Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Styles of Jazz

17 comments:

  1. I didn’t know that the Swing Era could be divided into two parts (the pre-swing from 1924 to 1932, and the second part was up until the mid-1950s), so I found that quite interesting. I also didn’t know that it was extremely hard for bands back then (even the best) to keep the beat (which is important because that holds your tempo and such).
    The first song I listened to was “Honey-suckle Rose” by Fletcher Henderson. This song is very upbeat, and the solo adds more flavor to the piece with improvisation. There are no background instruments other than a piano (which is not as prominent in the beginning) and drums. At the end of the song, it picks up just a little built, not building a big climax, but just enough so that you know that it’s the end of the song. However, the ending itself seems a bit abrupt to me (kind of a anticlimactic ending in a way, I suppose).
    The second song I listened to was “No Name Jive” (the only version I could find was the Glen Gray version). This opened with loud horns, which grabbed my attention, before fading into the plucking of a bass and a backbeat. There was a horn solo shortly after, before it went back to the whole ensemble playing. After that, there was another solo, which I thought was catchier than the first, easily transitioning between the high and low notes while playing riffs. The song continues to switch between soloists and the whole ensemble playing, which I thought was interesting.
    The last song I took a listen to was “Wrappin’ It Up” by Benny Goodman. This song, like “No Name Jive” began with loud horns, which played in between a catchier, more mellow-sounding melody. The solo in this one was faster and had more riffs than some of the other ones I listened to. This song had horns playing quietly in the background while the soloist was going, and because of this, the transition between the ensemble and the soloist was smoother than the other two songs I listened to.

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  2. BEBOP: Before reading this article I knew little to nothing about bebop music. Bebop music was the music during WWII. It was played on the home front and was introduced by black musicians who migrated to the southwest. To non-jazz fans and swing lovers, bebop music was considered a provocation or a scandal, but fans of bebop considered its music revolutionary and innovative. Bebop music was organized differently than other styles of jazz and the aim was not to play for a pop market or dancers. Swing music was getting “predictable” so listeners were “re-excited” by bebop music. The first song that I listed to was “Cubano-Be/Cubano-bop” by Dizzy Gillespie. This was a collaboration between Gillespie and Chano Pozo. This combination of Latin music and bebop jazz makes for a very elaborate and interesting song. In the song there is this call-and-response section between Gillespie on the trumpet and Pozo on drums. I really liked listening to it and you could deffinetly hear those African roots. the next song that I listened to was “I’m forever Blowing Bubbles” by Jackie Cain and Roy Karl. This song was very different than the first one, it was very upbeat and it also has scatting in it. I chose it originally because I really liked the title but the song ended up being quite funny and I enjoyed it. This song definitely had more of pop side to it and its a cute little song that I wasn’t really expecting. The last song that I listened to was “Strait No Chaser” by Thelonious Monk. At first the song was a little off putting because it does have a kind of confusing meter to it. The more as I listened though the more I really enjoyed it. It was different than a lot of other kinds of jazz I have heard before, but I think thats what makes it so interesting and fun.

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  3. Chloe
    I chose to read the article on Bebop since I had never heard of that style before. The article gave background on how it came to be, while also going in depth on specific artists that made it popular. I was surprised to learn that when it first started off, many people disliked it and believed it was chaotic, but as time passed it ended up becoming a new outlet for musicians, overshadowing swing and pop music. I really liked how the article went in depth about what elements specifically, seemed to be featured in both general and specific Bebop. Bop was influenced by both swing and Jazz, but yet was very different in the way it was composed, which made it seem disorganized at first glance. Bebop elements include: instrumental unison, experimentation, longer melodic phrases, less repetition, angular melodies, wider intervals between notes, passing notes, chromatic melodies (rather than symmetric), etc. Much like Jazz, different musicians like, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk, added their own twist to bebop making it their own. Similar to Jazz’s improvisation, Bebop utilized experimentation to its fullest, allowing musicians to feel free and comfortable to try new things and take risks. Bebop artists did display individualism but also ignored various labels put on their music, making their own style of bebop based on their experimentation. I found it really interesting that because of Bebop’s successful timing, starting off during a time of no new recordings, it was able to transition easily and pull people’s attention away from the traditional music styles. Bebop’s impact on music in general was the necessary element of artistic experimentation and freedom to incorporate new ideas to put their own take on Bebop.
    One song I listened to was “Anthropology” by Dizzy Gillespie. The song from start to finish was very upbeat and fast paced. I could clearly hear a xylophone from the start, which I found interesting since not many songs I listen to incorporate that instrument. The song went from instrument to instrument keeping the fast pace alive. I did notice that, like the article mentioned, the melodic phrases were less repetitive and longer. Another song I listened to was “Thriving On A Riff” by Charlie Parker. Right from the start, the bass and drummer’s constant beat could be clearly heard. Just as the article mentioned, the song included staggered silences and sudden changes in speed, all over the constant drumming and bass playing. Similar to the other song, the underlying beat was very fast paced and seemed to stay that way throughout the song. The last song I listened to was “I Should Care” by Thelonious Monk. This song was a lot slower paced than the other two songs I had listened to. The song’s piano harmonies did sound off, as the article mentioned, which at times made it difficult to listen to. The article’s description of the song, perfectly describes what the song had sounded like. The song “frustrates the listener’s expectations about a steady tempo, a uniform piano sound, and normal harmonic resolution of a song’s progression.” Surprisingly that description proved accurate.

