Beginnings of Jazz Week 3 2013
• From New Orleans to Chicago
• The context
• The mixing of styles
• The personalities
• The impact
• Burkholder, Grout and Palisca, pp. 844-864 also
bits in chapter 30.
• Ted Gioia, The History of Jazz, pp. 3-54
• Ed. Mervyn Cooke and David Horn, The
Cambridge Companion to Jazz, CUP, 2002, pp.
• Gunter Schuller, Early Jazz, 1968, pp. 63-133
• Congo square dances of black slaves in early 19th
century New Orleans. The ring shout. Rhythmic
content of African music.
• Video 1
• Ragtime and Scott Joplin. Starts in the 1890s as a
piano style full of syncopation. Died with Joplin
in 1917. Revived in the 1960s and 70s.
• Extract 1 - The Cascade – by Scott Joplin
• Country Blues and classic blues. Country
blues dominated by big names of Delta
blues singers. Classic by female singers –
• Video 2 – 1890s and blues
• Extract 2 Robert Johnson
New Orleans Context
• Industrial Port of the 19th century. It had been
Spanish and then French, then American with the
Louisiana purchase of 1803.
• Imported slaves to work on the plantations of the
• Steam boats of Mississippi opened up New
Orleans as a major port for shipments made from
the central states of the USA. Population increased
4 fold between 1825-75
• Blacks lived on average 36 years – whites only 46.
• Pestilence – city below sea level, no sanitation or
sewage until 1892. Mosquitoes ever present.
• Fascination with death and funeral processions.
• Huge red light district. To cater for drifting
• Storyville the birthplace of Jazz.
• Passion for marching bands throughout 19th
century. Sunday concerts, dances and funeral
• Video 3 Feeling the Blues
• Opera house in New Orleans from 1792 – a
new one opened in 1859 and was the best in
the New World.
• Creole musicians traversed cultural divides.
Steeped in the classics and could read at
• Bordellos brought all races together.
• Father of Jazz – but no recordings or music
survives – just a name.
• Dates 1877- 1931
• Took up the cornet in 1890s – played in
mixed band of strings and wind. Career in
decline by 1906. Declared insane. Applied
syncopations of ragtime and tonality of
blues to a new range of compositions.
• Video 4 Blues on Brass
• Uptown cornettists – Bunk Johnson, Joe ‘King’
Oliver, Mutt Carey and Louis Armstrong – took
over from Bolden.
• Creoles also took up the new style – Sidney
Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, Kid Ory and white
musicians - Papa Jack Laine, Emmet Hardy, Nick
• By early 1920s the first recordings were made.
Original Dixieland Jazz Band
• All white band that made the first
recordings – joined in Chicago in 1916 and
opened in New York in 1917. The band
travelled widely and played a wide selection
of music – but not really the ‘real thing’,
but did much to expose the new music to
• ‘World’s Greatest Hot Tune Writer’.
• Flamboyant character of New Orleans.
• Real name Ferdinand LaMenthe b.1890.
Highbrow Creole family. Became a piano
‘Professor’ of the bordellos. Made hundreds of
piano rolls. Lead a band called the The Red Hot
Peppers. His music full of surprises and changes
of direction. Known for its structural complexity.
• Extract 3 - Perfect Rag
The Move to Chicago
• By early 1920s the centre of Jazz had moved to
Chicago – but the Chicago scene was dominated
by players and bands from New Orleans.
• Millions of blacks moved north in search of work
and a better life.
• Joe ‘King’ Oliver and his King Oliver Creole
Band perhaps the best known today for their
recordings. Background of marching bands of
New Orleans. Took on a second cornettist for
recordings of 1923/4 - Louis Armstrong.
• Extract 4 Froggie Moore - King Oliver
• 1900 illegitimate son of New Orleans
prostitute. Arrested in 1913 for shooting off
a gun - put in a Home of boys - with
military band traditions - given a cornet and
taught to play. Drove a coal wagon and
played on this side - included in many
• Group rather than individual solos - interweaving
of front line parts - cornet, clarinet, trombone..
• Trombone takes lower register bass melody;
clarinet plays complex figurations in high or
middle register; Cornet plays less complex figures
but in the middle register and pushes the band
• Each instrument tried to emulate the human voice
- like talking and singing.
• Rhythm section - piano, banjo, drums - possibly
also bass or tuba.
Move towards Big Bands and
• Armstrong was clearly a more virtuosic player
than Oliver - who saw Jazz as collective and inter-
dependent. Armstrong was constrained within the
• Individualism of Armstrong calls attention to
• Death knell of New Orleans style - and arrival of
big band format. In place by 1925 and in full flow
• 1920s the ‘Jazz Age’.
• Phonograph, gramophone and radio all in place by
1920s. Tin Pan Alley still important and lots of
music was transcribed and sold as sheet music.
• Dance craze of the era. One step, Two step,
Blackbottom, Stomp, Charleston, etc. Records
allowed people to dance at home.
• Musicians throughout the world aware of Jazz -
world wide impact.
• Gerswin’s Rapsody in Blue 1924. Big impact in
Paris and on French composers. Extract 5I
• By 1909 12 million dollars of records and
cylinders sold in USA, by 1921 thus had
increase 4 fold.
• Jazz arrives as a recorded product in the
early 1920 and is our main source of
knowledge of the genre from then on.
• Early records - 78 had to be 3 and half minutes.
• No electric microphones before 1925 so sound
quality was poor and the recording process crude.
• Radio preferred to a have a live band - often a
house ensemble to produce music on tap.
• Quality of sound on radio was better than on
record in general - early shellac records
deteriorated quickly and were easily broken.
• White boy growing up in Davenport Iowa, in the
mid West. From a German musical family - but
with no connection with Jazz in his musical
• His understanding and enthusiasm came from
hearing records. - ODJB and the cornet playing of
LaRocca in particular.
• Played by ear - never learnt to read music well.
• Sent to school near Chicago but played truant to
hear and play with bands.
• First band the Wolverines got their first records in
1923. In second sessions of 1924 he was still only
21. He moved to New York in 1924.
Big Band Era
• Chicago to New York.
• Period of Jazz legends.
• Increasing importance of singers with use of
• Collapse of record sales and dominance of radio.
• Crash of 1929 - the depression and prohibition.
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