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The Jazz Reader

A CONSISE HISTORY OF JAZZ


For many centuries, in fact starting after the discovery of the Americas and directly after
the establishment of the transatlantic slave trade at the beginning of the 17th century, a
fusion took place between, on one side, the European musical tradition and, on the other
side, the musical traditions of a multitude of African cultures. This melting occurred for a
long stretch of time in a low pace but around the turn towards the 20th century an immense
acceleration in this process took place because of a municipal legislation of the city of New
Orleans by which the Creole population of Downtown New Orleans, with their French
heritage, were forced to mingle and live with the real blacks of Uptown New Orleans, with
their Blues-background.
Jazz music emerged from a melting pot of cultures, consisting of popular West European
dance and marching music and a diversity of African influenced styles of North America.
This fusion of very different styles, is called Musical Acculturation and an important
feature of this process of acculturation is that the end product in no way resembles the
ingredients by which it is constructed but has a huge viability of its own.

The origin of Jazz:

EUROPEAN MUSIC AUTHENTIC AFRICAN MUSIC

Popular English, French, Spanish


| and Portuguese Dance music Worksong / Field Hollar
| {African by origin}
|
| Ragtime Marching music Spiritual
| {also African by origin}
|
| Country Blues
| {Rural Blues}
|
| CREOLE MUSIC
| (mix of Spanish & Portuguese music with
African music on the Caribean Islands)
|
|____________>JAZZ<___________________________> BLUES
| |
| Rhythm & Blues |
+
Country & Western
/
Rock ‘n’ Roll
|
Rock

Jazz and Blues always were, and still form, totally separate developments, although they
have influenced each other very frequently during the history of modern music.
So Jazz Music arose at the beginning of the previous century and during the following years
and up to this day many stages of evolution has given rise to different Jazz styles.
Approximately every ten years a new style emerged from the old as a kind of reaction but was
also in part a continuation of the former. These stages, styles and some famous representative
musicians of the particular Jazz styles are described below:

1910-1925: New Orleans


{King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Earl Hines, Kid Ory,...}

1925-1930: Chicago Jazz { in fact a form of white New Orleans of lower standards }
{ Bix Beiderbecke, Eddie Condon, Gene Krupa, Pee Wee Russell, ….. }
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1930-1940: Swing
{ Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, Jack Teagarden, Teddy Wilson,....}
The Big Band Era
{ Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller,... }

1940-1950: BeBop
{Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie (Miles Davis), Thelonious Monk, Kenny Clarke, Max Roach,....}
CuBop
{Dizzy Gillespie, Cuban bands}
New Orleans Revival/ Dixieland
{ Sidney Bechet }

1950-1955: Cool Jazz (Cool Bop) / Westcoast Jazz


{Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Lennie Tristano, Dave Brubeck,...}

1955-1965: Hard Bop (Hard Bop Regression) {Eastcoast Jazz}


{ John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Clifford Brown,
Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter,....}
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1960-1970: Modal Jazz
{ Miles Davis, John Coltrane}

Free Jazz
{Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Cecil Taylor,.... }
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1970-1980: JazzRock
{ Miles Davis, Billy Cobham, Soft Machine, Weather Report, Miles Davis,... }
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from 1980: Free Funk
{Ornette Coleman }
Neo-Bop
{Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, modern Hard Bop-bands }
Actual Improvised Music ( mainly a Dutch development, a mix of Jazz, typical European styles
and modern classic)
{Willem Breuker, Ernst Reisiger, Michael Moore, Mischa Mengelberg, Han Bennink,
Michiel Braam,…..}
Fusion ( a melting of Rock, Jazz and Latin ).
{ Spyro Gyra, Steps Ahead, Brecker Bros., David Sanborn, Yellow Jackets,....)
Neo-Jazz / Retro-Jazz
{ Modern Jazz bands which play numbers of a previous style but with a new sound and approach
or new numbers with a well known sound }
{ Wynton Marsalis, Michael Brecker, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Brian Blade,…. }
The History of Jazz; lesson 1.

Jazz Music arose somewhere around 1910 in the south of the U.S.A. in the city of New Orleans by
a process of mingling different musical styles of European and African origin. How was it possible
that African Music could influence European based music in the United States while a huge ocean
kept them obviously separated? The reason appears to be the fact that after the discovery of the
America’s first the Indians were forced by their Spanish and Portuguese conquerors to work on
the plantations (coffee and sugar plantations in South America and cotton plantations in North
America). But a part of the captured Indians fled into the jungle and the other, greater, part
mainly perished and was dead within a short amount of time because of the imported deceases
(e.g. The Spanish Flu). That’s the reason why strong Negroes out of Africa, also called
“black gold”, were transported by white traders as slaves across the Atlantic Ocean to both of the
America’s. Normally the black slaves were kept for years on Caribbean islands before they were
transported and sold on the markets in North and South America. So on these Caribbean islands
many African and Spanish cultures merged together and new musical styles arose amidst these
slaves. Later on West European Music was poured into this blend and Jazz Music emerged.
Many traders and sailors didn’t mind to do this job and protests were set aside by proposing that
they brought the black people of Western Africa in contact with Christianity through which they
could receive heavenly redemption. Some of them saw the black man as a kind of precursor of
mankind, as a kind of animal and there were no objections in those days to any kind whatsoever of
animal trade.

What features does authentic African Music have?


1. First of all the music is functional and danceable. All normal daily business is accompanied by
music. Music purely as a form of entertainment barely existed in the authentic habits. So all male
(drums) and female (handclap, singing) play and dance together all day long. African music is
always danceable: “When the sun sets, all Africa starts to dance” is a well-known phrase.
2. Improvisation is an important characteristic although real African musical improvisation has a
rigid set of strict rules, which one has to obey during improvising. Normally these rules are too
complicated to recognize for our Western ears.
3. Africans love playing contrasting rhythms; something we call Crossrhythm if we count the bars
(African musicians don’t count).
4. The Worksong of the United States can be traced back to an African precursor; the only
difference is that in African music the beat of the music doesn’t correspond with the pulse of
working (because of the African liking of crossrhythms).

On the cotton plantations of the U.S.A. the slaves were forced to abandon their own musical
heritage and play on European instruments such as violin and piano. They were not allowed to
play any drums out of fear that the slaves could communicate by means of drumsounds and
possibly start revolts.
The music of New Orleans during the pre Jazz-age had a Spanish tinge; it resembled more or less
like modern Latin music. That’s what is meant by Creole Music; music with still a lot of Spanish
and French influences just before the dominating arrival of Western European Dance and
Marching Music at the start of the 20th century. Out of this new mixture early Jazz Music emerged
and it didn’t last long before the big companies found out that lots of money was to be earned by
selling Jazz and Blues on record.

-The history of Jazz, lesson 1a; Peter Hengst –


The Blues Music came into existence after the abolition of slavery at the end of the Civil War in
1865. The Worksong developed gradually into the 12-bar Blues. After the Civil War of the U.S.A.
the slave was declared free but couldn’t get any work in the destroyed south (many plantations
were burned down to the ground by the northern troops). Now the former slave met great misery
because of unemployment and starvation.
The first Blues was the Country Blues (also named Rural Blues) that still lacked the 12-bar
structure and the use of the three characteristic chords (I, II & V). The Urban Blues because of the
industrialisation followed the Country Blues; many country people moved to live in the cities
because of the rising industry (e.g. Ford en General Motors in Detroit). A third type of Blues was
the Vaudeville Blues that consisted of songs performed by Blues singer during intermissions
between circus acts and variety-acts {Vaudeville stems from Voix de Ville; street songs}.

In fact it was the invention of Thomas Edison that was responsible for the huge popularity of the
Blues; the incentive that started a real Blues craze during the roaring twenties. In 1887 Edison had
invented the Phonograph by which music could be recorded.
Very famous Blues singers were recorded during this time; singers like Ma Rainey, mamie Smith
and Bessie Smith.

The fast piano style from the South originated out of listening to trains passing by and got its
name from the spontaneous gatherings of southern immigrants; Boogie-Woogie. We are told
that de piano player Pinetop Smith was the first to record this style in 1928.

A very important feature of the African heritage was Dancing. Around 1900 many dancing
contests were held; a strange way of dancing in couples was the so-called Cake Walk. The best
couple that danced on Ragtime Music could win a tasty cake.

Ragtime consists of all types of music that is syncopated; the Rag on the other hand is a kind of
classical syncopated composition that is written down note for note. Improvisation doesn’t exist,
so a Rag can never be called Jazz. A famous composer of rags was the black pianist Scott Joplin
{1868-1917} who next to well-known rags as Maple Leave Rag and The Entertainer even wrote an
opera, Threemonisha.

-The history of Jazz, lesson 1b; Peter Hengst –


The History of Jazz; lesson 2.

