Chapter 81 Harlem in the1930s, 1940s, and 1950s:Big Bands, Bebop, and Cool Jazz
Jazz In Harlem• In the 1920’s and 1930’s Harlem became the world’s capital of jazz .• Musicians from all other centers of jazz (New York, Chicago, Kansas City ) migrated there.• A native group of pianists explored a type of post-ragtime playing style called “stride” – loosely based on the model of the ragtime.
Big Bands• In the late 1920’s, Harlem experienced the development of “big bands”• Numbering some 14 or 15 players• Were divided into – choirs of trumpets, trombones, saxophones – rhythm section typically consisting of piano, drums, bass, and guitar• Led to a new style marked by impulsive energy called swing – this dominated jazz into the 1940’s.• Dance took on a standard form based on a theme followed by soloistic variations – usually based on a blues melody or the chorus section of a popular song
Characteristics of Big Band Music of the 1930s• instruments: choirs of reeds, trumpets, trombones, rhythm, voice (optional)• limited role of improvisation• repartee between sections• heavy and strict 4/4 beat in drums• popular songs (jazz standards) usually serve as basic melodic material• variations forms
The Life of Edward (“Duke”) Ellington (1899–1974)• 1923 - moves to New York with the band “The Washingtonians”• 1927-31 - leads his own big band at Harlem’s Cotton Club• 1932 - tours, records, and appears in films• 1974 - dies in New York
Principal Compositions of Duke Ellington and his Collaborators• Band arrangements include: – Mood Indigo – In Don’t Mean a Thing – In a Sentimental Mood – Cotton Tail – Ko-Ko – Satin Doll – Take the A Train (with Billy Strayhorn)• Large musical compositions include Black, Brown and Beige and numerous suites
Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, “Take the A Train,” 1941Variations form
Bepop• The big bands lost popularity shortly after WW II – and their place was taken by a more experimental style called bebop.• This type of music was: – played by a small combo of instruments – it was extremely fast in tempo – it was based on virtuosic improvisations that were largely freed from pre-existing melody and its harmonies .
Characteristics of Bebop• small combos• heightened role of improvisation• fast tempos, beat kept mainly by walking bass• forms: variations upon pre-existing harmonic patterns
The Life of Charlie Parker (1920–1955)• 1920 - born in Kansas City• 1940 - tours and records with several dance bands• 1945 - leads his own New York band; moves to Los Angeles• 1947 - recordings establish bebop as a style• 1955 - dies in New York
Principal Works of Charlie Parker and his Collaborators• Recordings include: – Koko – Bluebird – Parker’s Mood – Ornithology
Cool Jazz• A branch of bebop popular in the 1950’s was “cool jazz”• The mood of cool jazz is: – relaxed and homogeneous – moderate tempos – calm dynamics
The Life of Miles Davis (1926– 1991)• 1926 - born in St. Louis• 1944 - moves to New York• 1948 - forms his own bop combos• 1968 - experiments with fusions of jazz and rock• 1991 - dies in Santa Monica, CA
Principal Works of Miles Davis and his Collaborators• Recordings include: – Boplicity – ‘Round about Midnight – Someday My Prince Will Come – Seven Steps to Heaven – My Funny Valentine – Miles Smiles – In a Silent Way