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Post World War II
Big Band Music
By Liam Callan
The Birth of
Bebop
The American economic and social boom after the
Second World War and its musical implications.
Audio 1.1
Maynard
Ferguson’s
‘Say it with
Trumpets
The Birth of Bebop
Post War America
2
	 After WWII The American economy exploded. Society
was prosperous, and the ever growing upper middle class of
the United States prompted a major change in Post war
society. The American Dream had arrived.
	 With American soldiers returning home, government
projects began to reintegrate them into society. Large
compounds of houses with white picket fences were made for
GIs and their families. This expanding middle class needed a
form of entertainment, which reopened the door for various
musical styles to develop through the patronage of the middle
class white family. One such genre was Bebop. Bebop music
began to develop as a genre defined by fast moving melodic
lines, heavy syncopation, and complex harmony.
V-J Day in Times Square, NY
Gallery 1.1 The American Dream
Many new genres emerged in the late 1940s and early 1950s that
revolutionized the musical landscape in America. Styles such as Rock and Roll,
Doo Wop, Pop, Rockabilly and Bebop dominated the music of the time. Each of
these genres was built on the shoulders of what had come before, but with the
advent and development of new music technology, these genres could be taken
to the next level.
	 The electric guitar in its modern form came along in 1936 with the creation
of the Gibson’s ES-150, but its popularity didn’t surge until the early 50s when the
Gibson ‘Les Paul’ hit the scene. With this newfound ability to amplify the sound of
a guitar beyond shoddy microphones, new doors were opened for nearly every
genre. For Big Band, this change came in the form of a restructured rhythm
section.
	 Up until that point Big Band rhythm sections featured an upright bass, a
drum-set and a piano, but with the advent of artificially amplified instruments,
electric guitar and electric bass could be added into the mixture. This set up of a
piano, drum-set, upright/electric bass, and electric guitar has remained the
standard rhythm section set up even until today.
The Birth of Bebop
Breaking New Ground
3
Review 1.1 End of Chapter Review
Check Answer
Which of these inventions facilitated a musical
revolution in mid 20th century America?
A. Harpsichord
B. Nuclear Energy
C. Electric Guitar
D. Heroin
The Birth Of Bebop
The Not-So Secret Recipie
4
Saxes
Trombones
Trumpets
Rhythm Section	
Interactive 1.1 What makes up a Big Band?
1 2 3 4
Chapter 2
Leaders of
the Era
Band leaders of the 2nd half of the 20th century
would constantly reinvent the genre of Big Band
music and bring unique personalities and
characteristics to their bands, creating a huge
variety and depth in orchestral jazz that had never
been seen before. These are just a few of the
leaders that revolutionized the genre.
Charles Mingus, born April 22, 1922 in Nogales Arizona, was an incredible
innovator in the world of mid century big band jazz. A virtuosic composer and
upright bassist, as well as a master of jazz counterpoint, Mingus’ original
compositions and unconventional arrangements of popular standards took the
jazz world by storm.
	 Considered too ‘hard’ for many common listeners, Mingus’ palate was
composed of influences from Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Classical Music and Gospel
Music. Charles Mingus once cited the Church and Duke Ellington as his two
greatest influences.
	 As ‘hard’ as his music was, Mingus’ character was even harsher. Becoming
known as ‘The Angry Man of Jazz’, Charles Mingus was known as a ruthless band
leader who would accept nothing less than a player’s best, and could be incredibly
brutal with players who didn’t meet his very high expectations. Occasionally
Mingus’ temper got too far out of hand, such as the time in 1962 when he was
charged with assault after punching trombonist Jimmy Knepper in the mouth,
breaking his teeth resulting in a ‘permanent loss of the top octave of his range’.
	 That being said, Charles Mingus was also known for hiring unknown players
to give them exposure, and gave many little-known musicians a massive head-
start to very successful careers in jazz.
	 Charles Mingus was a massive advocate for giving players as much freedom
in their performance as possible while still maintaining structure. A large proponent
of this is collective improvisation, where several members of the ensemble
improvise at the same time. Mingus used this technique extensively, as can be
seen in audio file 2.1 Moanin’.
Leaders of the Era
Charles Mingus
6
Audio 2.1
Moanin’(Origin
al composition)
Audio 2.2 Take
the A Train
(Arrangement)
Stan Kenton, born December 15th, 1911 in Wichita, Kansas, and later raised
in Colorado then California had quite the interesting upbringing. As he was born
out of wedlock, Kenton’s parents disguised his actual birth date by fabricating the
date as February 19th, 1912 to be after their wedding. This fake date would be the
one Kenton would acknowledge throughout his life, featured on albums, and finally
even his gravestone.
