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Blues and Early Jazz

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Blues and Early Jazz

  1. 1. Blues and Early Jazz
  2. 2. What is Jazz?
  3. 3. Blues
  4. 4. Origins of Blues • Develops 1890s; clear genre by c. 1910 • Deep South • Mississippi Delta • Rural; small towns • Working class; manual labor • Cultural isolation/segregation • Typical Topics • Suffering • Heartbreak • Dark humor • Musical Origins • Spirituals • Field Hollers • Work Songs • Ballads
  5. 5. Mississippi Delta
  6. 6. Typical Characteristics • Instrumentation • Voice • Guitar • Bottleneck • Electric vs. Acoustic • Piano • String Bass • Wind Instruments • Percussion • Improvisatory • Call and Response • Between voice and instr. • “Blue” notes • Lowered 3rd and/or 7th scale degrees • Oral Tradition • Strophic Form • Twelve Bar Blues • Three line poetic stanza • aab = statement, restatement, response
  7. 7. Robert Johnson 1911-1938 • Considered by many the “king” of Delta Blues; not until 1961 • Known for his impressive guitar playing; overnight talent? • Crossroads • Traveled around; women, alcohol • Played in ‘jukes’ • Pop music, more than blues • Recorded 1937 • Modest fame • Died in 1938 • Cause?
  8. 8. Examples of Delta Blues • Also known as “Country Blues” • Freddie Spruell • Milk Cow Blues – earliest Delta Blues recording, 1926 • Robert Johnson • Me and the Devil Blues • I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom • Son House • Death Letter Blues
  9. 9. Gertrude “Ma” Rainey 1886-1939 • Born in Georgia • Early career: toured with minstrel show; husband William • Started singing blues c. 1910 • “Mother of the Blues”; “Songbird of the South”; “Gold-neck Woman of the Blues” • Ma and Pa Rainey • Had a big influence on Bessie Smith, another prominent Classic Blues musician
  10. 10. Examples of Classic Blues • Also known as “City” or “Urban” Blues • Ma Rainey • Deep Moanin’ Blues • Countin’ The Blues (featuring Louis Armstrong on cornet) • Bessie Smith • I Need a Little Sugar In My Bowl • Downhearted Blues • Black Water Blues • St. Louis Blues (featuring Louis Armstrong on cornet) • Listen for call and response; non- standard form • First Blues Song in Print, 1912 • Tampa Red • Hard Road Blues
  11. 11. Muddy “Mississippi” Waters 1913-1983 • Real name “McKinley Morganfield” • From Mississippi • Heavily influenced by Robert Johnson and Son House • Father of “Chicago Blues” • Visits Chicago, 1940; Moves to Chicago, 1943 • Ran a juke joint in Mississippi; performed there • Moved to Chicago to become professional blues musician • Typically faster; uses wider range of instruments; electric guitar
  12. 12. Examples of Chicago Blues • A type of “Urban Blues” • Muddy Waters • Got My Mojo Workin’ • Hoochie Coochie Man • Howlin’ Wolf • Don’t Laugh At Me • Smokestack Lightning • Elmore James • Dust My Broom
  13. 13. Examples of Tin Pan Alley “Blues” • Might not actually be the blues • Lovesick Blues • From TPA – musical called “Oh! Ernest” • Home Again Blues • Words by Irving Berlin
  14. 14. I got the blues. • Why do you have the blues? • Blues Back-Up Track Example Lyrics I’m sittin’ here in Am Studies, tryin’ to stay awake I said, I’m sittin’ here in Am Studies, tryin’ to stay awake I was up too late with my homework – what a big mistake. Example Chords (in C Major) Line 1 C7 C7 C7 C7 Line 2 F7 F7 C7 C7 Line 3 G7 F7 C7 C7
  15. 15. Early Jazz • Late 1890s; growing out of ragtime, influenced by blues • When? Where? How? • New Orleans plays key role • Jazz: originally refers not to a specific genre, but to a way of performing that was at least partially improvised • Dixieland • First clear genre within jazz
  16. 16. Dixieland • Develops early 20th Century • First “dixieland” recording is in 1917 • New Orleans • Pre-Civil War – many free black people • Still racially divided: whites; lighter-skinned Creoles, Francophones, downtown; darker-skinned Anglophones, uptown • Cajun?
  17. 17. Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB) • Five white men from New Orleans • Cornet, clarinet, trombone, drums, and piano • Livery Stable Blues (1917) – animal sounds • Tiger Rag (1917)
  18. 18. Early Jazz and Dance • Shimmy • Black Bottom • Charleston • Foxtrot

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