We have dealt with the different styles out of which Jazz Music came into being round 191o and now
we can start examining the early Jazz Music. We know almost nothing about the first black Jazz
Bands because the first recordings of the real Jazz bands were made after the style had developed
itself to a higher level.
The first s0-called Jazz Recording was made in New York in 1917 by The Original Dixieland
Jass(zz) band (ODJB), a bunch of white amateur musicians out of New Orleans. But actually the
real Jazz can be heard on early records of black New Orleans Jazz Bands, e.g. King Oliver’s Creole
Jazz band. The line-up of this famous early Jazz band was: Joe Oliver (cornet), Louis 'Satchmo'
Armstrong (cornet), Honoré Dutrey (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet), Lil(ian) Hardin (piano)
and Warren 'Baby' Dodds (drums). The bands in those days had two cornet players because of the
long gigs they would normally perform. Louis Armstrong was the first to play a Jazz solo on
cornet.
After playing with King Oliver Louis Armstrong started his own bands, His Hot Five and His Hot
Seven, and recorded al lot around the year 1927. One of the best bands of that time was indeed
Louis Armstrong’s Hot Five. A famous piece of this band is West End Blues with a remarkable intro
on cornet, which influenced every trumpet player after Armstrong. Also this blues number is a piece
with head and tail; it contains a beginning, a middle piece and a convincing ending. Also the piano
playing by Earl ‘fatha’ Hines and the drumming of Zutty Singleton were of high standards.

New Orleans Music is sometimes called Collective Improvisation. But in reality this is not true.
This name was given to impress the listeners by seemingly effortless playing of the musicians without
any sheets of paper. But in fact the pieces were very well rehearsed and almost everything was spoken
through. So the pieces were tightly arranged. In fact only the drummer was the one who was able to
really improvise without getting into conflict with the other players.

The first Jazz Recording was titled Dixieland Jass Band One Step and was made in New York in
1917 by the white ODJB and this recording was the start of the Jazz Craze (suddenly everybody
wanted to listen and dance to Jazz.). But for a couple of years white audiences were convinced that
Jazz was made by white New Orleans bands en Blues by black New Orleans Bands. This
misconception came to an end at the moment black New Orleans Bands, such as King Oliver’s Creole
Jazz band, began touring the greater cities of the United States. From then on the audience knew that
only the black Jazz bands played the real Jazz music.
During the early days of recording, that is before 1928, recordings couldn’t be made of loud sounds
because this would let the needle jump of the wax plate and the recording had to be started again.
So very loud drums couldn’t be recorded before 1928 and we have no clue how the drummers really
played in live situations. In the studio they had to limit themselves to soft sounds of cymbals,
cowbells and woodblocks. But from books one can figure that the drummers performed very loudly
and with great virtuosity during performances in the Jazz clubs.
After 1928 the recording-technique was improved by means of electrical microphones, so that
from this date on loud and low sounds could be played in studio-surroundings.
Because no more than 3 minutes could be recorded in the early days of recording the bands were
used to play at a higher speed than during live-performances.

The white musicians of Chicago, mostly students, were influenced for a great deal by the black New
Orleans musicians and they tried to imitate that style as best they could. But at first they couldn’t
reach the high level of musicianship the New Orleans players already had. Harmony and melody
were no problem, but the white Chicagoans couldn’t cope with the intense swinging rhythm of the
black musicians of New Orleans. This kind of low-level white Jazz of the twenties was called
Chicago Jazz.
-The history of Jazz, lesson 2a; Peter Hengst

Part of the white musicians of Chicago had received a classical musical training. But some of them
didn’t bother to learn to read music, because the black musicians of New Orleans couldn’t read either
and they wanted to get the same sound as their black New Orleans masters.

The 1930’s are known as the Big Band Era or the Era of Swing Music (Swing with a capital S to
make a distinction between swinging music in general and the musical style of the thirties).
A distinct representative of this era is clarinettist Benny Goodman, who was one of the
Chicagoans, but managed to reach a high-level of playing Jazz and was even titled King of Swing in
the thirties. Goodman was the first to have a multiracial Jazz band and set an example for future
groups to come. The line up of his very famous Jazz Quartet consisted of two black musicians
(Teddy Wilson, piano and Lionel Hampton, vibes) and two white musicians (drummer Gene Krupa
and Benny himself on clarinet). At first no bass player was added; in fact the piano player took care
of the bass line by playing stride piano with his left hand.
In 1938 Benny Goodman, who had had a classical musical training, gave a memorable concert in
Carnegie Hall in New York City; the first time a Jazz band gave a performance in a hall where
normally only classical music such as symphonies by Beethoven and Mahler could be heard.
At the end of the sixties this monumental concert in Carnegie Hall of 1938 was reconstructed and
recorded for television. Now we can spot four old men still going very strong but meanwhile a bass
player was added to give a more modern sound to the quartet.
As we speak of Bid Band Era we immediately think of the bands of Count Basie and
Duke Ellington. William “Count” Basie as the leader of a fierce swinging Big Band with lots of blues
characteristics and Edward “Duke” Ellington as a great arranger and leader of a great Big Band with a
very distinctive sound. The latter wrote his arrangements especially with the sound and abilities of
his musicians specifically in mind.

Gradually during the thirties the Big Bands played more and more lovely tunes with a lot of strings,
called Sweet Music, and this was due to the economic crisis set in by October 1929, also known as
The Great Depression. At this moment and under these circumstances the people normally didn’t
want art music but only cheep entertainment to temporarily forget their own severe misery. It is no
surprise that during this regression great movies like King Kong and many musicals attracted a great
audience.
Paul Whiteman, who was titled, against his own will, The King of jazz, was a conductor of a Big
band with strings that played Sweet Music. Improvisation, as far as it did exist in reality, came to a
hold, although there were some great improvisers in Whiteman’s band like Bix Beiderbecke. And
playing Sweet Music to earn a living would frustrate these musicians with improvisational ability.

The (real) Jazz Players reacted at the beginning of the forties to the Sweet Music by inventing a new
kind of playing, called BeBop. The word BeBop is a so-called Onomatopoeia (= imitation of actual
sound). Many melody lines were constructed of fast descending notes to which one could sing
be-bop---be-bop---be-bop and thus the name of the new style was also a typical characteristic of the
new progressive music.
Young Jazz players strongly hated the commercial Sweet Music and started to jam in clubs at late
hours after their regular jobs in Night Club Big Bands. They wanted to establish a new kind of music
that would restore the African features, such as real improvisation, without going back to playing
New Orleans Jazz. The main phrase of the BeBop-movement was 'Back to the African Roots'; many
times proclaimed during the early years of Be-Bop.
One of the first young musicians who experimented with this new style were the very talented alto
saxophone player Charlie "Bird" Parker and the trumpeter John "Dizzy" Gillespie, next to pianist
Thelonious Monk, with a very abnormal style of playing by literally hitting as few notes as possible.
-The history of Jazz, lesson 2b; Peter Hengst –
The History of Jazz: lesson 3.

During the last years of the 1940’s all sorts of Latin music merged with BeBop and this new style is
called CuBop (Cuban Bop). This was also a movement back to African Roots of improvising and
experimenting with rhythm. It was more or less a resurrection of the old Creole Music at the
beginning of the evolution of Jazz Music. Among others Dizzy Gillespie made this new style
popular.
At first the BeBop-pieces were played very fast or very slow. This was done to be sure that no one
could ever dance to this new type of music. The BeBop-musicians had learned to take care of the
white commercial industry that had put an end to the Swing Music by converting the Swing to a
kind of cheap easy listening entertainment (Sweet Music) meant for the white market.
Many Jazz lovers couldn’t cope with this progressive new style of playing, called BeBop, so they
became more and more interested in the older styles of Jazz. During the early days of BeBop there
was a real resurrection of “old Jazz” and this movement was named New Orleans Revival.
For many menbers of this movement BeBop was no Jazz at all; they were convinced that the real
Jazz could merely be found with bands that played New Orleans Jazz and Chicago Jazz.
Since the 1950’s this type of jazz, which contains a mixture of New Orleans style and Chicago style,
is called Dixieland (in fact a belittling nickname for the south of the U.S.A.). A clearly
representative of the New Orleans Revival was soprano saxophonist Sidney Bechet, who played a
lot in France.
Many blacks listened instead of to the music of the New Orleans Revival to the music of alto
saxophonist Louis Jordan who played Jump Blues (also called Jump and Jive). He had a small
big band that played a kind of Rhythm ‘n' Blues with mostly shuffle-rhythms. This kind of R & B
stood at the cradle of the development of modern Pop music.

As a reaction to the violent BeBop-style came a music form totally based on BeBop but now all
emotions in the music were restrained and restricted. This style of introvert music is called
Cool Jazz or Cool Bop and was partly influenced by the sound of tenor saxophonist Lester
Young. A main feature of Cool Jazz is playing without any vibrato whatsoever.
Like the early BeBop, Cool Jazz emerged for the first time in New York City and this was around
1949. During this year trumpeter Miles Davis recorded arrangements by Gerry Mulligan and
Gil Evans with a nine-piece band, named the Capitol band. The line-up was extraordinary:
trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba, alto sax, baritone sax, piano, bass, drums.
This band didn’t last long and had only two gigs but this recording managed to get into the history
of Jazz forever under the name of it’s album: The Birth of the Cool.
Cool Jazz wasn’t a great success in New York City but did really well at the West Coast of the
United States, especially in Los Angeles (especially at the film studio’s in Hollywood).
Many musicians went to L.A. to try their luck in the bands of the studios and many of them became
rich while in New York the Jazz musicians had a hard time earning a normal living. This kind of
Cool Jazz was called WESTCOAST JAZZ and some famous names among the West coast
musicians are baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and trumpeter/singer Chet Baker.
Theirs Quartet with bass and drums became very well known but notice no piano, better no chord
instrument, was present during the recordings of this quartet. Still they managed to get a sound by
which no chord instrument was needed because of their playing so tight together.
There appears to exist a third kind of Cool Jazz and that’s a kind of intellectual approach towards
this modest music. Some musicians experimented with unusual measures like 5/4, 9/8 and so on.
As an example we have the number Take Five, written by Paul Desmond and recorded by Dave
Brubeck’s quartet. Pianist Dave Brubeck did study with the French composer Darius Milhaud and
actually did put a lot of modern classical features in his music. This kind of blending classical
music with Jazz has been described as the Third Stream by Gunther Schuller, the player of
French horn in the capitol Band led by Miles Davis.
-The history of Jazz, lesson 3a; Peter Hengst –

So we have in fact three particular forms within the Cool Jazz Style, namely:

1. Cool Bop (also called East Coast Cool Jazz; notice this is something quite different than
East Coast Jazz. The latter is another name for Hard Bop) origin: New York City,
2. West Coast Jazz, origin: Los Angeles,
3. Third Stream, a more intellectual approach to Cool Jazz making use of foreign measures.
(also originated in L.A.)