	 Stan Kenton began his Jazz Orchestra in 1941. It became one of the most
well known jazz bands on the West Coast, and earned the title ‘The Wall of Sound’
	 Known for his Big Band arrangements of popular musical theatre pieces (see
audio 2.3 ‘I Feel Pretty’, an arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’
classic.) as well as various classical pieces (see Audio 2.4, an arrangement of
Richard Wagner’s infamous ‘Ride of the Valkyries’). Kenton’s original pieces
featured on their own albums and were masterpieces of brass writing and
rhythm, as featured in audio 2.5 ‘Decoupage’ from album ‘Kenton ’76’.
	 Labeling his own music as ‘Progressive Jazz’, Kenton’s orchestra was
focused on being a concert orchestra rather than a dance band, preferring his
audiences be seated and enjoy the music rather than dance and treat the music
as a background to an event.
	 Using unconventional instrumentation (often a full 16 piece string section,
a woodwind section, and french horns on top of the normal big band set up),
Stan Kenton’s sound was very unique among Big Bands of the era.
	 Kenton preferred to have high profile players join his ensembles at various
times to bring attention to the band and the works. Some of his featured players
(among them other band leaders) were: Trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, Drummer
Art Blakey, Baritone Saxophonist Pepper Adams, and Trombonist Carl Fontana.
Leaders of the Era
Stan Kenton
7
Audio 2.5
Decoupage
(Original
Composition)
Audio 2.3
I Feel Pretty
(Arrangement)
Audio 2.4 Ride
of the Valkyries
(Arrangement)
John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was born on October 21st, 1917 in Cheraw,
South Carolina, the youngest of nine children. Trumpeter, Bandleader, and
Composer, Gillespie’s contributions to jazz were enormous. As a player, Dizzy
was hailed as one of, if not the best, jazz trumpet players of all time, adding
harmonic complexity to his playing that was new and innovative in the genre.
	 As a young player, Gillespie featured in Cab Calloway’s orchestra in 1939,
starting his meteoric rise to being one of the most influential players and band
leaders in modern jazz.
	 Viewed along with Charlie Parker as one of the major figures in the
development of bebop, Gillespie taught and influenced musicians such as Miles
Davis, Clifford Brown, and Arturo Sandoval.
	 Many of the players that Dizzy had mentored went on to have incredibly
successful careers in jazz, and would return to play in Big Band Projects with
Dizzy from time to time.
	 Known for compositions that integrated standard big band set up with
Bebop harmony, and featured soloists, Gillespie’s music featured a more
‘concerto for instrument’ style where one instrumentalist was featured on each
piece.
	 The video to the right is of Dizzy and former student Arturo Sandoval
playing one of Dizzy’s best known pieces: ‘Night in Tunisia’
Leaders of the Era
Dizzy Gillespie
8
Movie 2.1 Dizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval ‘Night in
Tunisia’
9

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Liam Big Band Book

  • 1. Post World War II Big Band Music By Liam Callan
  • 2. The Birth of Bebop The American economic and social boom after the Second World War and its musical implications. Audio 1.1 Maynard Ferguson’s ‘Say it with Trumpets
  • 3. The Birth of Bebop Post War America 2 After WWII The American economy exploded. Society was prosperous, and the ever growing upper middle class of the United States prompted a major change in Post war society. The American Dream had arrived. With American soldiers returning home, government projects began to reintegrate them into society. Large compounds of houses with white picket fences were made for GIs and their families. This expanding middle class needed a form of entertainment, which reopened the door for various musical styles to develop through the patronage of the middle class white family. One such genre was Bebop. Bebop music began to develop as a genre defined by fast moving melodic lines, heavy syncopation, and complex harmony. V-J Day in Times Square, NY Gallery 1.1 The American Dream
  • 4. Many new genres emerged in the late 1940s and early 1950s that revolutionized the musical landscape in America. Styles such as Rock and Roll, Doo Wop, Pop, Rockabilly and Bebop dominated the music of the time. Each of these genres was built on the shoulders of what had come before, but with the advent and development of new music technology, these genres could be taken to the next level. The electric guitar in its modern form came along in 1936 with the creation of the Gibson’s ES-150, but its popularity didn’t surge until the early 50s when the Gibson ‘Les Paul’ hit the scene. With this newfound ability to amplify the sound of a guitar beyond shoddy microphones, new doors were opened for nearly every genre. For Big Band, this change came in the form of a restructured rhythm section. Up until that point Big Band rhythm sections featured an upright bass, a drum-set and a piano, but with the advent of artificially amplified instruments, electric guitar and electric bass could be added into the mixture. This set up of a piano, drum-set, upright/electric bass, and electric guitar has remained the standard rhythm section set up even until today. The Birth of Bebop Breaking New Ground 3 Review 1.1 End of Chapter Review Check Answer Which of these inventions facilitated a musical revolution in mid 20th century America? A. Harpsichord B. Nuclear Energy C. Electric Guitar D. Heroin
  • 5. The Birth Of Bebop The Not-So Secret Recipie 4 Saxes Trombones Trumpets Rhythm Section Interactive 1.1 What makes up a Big Band? 1 2 3 4
  • 6. Chapter 2 Leaders of the Era Band leaders of the 2nd half of the 20th century would constantly reinvent the genre of Big Band music and bring unique personalities and characteristics to their bands, creating a huge variety and depth in orchestral jazz that had never been seen before. These are just a few of the leaders that revolutionized the genre.
