nearly a lecture on
Body and Soul The statement improvisation on the chord structure of a pop tune is by itself rather meaningless. What really happens continues in the process known as improvising on the chord structure of a pop tune. Is that actually the words are misleading with the real process is a familiar one in the art of music classical and jazz. A set of chords generally is built about two important elements the melodic line usually the top line of notes of the second from the top and the bass line the lowest notes. Everyone who dabbles in harmony knows this from the barbershop quartet where the bass actually sings what is both the bottom harmony and a counter melody and then a world in jazz band where the trombone player is a line that is both harmony and a counter melody. And so melody and bass of the two pillars of harmonic movement in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the baroque period the art of writing a strong and powerful bass line was considered a central part of the art of harmony. Now let us suppose a musician improviser or composer wants to vary a melody. My favorite way to do this is to throw the top line of melody to the bass and improvise new chords above this.
Using the original melody as the bottom notes of the new set of chords and spinning a new counter melody on top. This is a favorite method in the eighteenth century as in some of the box sets of variations and as a favorite method in jazz. When we say the process this way then the improvising on the chords of a pop tune can begin to make sense except that's not really the correct wording it should be improvising new chords using the pop tune as a base of the harmony and spinning a new kind of melody above when we look at it this way the manner in which the blues can enter into a pop to an improvisation becomes pretty clear. It enters in the newly improvised opera voice doesn't always happen this way and there are times certainly as we saw when one does improvise on just the chords of let's say how high the moon and tries do. And on that new set of melodic ideas are based. But it happens enough in the way Finkelstein has just described to make it a pattern worth noticing.
Let's take this recording of I can't give you anything but a lot of the first version. In the opening chorus the melody distinctly moves to the bass strong improvisers above it. Then in the chorus after the vocal the melody again is in the bass. This time I'm strong improvisers chords broken chords of course above the melody using key notes from it as the bass. There's new harmony that is using key notes from the melody which is not played in the bass by the accompaniment as the bass for his new harmony. And in these a lot of choruses the blues distinctly and or as melodic phrases and powerful breaks in the melodic line that the trumpet spins and so while the performance is certainly I Can't Give You Anything But Love. What I'm strong plays takes its character in feeling from the blues. Let me repeat in the opening chorus you'll hear the melody moving to the bass and strong improvising above it and in the chorus after the vocal the melody you get in the bass strong improvising broken chords above the melody using key notes from the melody as the
base of his new harmony. A.
Bit of. Luck. They keep. Each. Day that. I am. In the air. Now out. To. The to.
The to. That record incidentally is also an example of the Louis Armstrong middle period trumpet style which expanded the trumpet as a solo voice more than anyone had done up to that point and
was so directly influenced Roy Eldridge and through Eldridge Dizzy Gillespie and all of modern jazz. Getting back to the subject of the blues in relation to Early Modern Jazz Goes Dion says it's been pointed out to me that Ellington is COTTONTAIL is really on the chords of blue skies maybe still the way to find out is really the way I've outlined above as the process itself. Players sing the tune see whether it fits as the baseline of the music I actually heard. But anyway the trumpet passages in COTTONTAIL which we played in the lecture on Ellington then Webster's remarkable tenor solo Ellington's piano spot in the blues idiom. Lester Young's great solos as in the bass the lady be good are remarkable examples of exactly this getting a blues phrasings to a number of ization above a pop tune. Similarly it may be that such performances as Parker's Billie's bounce Groden and gray in the chase and Gillespie's eminent are based on pop tunes. There are traces of t for two in the chase. And in the jazz at the Philharmonic record of Les to be good with Charlie Parker and Lester Young Parker's beautiful solo seems to invent phrases which later reappear in Amman on. But those three
performances and many others. Whatever the pop tune starting point are given their moving character at least partially through typical blues phrases and breaks.
The Evolution of Jazz
Episode Number
Afro-Cuban Influence, Part One
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
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-qj77z049).
Episode Description
This program explores the Afro-Cuban influence on jazz.
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
Jazz musicians--United States--Biography.
Media type
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
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
Duration: 00:29:48
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 33; Afro-Cuban Influence, Part One,” 1954-06-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 28, 2024,
MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 33; Afro-Cuban Influence, Part One.” 1954-06-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 28, 2024. <>.
APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 33; Afro-Cuban Influence, 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