Starting in 1955, a musical reaction on the East coast (New York) took place and this new type of
Jazz music has been named Hard Bop Regression or sometimes East Coast Jazz. Now the
musicians in New York got rid of the features of Cool Bop and started to play a very expressive style
of Jazz with an emphasis on rhythm (with fierce swinging, a kind of Rhythm ‘n Blues, and
sometimes the use of shuffle-rhythm with great stress on the After-Beat). They got rid of the blue
notes and the average sound resembles the music of the black Church, particularly the Gospel.
Typical Hard Bop pieces have titles that refer to ceremonies of the Black Church (but only in title,
nothing furthermore) like: The Sermon, The Preacher and Moanin’.

Modal Jazz refers to a new kind of improvisation that is called horizontal improvisation instead
of the vertical improvisation normally used in BeBop-improvising. A piece of modal Jazz only has a
few chords stretched out for a long period of time. Because of the lack of changes (of chords) the
improviser is compelled to search for another way of making his solo and now he can rely on the
old (Medieval) scales of the old Christian Church (Church Modes as Dorian, Lydian, Phrygian and
so on). The modal piece So What by Miles Davis (album Kind Of Blue, 1959) can be seen as a
continuation of Hard Bop because of the use of Call-and- Response technique (responsorial in
Church Music). The Bass-theme resembles the singing of the leading preacher, the calling, and the
So What-notes as a kind of “Amen!” On So What improvisations are done in the Dorian scale
because of the use of only two chords: D minor 7 and Eflat minor 7.

Free Jazz: From Modal Jazz to Free Jazz is not such a big leap. Now you let go of the use of strict
chords and composed melody and introduce a free rhythm. In some way Free Jazz can be seen as
the first time real Collective Improvisation was put to record. One of the first Free Jazz players was
saxophonist/trumpeter/violinist Ornette Coleman who, in 1961, made a Free Jazz album with a
double quartet (double saxophones, double trumpets, double double basses and double drums)
with a line-up of some fine names in Jazz Music like Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Don Cherry,
Charlie Haden, Scott LaFaro, Ed Blackwell and Billy Higgins.

At the time Rock Music had developed itself to a higher level out of Rock ‘n’ Roll this music was
merged with modern Jazz to a kind of music with Rock-features because of the used rhythms and
Jazz-features by means of using more (intricate) chords than normally done in Rock. This type was
now called Jazz Rock (or Rock Jazz as some reporters kept calling it).
Miles Davis was again ahead of times by being one of the first to make this new type of music
popular (under pressure by the great record companies he was in fact forced to do so, but
nevertheless Miles Davis was greatly influenced by Rock artists like Jimi Hendrix and James
Brown. Anyway it made him very rich by selling the 1969-album Bitches Brew million times).
But perhaps drummer Billy Cobham, and his group Dreams (with the Brecker Bros.) was the Jazz
musician who actually did play Jazz Rock for the first time. Also the band Weather Report, led by
piano player Joe Zawinul and with the famous Jaco Pastorius on bass, has made a great
contribution to Jazz Rock.
-The history of Jazz, lesson 3b; Peter Hengst –
The History of Jazz: lesson 4.

Neo Bop
During the eighties still a kind of mainstream Jazz was to be heard played by young very talented
musicians, like for instance trumpeter Wynton Marsalis (who had had also a classical training).
It sounded like the old Hard Bop-style but with new influences like a higher standard of playing
unusual time signatures.
Actual Improvised Music
In cooperation with the Dutch saxophonist Willem Breuker and drummerHan Bennink piano
player Mischa Mengelberg started the instant composers Pool. Just like Willem Breuker
Mengelberg puts a lot of humour in his music. The following story may depict this very well:
by listening to his master’s piano playing day by day Mengelberg’s parrot was bound to become a
real Jazz singer and percussionist and so one of the parrot’s performances was put to record.
Actual improvised music is a blend of Jazz, modern Classical Music and West European Folk
Music. The name is appropriate because the main feature of this music is instant composing
starting only with a slight idea of where the music could be heading.
Gradually Willem Breuker developed his original style of playing with his ensemble fixed scores of
modern European Classical composers such as Kurt Weill (German-American composer).
In Holland and in the rest of Europe the Willem Breuker Collective is famous, especially in
Germany.
Fusion
A more commercial blend of Jazz, Rock and Latin Music is often called Fusion. It’s a kind of Jazz
Rock but with more new musical elements to it as those attached to Rock and Jazz, such as Latin
(Cuban and African) influences.
Also a kind of Hard Bop reminiscence can creep in as was done by The Yellow Jackets who played a
modern gospel in the number Revelation.
Retro Jazz
At the moment Wynton Marsalis took charge of the Jazz department of the Lincoln Centre in
New York City he started to research and perform pieces formerly played by Louis Armstrong next
to old arrangements by Duke Ellington. And so he designed a kind of retrospective survey of the
older Jazz numbers in a modern setting. Now we can get some idea of how these pieces sounded in
the nightclubs of their time.
Neo Jazz
This style includes another kind of very modern Jazz with still a lot of attachments to the old
traditions of former Jazz Styles. For example the work of alto saxophonist Steve Coleman with his
band Five Elements or that of saxophonist Michael Brecker {1949-2007}. Many Jazz bands play
this new style and maybe it is so new and so fresh we are not able yet to apply correct labels on
them.
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Now we have completed a quick scan through the history of Jazz in a kind of bird’s-eye view,
we start examing the several stages of the Jazz development in more detail:
Round about 1890 there existed three forms of popular American music in the city of New Orleans:
1} Ragtime; first performed on banjo and later played on the piano,
2} Black Afro-American songs: songs of the plantation and blues's (songs of former slaves),
3} A white version of popular Afro-American Folk Music, made popular by whites and
played by whites (e.g. The Minstrel Show with white actors and singers with black make up).

In older books on Jazz one can read that Jazz Bands played in the Storyville-quarter of the city
of New Orleans. This quarter was always called The District by inhabitants of the city and never
Storyville (named after Joseph Story who founded this Red Light District in 1897). But the story
about Storyville being the place were Jazz was born appeared certainly not to be true.
-The history of Jazz, lesson 4a; Peter Hengst –
In the district itself normally only piano players, called professors, were active and they accompanied female
singer and prostitutes to attract customers (mostly Caucasian=white). Slow blues’s were played on the piano
and the prostitutes performed a dance, called the slow drag.
So the real Jazz wasn’t born in the Storyville-district but in fact in a quarter adjoining this district at the
frontier between downtown and uptown. Here the bands played real Jazz and in this quarter that bore no
name, stood the cradle of the early Jazz.
In 1917 the Storyville-district was closed by the naval authority because of continuing fights and the fact that
some men were shot dead. Now the old books on Jazz do mention this as the reason why the Jazz went north
after 1917. But this is in no way the case. Due to the fact that in the Storyville-district only professors played,
there came an abrupt end to this piano playing, mostly Blues. But the quarter were the real Jazz was
performed wasn’t closed but surely the musicians went north, an event that is called The Great Migration,
because of other reasons, namely:
1. The Boll Weevil-plague. In 1917 an insect destroyed the cotton crops and the land was desolate. No
cotton was to be gained, so great unemployment was the result of this plague.
2. Meanwhile the northern cities were industrialized and many southerners went north to work in the
new factories. In Detroit we have Ford, General Motors and Chrysler (Henry Ford had invented the assembly
line). And last but not least:
3. The U.S.A. did participate in the FIRST World War by 1917 and young men of the south, black and
white, had to enlist and report for military service ( to do their tour of duty and fight in the trenches of
France).

So the musicians of New Orleans didn’t went north in 1917 because of the closing of their playing grounds,
but because of totally different reasons that make very much sense. The closing of the Storyville district is
well depicted in Al Rose’s book Storyville, New Orleans, 1974 and this made a definitive end to this false
story about Storyville. In Dutch such a story is called Een-Broodje-Aap-verhaal: a story that perseveres and
seems to creep up every now and then but is in fact extremely untrue. Before 1917 few of the New Orleans
musicians had already visited northern cities by playing on the boats on the river Mississippi.
Between 1895 and 1910 a framework of New Orleans-musicians emerged, that played several musical styles,
like Blues, Ragtime, Marches, popular songs and themes of overtures and operas/operettas.