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  4. Ali R

    The Swing Era of music was from 1924 till the mid 1950s, however this entire era was split into a pre and second part swing time period. What made Swing both unique and challenging was it’s energetic and fast paced beat. Because of the different elements that go into the beats of the music it was hard for even the best bands to accomplish this style of music. The three songs I listened to from Swing is “ Sing Sing Sing part two” by Benny Goodman, “Mack the Knife” by Louis Armstrong, and “Take the ‘a’ Train” by Duke Ellington. The first song started with a rhythmic beat of drums and horn instruments that made it sound very fast paced, much faster than other jazz songs. It was an instrumental song yet the mix of horns playing together yet separately allows a story to be told. The drums themselves also tells us some kind of story while keeping a base tempo and beat for the other instruments to play off of. Just like songs from Duke Ellington each section of instruments had a solo so that we could hear them individually, it’s like different characters and point of views telling the same story. In Louis Armstrong’s, “Mack the Knife” the tempo is slower and their are fewer instruments within the mix since he’s using his voice. The unique deepness of his voice is complemented very well by the light playing of the string instruments and piano in the background. Finally I listened to “Take the ‘a’ Train” by Duke Ellington. I definitely heard the swing more than the jazz in this song. The horn instruments were so powerful and really made the intro of the song very interesting and energetic. This song like the first one had a mix of many instruments that blended together very well to tell their own story as well as compliment the voices of the singers.

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  5. Mairi
    Bebop
    While I have heard of bebop before, this reading did a good job of providing background information to the genre, along with artist information, that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I thought it was funny that people during that time, World War II, viewed bebop music as a scandal or chaotic just for not following the standards for jazz music at the time. While Duke Ellington, to some degree, has an aspect of bebop to his music, the fact that the little quirks from the artist became a trait for the genre was very interesting to me. The first song that I chose was Dizzy Gillespie’s “Anthropology”. Aspects of bebop can clearly be heard through this song as it contains little to no repetition within it and does a good job of incorporating unique rhythm patterns and seemingly off notes into the composition. Despite these traits though, the jazz of the song is clearly shown through both the featuring of improvised solos and the jazzy drums and swing patterns going on in the background. Another song that I listened to was “Slim’s Jam” by Sam Gaillard. In comparison to the previous song, this one begins with a much more mellow feel and relaxing tone from a soothing saxophone creating longer tones broken up in between bits of a conversation, a bebop characteristic. The piano bits played in the background filled in the empty space in the song perfectly creating a nice mix of bebop and swing elements to the song. Finally, I listened to “Introspection” by Thelonious Monk. This song screamed bebop at me with it’s continuous yet creative use of unresolved notes on the piano that somehow came together to make an enjoyable tune. The piano featured in this song may come off as aggressive to those just listening for relaxation, however, for listeners looking for hardcore bebop and unique compositions, this song hits it right on the dot.

