Tuesday, April 17, 2007

History Of Jazz @ Jazzitude

History Of Jazz

@ Jazzitude

Part 1: Elements of Jazz/New Orleans
Jazz music first appeared sometime in the 1890s, and is typically thought to have originated in New Orleans. This is not strictly true; though most of the elements that combined to create jazz were present in the city around this time and the history of music in New Orleans is fairly well documented, it is very probable that much the same thing was taking place throughout the American south, southwest, midwest, and even in California. One reason to use New Orleans as a model is precisely because of the documentation that exists about the music and its early practitioners.

Some of the elements of jazz which originated in African music include the very vocal nature of the music, particularly the use of tonal coloration, sometimes called "blue notes". These are notes which fall somewhere between two notes in the Western scale and therfore cannot be precisely notated. African languages rely on the way in which phrases or words are said as much as on the word itself, something that is not as important in English and European languages. So, it was only natural for musicians to attempt to imitate the human voice with their instruments, something which can still be heard in jazz music today. Another element that African music bequeathed to jazz is that of polyrhythm, the superimposing of one pattern of beats on top of another with each having equal importance.

The European influence on jazz includes the very instruments that have typically been used to play it. Trumpets and trombones were, of course, well-established in the symphony orchestra by this time. The saxohone, invented by Adolphe Sax in 1840, was a mainstay of the marching and military bands that were heard at this time. The harmonic structures used by European composers were also taken as a starting point for jazz, and many of the forms used in European music as well as dance rhythms were influential as well. It is important not to think that the European influences on jazz were all harmonic and the rhythmic influences were all African. The cross-pollination between these two influences was much more subtle than that.

Marching bands were very important in New Orleans and other cities for at least two reasons. The first was that many of the first jazz musicians learned how to play their instruments and, in some cases, read music while playing in such bands. The other reason for marching bands' importance is the fact that the music they played helped inspire one of the important precursers to jazz, ragtime.

Ragtime was music composed for solo piano, but it took as its inspiration marches and other European musical forms such as the polka. It also derived from dance music of the 1890s, such as the cakewalk (so named because the best dancers would win a cake-go figure) and owed its structure and "oom-pah" bass figures to European music like the mazurka and polka. Ragtime later influenced the development of the stride and boogie piano styles, but ragtime itself was not yet jazz. It didn't really swing and there was no room for improvisation, since the composition was intended to be played as notated by the composer. Even though the first instrumental ragtime, "Missisippi Rag" wasn't published until 1897, the music developed well before that. Many black performers were earning good livings playing ragtime music in bars and on vaudeville stages where they received tips for their playing. Once the music became popular, music publishers became interested in it, but many of the leading players didn't bother publishing their compositions because they didn't need the money, so great were their tips.

The best known composer of ragtime music was Scott Joplin. Joplin was born in Linden, Texas on November 24, 1868, but his family moved to Texarkana when he was around 7 years old. He learned a great deal about musical harmony, style, and structure from his teacher, Julius Weiss. By his teens he was working as a pianist, travelling and playing in saloons and brothels across the midwest, settling in St. Louis around 1890. He was already playing and composing ragtime, and three years later he relocated to Sedalia, Missouri. There he worked at the Maple Leaf Club, where he composed one of his best-known compositions, "Maple Leaf Rag", which was published in 1899. Over the next fifteen years, he composed more than sixty rags and various other pieces as well, including his grand opera, Treemonisha. Though the opera failed in its first performance, it was highly successful when staged in the 1970s, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1976. Joplin died on April 1, 1917 in Manhattan State Hospital of syphilis which he had contracted many years earlier.

Blues is an American musical form that has no known direct ancestors in either African or European music. It is a unique blend of both musical traditions that did not exist anywhere else before its emergence in this country. alan Lomax has cited some examples of similar music found in Northwest Africa, but it is generally believed that they are not direct ancestors of the blues. Blues can be traced through the African-American oral tradition back to the 1860s. It is music that conveys the reality of human suffering but is filled with redemption and transcendence.

The influence of the blues on jazz cannot be overemphasized. Although many other influences have existed and continue to influence the development of jazz music, blues is the basis of jazz. Blues was the first music to emphasize improvisation, and its unique tonal coloration became an integral part of the jazz vocabulary. Any attempt to trace the roots of jazz music must take into account the influence of the blues.

The first blues composer to gain recognition was W.C. Handy, composer of "Memphis Blues" (1912) and "St. Louis Blues" (1914). Interestingly, Jelly Roll Morton met Handy in Memphis in 1908, and he later stated that the music Handy was publishing was certainly around for many years before Handy got around to putting it down. He also took exception to the fact that, many years later, Ripley's Believe it Or Not declared that Handy was the "originator of jazz, stomps, and blues", writing a letter which declared:

“It was that year I met Handy in Memphis. I learned that he had just arrived from his home town, Henderson, Ken. He was introduced to me as Professor Handy. Who ever heard of anyone wearing the name of Professor advocate ragtime, jazz, stomps, blues, etc.? Of course, Handy could not play either of these types, and I can assure you he has never learned them as yet (meaning freak tunes, plenty of finger work in the groove of harmonies, great improvisations, accurate, exciting tempos with a kick). I know Mr. Handy's ability, and it is the type of folk songs, hymns, anthems, etc. If you believe I am wrong, challenge his ability.”

Some feel that the use of blue notes (flatted thirds, fifths, and sevenths, for want of a better definition) is what defines music as blues, others argue that it is the form (traditional twelve bar) that defines it, while still others feel it is simply a philosophy or feeling. Whatever definition you give it, blues informs a great deal (though not all) jazz and was an essential ingredient in the creation of this new hybrid music.


Part 2: Traditional Jazz and The Jazz Age
Traditional Jazz is a broad term used to define a jazz style employed by musicians working in New Orleans between 1900 and 1917, and musicians from New Orleans who played and recorded in Chicago from around 1917 throughout the 1920s, a period known as "The Jazz Age." It is also used to describe the music played by revivalists from various periods who have sought to perform music in the same style as that employed by these groups of musicians. Some reserve the term to describe a variant of traditional New Orleans and classic jazz styles.