By 1915 four types of bands were active in and round New Orleans:

1) The best-paid bands performed a mixture of popular songs, ragtimes, and waltzes and were made up of
Creole musicians who could read music very well.
2) A second type was the Street band or Funeral Band. This kind of band was responsible for Jazzing Up
the old tunes. Although they played at funerals they never did set foot on the cemetery itself. On the way
towards the graveyard they played slow sad tunes, but on the way back they played cheerful songs.
3) The third kind was a mixture of uneducated musicians that normally played at picnics and street
parties. They mostly played the Blues.
4) The fourth type was the precursor of the New Orleans Jazz Band of 1910. The line up was fixed to
two cornets, clarinet, trombone, guitar, double bass, violin and drums. The piano was only used when the
band performed in nightclubs. The violinist could read and took the lead at rehearsals.

The standardized line-up of a New Orleans Jazz band was; two cornets, clarinet, trombone, double bass or
tuba, banjo or guitar and drums. They played the Blues, Rags and songs. Gradually a transition took place
from 2/2 to 2/4. It is told that emphasizing the After Beat was “invented” by drummer Warren ‘Baby’ Dodds.

The first recording of Jazz Music was made in 1917 New York by the Original Dixieland Jass band {ODJB}.
One of the first songs recorded was the well-known Tiger Rag. The famous Tiger Rag was a dance of French
origin, a kind of Quadrille. This number isn’t written by cornet player of the ODJB, Nick La Rocca, as is often
claimed, but appears to be an arrangement by the white trombone player Jack Carey, who called the piece
“Nigger #2”. Black musicians on the other hand named it “Jack Carey” for obvious reasons.
The ODJB is in fact only interesting for scientists (musicologists), because they were the first to record Jazz,
but the members of the black New Orleans Jazz Bands were much better improvisers and therefore made the
first real Jazz.
-The history of Jazz, lesson 4b; Peter Hengst –

The History of Jazz: lesson 5.

The ODJB fell apart in 1925 but some ten years later they got together again. This resurrection
wasn’t very successful because they weren’t as good as their black counterparts from New Orleans.
The white ODJB is merely interesting for musicologists because of making the first Jazz record but
nothing more than this (f)act. From a musical point of view they didn’t even play real Jazz. Actually
the music is a bit boring despite the syncopation and the music even sounds dull because of the
lack of cross rhythms and blue notes, and has more in common with Ragtime, the precursor of real
Jazz, than with the Jazz of the Black New Orleans bands.
From 1923 on many Jazz recordings were made in Chicago, shortly following the random
recordings made by Gennett in Richmond, Indiana. A typical hallmark of these recordings is the
quick vibrato in the sound of the trumpet; in fact a hallmark of Louis Armstrong’s playing.
Apparently this was an example of the African tradition still lingering beneath the surface of the
new music.
Live performances lasted normally from 9.00 pm till 4.00 am and so two trumpet (cornet) players
were needed to cope with the long gigs. There is a slight difference between a trumpet and a cornet;
with a cornet the tube broadens from the mouthpiece to the cup and so the sound is slightly
different. Normally the violin player was added because he could read and could play from sheets
so the rest could learn the piece by ear. “Collective Improvisation”, the way the New Orleans
musicians used to play, was bound to die at the moment the real soloists took charge.
In 1924, after being with King Oliver for two years, Louis Armstrong {1901-1971} left Oliver’s band
and started his own groups, his Hot Five and his Hot Seven, with which he put a lot of music to
record. Also in 1924 Armstrong went to New York City to join the Fletcher Henderson
(big) Band and in this band he got acquainted with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins. Next to
Hawkins Armstrong played marvellous solos with a perfect timing and a very nice phrasing. Also
the use of growl, vibrato and glissando was a set of playing technique Armstrong often did apply.
This is why Miles Davis once said: “You can’t play anything that Louis hasn’t played, even in
modern times”. Louis Armstrong did also encourage young musicians to experiment on new kinds
of music and had no real objections against the BeBop-movement although he didn’t play Bop
himself.
Armstrong’s nickname was Satchmo (from satchelmouth, a king of big bag, evidently an
appropriate nickname because of his great mouth, with white shining teeth). At the end of his
career Armstrong obtained the nickname Pops (from Papa) too.
Louis’ birthday was dated on Independence Day, 4-7-1900, but extensive research made clear that
he was born on the 4th of August 1901.
At one point in his career Louis’ voice had become very low and hoarse and this happened to be his
advantage because nobody had a singing voice like his. Louis got famous worldwide because of his
singing but many music lovers do not realize that he really was the first great improvising
trumpeter of Jazz. Many Jazz lovers did detest his singing of the songs It’s a Wonderful World,
Mack the Knife or Hello Dolly, but he himself didn’t see any harm in doing so and became very rich
by singing these commercial songs. Armstrong didn’t think of himself as an artist but merely as an
entertainer. So in his opinion there was no difference at all in playing a great solo on trumpet or
singing a sweet tune, as far as the audience was pleased. On the other hand did Armstrong make a
great contribution in rendering Jazz to a vast audience and letting this music sip through in the
entertaining industry by means of his commercial songs.
Next to his peculiar singing style he, by accident, recorded for the first time the way of singing
with no text at all, called scatting or scat singing. During the recording of the number
Heebie Jeebies for Okeh records in 1926 his sheet of music with the lyrics on it fell on to the floor
and he had to continue singing (because recording was expensive in these days and still is
nowadays). Therefore he sang only scat words in a kind of trying to imitate a soloing instrument.
-The history of Jazz, lesson 5a; Peter Hengst –
“Jelly Roll” Morton (1885(6)-1941 ) { Ferdinand Joseph Le Menthe of La Motte } named himself the
inventor of Jazz because he was more interested in improvising than in composing. This is a bit exaggerated
but in fact he was one of the first who could really swing on the piano and he was the first to give every beat
in a bar the same weight. He made his famous records with his Red Hot Peppers but also earned a living by
playing the piano in bars and clubs (he was one of the professors of the Storyville-district until he left New
Orleans in 1907), by playing pool, by composing, arranging, gambling and being a pimp. Many of Morton’s
compositions have become well-known songs. Morton’s style of playing is seen as the transition from
Ragtime to Blues. This includes a left hand playing-style with very much freedom to enable swing time.

CHICAGO JAZZ; The Chicagoans.

The early Style of Jazz, called New Orleans because of its origin, didn’t last long. At the end of the 1920’s the
centre of Jazz-activity had moved towards major cities like Chicago and New York and the old New Orleans
Style had transformed itself in a more modern form.
Since 1912 New Orleans bands could be listened to in the northern cities of the US, especially in Chicago.
At first the local musicians in Chicago were influenced by the white New Orleans bands, such as ODJB and
NORK (New Orleans Rhythm Kings) but from that moment on they found out that genuine Jazz was actually
played by black New Orleans bands.
The great migration took place in 1917 and many musicians changed their playing grounds by moving to
northern industrial cities like Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York. It is not completely wrong to see
the early Chicagoans as minor musicians compared to their New Orleans models. They certainly still had a lot to
learn.
The Chicagoans were coming from the Midwest of the U.S.A. and were called “the Chicago School of Jazz".
Some of them have made a name of their own: tenor saxophonist Bud Freeman, trumpeters Bix Beiderbecke,
Red Nichols, Muggsy Spanier and Jimmy McPartland, drummers Gene Krupa and George Wettling,
Adrian Rollini on bass saxophone, trombone players Tommy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden and Glenn Miller, alto
saxophonists Frank Trumbauer and Jimmy Dorsey, guitar players Eddie Condon and Eddie Lang and the clarinet
players Benny Goodman, Frank Teschemacher and Pee Wee Russell. Actually the Chicago Jazz was more or less
an attempt to establish a form of White Jazz. The social isolation between black and white people was responsible
for the establishment of a tradition of white Jazz. In fact the black musicians were heroes in black community but
the white Chicagoans were seen as outcasts in white society. Racial mixed bands were not accepted yet.
Benny Goodman would be the first to form a Jazz quartet with two white and two black members, but this didn’t
go easily and with a lot of resistance at first.
In spite of all this one cannot speak of a typically form of white Jazz and a typically form of black Jazz. Actually the
white Jazz Music was a kind of imitating Black New Orleans Jazz by musicians lacking the African heritage of
their ancestors the black musicians still had. For instance not much cross rhythms can be traced in Chicago Jazz.
The black musicians like King Oliver and Satchmo, who were working and living in Chicago at that time,
influenced all of the Chicagoans. The white musicians didn’t play much Blues Music; perhaps because of the fact
that the white audience didn’t find the tempo of the Blues suitable to dance to.
One of the great Chicagoans is trumpeter/corneter BIX BEIDERBECKE (Leon Bismarck Beiderbecke,
1903-1931). He had a very mature style on his cornet by playing long phrases and with great rhythmical
precision. He wasn’t able to read music properly and refused to learn it, like a real Chicagoan. His level of
playing could easily be compared to Louis Armstrong and Bix did admire Satchmo. Beiderbecke got in contact
with Jazz Music by listening to the music coming from the steamboats on the Mississippi River and Bix played
in several bands that were made up of young schoolmates, e.g. The Wolverines. With his old time friend
saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer, nicknamed Tram, he worked in an orchestra led by Jean Goldkette.
Other members of this orchestra became famous in later times; musicians like Tommy Dorsey (trombone),
his brother Jimmy Dorsey (alto saxophone), Eddie Lang (guitar) and violinist Joe Venutti. With Trumbauer
Bix recorded Singin’ the Blues, a piece that inspired many musicians, who next would start to imitate this
particular sound.
Afterwards and until 1929 Bix was an appreciated member of the orchestra of Paul Whiteman,
the King of Jazz, which only played (very popular) Sweet Music. But in this band he couldn’t play what he
really wanted, which was performing real Jazz of high standards. In fact he was eager to play with the real
Jazz musicians but they were black and no racial mixed band was at that time allowed by society. Frustrated
and addicted to alcohol Bix died at the age of 28. Later on the sad story of his life was made into a film that
bore the title Young Man with a Horn.
- The history of Jazz, lesson 5b; Peter Hengst –

The History of Jazz: lesson 6.