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  6. Bebop was a style of music carried out in the era of World War II, so it was often called the “music of World War II.” Black musicians from the Southern area played this style first, developing their abilities. Many people believed this style of music to be a scandal, and a “mysterious side trip for a group of young musicians.” As I read, I can tell that Bebop may not be the most known style of jazz. The first song I listened to was “Get Happy” by Red Norvo. The song started off with a light beat by the piano, followed by more instrumentals with the trumpet and then followed by what sounds like a xylophone solo and a saxophone solo. Many instruments are incorporated in this song and I thought it was really fun and interesting to see different sounding instruments all in one song. The next song I decided to listen to was “Slim’s Jam” by Slim Gaillard. This song started with another piano solo just Ike the first song but the singer begins by talking (rather than singing) as the piano solo is still playing. After he stops speaking the piano continues and the trumpets play in place of his voice. The way he talks in the song is a very new concept and something that not many people probably heard of. The last song i listened to was “Hollywood Stampede” by Coleman Hawkins. Like the others, the instrumentals begin this song with a fast piano beat and the trumpets as the melody. The song has no lyrics in it, which I believe was a good idea because a voice in the song would have ruined the fast pace of the song. I realized that all the songs have various instruments in it and the instruments play a big part.

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  7. The first song I decided to write about is “Take the A Train” by Duke Ellington and his orchestra. In this song, you can hear the cymbals and soft drums that is mentioned in the article. Also, the brass section with the trumpets and horns are very prominent in this piece which is one of the characteristics of swing music. In “Take the A Train,” I think the rhythm is another key identifier of this style. It sounds almost syncopated, with a short beat followed by a drawn out note. The second song that is in the swing style is “St. Louis Shuffle” by Fletcher Henderson. Fletcher Henderson contributed largely to the new style of swing. This piece contrasts Duke Ellington’s in regards to tempo (because it is in the second wave of swing). Similar to the swing style, you can hear the accented notes as well as the dominant brass section. You can also hear the instruments take turns with the melody as well as a change in rhythm a little way into the song. Going off of the trading off of the melody, you can hear the repetition, almost like a call and response, throughout the piece. The final song I chose was “Moten Swing” by Count Basie (composed in 1959). Reading the article, the most notable contribution of Count Basie was his unique rhythm and style. In the song, you can hear each instrument being featured mostly the trombone.

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  8. I chose to read the bebop article because I’d never heard of it before and it sounded interesting. Bebop music came from World War II. Musicians created this music from their experiences of displacements, strikes, and injustices of segregation, discrimination, and economic inequality. It was first played by black musicians who migrated from the South and Southwest. This type of music was seen as a scandal to people who were non-jazz fans. The first song I listened to was “Thriving on a Riff” by Charlie Parker. This song is very instrumental and has no lyrics, and I feel like it would be listened to at a low-lit dinner. It is upbeat and happy. Although it doesn’t necessarily have a strict melody, the song is pleasing to listen to. The next song I listened to was “Street Theme” by Dizzy Gillespie. This song stops abruptly at times, contributing to the bebop type of music. It is fast paced and similar to the previous song listened to. The last song I listened to was “Slim’s Jam” by Slim Galliard. This song begins slowly with a piano solo. A singer suddenly comes in talking and it’s as if there’s a conversation going on between two. When the talking stops, a trumpet begins playing, and the voices occasionally interject.

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  9. The category of music I chose was bebop because of it’s interesting name. It was the music of World War II. Despite it’s name, many of it’s key players were never in the military, but had their own experiences back home including: segregation, discrimination, and economic inequality. When reading this piece I noticed that this genre focused on experimenting with harmonies. In the first song I listened to “That’s Earl, Brother” by Dizzy Gillespie. This song perfectly matches the description of having harmonies as the song begins with a pair of trumpets being played in harmony, just as the genre suggested. Another characteristic the reading mentioned about Bebop was the rhythm. In Charlie Parker’s “Thriving on a Riff”, the song seems to place a couple of long pauses or just some that you wouldn’t expect. I think this was really cool because of how different it was to even other jazz music. Dizzy Gillespie’s “Cubano Be-Cubano Bop” brought a whole new meaning to the genre. He would add in different cultures like African through the drums that they used. I thought the beat of this song was really cool because it was unlike anything I had heard before, a trumpet and African drum being played together. Bebop is a huge mixture between harmonies, different pauses, and cultures. However, the main thing that tied all of these factors into each other were the experimentation aspect of it.