The first music that is generally referred to as jazz is that of New Orleans trumpet player Buddy Bolden and pianist Jelly Roll Morton. While Bolden is a legendary figure of the distant past, with no recordings and few photos to define his musical style, Bolden is still considered to have been the man who first blew jazz in New Orleans, and this fact is confirmed by Morton in his interviews by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. Morton himself is generally considered to be the first jazz composer and arranger, well-known for his many compositions as well as for the meticulous care with which he orchestrated the performances of his Red Hot Peppers. Morton's Red Hot Peppers sessions, recorded in Chicago in 1926 and 1927, are generally thought to be the best existing recorded representation of New Orleans jazz.

Joe "King" Oliver is another legendary figure in the development of New Orleans jazz, and is also known as the mentor of Louis Armstrong. Oliver, Armstrong, Morton, and a host of other musicians from the Crescent City ended up in Chicago during the 1920s. This was partly due to the closing of the legendary Storyville District in New Orleans by the U.S. Navy during the U.S. involvement in World War I, though it was not the only factor that led to the migration.

The first generally recognized jazz recording was made in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jass Band, a white band from New Orleans who cut their record, "Livery Stable Blues" in New York. Of course, jazz was being simultaneously created by a large number of black musicians in New Orleans but these musicians were not recorded due to the lack of recording facilities in that city. Joe Oliver went to Chicago in part because of the opportunity to be recorded there. Cornetist Freddy Keppard was to have been the first recorded jazz musician, but he turned down the offer, reportedly because he was afraid other musicians would steal his ideas from the recordings.

Louis Armstrong arrived in Chicago to play in Joe Oliver's band, but he was invited to join the Fletcher Henderson band a short time later in New York. Returning to Chicago, Armstrong cut his legendary Hot Fives and Hot Sevens recordings and forever transformed jazz music. Armstrong's conception placed the soloist at the center of jazz music, a concept that was foreign to those familiar with contraputnal New Orleans groups. On numbers like "West End Blues" and "Potato Head Blues" Armstrong blew solos of such incredible force and originality that others quickly followed in his footsteps.

The 1920s are generally referred to as "The Jazz Age", and the 20s are usually thought of as the first truly modern decade. Everything was seemingly done to excess. Women's fashions became scandalous, loose and scanty, with hemlines nearing the knees, which had been unthinkable only a few years previous. Josephine Baker became a society hit in Paris, while Mae West entertained audiences in the U.S. with her risque humor. Thanks to Prohibition, drinking became a sporting pasttime for both the upper and lower classes. Many became wealthy in the stock market boom of the time, and business became bigger than ever. Evangelists such as Billy Sunday and Aimee Semple Macpherson held sway. Literature in this era is generally represented by F. Scott Fitzgerald, but there were an incredible number of great writers working during this decade, including Faulkner, Hemingway, Langston Hughes, Huxley, and Dorothy Parker. Of course, it all came to an end with the stock market crash of late October, 1929, made all the more remarkable by the fact that the New York Stock Exchange had set a record in March of that same year for number of shares traded in a day.

By the end of the 1920s and the dawn of the 1930s, a new musical sound, swing, was on the horizon, and the Swing Era was eventually ushered in.


Part 3: Big Band Music and the Swing Era
Let's get one thing straight right away. Swing music is a style, just like dixieland and bebop are styles of music played by certain groups of musicians at a certain time in history. Styles can be revived, it's true, but there is always a time at which a certain style of music evolved, became popular, and eventually developed into or was replaced by something else. Big band, on the other hand, is a format, and as such is has existed in jazz music fromt he swing era right into the present. There are big bands who play swing (Count Basie, Artie Shaw), bop big bands (Dizzy Gillespie's big bands), progressive big bands (Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington), and even modern/experimental big bands (such as Carla Bley's work with big groups).

The terms "swing" and "big band" are not really interchangeable, though you will hear people use them that way. One reason for this is that many of the big bands that became most popular began and reached their peak with the swing era. Many people feel that the arrangements of these bands as well as the music they played truly constituted the "golden age" of jazz music. Another reason for the music of big bands being associated with swing music is that at about the same time swing died out (post World War II), it became almost impossible to keep a large band on the road profitably. Count Basie managed it until about 1950. Stan Kenton radically changed the style of music he was playing. Duke Ellington simply continued to write his innovative music for a large ensemble, and his prolific writing kept his group recording and touring for his entire life. Still, even the few big bands who managed to record and tour after the end of the swing era were losing money by doing so. Even Dizzy Gillespie, one of the most successful musicians of the bebop post-swing era, lost money for most of the time he kept his bebop and Latin big bands together. One of the reasons behind this is simple: jazz music has decreased in popularity and record sales since the swing era. In other words, the swing era was the last time that jazz music and American popular music were one and the same.

The early 1930s saw the formation of large bands by Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington. These leaders increased the size of a typical band from a high of ten members to around fourteen or so members. They also jettisoned dixieland's use of the tuba and the banjo as rhythm instruments, replacing them with the standup bass and guitar. The beat of the music also changed. The ryhthm section now emphasized the four-to-the-bar beat, rather than the two-beat emphasis that had been seen in dixieland and New Orleans style jazz. The syncopated figures that were played by the horn sections over this beat were punchier and the syncopation more surprising than it had formerly been. The bandleaders themselves had considerable prestige, often being seen as excellent instrumentalists in their own right, rather than merely conductors. Because there was a great deal of music being played, often for dancing and for long periods of time, the musicians could no longer just remember their parts, and so the importance of arrangements grew, as did the prestige of the arranger. In the height of the swing era, the bands could be quickly recognized based on factors such as the instrumental style of the leader, the sound and style of the arrangments, and the individual voices of the primary soloists within each organization. Improvisation itself, which had been fairly free-flowing at the height of the polyphonic New Orleans style, was much more restricted within the framework of big band arrangements and swing music. Solos were plotted out in the arrangement, with space left for a certain soloist's choruses, and arranged backing was written for the ensemble to provide a counterpoint and, in many cases, a springboard for the soloist to work off of.