Also young classical composers were influenced by the early Jazz Music; famous men like
Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel, to some extent Béla Bartók, Darius Milhaud (the former teacher of
pianist Dave Brubeck) and, last but not least, George Gershwin (1889-1937). The orchestra of
Paul Whiteman, the King of Jazz (or better the King of Sweet Music), performed the premiere of
Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (Aeolian Hall, New York City, February 12, 1924). This well known
and very adored piece was written within ten days and arranged for orchestra by Ferde Grofé.
Because of the fact that the orchestration wasn’t done by Gershwin himself, he was accused of being not
able to write for a large ensemble. To prove his critics wrong, he orchestrated his work An American
in Paris himself and with great success.

The native Americans treated the Jewish immigrants almost as bad as the blacks. Nevertheless it
were the European immigrants who made the U.S.A. wealthy. Many of the Jewish immigrants
couldn’t read music but they sure did put a mark on American Music. Some of them who could read
music, but also some of them who couldn’t, worked in a publisher’s office, called Tin Pan Alley
(a nickname for the street in which one could hear the sound of out-of-tune piano’s played
simultaneously, coming out from the windows, and that sounded like striking pans made out of tin).
Round about 1900 Tin Pan Alley was situated in 28th street of N.Y.C.. Afterwards it moved uptown
near 46th street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue, to finally centre round the radio stations of
RCA and CBS on 52nd street and Madison Avenue.
Tin Pan Alley was the place where the song business developed into big business. There always were
staff arrangers and piano players at hand to instantly play and compile arrangements of every song
one could think of. At the time the US got involved in World War I, the year 1917, Tin Pan Alley was
very busy making War Songs and during the year 1917 more than two million copies of War songs
on sheet paper were sold.

RHYTHM CHANGES (Rhythm Scheme)


The number I Got Rhythm has initially been written by George Gershwin as a song in one of his
musicals, namely Girl Crazy, that dates from the year 1930 and with lyrics made by his brother
Ira Gershwin. The specific chord changes of I Got Rhythm became a standard model for the
harmonisation of later Jazz Songs, like Parker’s Anthropology, Gillespie’s Salt Peanuts, Rollins’
Oleo and music of TV-series like The Flintstones and The Muppet Show. Meanwhile this model was
baptized Rhythm Changes.

Rhythm Changes: AABA


1. 2.
A: I VI / II V / I VI / II V / I (V) / IV (VII) / I V / II V || I V / I ||
B: (V) / / (V) / / (V) / / (V) / ||

A: Bb maj7 Gmi7/ Cmi7 F7 / Bb maj7 Gmi7 / Cmi7 F7 / Bmaj7 Bb7 / Eb mi7 E0 /


1. Bb Gmi7 / Cmi7 F7 || 2. Bb / F F7 / Bb maj7 ||
B: D7 / D7 / G 7 / G7 / C7 / C7 / / F7 / F7 ||

The Big Five


Five famous musical composers George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern
and Richard Rodgers were called The Big Five. Out of the musicals of the Big Five many songs were
adapted for use in a Jazz environment. One of the piano players who worked in the big publisher’s
office “Tin Pan Alley”, the centre of the Music Publishing business of New York City, was
Irving Berlin (1888-1989!), who started his tremendous long career as a street singer and singing
waiter. His first success was the song Alexander’s Ragtime Band (the best selling Rag of all times).
- The history of Jazz, lesson 6a; Peter Hengst –
Berlin wrote some 1500 songs: not bad for someone who couldn’t read music and only could play the
piano in the strange and difficult key of f sharp. He was in the possession of a mechanically transposing
piano to enable him to play for instance in the key of C major and only touch the black keys on the
keyboard. His most famous numbers are There’s no Business Like Showbusines’ and I’m Dreaming of
a White Christmas. Also America’s second Folksong God Bless America has been composed by Berlin.
Jerome Kern (1885-1945) started his career as a song plugger in Tin Pan Alley. His 1927 musical
Showboat became a worldwide hit.
Gershwin’s opera Porgy & Bess was a tremendous hit and the number Summertime, coming from
this opera of 1937, has been more than 500 times put to record by all kinds of artists.
Cole Porter (1891-1958) did never work in Tin Pan Alley because of his high birth, being born in a
rich family. His first success was in 1929 with a couple of songs with ambiguous lyrics; most of the time
he wrote his own text too. For example: Let’s Do It {Let’s Fall In Love}, Night and Day and I Get A
Kick Out Of You.
By falling from his horse in 1937 he became cripple and he almost stopped composing except for a kind
of comeback after ten years of absence with his musical Kiss Me Kate.
Except for Porter all the above-mentioned Song Writers went to Hollywood to write for the film
industry. Richard Rodgers {1902-1979} composed the music of the extremely famous musical
The Sound Of Music (1959).
From that moment on many cinema companies took over the publishing office of Tin Pan Alley and a
great wave of musical films, with little or no contents, flooded the US and the world. A great deal of the
hits of the charts during that time belonged at first to these movies. Shortly afterwards many musical
songs were put in a Jazz context and bore the title Jazz Standard. A song that's composed without any
connection with a musical production is called Original, e.g. A Night in Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie.

Examples of famous Standards (Standard Songs):


‘What This Thing Called Love’ Cole Porter, musical “Wake Up And Dream”(1929)
‘Love For Sale’, Cole Porter, from “The New Yorkers” (1930)
‘Someone To Watch Over Me’, George Gershwin: “Oh, Kay!” (1926)
‘I Got Rhythm’, George Gershwin: “Girl Crazy”(1930)
‘Begin The Beguine’, Cole Porter: “Jubilee” (1935)
‘Just One of Those Things’, Cole Porter: “Jubilee”(1935)
‘How Deep Is The Ocean’, Irving Berlin (1932) (an exception by not coming out of a musical)
‘Cheek To Cheek’, Irving Berlin: “Top Hat” (1935)
‘Yesterdays’, Jerome Kern: “Roberta” (1933)
‘All The Things You Are’, Jerome Kern: “Very Warm For May” (1939)
‘The Way You Look Tonight’, Jerome Kern: “Swing Time” (1936)
‘My Funny Valentine’, Richard Rodgers: “Babes in Arms” (1937)
‘Spring Is Here’, Richard Rodgers: “I Married An Angel” (1938)

The singer Al Jolson forms a remarkable character in the history of Jazz because he became very
famous by painting his face black before the performances of Plantation-songs. He plays a black
minstrel in the 1945 movie-production of Rhapsody in Blue. This painting of his face was of course
very discriminating and a severe insult to blacks. In those days only a mild protest was to be heard
against this racial act, but nowadays this performance won’t be accepted anymore. The white man
has always been interested in black music despite the fierce discrimination of the black man. Maybe
the freedom of melody, rhythm and dance attracted the whites to get slightly released of their own
straitjacket, due to a strict religious upbringing.
A way of gratitude towards a performing artist was to grant him a co-writer ship, but in fact many
an artist had nothing to do with the song that was dedicated to him. Thus it is doubtful that
Al Jolson was the co-writer of the many songs he made popular, e.g. the number Swanee written by
Gershwin.
- The history of Jazz, lesson 6b; Peter Hengst

The History of Jazz: lesson 7.