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  10. I chose to read the article about Swing music. Swing interested me because I’ve had to play swing pieces as solos and in orchestra before. Swing is a challenging jazz music because it’s upbeat and full of energy. Even the best bands struggled to perfect swing because it is so unique. The first song I listened to was “Mack The Knife” by Louis Armstrong because I had just read a poem with the song title in it and thought it was a cool coincidence. The vocals are more the focus in this song even though it's played with an orchestra but there are quiet trumpet, piano, and percussion parts. The second song I listened to was “Twelfth Street Rag” by Pee Wee Hunt. This song intrigued me because the article said it was corny, so I knew it would be fun. It did not disappoint. It has an upbeat, dancing vibe and some interesting instrument sounds, that I couldn’t distinguish what instrument they were coming from. The last song I listened to was “Honeysuckle Rose” by Fletcher Henderson. I wanted to listen to this song because it sounded beautiful. It was more upbeat than I expected, but it is swing after all. All parts of the band were showcased in this song.

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  11. I decided to read the Bebop article. I’ve heard a few people speak about it in the class videos but never really understood what made it so distinctive in the jazz category. From reading the article I learned that this style of music was created during World War Two, by the blacks Migrated north. Something interesting I learned was that this style was not made for dancing or the main pop scene. This style was a means of experimentation with the use of rhythms and rests.
    The first song I listened to was Dizzy Gillespie’s “Anthropology” the songs instrumental made use of spaces in audio, along with phrases in music where a soloist could stand out.
    The next song I listened to was Charlie “Parker’s Embrace you”. This song had a sadder tone and was slower than “anthropology”. It was evident that Parker made use of rests between notes to cause tension in the song's emotion.
    The last song I listened to was Red Norvo’s “Get Happy” this song used a lot of contrast between the tones of each instrument and each phrase was distinct.

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  12. Kyra

    Bebop is a style of Jazz that was first developed in the early to mid 1940s. It was first played by many black musicians who were immigrants from the South and the Southwest. Fans referred to bop music as “revolutionary” or “innovative” because it was the most unique and differentiated style of jazz. Bebop was the music of World War II and that was also when younger players started to tinker with pop tunes. They experimented with keeping old harmonic structures and putting new melodies over them. As pop songs were being re-examined and transformed, the blues were also making a strong return in bop. New bop melodies became more angular than conventional pop tunes as the intervals between notes in bebop grew wider. Passing notes grew more popular in this style of music as notes were left hanging, without moving onto the next chord. In general melodies in bebop were now less symmetrical and now drew on all twelve notes of the octave. The reading states that “Bebop was a period of great experimentation with harmony”. It was in the rhythm of Bebop where the most experimentation was done. Bebop players began to find resources within themselves that’s carried the moods and emotions of swing music as well. However, Bebop music differs from Swing music because it is usually at a faster tempo and the melodies are more intricate and more difficult to play. When I searched up bebop music the top songs were “Salt Peanuts” by Charlie Parker, “Tank!” by The Seatbelts, and “My Favorite Things” by John Coltrane. “Salt Peanuts” has a very upbeat tune and many many breaks between notes. It also sounds like they lose their breath and have to catch up. Then there is a part where the trumpet plays they someone calls our “Salt Peanuts” and it goes on for about a couple seconds. There is a lot of anticipation in the beginning of the song, “Tank!”. It builds up a lot of suspense and the rhythm sounds like it could be a soundtrack to an action movie. This bebop song reminded me of the Incredibles. “My Favorite Things” starts off with a mellow tune as the clarinet is the prominent instrument. This tune is in the movie “Sound of Music” and I never knew it was bebop music before.

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  13. I chose to read about the Cool Jazz and West Coast Jazz genres. These are short-lived smaller subgenres of Jazz. Cool Jazz was primarily formed by Miles Davis and his Birth of the Cool Group, but many other artists were inspired by his distinct, softer sound. Dave Brubeck’s piece Take Five has the tone and soft quality that distinguishes what is Cool Jazz. Another of Mile’s songs called Springsville is another example of Cool Jazz. It’s still very fast, but the sound and quality is soft. The loud parts are like quick punches, and they always come back down. West Coast jazz is more of an advertisement term than a genre, but it does feature lots of prominent artists like Chet Baker, Dave Brubeck, and Gerry Mulligan. The genre was supposed to be featuring white people and bright album covers of the beach to contrast the East Coast darker themes. It was also supposed to lure people/give a color to the people and developing regions of California and the West Coast. Many jazz songs during these time were more experimental. Stan Kenton was a famous composer at the time, and he like other artists looked back at more traditional music techniques to make a quality that sounds “forward-looking” His song malaguena is distinctly Latin inspired with the bongos, but it also sounds very modern.