Swing music is generally recognized to have "taken off" around 1935 with the arrival of Benny Goodman. Though Henderson, Ellington, Bennie Moten, and Count Basie laid the groundwork for the music that became swing, Goodman did much to popularize it and make it the music of the young people of the day. His appearance at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles is thought to have been one of the defining events in the history of jazz and of swing music in particular. Young people flocked to hear Goodman's exciting band, engaging in energetic new dances such as the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, and Shim Sham. There's no question that the athletic dancing that became part of swing culture was part of the attraction to young people, even though Goodman himself felt that the dancing detracted from the musical quality of the band's performance. Swing music, and not rock & roll, was one of the first defining elements of mass youth culture, and one of the first to be commercially exploited, albeit many years after it originated.

Swing is also generally seen as a highly democratic form of music and one that did much to relax the racial divisions of the country. People from all walks of life embraced the music, including young and old listeners, male and female, black and white. Indeed, some of the venues where swing music was played were racially mixed (though clearly the minority) and Benny Goodman hired and recorded with black musicians. Still, there were plenty of divisions and it would be a long time before the country would even attempt to become truly integrated. This was probably one of many factors that led to swing music's eventual downfall--the hypocrisy of blacks who had helped American win World War II not being free in their home country.

By the time that World War II came around, bands such as Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, and Glenn Miller had become quite popular playing a more commercialized version of swing music. Even though black musicians such as Ellington and Basie were well known and had become revered as important cultural icons, there were many bands led by black musicians who were not given the acclaim they deserved. These included Chick Webb, Jimmie Lunceford, and Earl Hines.

The commercialization of swing music, World War II, and the 1942 Musicians' Union recording ban were all elements leading to the demise of the swing era and the rise of a new style of jazz called bebop.


Part 4: The Bebop Revolution
Bebop arrived on the scene, to hear the tale, a fully formed grotesque of music, a deranged Athena fully sprung from the head of the Zeus-like swing era. It caused some musicians, such as Cab Calloway and Tommy Dorsey, to have violent reactions. Many audiences weren't ready for the new sound either. This is what we commonly hear about one of the most important musical developments of the 20th century. As usual, there is some truth to the stories but there is also a lot of overstatement. The fact is, Bop was more evolutionary than revolutionary, and might not have been seen as anything but the next logical progression were it not for a couple of historic events that kept the incubating music under wraps, as well as the incendiary personalities of some of its leading musicians.

There can be no question that the style of big band music originated in Kansas City by performers such as Count Basie and Bennie Moten had largely been appropriated by a white, middle-class audience in the period just prior to and including World War II. In addition, the term "Swing" was commercialized and used as a marketing buzzword. Degan Pener points out in The Swing Book that the recording industry went from gross revenue of $2.5 million in 1932 to $36 million in 1939, largely on the popularity of swing music. This type of thing has been common throughout American history; artistic, cultural, and lifestyle statements that are seen as threatening or perhaps a form of rebellion are incorporated into the mainstream through the commercialization of their iconography. Think of the sudden popularity of leather, vinyl, or "bondage" clothing, or the commercialization of teen "grunge" music and fashion in the 1990s. Clearly the pioneers of bebop were originals, not just musically but also original personalities who could not be appropriated or imitated at the time because they placed themselves well outside the mainstream. If society would not recognize black people's artistic achievements, seeking instead to sanitize and assimilate the music that was born of the original African-Americans' experiences in this country, then why should black musicians continue to function within the mainstream?

Still, the musicians who would finally usher the new sound of bop into being had their training in the bands and music of the swing era. Louis Armstrong had already begun to establish jazz as the music of the soloist, and the best swing soloists, like Lester Young, were continuing to experiment with ways to push the boundaries imposed on the soloist further. Young became adept at gliding forward with lengthy phrases that took no notice of the natural division of the bar line, which had been a problem for some earlier jazz soloists. Charlie Parker certainly listened to and was influenced by Young, who, though he played within the idiom of the time, was himself outcast because he didn't play tenor sax in the prevailing Coleman Hawkins style. Dizzy Gillespie cut his teeth in Cab Calloway's band until his explosive solos caused Calloway to admonish him not to play "that Chinese music" in his presence. Between 1941 and 1945, a number of bands had become incubators for the future "bop revolution", none more auspicious than the group led by Earl "Fatha" Hines. Hines was a pioneering jazz pianist, well known as one of the fathers of the stride piano style, but he never ceased to be interested in the further development of jazz music, and was capable of playing vital and even innovative piano solos into the 1970s and 80s. In 1943, Hines' group included vocalists Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughn as well as horn players Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie, and tenor man Wardell Gray. Unfortunately, this group did not record due to a strike by the American Federation of Musicians that prohibited recording by its members. Those fortunate enough to have heard this group play live heard, in all probability, the chrysalis of swing into what was becoming bebop, but that was really only a handful of people. What has been lost to history are recordings of Parker and Gillespie, in particular, honing the identities that would burst upon the jazz scene a short time later. The strike lasted more than a year, and when it was over Parker and Gillespie (along with Eckstine and Vaughn) had moved on, though Gray did remain with the Hines band through 1946. Ironically, the same musicians' strike and ban on recording is also pointed to by many as a contributing factor in the demise of swing. By the time World War II ended for the United States, those returning from overseas had little reason to anticipate the complete change in the musical scene that confronted them. Bebop was now widely, though by no means universally, accepted and the predominant form of jazz being performed and discussed with any degree of seriousness.

Early jazz and swing musicians looked upon themselves largely as entertainers. There was no comprehension that jazz music might be or develop into an art form. Even later, in the 1950s and 60s, those jazzmen who survived from this era were often embarrassed or pretended not to understand when the music was discussed or written about in a serious way. The bebop musicians did not feel this way at all. They refused to be relegated to the role of entertainer, often behaving in temperamental or "difficult" ways, often refusing to discuss their music with non-musicians, and sometimes even turning their backs on the audience. The entire attitude of bebop seemed to be "I am playing for myself and for the other musicians who are playing with me. Your listening is purely coincidental."