Swing Period; The BIG BAND-ERA


The economic crisis, called The Great Depression, lasted from October 29, 1929 till 1934 (some say
even till 1940). This crisis puts an end to the Chicago-Jazz but meanwhile a lot of Jazz-records were
sold in the foregoing decade. Selling sales did climb up to an amount of 151 million records by 1926.
After the economic crash, people were longing for vast entertainment to enable them to forget their
misery momentarily. From this moment on the great Hollywood-Classics emerged like the movie
King Kong and musicals with song and dance were becoming even more popular, e.g. the musicals
with Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. In this new society big bands augmented with strings, like the
ones of Paul Whiteman and Guy Lombardo, rose to big fame.
Fletcher Henderson (1897-1952), nicknamed smack, led a big band which, as time went by,
played more and more real Jazz. In part this is due to the fact that real soloists like Louis Armstrong
and Coleman Hawkins (tenor and bass saxophone) were added to his band. At first Henderson studied
chemistry but couldn’t find any job in the area of New York and decided to put his own musical band
together. Because of his upbringing in a wealthy environment he wasn’t accustomed to Blues Music or
New Orleans Jazz, but soon found out.
Fletcher Henderson’s band did perform a lot of radio broadcasts on a regular basis, normally coming
from The Roseland Ballroom in New York City. His arranger was (clarinettist) Don Redman who
worked with Henderson until 1928 when he left to join McKinney's Cotton Pickers (a band formed out
of old members of the Jean Goldkette orchestra). After a short decline Henderson had another good
band in the thirties, with Coleman Hawkins, trombone player Benny Morton and alto saxophonist/
arranger Benny Carter in it.
Don Redman was the first arranger of Big Bands who divided the brass and woodwinds in separate
sections of the arrangement. But when he had left Henderson’s orchestra Fletcher was forced to write
his own arrangements and suddenly realised that he was perfectly capable of doing so. Afterwards
Henderson sold his arrangements to Benny Goodman who used these for his own Big band. One of the
fine arrangements of Fletcher Henderson is Down South Camp Meeting {1934}; one of the pieces he
sold to Goodman and by which Goodman became famous.
Nonetheless Henderson’s orchestra didn’t have a line-up of a real big band yet. With Henderson nearly
all the wind instruments were doubled; and later, around 1925, his band consisted of 3 saxophones,
3 trumpets, 1 trombone, piano, banjo, bass & drums. Gradually the standard of a line-up for a
traditional Swing Big Band formed itself as: 5 saxophones (2 alto, 2 tenors, 1 baritone) + doubling
on clarinet and flute, 3 – 5 trumpets (mostly 4), 3 – 5 trombones (mostly 4) + a Rhythm Section:
piano, bass, drums and quite often Rhythm guitar.
Henderson was bound to become the utmost important figure of the big band-Era, but he happened to
be no real leader and couldn’t get a strict organisation within his groups (Armstrong often complained
about the excessive drinking in this band). After a serious car-accident he became even more
indifferent and less assertive then before and didn’t even react when producers were firing a part of the
members of his band. He died in 1952, at the age of 55, almost forgotten and abandoned by the Jazz
society. Nevertheless Henderson was an important musician that led the transition from
New Orleans Jazz to Swing Jazz. A lot of great names in Jazz History started their career with
Henderson, musicians like Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Chu Berry, Benny Morton,
J.C. Higginbotham and Dickie Wells; musicians that played an important role later on in big bands as
the Count Basie Band and the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Until the 1930s the saxophone was considered a novelty instrument, a vaudeville instrument, only used
as a gimmick and as a circus instrument. It was invented by the Belgian Adolph Sax around 1840.
It was applied in marching bands and slightly used in a classical orchestra, Ravel and Milhaud wrote
pieces with a saxophone in mind, before Jazz adapted it. Coleman Hawkins is responsible for
the popularity of the saxophone as a full member of the family of Jazz instruments.

- The history of Jazz, lesson 7a; Peter Hengst –


Soon arrangers found out that the saxophones, played in a section, easily could substitute for strings in a string
orchestra.
Before Hawkins Sidney Bechet (1897-1959) was the only black Jazz musician who played the saxophone
(soprano) on a decent and appropriate way. Hawkins himself was influenced by the white bass saxophone player
Adrian Rollini (1904-1956).
During the Big Band Era Hawkins became a big star and a soloist of great fame. In the 1930s he was often to be
find in Europe because of the milder European climat of discrimination compared to the US. In Paris 1937
Hawkins recorded Crazy Rhythm with Django Reinhardt, a Belgian guitar player who had lost the function of
some of the fingers of his left hand during a fire. Nonetheless and in spite of his handicap he managed to play the
guitar very well and introduced, together with violin player Stephane Grappelli, a complete new (European) Jazz
style, called Jazz of The Hot Club de France. In Holland Hawkins played with the Dutch big band The
Ramblers led by Theo Uden Masman.

In 1939 Hawkins returned home to the US because of the threat of the Second World War when Nazi-Germany
invaded Poland upon which England declared war to Germany. Immediately when he got home he recorded his
greatest hit, namely the up-tempo ballad Body & Soul. In the opening of this recording he takes off with a very
fine solo; firstly a paraphrase on the lead melody and secondly a real improvisation with a suggestion of double
tempo by means of playing 16th notes.
Hawkins was the first to attain a style of real improvisation, not merely an embellishment of the lead
melody during the solo –i.e. playing around the theme, called paraphrasing- but, like the oncoming Beboppers,
trying to find new melodies on the chord progression (by playing notes of substitute chords and extensions on the
chords). During the forties Hawkins played with the first BeBoppers like Dizzy Gillespie and drummer Max Roach
and encouraged these young musicians to continue their quest for new music. Nevertheless he found himself too
old to play this intricate rhythmical BeBop himself.
Hawkins is of the older generation of tenor saxophonists with a vibrato and a tough sound; Lester Young set the
example of the modern Jazz school of tenor players with a lighter sound and no vibrato. Modern saxophonists
didn’t see Hawkins anymore as a rolemodel but now the headlights were aimed at the (cool) style of tenorist
Lester Young.

Next to Fletcher Henderson’s a lot of other big bands were active during the 1930s; for instance
Chick Webb’s Big band, a band of a cripple drummer who lived from 1909 till 1939 (some claim he was born
in 1905). This big band was a disciplined group of young musicians with strong soloists like trombone player
Sandy Williams and trumpeter Taft Jordan. And in this band the young Ella Fitzgerald sang and she became
famous by performing with Webb’s band in the New York Savoy Ballroom, the only place where whites and
blacks were admitted (!), and in The Cotton Club in Harlem, where no blacks were admitted. After Chick
Webb’s death Ella Fitzgerald (1918- 1996) led for a while Webb’s former band and then started her own career.
She sang afterwards with Count Basie’s Big Band and with the trio of pianist Oscar Peterson. She was well known
and appreciated for her fabulous high level of scat singing.

Edward 'Duke' Ellington [1899-1974] (pianist, arranger & bandleader) had a special connection with the
members in his band because he always had the specific abilities of the players of his band in mind when writing
his songs and arrangements. Born in Washington D.C., he came to New York to try his luck with a small band.
At first he was influenced by the Harlem Stride piano players like James P. Johnson en Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith
and by the sound of Sidney Bechet’s soprano saxophone. Duke Ellington’s Orchestra was part of the
entertainment industry from the 1920s to the 1930s and made a big name as the house band of The Cotton
Club in Harlem, N.Y.C., a club ran by gangsters (the New York Mob). This club was famous during the time of the
Prohibition, i.e. the ban on drinking and selling strong liquor, that lasted from 1919 till 1933. In clubs such as
The Cotton Club there was always plenty of alcohol available. Ellington wrote appropriate music to
exotic shows, mainly dealing with the African Jungle and he was the first to apply Jungle Effects by means of
writing growls on the trumpet and trombone and by letting his musicians, e.g. trumpeter Bubber Miley and
trombone player Tricky Sam (Joe) Nanton, use muting devices (plungers). Therefore the music was soon being
called Jungle Music, actually a demeaning name. In the Cotton Club Ellington could experiment freely with
new arrangements and new effects and so he learned his craft by working in this club (he was actually an
autodidact, a self-taught composer).
Many a radio broadcast was transmitted from this Cotton Club and many of them contained music of the
orchestra of Duke Ellington (many times announced by the speaker as: “Take it away, Dukie” or “Let It Go !!”)

- The history of Jazz, lesson 7b; Peter Hengst –

The History of Jazz: lesson 8.

Jimmy “The Bear’ Blanton (1921-1942) was the bass player in Duke Ellington’s Orchestra and he
really was a pioneer. He introduced playing melodies on a double bass and he was also the first to put a
microphone in front of the bass, by which the bass achieved a more important role in the orchestra.
By doing so he was the transitional figure between Swing and BeBop.
Despite the bad economic situation of the US following the crash of October 1929, also named
the Great Depression, Ellington wasn’t bothered by it because he made a different type of music than
pure commercial music. He himself once said: “Jazz is Music and Swing is business”.
Duke Ellington came up with a very fine and elegant solution to the fierce discrimination and
humiliation black musicians especially experienced in the southern states of the US. Instead of sleeping
in bad hotels and entering poor restaurants by the back entrance, he put this all aside and rented a
complete train with railway carriages so that his band members could eat and rest properly on the train
while touring the south, travelling from town to town.
Ellington’s co-writer and co-arranger was Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967) who worked with the Duke
in close collaboration from 1939 till his death in 1967. Their style of composing was so strongly
intermingled that it is very hard to notice what Duke Ellington wrote and what was written by
Strayhorn. One of the compositions written by both of them is the very famous Take the A Train
(the metro line or subway to Harlem in New York City)
Many a great soloist played in Ellington’s band and the duke wrote his arrangements especially for
them. Now and then he made abuse of his men; sometimes when they came up with their own number
Ellington would easily take the credits by adding his name as co-author. Many famous Jazz names were
to be found in Ellington’s orchestra, men like alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges (nicknamed
the Rabbit), clarinettists Barney Bigard and Jimmy Hamilton, trumpeters Cootie Williams and
high blower Cat Anderson, baritone saxophonist Harry Carney (he stayed almost 47 years in this
band!), drummer Sonny Greer and the tenor players Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas and
Ben Webster (The Frog or The Brute). Especially Ben Webster (1909-1973) has been widely
recognized as the ultimate player of slow ballads, with a lot of hissing noise. Webster was a member of
Ellington’s band from 1939 till 1943. Webster and Byas have even lived and played for a while in
Amsterdam. It lasted till 1943 before Duke Ellington got real recognition as an artist in the US and
acquired the same standing in the US as he already had been receiving in Europe. From that moment
on he wrote his monumental musical works like the Black, Brown & Beige Suite; a work that had it’s
first performance in Carnegie Hall in New York City. Ellington wrote a sum of thousand compositions
and a figure of 1500 arrangements from 1909 till his death in 1974.