  • 7. Charles Mingus, born April 22, 1922 in Nogales Arizona, was an incredible innovator in the world of mid century big band jazz. A virtuosic composer and upright bassist, as well as a master of jazz counterpoint, Mingus’ original compositions and unconventional arrangements of popular standards took the jazz world by storm. Considered too ‘hard’ for many common listeners, Mingus’ palate was composed of influences from Hard Bop, Free Jazz, Classical Music and Gospel Music. Charles Mingus once cited the Church and Duke Ellington as his two greatest influences. As ‘hard’ as his music was, Mingus’ character was even harsher. Becoming known as ‘The Angry Man of Jazz’, Charles Mingus was known as a ruthless band leader who would accept nothing less than a player’s best, and could be incredibly brutal with players who didn’t meet his very high expectations. Occasionally Mingus’ temper got too far out of hand, such as the time in 1962 when he was charged with assault after punching trombonist Jimmy Knepper in the mouth, breaking his teeth resulting in a ‘permanent loss of the top octave of his range’. That being said, Charles Mingus was also known for hiring unknown players to give them exposure, and gave many little-known musicians a massive head- start to very successful careers in jazz. Charles Mingus was a massive advocate for giving players as much freedom in their performance as possible while still maintaining structure. A large proponent of this is collective improvisation, where several members of the ensemble improvise at the same time. Mingus used this technique extensively, as can be seen in audio file 2.1 Moanin’. Leaders of the Era Charles Mingus 6 Audio 2.1 Moanin’(Origin al composition) Audio 2.2 Take the A Train (Arrangement)
  • 8. Stan Kenton, born December 15th, 1911 in Wichita, Kansas, and later raised in Colorado then California had quite the interesting upbringing. As he was born out of wedlock, Kenton’s parents disguised his actual birth date by fabricating the date as February 19th, 1912 to be after their wedding. This fake date would be the one Kenton would acknowledge throughout his life, featured on albums, and finally even his gravestone. Stan Kenton began his Jazz Orchestra in 1941. It became one of the most well known jazz bands on the West Coast, and earned the title ‘The Wall of Sound’ Known for his Big Band arrangements of popular musical theatre pieces (see audio 2.3 ‘I Feel Pretty’, an arrangement of Leonard Bernstein’s ‘West Side Story’ classic.) as well as various classical pieces (see Audio 2.4, an arrangement of Richard Wagner’s infamous ‘Ride of the Valkyries’). Kenton’s original pieces featured on their own albums and were masterpieces of brass writing and rhythm, as featured in audio 2.5 ‘Decoupage’ from album ‘Kenton ’76’. Labeling his own music as ‘Progressive Jazz’, Kenton’s orchestra was focused on being a concert orchestra rather than a dance band, preferring his audiences be seated and enjoy the music rather than dance and treat the music as a background to an event. Using unconventional instrumentation (often a full 16 piece string section, a woodwind section, and french horns on top of the normal big band set up), Stan Kenton’s sound was very unique among Big Bands of the era. Kenton preferred to have high profile players join his ensembles at various times to bring attention to the band and the works. Some of his featured players (among them other band leaders) were: Trumpeter Maynard Ferguson, Drummer Art Blakey, Baritone Saxophonist Pepper Adams, and Trombonist Carl Fontana. Leaders of the Era Stan Kenton 7 Audio 2.5 Decoupage (Original Composition) Audio 2.3 I Feel Pretty (Arrangement) Audio 2.4 Ride of the Valkyries (Arrangement)
  • 9. John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie was born on October 21st, 1917 in Cheraw, South Carolina, the youngest of nine children. Trumpeter, Bandleader, and Composer, Gillespie’s contributions to jazz were enormous. As a player, Dizzy was hailed as one of, if not the best, jazz trumpet players of all time, adding harmonic complexity to his playing that was new and innovative in the genre. As a young player, Gillespie featured in Cab Calloway’s orchestra in 1939, starting his meteoric rise to being one of the most influential players and band leaders in modern jazz. Viewed along with Charlie Parker as one of the major figures in the development of bebop, Gillespie taught and influenced musicians such as Miles Davis, Clifford Brown, and Arturo Sandoval. Many of the players that Dizzy had mentored went on to have incredibly successful careers in jazz, and would return to play in Big Band Projects with Dizzy from time to time. Known for compositions that integrated standard big band set up with Bebop harmony, and featured soloists, Gillespie’s music featured a more ‘concerto for instrument’ style where one instrumentalist was featured on each piece. The video to the right is of Dizzy and former student Arturo Sandoval playing one of Dizzy’s best known pieces: ‘Night in Tunisia’ Leaders of the Era Dizzy Gillespie 8 Movie 2.1 Dizzy Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval ‘Night in Tunisia’
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