Of course, most of these musicians did want their music heard and enjoyed. Charlie Parker grew depressed during a series of dates in California when the group's music was greeted with outright hostility. It was 1945 and Parker was 25 years old; he would be dead within 10 years. His drug habit had become tellingly problematic by this time, and Parker decided to stay in Los Angeles and do some recordings for the small Dial label over a twenty-month period in order to earn some cash. These recordings are among the treasures of the Parker canon, demonstrating his endless inventiveness as we hear several versions of each tune with solos that never seem to repeat themselves, tread overly familiar waters, or become rote. In fact, there is probably no better way to either introduce yourself to Parker's genius or to dig deeper into it than to check out The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-48. Not only will you hear Parker at the height of his inventiveness and power, you will also experience bop musicians such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Bud Powell, Tommy Potter, and John Lewis providing some truly transcendent moments of their own. What is truly amazing about the Dial sessions, especially in light of bebop's well-deserved reputation as a music of complex and labyrinthine chord changes, is that many of the tunes here are based on 12 or 32-bar blues. Parker seems to always find something new to say even within the familiar blues changes. Physically and emotionally Parker was hardly at his best when most of these sides were recorded, yet you'd never know it from the performances. These were indeed the golden years of bebop, when the music and its chief proponents were mature, yet fresh and still full of ideas and excitement over what they had accomplished and would still do in the future.

From our vantagepoint it may be difficult to imagine that this music created so much controversy or that its creators were not instantly hailed as geniuses by one and all. In many ways bebop did create a break from jazz's past, a dividing line that made it impossible to go back. But it is hard to imagine that bebop, or something like it, wasn't inevitable as the next stage in the development of this music. There was simply too much talent, too much of the history of oppression, and too much personality in these young men for it not to have happened.


Part 5: Cool Jazz
Ted Gioia, one of the writers who has given significant attention to cool jazz, writes "The cool aesthetic has always found a few lonely champions in the jazz arena--fascinating individuals who have provided an alternative to the dominant hot stylists. As such, the stand as double outsiders in the already counterculture world of jazz." The very term "cool jazz" conjures up images of martinis, bachelor pads outfitted with the latest stereo equipment, and sophisticated, detached chicks dressed in the latest fashions. The word cool denotes a detachment, a less emotional approach to the music. In short, cool jazz is something of a college-educated form of jazz, often influenced by other musical forms such as classical music. Cool jazz features arrangements that are generally more complex than those found in bop, where the head is played, followed by solos, then played again. Often complex harmonies were played behind the solos in cool jazz--it was much more a style that emphasized the composer and arranger.

The first cool jazz recordings were by a nonet (or nine piece) group led by Miles Davis and recorded on a group of sides that came to be known as The Birth of the Cool (a title that was applied after the fact, by the way). The Davis group was more collaborative and marked some of the first influences of composer/arranger Gil Evans, who later worked with Davis on a groundbreaking group of albums that sought to combine delicate, complex arrangements with improvisation. In addition, baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, who later became a major player in cool jazz on the West Coast, also played on the Birth of the Cool sessions, as did John Lewis, a pianist whose approach was certainly cerebral in nature. The instrumental voices in the Davis nonet were fused in such a way as to make them all equals rather than competing sections like those of a big band. More tonal colors worked their way into the palette as well, with French Horns and tuba being added. These were musicians who were well grounded in bebop, having come up playing this style, so it is not a question of their possessing virtuosity. Rather, they chose to express themselves in a way that left the technical virtuosity that was obvious in bebop behind. The Birth of the Cool nonet was not commercially successful and their recorded sides were few. Recent CD releases have combined the total studio output of the group with a live radio broadcast from the Royal Roost to collect virtually all of the group's recorded music under the "Birth of the Cool" title, but at the time there was no real sense that the group had recorded a large or even unified body of work. Nonetheless, their music became highly influential as the various members who had contributed to the nonet spread out and began to lead their own ensembles.

Gerry Mulligan's piano-less quartet, featuring trumpet player Chet Baker, certainly did much to increase the profile and popularity of cool jazz. Mulligan and Baker played counterpoint around and against each other's lines, sounding more like a relaxed version of a Bach fugue than contrapuntal New Orleans jazz. The space opened up by the lack of piano or guitar not only helped further define the cool sound as a basically minimalist style, it also left considerable room for Mulligan and Baker to solo in a relaxed, unhurried style. The group recorded many well-regarded sides. When Baker left the group, Mulligan brought in trumpeter Art Farmer, a supremely lyrical improvisor who also played off well against Mulligan's baritone sax. Baker continued to play the cool style right up until his death in 1988, sometimes offering world-weary vocals that seemed like extensions of his trumpet sound.

The Lighthouse, a club located in Hermosa Beach, CA, became the focus of the cool school in California, with musicians such as Shorty Rogers, Shelly Manne, Bud Shank, and Jimmy Giuffre holding forth almost nightly. The music they created still sounds relatively new and innovational, which is quite an accomplishment considering most of it was created in the mid-50s.

Very little cool jazz produced through the end of the '50s and into the 1960s is strictly cool, but it all has recognizable elements that link the different practioners of the sound together. For example, Dave Brubeck's work, while retaining many elements of the cool movement, is often very agitated, searching, and experimental. His quartet's work with "odd" time signatures opened the door for late-'60s experimenters like Don Ellis and Brubeck's piano work has sometimes been described as "bombastic" by jazz critics.But the quartet also featured alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, who played every bit as lyrically as Chet Baker or Lee Konitz and had a gorgeous, thin sound that went against what any alto player has done before or since. An intellectual and talented wordsmith, Desmond became, in many ways, the perfect example of a cool jazz artist--cerebral, clever, humorous, and with a penchant for good scotch and dating models. Brubeck, too, came across as an intellectual and something of an avant-gardist because of the fact that he had studied with composer Darius Milhaud. The group's music is anything but an exercise in intellectualism, though--with drummer Joe Morello and bassist Eugene Wright, the group could swing fiercely in any time signature.