Benny Goodman [1909-1986], 'The King of Swing' , made a big name in New York by means of
playing in the Dance Hall the Roseland Ballroom and by many radio broadcasts. At a certain moment
he even had his own three-hour radio-show, called Let’s Dance, sponsored by NABISCO (the National
Biscuit Company). When the workers of the Biscuit Company went on strike and the sponsoring of the
radio show stopped, and the fact that the audience in New York did get less interested in his band,
Goodman took off on a cross-country tour heading for Los Angeles. On their way to L.A. the band
experienced a lot of misunderstanding and opposition in little cities. Quite often they were asked to
play regular dance music like waltzes and certainly no Jazz-crap, as they were told. Goodman nearly
dismissed the members of his band and was intended to go home and to play only classical music for
the rest of his life, but on arriving in L.A. they met with a very enthusiastic audience that had been
waiting on their arrival. Now the Goodman-craze was on and the Swing Era was about to begin.
Goodman was the first to put a racial mixed band together by asking black guitar player
Charlie Christian to join his group. After Christian’s premature death of tuberculosis, Goodman asked
the black pianist Teddy Wilson and the white drummer Gene Krupa to join his band. A little later he
extended his trio with black vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and the famous Benny Goodman Quartet
was born. Still Goodman met a lot of difficulty by playing with coloured musicians.
- The history of Jazz, lesson 8a; Peter Hengst

Ellington and Goodman had a lot of followers and they all played danceable Swing music. Not only
white imitators, like the big band of trombonist Tommy Dorsey, but also black followers like Jimmie
Lunceford. The Lunceford band consisted of very able soloists like alto saxophonist Willie Smith.
But in fact the arrangements were too neat and lacked style and depth; actually the Jimmie Lunceford
band was a real show orchestra; some of the musicians had a gimmick by throwing instruments at one
another.

The most swinging big band was, without any doubt, the big band of William “Count” Basie
{1904-1984} and his rhythm-section became very famous, consisting of Count Basie (piano),
Freddie Green (1911-1987, rhythm guitar; he stayed whole his career with Basie), Walter Page
(nicknamed “Big ‘Un”; double bass) and Jo Jones (drums).
At first he played in Kansas City and in this town a rather new kind of Jazz developed that was totally
based on the Blues and had a lot of riffs (short rhythmical melodies, played by brass and woodwinds as
accompaniment). At a certain moment Basie started to play less and less on the piano, although he
mastered the Stride-piano-playing completely.
In 1936 Basie arrived in New York City and producer/manager John Hammond extended the band
with Buck Clayton (trumpet) and the trombone players Dickie Wells and Benny Morton. Already well
known tenorists like Herschel Evans and Lester Young were members of Basie’s orchestra.
Typical of Basie’s big band style is his use of Head Arrangements (spontaneous, unwritten
arrangements with a lot of riffs, evolved during numerous rehearsals). This is diametrically opposed to
Duke Ellington’s style of arranging. The Duke wrote everything meticulous down with not much room
for the musician to do his own thing except for his solo. On the whole we speak of Basie’s style as the
Riff-style and in case of Duke Ellington one can speak of a Score-style.

With her peculiar voice and her emphasizing on extravert and real emotion BILLIE HOLIDAY
{her real name was Eleanora Fagan (1915-1959)} was totally different from other Jazz singer.
Her lifelong friend (but no lover) Lester Young had given her the nickname of Lady Day, and she
called Young in turn Prez. Like Basie she was “discovered” and promoted by producer
John Hammond. Her first record was made in cooperation with Benny Goodman. Big fame came to
her by singing in the band of Teddy Wilson and afterwards she was a member of the big bands of
Count Basie and Artie Shaw. Her frail health deteriorated more and more, because of frequent use of
heroin and a lot of alcohol, and she eventually died in 1959, a few months after Lester Young had
passed away. She has even been arrested in her hospital bed on the possession of drugs. Nobody after
her had such a fine voice; a voice that’s always recognisable out of thousands other voices.

The Big band-Era lasted till approximately 1945 and was succeeded by a totally new style: BeBop.
A lot of big bands did stop playing because of the shift of interest of the audience and the fact that 20 %
of income taxes on entertainment music was levied due to the start of the Second World War.
Only the Basie band and the orchestra of Duke Ellington managed to stay alive with great difficulty and
in a smaller formation.
More and more the black jazz musicians did take care of themselves and stood up for their rights.
The BeBop-movement is an example for this. The facts that the white man got rich by selling black
music, that blacks weren’t allowed entrance in most of the Jazz clubs, and that they normally couldn’t
play in white bands, were things that troubled most of the black musicians and they at last wanted to do
something about it. Bebop was the music to confirm a strong identity of black musicians and primarily
a way of playing to keep the white commercial industry aloof. By means of using a very low or even an
extremely high tempo the Beboppers created music on which the white audience couldn’t dance and a
lot of white Jazz lovers turned their back on this music. To further emphasize their identity blacks wore
special clothing, a flat hat, a scarf and a pair of glasses made out of horn.
Real improvisation and complex rhythms came back to the heart of the modern Jazz music by means of
BeBop.

- The history of Jazz, lesson 8b; Peter Hengst –


The History of Jazz: lesson 9.

Bebop developed in the nightly hours during Jam sessions in Harlem in New York City. After finishing
their regular commercial jobs many Jazz musicians (some of them were white) went to Minton’s
Playhouse or Monroe's Uptown House.
At a certain moment trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) played in Minton’s Playhouse and soon
great names in Jazz came to jam in this nightclub; musicians like Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge,
Ben Webster, Lester Young and even Benny Goodman.
Around 1941 rumour was spread that there happened to be an excellent soloist playing in Monroe’s
Uptown House and soon Gillespie started to take a look. This was alto saxophonist Charlie Parker
(1920-1955) who was, at that time; way ahead of his contemporary Jazz fellows and within no time
Gillespie and Parker formed a band that played the new style, called BeBop.
A standard line-up for a Bebop-band was: Trumpet, Saxophone, Piano, Bass and Drums (sometimes
guitar).

The Characteristics of BeBop:


Guitarist Charlie Christian (1919-1942) was the first to experiment with new chords like the
Diminished chords (piling up of minor thirds) but still he didn’t make use of the Half Diminished
chord. And actually at first this term Half Diminished didn’t exist at all; it was called minor 6-chord.
For instance: D minor 6 is according to American musicians the chord b-d-f-a (B minor 7-flatted fifth,
so D minor with sixth as tonic). Do they really want to hear a D as tonic, than they will write D minor 6
(the tonic will be underlined).
Also the chords are very often substituted by other ones and a BeBop-musician will improvise by using
extensions on the specific chords ( like 9, minor 9, minor 10, sharp 11, minor 13 ).
Probably the greatest contribution of BeBop to the history of Jazz is its peculiar way of using rhythm,
especially rhythmical accompaniment. Already Jo Jones (the drummer of the Count Basie big band of
the thirties) played a lot of hi-hat and started to play the typical jazz pattern on a ride cymbal.
Kenny Clarke developed this style of playing into the modern bebop style of drumming. Now the
regular persistent bass drum-beat, called “Four to the Floor”, has been displaced by the pattern on the
ride cymbal, a much softer sound, and the bass (the way to play on a double bass is now called Walkin’
Bass) has taken over this function of laying the pulse underneath. Now snaredrum and bass drum can
be used to play accents to enhance further swing and to embellish the melody. This manner of using the
bass drum of the drum kit in a more or less random way was called “bomb dropping” by drummer
Max Roach.
Now the total rhythmical sound has become much lighter in comparison to the fierce swinging bands of
the Big Band-Era. The bass has gained importance and the drum sound has become lighter because of
the shift from bass drum to ride cymbal and sock cymbals (=Hi-Hat). From now on the After Beat
(count 2 and 4) is emphasized and started to lead the way through the BeBop-number.

The first BeBop-records were made as lately as 1945, although the development started much earlier
(around 1940). This is due to a boycott by 'The American Federation of Musicians' that lasted from
august 1942 till end 1944. During this period no recording of Jazz was done because the records
companies didn’t want to pay any royalties. So this is the reason why we don’t have any records from
the beginning of the BeBop. The first real BeBop records were manufactured in 1945 by Parker,
Gillespie, Cozy Cole (drums), Slam Stewart (bass), Clyde Hart (piano) and Remo Palmieri (guitar).
Because of drugs-abuse Parker was sent to an institution for mental health in Camarillo ( in California).
By 1946 his condition had recovered and so he returned to New York to form a quintet in which the
young trumpeter Miles Davis became a member (Gillespie couldn’t cope anymore with Parker’s
unpredictability, although he sometimes played piano at recording sessions). Miles Davis didn’t have
the technique of the playing like Gillespie but he had a nice lyrical sound and this introvert sound was a
fine counterpart to Parker’s extravert playing.
- The history of Jazz, lesson 9a; Peter Hengst –
The year 1947 was Parker’s best year in his career although that time he was again terribly hooked on
heroin and alcohol. Frequently he didn’t show up at gigs or much too late and was very unfriendly
towards his fellow musicians and club owners.
He died in the apartment of baroness Pannonica de Koenigswater on March 1955, while watching a
comedy on television, at the age of 34. The coroner did estimate his age at being near 53.
Not many records do exist of Parker’s work although he was of great influence on all the Jazz
musicians after him. He gave one of his last concerts in 1953 in the Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada.

The Long Play record was invented around 1948 and from then on the musicians in the recording
studio could play longer than the fixed 3 minutes recording time of the preceding decades.
Especially the young HardBop players took advantage of this new medium.

