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The evolution of jazz. A survey of American art form from Scott Joplin to Lenny Tristan on. The evolution of jazz as 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 were discussing the evolution of what might be called Midwest Southwest jazz principally as it occurred in Kansas City with Chief illustrations of its evolution in the playing of the Bennie Moten and then the Count Basie band bases on piano style is interesting in this respect as it finally mature. It became
a singing style much like the work of the man and his band was too young to keep well as in the others exploiting mainly the right hand which would reiterate a riff almost to the breaking point and then in Sydney Finkelstein's phrase lay out a melody with widely spades spaced notes chords the left hand ended with sudden surprise chords punctuating the right hand melodic line or suggesting the entrance of the congregation of chorus bases pianistic style and its developed period was a very rhythmic almost percussive style at times and many believe him to have been the best rhythmic piano player in terms of big band jazz. Here is a recording of basi in 1930 with Bennie Moten a Basie who was fresh from New York and the ragtime. James P. Johnson
and Harlem piano. Was. Bigger than the as. And then the bass the piano. Many years later with a bass the rhythm section of Joe
Jones pretty green and white a page in the cafe society blues. Most of the vocalizing with the basi ban was done by the blues singer Jimmy Rushing.
And here is an example of how the blues was song in the bay scene by Jimmy Rushing. Day. A.
Well. If you can.
Then a battery bank then. A battery that it thing then. The thing next to me right then hey man yeah man. You
know where I want. Them. LOL
LOL LOL man. Like every other style derived from jazz. Sydney Finkelstein notes presently Kansas City in the bases style have become mannerisms for commercial and semi-commercial music. The great mass of the large swing band music drew upon the bass a use of riffs solos and John beat the riffs provided an easy solution of structural composition problems. The improvisation within the chord suggested by the riffs provide an easy way of playing hot to jump beat before the bar pattern with two sharply accented and slightly delayed off beats. Actually two diametrically opposed rhythmic patterns gives each bar a frenetic excitement which leaves an impression of something very stirring going on not necessarily frenetic entirely but there's a great difference between the best bass the music and the swing band repetitions of it.
Another characteristic of a saint is that the riffs are varied throughout the performances. Still another that they are in themselves melodies of considerable beauty. The riffs of one o'clock jump jump from me and swing the Blues have become part of what may be called the urban folklore of large urban jazz. As for the jump beat it was handled by the basi band with the utmost elastic cities of the solos are not in the least bound by it but rather supported as a base from which to soar and this is not the case with mechanical music where the initial excitement given by the beat soon passes into monotony. The solos themselves are no bare noodling of a chord but are themselves melodic lines of real and lasting power. Lester Young has made the outstanding contribution to this kind of solo music but it is noticeable that in the basic performances he rarely overbalances the other it's there seems to be a fine interchange of ideas between him and Addison Wells Clayton Collins and Evans so that all the solos stand up as music and all sound born out of the same musical source.
Of Basie's band music as of many other jazz contributors it's possible to say that the greatest work is the early work. Sometimes this attitude is an indication only of critical laziness or praise of the music most familiar to us. In many cases however there is a real falling off and that was true at the time Finkelstein wrote his book. But in the last two or three years basically again has arisen with a major large jazz band but still not quite up to the level of the basi band of the 30s and early 40s. The reason for these fallings off in the level of performance of the jazz particularly a large jazz band is the business run on musical atmosphere of our entertainment world good music. Finkelstein notes cannot be a short order. Product it has a slow germination and achievement should be respected and preserved until it is superseded by another work equally good in the world basically ended however any new contribution was immediately taken up and often sold vulgarize as
to become trite. The drive for continual novelty without providing the conditions or the desire for the really new resulted in superficiality. Works like the two part Miss thing that we played last week indicate how solid a large band music base he might have developed such a contribution however depends not only on the bases but on the conditions under which he has to work. If a band such as Ellington's or bases were made a national or local concern given a steady relaxed existence removed from the terrible insecurity and homelessness that afflicts a band musician's life and encouraged to develop its own music the results would be astounding. The story of jazz is not only the history of the great created music but also the tragedy of a potentially great music that could have been even more valuable under the proper economic social logical and psychological conditions. If they seize influence upon large band jazz was a fruitful one. His influence upon small band jazz was perhaps even more far reaching. It is unwise and discussions of jazz to
trace direct influences from one figure to another. Such relationships are easy to draw on paper but do not generally correspond to the more complex facts yet bases music was certainly one of the chief factors in the formation of the kind of small band music that florist in the 30s and 40s and differed quite markedly from New Orleans in Dixieland style bass his own piano style indicates the bass for the music it employs the full piano but uses rich chords in full sound sparingly to punctuate and support the solo melodic lines. His Large Band music also has this character the full band often heard in many performances only for punctuation. Blue and sentimental dogging around 12st drag the full band lady be good are examples of this large band style which has the feeling of a small band. Here is the full bass a band with a small band feeling and Lady good. I. Know. Me.
For. The end. Of the week. From a performance like that it was easy to move to an actual small
then using a single trumpet trombone and saxophone to fuse together with a good knowledge of harmony in this case. Just the tenor saxophone and trumpet good sound chords as solid as a full band choir. A single instrument such as bases piano Young's tenor could riff as effectively as and even more subtly than a full band of full choir in many cases. Here is the same song Lady be good played with just the rhythm section of her page and Joe Jones Carl Smith on trumpet and Lester Young on tenor the small band play to be good. And oh. Oh
oh oh. I am. And so a small band music came into being based on rich harmonize sounds a combination of
harmony and instrumental texture. The jump beat the riff the solo bass he developed such music in the Jones Smith records of which the preceding lady good was one and the records made under the name of the Kansas City 6 or the Kansas City seven of which this is one with Lester Young on clarinet and tenor saxophone. Eddie Durham trombone and electric guitar Clayton trumpet Freddie Green on guitar Walter page bass and Joe Johns drums. It's called paging the devil. Once again I should like to illustrate that there was remarkably little difference in spirit and result
in terms of jazz between a large basi band performance and a small unit one hears a large bass a band in the taxi border. I am.
I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am. I am.
I am. A. And then a small base unit called Kansas City Seven and a song called Destination KC.
The Evolution of Jazz
Episode Number
Count Basie, 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 the music of Count Basie.
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
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Host: Hentoff, Nat
Producer: Hentoff, Nat
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 55-32-26 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:54
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Chicago: “The Evolution of Jazz; 26; Count Basie, Part One,” 1954-05-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “The Evolution of Jazz; 26; Count Basie, Part One.” 1954-05-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: The Evolution of Jazz; 26; Count Basie, 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