Pianist John Lewis, who had also played on the Birth of the Cool sessions, formed The Modern Jazz Quartet (or MJQ) with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Connie Kay (who replaced original drummer Kenny Clarke). Lewis was clearly interested in exploring new forms with the group, frustrated by the bop format of theme (head), followed by improvisation (solos), and a final repeat of the head. He was interested in composing music that utilized more elaborate (and frequently classical) structures--the sonata, for example--within which bop-style improvisation would remain an important ingredient. This led many purists to complain that he had fallen under the sway of European (read: white) influences and that what the group was playing was not, essentially, jazz. Nonetheless, many of Lewis' compositions, such as Django have become part of the standard jazz repertoire, performed by a variety of artists. In 1953, Lewis earned a Master's degree in Music Theory from the Manhattan School of Music, and led the MJQ as pianist and musical director until they disbanded in 1974.

Lee Konitz, another Birth of the Cool graduate, is the other major player in the cool school of jazz, along with his cohorts pianist Lenny Tristano and tenor man Warne Marsh. While their music was highly complex and often beautiful, it never really caught on with the public at large the way that the Mulligan and Brubeck Quartets and the MJQ did. They recorded some very interesting and significant albums for Atlantic Records in the '50s, but their music has generally been judged as too cold and distant, too abstract and lacking in emotion even for most cool jazz fans.

Though some would class the Brazilian-influenced recordings of Stan Getz as cool jazz, they really belong to a completely different class of music, although they do share some of the characteristics associated with the cool school. Nonetheless, by the time these recordings were being made, cool jazz was, in effect, already dead. It certainly didn't disappear as an inspiration, and the recordings of the Davis nonet, the Brubeck Quartet, the Mulligan groups, and the Modern Jazz Quartet have remained among the best selling jazz works of all time. The meditative sound of cool jazz certainly inspired many later musicians, both inside and outside of jazz, including many artists who record for ECM Records and Miles Davis' own In A Silent Way.


Part 6: Hard Bop
In some ways the history of the hard bop genre is the history of all modern post-bop jazz. The strains of blues, gospel, and R&B that figured in the music of many hard bop musicians led to the development of soul jazz, which eventually led to the development of fusion and electric experiments in jazz. There were also developments such as the organ/tenor sax combo, which brought bluesy Hammond B-3 organ sounds and the open sounds of a variety of hard-driving R&B tenor sax players. Bebop had set jazz and R&B on divergent paths, and cool jazz further solidified jazz music’s status as an art music, but hard bop seemed designed to reconcile the two and to incorporate newly-developing elements of black music into the jazz genre.

Hard bop truly began as a genre with a series of recordings made and released in 1954. Art Blakey led a group that played at Birdland and featured pianist Horace Silver, bassist Curley Russell, trumpet player Clifford Brown, and saxophonist Lou Donaldson. The two-volume recording A Night at Birdland With the Art Blakey Quintet was groundbreaking and pointed to future developments. That same year, a newly clean Miles Davis, who had conquered his heroin addiction, recorded the album Walkin’ for Prestige with an all-star group that included Silver, Kenny Clarke, Percy Heath, J.J. Johnson, and Lucky Thompson. The track “Walkin’” heralded the arrival of a new paradigm in jazz with its relaxed tempo and straightforward, bluesy melody. Davis’s soloing, emphasizing the use of space, was particularly effective in this setting, and the album, along with subsequent live performances, heralded Miles’s comeback. It is interesting to note that Miles was important in the development of the hard bop sound and sensibility, which stood in direct opposition to the ethos of the cool sound that Miles had also pioneered.

Blakey and Silver made another recording at the end of 1954 entitled Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers. The album featured bassist Doug Watkins, trumpet player Kenny Dorham, and tenor sax player Hank Mobley, and featured the distinctive, simple, blues-based melodies that would become Silver’s calling card as well as the aggressive rhythms that became associated with Blakey. Clifford Brown, who had recorded several Blue Note albums including the live set with Blakey, joined drummer Max Roach on Mercury Records’ Emarcy label to form the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet, which featured Richie Powell on piano, George Morrow on bass, and Harold Land, a West Coast tenor saxophonist who was a top-notch bebop player. This band also laid down elements of what came to be considered the hard bop style, with Sonny Rollins replacing Land near the time of the group’s final recordings. Unfortunately, Brown was killed in a car crash in June of 1956. Meantime, Blakey began to hatch what would become known as The Jazz Messengers, a cooperative that became a breeding ground for the best jazz talent from the mid-fifties right into the 1980s. Blakey kept the name Jazz Messengers when the original group went in different directions. Subsequent versions included Jackie McLean, Bill Hardman, and Donald Byrd (1956), Lee Morgan, Benny Golson, Bobby Timmons, and Jymie Merritt (1958). It was this 1958 version of the band that recorded the classic album Moanin’, with Timmons coming to the fore as a composer and arranger. The tune “Moanin’” follows a typical blues pattern, and demonstrates clearly that hard bop was about a certain melodic simplicity even though soloists still used this basic backdrop as a base for virtuosic solo adventures. The interplay between Lee Morgan and Benny Golson also provided a strong blueprint for later editions of the band.

Golson was later replaced by Wayne Shorter, who became the band’s musical director and composed numerous songs for the group. His playing also fit well with the group’s overall dynamic, and this version of the Messengers distinguished itself on a variety of recordings including The Big Beat and A Night In Tunisia. When Morgan left, Freddie Hubbard was brought in to fill the trumpet chair, and other alumni of this band include pianist Cedar Walton and trombonist Curtis Fuller. Shorter eventually left this consummate small group to join another, the “Second Great Quintet” of Miles Davis, which included Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams, the band that further expanded the reaches of small group jazz and carried Miles all the way to his first experiments with electronic instruments and rock beats.