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  14. I read about swing music. I found it really interesting that soloists were more often blended into the rest of the band rather than dramatically separated when they performed. This created a blended sound that was markedly different from earlier jazz. Swing was intended to sound as if the band was one unified musician with many facets rather than a collection of musicians with their own individual agendas. The first song I listened to was “Honeysuckle Rose” by Fletcher Henderson & His Orchestra. I noticed immediately the sense of unison that the article mentioned, in that the solo partway through the song really didn’t sound much like a solo at all, but rather as if the band itself had all taken part, the soloist becoming the band leader. The next song I listened to was the Casa Loma Band’s “No Name Jive,” which was a great representation of what swing is typically thought to sound like. This song’s solo was much more distinctive, the trumpet sounding strong and proud, as if it had something important to say to the rest of the instruments. The thumping drums and crashing cymbals anchor the song to a peppy beat, while the trumpets and other brass instruments fill in the “swing” sound. Like some earlier jazz tunes, “No Name Jive” also bore resemblance in structure to an orchestral piece, with distinct separation between the first and second half, almost as if they were separate movements. The last song I listened to was Pee Wee Hunt’s version of “12th Street Rag,” comically brassy and delightfully upbeat. The brass instruments sounded almost as if they were laughing and the drums in the background were certainly peppier than many other swing songs I listened to. Hunt added extra flair and an abundance of trills in his rendition, evidently to poke a bit of fun at the swing genre while also giving new life to an old classic.

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  15. Jonah


    I found this article interesting especially because it gave detailed looks into west coast musicians lives. One artist well almost artist that stood out to me was Lennie Tristano. The fact that he was able to play blind sounded crazy to me, I had only heard of one other person to do that, Stevie Wonder. Being blind i would suppose his senses were heighten and maybe were the cause that he was able to study other artists so carefully and come up with his own “basic” style. It was also cool to see that Lee Konitz was able to learn from Lennie and become a successful artist himself.

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  16. Swing was a fairly complex music genre. With many different versions spread around the country, including to the southwest which was a mix containing country-swing, but whatever the type, it succeeded in unifying American taste throughout all ethnicities and classes. It was music meant to be danced to, but the musicians also showed a bit of class dressed in tuxedos. The music felt like a wall of sound with a mix of instruments being choreographed for the greatest effect. The first song I listened to was “Hot and Anxious” by Fletcher Henderson, who is stated as the more than any other person who established what swing should sound like. This song has a bouncy rhythm that makes a person want to bounce their shoulders along with the song and one can't help but write to the pace of the song. The trumpet blares in between which makes one want to kick their leg out and really get into it. The next song I listened to was “Sugarfoot Stomp” which is quite a bit faster paced than the last song. Almost as if running on the dance floor and one can picture the trumpet player in the spotlight at the front of the stage bouncing along and pouring their entire soul into the music. Finally, I listened to “King Porter Stomp” a song with another leading horn soloist. With short pauses in the background for extra effect and the light-hearted tune could make anyone forgot the things worrying them.

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  17. I chose to read the article on Swing and the only reason I chose that one is because i had a hard time playing it when i was rehearsing for a performance. In the first paragraph it states that swing bands were modeled in part on marching bands and that the music was arranged to be a sort of call and response sound between the instruments and i thought to myself, that is very true. If you listen to swing, it really does sound like call and response. I don’t remember much about the historical part but while i was reading about the different instruments and their parts i looked back at my band when we played swing and i thought that this article was spot on. Everything being described is exactly as i hear it in the back of my mind.
    I listened to “Smoke Rings” for the first song and I believe that it is a clarinet doing the solo while the drums and horns play softly in the back. Then the solo stops and the horns and drums play a fill. It is a wonderfully relaxing song that blends beautifully.
    The second song i listened to is “Cotton Tail” by Duke Ellington and i thought that this song was a real quick on your toes kind of a song. It sounded like each instrument had their own time i. The spotlight including the piano and after each instrument it sounded as if the next sound came as a response to the solo.
    The last song i listened to was “Honeysuckle Rose”. This song is very bass heavy with a piano accompaniment and some drums in the back. If there were other instruments I’m sorry I couldn’t hear them. I listened to a different version than the one described in the article i think. Anyway, this was a very interesting song because i could only hear three instruments and the vocalist Ella Fitzgerald. Not exactly something you’d get up and dance to but the bass definitely makes you bob your head.

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