Cool Jazz was a reaction to the BeBop and in part also a continuation of this style of playing.
The most important representatives of this movement were the pianist Lennie Tristano, arranger
Gil Evans, trumpeters Miles Davis and Chet Baker and saxophonists Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz.
For brass and woodwinds Cool Jazz means playing with no or only slight vibrato and for all
instruments Cool Jazz was a way of playing in an introvert style with no dynamics whatsoever. In
some sense the rough edges of BeBop are being brushed away by the Cool Bop. Tenorist Lester
Young was the musician who showed the way to the Cool Jazz players.
Cool Jazz started in New York around 1950, with Lennie Tristano and his East Coast Cool Jazz
School and by the experiments of Gil Evans, Miles Davis and Gerry Mulligan. But in a short while
this new style became famous on the west coast of the US, where it was named West Coast Jazz
(San Francisco & Los Angeles {Hollywood}), and in fact it was an almost totally white exponent of
Cool Jazz. Cool Jazz lasted from 1950 till 1960 and can be divided in three main sections:

1) East Coast Cool Jazz: Tristano school and Birth of the Cool (New York City)
2) West Coast Jazz (Mulligan, Baker, Rogers) ( L.A. en San Francisco )
3) Third Stream: the intellectual branch of Cool (Brubeck, M.J.Q.)(on both coasts of the US).

The cooperation between Gil Evans (1912-1988), Gerry Mulligan (1926-1997) and Miles Davis
(1926-1991) led in 1949 to a series of recordings by a nine piece-band that only short lived but that
had a tremendous effect on the history of Jazz. The musicians of the nine-piece band were recruited
from the Claude Thornhill Orchestra; Gil Evans had been the arranger of this orchestra. The line up
of the nine-piece band, giving it a specific sound, was: trumpet (flugelhorn; Davis), alto sax (Konitz),
baritone sax (Mulligan), French horn (Schuller), tuba, trombone, piano, bass, drums. Evans named
his arrangements “Clouds of Sound” and was clearly influenced by the impressionistic classical
composers like Claude Debussy.
Tristano-School ( East Coast Cool Jazz )(not to be confused with the East Coast Jazz which is
the Hard Bop of the period 1955 till 1965).
The blind pianist Lennie Tristano (1919-1979) was the first to start the Cool Bop and to build a
school round his style of playing. His first pupils were Lee Konitz (alto sax), Warne Marsh
(tenor sax) and guitarist Billy Bauer. No emotional way of playing was allowed by Tristano and he
tried to establish a fusion between the music of Lester Young and Johann Sebastian Bach. Bass and
drums could only play a minor role in his concept and they were forced to quit any accents
whatsoever and to attain a role as merely timekeepers. The soloist could play lots of accents but this
couldn’t be done by the rhythm-section in the opinion of Tristano.
The West Coast Jazz
Next to Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker tenor saxophonist Stan Getz (1927-1991) is a real
representative of the West Coast Jazz. His trademark was a very characteristic tone and a lyrical
style of playing on the tenor saxophone. Together with Antonio Carlos Jobim he “invented” the
Bossa Nova, a fusion between Jazz Ballad and the Brazilian Samba that came about around 1950.

- The history of Jazz, lesson 9b; Peter Hengst



The History of Jazz: lesson 10.

The Third Stream was an attempt to fuse Jazz with classical music. In mine opinion a futile
enterprise because of the fact that Jazz already was, and is, a blend of western European (classical)
music and African/Latin-music. This was not a new concept because many classical composers had
already tried to mingle Jazz and Classical music ( George Gershwin for instance). Symphonic Jazz
had been played in former times by Scott Joplin, Paul Whiteman, and Benny Goodman.
The Modern Jazz Quartet (John Lewis (piano), Milt Jackson (vibraphone), Percy Heath (bass),
Connie Kay(drums) is a good representative of this style called the Third Stream.

HARD BOP (REGRESSION); East Coast Jazz

After a while a black reaction to the white West Coast jazz was bound to appear and around 1955 the
centre of Jazz Music shifted from L.A. to New York City again. The new style of music was called
Hard Bop (or sometimes Hard Bop Regression, but also Funk Jazz, Soul Jazz and East Coast Jazz).
Like BeBop the roots are African with an emphasis on improvisation, only this time on much easier
chord progressions (based on the Worksong and the Blues) and on straight rhythm, like the Shuffle.
The titles of the Hard Bop numbers refer to the old Gospel tradition; titles like The Prayer,
Moanin’, The Sermon or The Preacher, but bear in mind: never was this music played in church.

Cool Jazz/ West Coast Jazz and Hard Bop are the opposite of each other; introvert versus extravert.
Representatives of the Hard Bop Movement are: Horace Silver (piano, 1928), Art Blakey
(drums; 1919-1990), Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley (alto sax; 1928-1975) en Clifford Brown
(trumpet; 1930-1956), Lee Morgan (trumpet; 1938-1972) next to Miles Davis and John Coltrane
(tenor/soprano sax; 1926-1967).

An exceptional figure in the Hard Bop scene was trumpeter Clifford Brown. He died after having
a car accident and thus his career came abruptly to a sad end. Had he survived his (second) car
crash he would certainly become the far better known trumpeter of his time in connection to Miles
Davis. His playing technique was of high standards and his melodic fantasy seems to have had no
boundaries. It’s a trick of life that of all hard living musicians this man, who didn’t drink or smoke at
all, had to pass away at such a young age.

For the second time in the twentieth century the black musicians tried to confirm their black
identity by means of the music of the Hard Bop era. And during this time, i.e. late fifties and at the
start of the sixties, they again stand up for their rights and fought hard to acquire Civil Rights for
black people. Malcolm X led the violent movement to obtain this end. Others, like reverend Martin
Luther King, tried to achieve this goal by non-violent means. Many musicians became Muslim
(because of their old African heritage) and changed their names accordingly. Art Blakey called
himself from then on Abdullah Ibn Buhania. Some of the black musicians went to Africa to study the
roots of their culture. Sometimes black musicians did get reprimanded by their fellow black
musicians for letting a white musician sitting in in their bands (e.g. pianist Joe Zawinul in the band
of Cannonball Adderley or pianist Bill Evans in the Miles Davis’ quintet).
- The history of Jazz, lesson 10a; Peter Hengst –

SONNY ROLLINS (1930)

Eventually it wasn’t Art Blakey or Horace Silver who appeared to have had the most influence on the
music of the fifties. This happened to be the tenor saxophonist Sonny (Theodore Walter) Rollins
(New York; 1930) who at the moment (2008) is still active. His first role model on the saxophone
was Coleman Hawkins and later he got acquainted with the pianists Thelonious Monk and Bud
Powell.
Charlie Parker had a big influence on him (and on nearly all his contemporary musicians) but
nevertheless Rollins did manage to obtain a personal style of playing within the framework of
BeBop. Rollins played with Miles Davis around 1954 and Miles recorded many songs written by
Rollins ( numbers like Oleo, Airegin and Doxy ). After getting rid of the bad habit of being addicted
to heroin, an addiction that was common to almost every Jazz musician of the fifties, he was asked
to play again in a group led by Miles Davis but he turned the offer down (and Davis asked John
Coltrane instead).
Around 1955 Rollins played in the Clifford Brown-Max Roach quintet and after Brown’s premature
death Rollins started bands under his own name. In 1956 he recorded his famous album
"Saxophone Colossus" and on this LP one can hear his love for Caribbean rhythms, e.g. the Calypso-
song St. Thomas.
His alcoholism was long time bothering him and during 1959 he didn’t perform very often in public.
This was also due to the fact that he thought he had fierce competition on the tenor saxophone by
his fellow musician John Coltrane. Instead of playing in public he started to rehearse relentlessly at
night by walking back and forth on the Williamsborough Bridge in New York City.
Next to Saxophone Colossus we have another fine example of Rollins high standards of playing Jazz
by means of a live recording of 1957 at the Village Vanguard in New York City with Wilbur Ware on
bass and Elvin Jones on drums.

JOHN COLTRANE [1926-1967]

Another Role model next to Rollins for modern Jazz musicians, was John Coltrane, who played
tenor and later on also on soprano saxophone (under influence of Sidney Bechet). At first he played
in several bands of Miles Davis and in the late fifties he started his own groups with which he made
a lot of records (a total figure of some 100 LP’s). For many years he had a quartet with a consistent
line up of McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums). A quartet that
worked like an organic body with evrything falling in place. Eventually this quartet was sometimes
extended with alto saxophonist and bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy. Coltrane’s career had a lot of stages
in which he experimented with different kinds of playing styles. In the fifties he worked with
Thelonious Monk and started to play so many notes in a bar that a journalist characterised this way
of playing as making 'Sheets of Sounds'. Coltrane tried thus to play every note possible on the
specific chord changes. For a short period of time he experimented with playing on very intricate
chord progressions. This can be heard on the number Giant Steps, a recording of 1959. At the end of
his life he played a kind of Free Jazz, sometimes with a very large group of woodwind and brass
players.
All of his (short) life Coltrane was searching for the right sound (and the ideal mouth piece).
Many musicians who have played with him, speak about Coltrane’s restless quest for new music and
even in the breaks of a gig he was rehearsing and practising, trying to find a new sound or a new way
to play Jazz. Many after him have gone the same way of examining all the possibilities Jazz as
improvised music has still to offer.

--------------------------------------------------The
End----------------------------------------------------------

- The history of Jazz, lesson 10b; Peter Hengst –