Meanwhile Horace Silver, graduate of the first Jazz Messengers sessions, was continuing to pursue a path that led through the blues, R&B, and gospel. Compositions like “Sister Sadie” demonstrated his compositional aesthetic, and he recorded a string of albums that explore similar areas, including Song For My Father and The Jody Grind. Other musicians were also exploring some of the same thematic components and producing music that was as much a part of popular black music of the ‘60s as the music of leading R&B and soul recording artists of the day. These included guitarist Wes Montgomery, whose use of unison octaves became a trademark sound, organist Jimmy Smith, who was influenced by blues organists and whose funky organ sound became an influence in the burgeoning acid jazz movement of the 1980s, and saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, who fused the exquisite harmonic conception of Charlie Parker with the funky blues-based sensibilities of artists like Ray Charles. The music of these artists was sometimes called “soul jazz” because of its mixture of jazz’s improvisation and harmonic conception with the blues-based melodies of R&B.

Smith proved to be a major inspiration to later jazz organists, including Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, and Richard “Groove” Holmes. Many jazz purists deride the Hammond B-3 players, judging them to be playing blues or soul music and outside the parameters of jazz, but there’s no doubt that these organists were bona fide jazz players. McDuff led a quartet with tenor sax player Red Holloway, drummer Joe Dukes, and a very young guitarist named George Benson, a group that absolutely sizzled. Organist Jimmy “Hammond” Smith and saxophonist Houston Person played together in one of the premiere organ/tenor bands of the 1960s and ‘70s; Person later hooked up with Richard “Groove” Holmes as well. Saxophonist Illinois Jacquet worked with organists Milt Buckner and Wild Bill Davis, and Jimmy McGriff continues to be a force, releasing the recent album McGriff Avenue.

Soul Jazz may be seen as a further outgrowth of hard bop, but it should be noted that many hard bop players remained very clearly within the confines of mainstream jazz even while mining components of blues and R&B. Others, like Jackie McLean, Dexter Gordon, and Sonny Rollins, to name but three, were influenced by hard bop, but continued to mine the more harmonically complex areas of bebop itself. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Jazz History @ Verve Music Group

Jazz History

@ Verve Music Group
Jazz covers a broad spectrum of diverse musical styles and searching for a particular type of jazz that you enjoy is often hit-or-miss. Verve Music Group has created this "Jazz History" section as a tool to help you learn about the various jazz styles and their historical significance. Jazz History offers a systematic guide to the evolution of jazz and important recordings that exemplify the periods and artists associated with each style. Categories have been selected to define musical, social, and political events important to the development of jazz. Clicking on the links highlighted in each section will bring you to artist discographies, specific album pages, and other features within the site.

Discovering recordings of new and classic jazz artists can be great fun. We hope you find this Jazz History section helpful in broadening your understanding of the music. Enjoy the journey! - Dr. David Schroeder Faculty, New York University and The New School Jazz Studies Departments.

Jazz History - The Blues
The genesis of most popular musical styles can be traced back to the "blues." Developed from an outgrowth of the early African-American experience, its earliest influences shaped the roots of American music ranging from gospel choirs and bar room singers in the deep South, to early jazz, R&B, rock and roll, and pop styles of today. Blues, passed down from generation to generation through an "oral" tradition, originally acted as a functional music offering African-Americans a vehicle to convey their daily experiences. Early forms of the blues include the "field holler," which allowed laborers in the fields to keep in contact with each other, while the "ring shout" was used for dancing. W.C. Handy, known as the "Father of the Blues," published his "Memphis Blues" in 1912, becoming the first song to include "blues" in the title. Handy went on to write other blues classics including "Beale Street Blues," "Yellow Dog Blues," and "St. Louis Blues." Blues gained commercial success in 1920 when vocalist Mamie Smith's recording of "The Crazy Blues" became an instant sensation. Another Smith — Bessie — (not related) was proclaimed the "Empress of the Blues" based on the prowess of her first recordings in 1923, which contributed some of the lasting masterpieces of the first blues craze. In the late 1920s and '30s, Lonnie Johnson became the first modern blues guitarist. His playing influenced the Delta Blues style of Robert Johnson, as well as T-Bone Walker, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, and B.B. King. Additionally, his work with jazz legends Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, as well as his duet recordings with guitarist Eddie Lang, influenced the jazz style of guitarists including Charlie Christian. Emerging during the 1940s, "jump blues" incorporated the upbeat boogie-woogie piano style, clever lyrics, and punchy horn riffs derived from the big band era. Artists like saxophonist and vocalist Louis Jordan broadened the popular appeal of the blues. Adding an emphasis on the vocal lead, jump blues eventually developed into the "rhythm and blues" (R&B) of the 1950s, which influenced the "rock and roll" style of Chuck Berry and Bill Haley. By the '60s, with its infusion of gospel roots, R&B developed into "soul" music with groups including James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone. The 1950s and '60s spawned the popularity of Chicago Blues with artists including Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, and Willie Dixon. Guitarists like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton fused the blues style with 1960s rock music, influencing future generations of pop and blues artists. Pivotal blues artists in the 1980s and '90s include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Robert Cray, Lucky Peterson, Robben Ford, Dr. John, Mighty Mo Rodgers, and Joe Louis Walker.

Jazz History - Early Jazz
Jazz music prior to the popular swing era of the 1930s and '40s is often referred to as "early jazz." Through its origins before the turn of the 20th century, jazz had evolved from a regional music, central to New Orleans and its surroundings, to a musical style at the forefront of national and international popular music by the 1930s. The music of early jazz most often consisted of collective group improvisation. New Orleans, considered the birthplace of jazz, was a thriving international center of commerce at the turn of the century. Because of its location as a seaport on the Mississippi River, it became a melting pot for ethnically diverse cultures. Musical influences from Africa, Spain, Italy, South America, and French cultures combined with ragtime and other popular music of the day to create the New Orleans style. Key to its development was the combination of the aural tradition of the blues along with the imitation of the popular marching band style brought to national prominence by John Philip Sousa. The resultant music created a "ragging" effect or embellishment to the music by combining spontaneous melodic variations with syncopated rhythms. In 1917, the first recording to document this style of jazz, "Livery Stable Blues," was made by the all-white Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB). This "New Orleans" style of jazz was primarily used as entertainment for the black working class, acting as functional music for dances, parades and funerals, and could also be heard in barrel houses, gambling joints and brothels found in the Storyville section of the city. By the 1920s, Chicago had become the new center for jazz due to the migration of a large Black population from the South looking for new job opportunities and a better lifestyle in the North. Along with this migration came the music and musicians that created the New Orleans style of jazz. Now in Chicago, these innovators including pianist/composer Jelly Roll Morton, cornetists Joe "King" Oliver, Freddie Keppard, and Louis Armstrong, soprano sax and clarinet player Sidney Bechet, clarinetist Jimmy Noone, pianist Earl Hines, and trombonist Kid Ory began to gain national recognition through their recordings and popularity in clubs. The music of these black musicians, and the early recordings of the ODJB, began attracting many young white players who would eventually form their own bands. These musicians included cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, C-melody saxophonist Frank Trumbauer, clarinetist Pee Wee Russell and a group of Chicago musicians known as the Austin High Gang, including saxophonist Bud Freeman, cornetist Jimmy McPartland, and drummer Dave Tough. As the popularity of jazz had expanded in Chicago, it would also find its way to Kansas City and finally New York. The jazz craze in New York, prior to the 1920s focused on polite and sophisticated music performed in hotels rather than the New Orleans style of jazz. It featured waltzes and popular Broadway show tunes, and eventually incorporated the new "stride" music developed from ragtime. The Harlem school of stride piano included such innovators as James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith, eventually influencing other important pianists as Fats Waller, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington. The 1920s, known as the "Jazz Age," were filled with raucous excitement and reckless abandon. It was period of growth and prosperity for America, as well as a time of shifting social mores. Many Americans were ready to celebrate the new peace at the conclusion of World War I in 1918 and found jazz music the perfect complement. "Hot jazz," blues, and the music from the "Tin Pan Alley" pop songwriting industry created the excitement that America was looking for. The "Charleston" dance craze created by the dance team Vernon and Irene Castle and their musical counterpart James Reese Europe would sweep across the country by the early 1920s. Blues singer Mamie Smith's 1920 recording of "Crazy Blues" would sell 75,000 copies in Harlem within a month, turning the blues record industry into a million-dollar business. Tin Pan Alley and the recording companies would soon capitalize on the this new craze, propelling blues singers like Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Alberta Hunter, and Ethel Waters to stardom. The expansion of jazz from the traditional New Orleans style of five musicians to larger "jazz age" groups of usually ten musicians ushered in the next wave in the development of jazz, the big band sound of the "swing era."

Jazz History - Swing
The 1930s ushered in a style of music that that became the most accessible and popular in jazz history. From 1935, when the U.S. was recovering from the Great Depression, big bands flourished as the dance craze swept the country. Nationwide exposure to "swing" music via radio broadcasts and recordings enabled the music to thrust into popular culture. Band leaders including Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford , Artie Shaw, Cab Calloway, Benny Carter, Earl Hines, Chick Webb, Tommy Dorsey, and Charlie Barnet became household names and popular music icons. At the onset of the swing era, jazz had begun to take on more standardized characteristics. Prior to the 1930s in New York, Chicago and the Southwest, bands began replacing the traditional small group New Orleans style of jazz, featuring collective improvisation, in favor of larger and more powerful groups consisting of twelve to sixteen musicians. One of the reasons for this change was the constraint of current technology. With the lack of microphones, or any form of electrical amplification, dance bands had to make other plans in order to be heard in large ballrooms and dance halls. By increasing the number of musicians, the volume also increased. No longer could the collective improvisation of the New Orleans style be sustained with a larger ensemble without sounding like chaos. New approaches to dealing with jazz on a grander scale had begun taking root by the early 1920s. The earliest musicians to create these big bands included pianist Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington and Benny Moten, as well as bandleaders Paul Whiteman, Jean Goldkette, and Ben Pollack. With the increase in ensemble size, arrangers became key to the success of these bands. Bandleaders like Duke Ellington became famous as composers and arrangers, while other leaders hired staff arrangers or commissioned music for their groups. The early New York big band style of the 1920s focused on the orchestration of commercial tunes from Tin Pan Alley and original compositions, eventually infusing "Hot" jazz soloists like Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Coleman Hawkins and Benny Goodman into the arrangements. The bands based in Kansas City, the Southwest and Midwest were known as territory bands and played blues-oriented music focusing on the steady swing groove emanating from the rhythm section. These bands included Andy Kirk's Clouds of Joy, Walter Page's Blue Devils, Jay McShann, Alphonse Trent, and Benny Moten. Arrangements were loosely constructed around the soloists. The horn sections riffing behind the soloists often improvised the arrangements, eventually formalizing their parts. Key to the success of these groups were the soloists who added the excitement and creativity to the music. Musicians like saxophonist Lester Young and trumpeter Buck Clayton gained early fame as star soloists with the Count Basie Orchestra. As World War II came to a close, so did the popularity and economic viability of the big bands. Musician union strikes, special taxes imposed in dance halls and the drafting of musicians into the military struck heavy blows to the swing era. Many bandleaders also performed and recorded in small group settings focusing on improvisation. These groups were often composed of the soloists made famous from their big band exposure. Such artists include tenor saxophonist Ben Webster with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Roy Eldridge with the Artie Shaw Orchestra, and Buddy Rich with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Benny Goodman's famous quartet featuring pianist Teddy Wilson, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, and drummer Gene Krupa became the first inter-racial group to perform in public. As the swing style developed, musicians began to incorporate more technically and harmonically advanced approaches to the music. Such musicians as pianist Art Tatum, tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, and guitarist Charlie Christian became instrumental in influencing younger musicians who would create the "bebop" style. By the 1940s, bebop was being worked out at jam sessions and after hours clubs in Harlem. Clubs like Minton's Playhouse and Monroe's Uptown House offered a haven for the next generation of jazz musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Max Roach.

Jazz History - Latin
Dating back to early jazz and the inception of the New Orleans style, Latin rhythms played an influential role in the development of jazz. The cultural melting pot that existed in New Orleans at the turn of the 20th Century created a mix of diverse musical influences including African, French, and Latin cultures. Early recordings by Jelly Roll Morton, W.C. Handy, and Scott Joplin all share "Spanish tinges," or elements of Hispanic dance music including tango rhythms. During the 1930s, Cuban bandleader Xavier Cugat introduced America to many Latin rhythms, popularizing "rhumba" dancing by 1935. Duke Ellington also made use of Latin rhythms influenced by his Puerto Rican trombonist Juan Tizol. By the 1940s, beboppers Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker began incorporating Afro-Cuban rhythms through their association with Cuban percussionists Chano Pozo and Machito. In the 1950s Cuban arrangers and composers including Chico O'Farrill and Perez Prado began influencing the big band styles of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton. The 1950s spawned important Latin jazz artists including percussionist Tito Puente and vibraphonist Cal Tjader, influencing younger generations of musicians including flutist Dave Valentin, pianist Hilton Ruiz, and vibes player Dave Samuels. The bossa nova fad of the 1960s gave a major boost to Latin music as well as to the careers of many established jazz musicians including saxophonists Stan Getz and flutist Herbie Mann. Musicians such as Chick Corea, vocalist Flora Purim, and percussionist Airto Moreira began infusing Latin rhythms with more electric fusion styles during the 1970s. By the 1980s, a newer generation of Latin jazz musicians began to develop including Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, trumpeter and percussionist Jerry Gonzalez, and pianist Danilo Perez.

Jazz History - Bebop
Developed between the early and mid-1940s, "bebop" expanded upon many of the improvisational elements of the swing era. Young musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk, influenced by the innovative soloists of the swing era (e.g., Art Tatum, Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young) began exploring more advanced harmonies, altered chords, and chord substitutions. A combination of social and economic events helped usher in the bebop era. As World War II ultimately drafted many of the veteran musicians needed to man the popular big bands of the swing era, many teenagers too young to be drafted were instead enlisted into the ranks of the touring road bands. Young musicians like Gillespie and Parker, as well as Stan Getz and Red Rodney, developed their craft at an early age by working with such swing masters as Jack Teagarden, Earl Hines, and Jay McShann. The war also forced cut backs in dance halls and cabarets due to imposed entertainment taxes, as well as a recording ban imposed by the musicians union between 1942 and 1944. In New York City, many clubs and after hours joints became the breeding ground for small group explorations, especially in Harlem. Clubs like Minton's Playhouse witnessed the development of this new music by bebop innovators including guitarist Charlie Christian, bassist Jimmy Blanton, and pianist Thelonious Monk. Disregarding elaborate big band arrangements central to the swing era style, bebop musicians streamlined their bands with four to six musicians, creating a vehicle specifically designed for exploring the improvisational elements of music. Using the blues and the harmonic framework of popular swing standards, beboppers replaced popular melodies with new, more complex bebop melodies. Staples of the bebop repertoire included such tunes as "Ornithology," "Donna Lee," "Groovin' High," and "Hot House." Their fast pulse and enriched harmonic vocabulary defined a new direction for jazz, no longer a dance music but a new art form unto itself. Rhythmically, the steady beat, or the quarter note pulse, was assigned to the bass player and the ride and hi-hat cymbals of the drummer. This new approach allowed drummers like Max Roach and Kenny Clarke to interact with the soloist by creating rhythmic accents with the snare and bass drum, often referred to as "dropping bombs." Initially, bebop received much criticism for its "break-neck" tempos that were too fast for dancers, and its melodies that lacked the simplicity of earlier styles. Complex harmonic sense was required to perform the music, leaving many swing musicians behind, who simply relied on their ears to guide them through the chord changes. As the popularity of bebop grew, critics and jazz fans came to view it as a challenging new art form. By the late 1940s and early 1950s musicians began to exhaust the standard structure and format of the bebop style. Looking to expand in new directions, beboppers including trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist John Lewis, as well as arranger Gil Evans and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan began incorporating more orchestrated approaches to bebop. Eventually their first recordings became labeled "Birth of the Cool."

Jazz History - Cool
Along with the bebop movement developed during the 1940s, the 1950s ushered in a lighter, more romantic style of jazz called "cool." Developed mainly from the perspective of white West Coast jazz musicians, cool jazz combined the melodic and swinging aspects of the earlier swing era with the harmonic and rhythmic developments of bebop. The roots of cool jazz can be traced back to various earlier styles, as well as a direction that trumpet player Miles Davis pursued during the late 1940s. After leaving saxophonist Charlie Parker's group in 1948, Davis became intrigued with developing new directions in jazz. He became associated with other New York musicians intent on combining the excitement and spontaneity of bebop with lush orchestrated arrangements. A pool of musicians including pianist John Lewis, arranger Gil Evans, and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan, contributed to the creation of the Miles Davis Nonet recordings labeled "Birth of the Cool." Although these experimental recordings did not gain commercial success, they did help spawn the creation of the cool movement in the West coast. Davis's light tone and lyrical approach to melody was influential to cool trumpet players including Chet Baker, Shorty Rogers, and Jack Sheldon. Also influential to the cool style was tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Young's laid back melodic approach combined with his light airy tone offered cool musicians new directions to explore other than those of the hard driving bebop style. Saxophonists influenced by Young include Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Giuffre, and Art Pepper. Although many cool musicians have been pegged as limited to the West Coast style, musicians such as Stan Getz continued to explore other styles including bebop, and third stream. Most notable are his early 1960s collaborative Bossa Nova recordings with Brazilian musicians Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto (see Bossa Nova). Cool also incorporated influences from 20th century classical music. Groups including Gerry Mulligan's pianoless quartet relied on counterpoint between Mulligan's baritone saxophone and Chet Baker's trumpet. Pianist Dave Brubeck often integrated odd meters and classical forms within his compositions including "Blue Rondo á la Turk." Pianist Lennie Tristano cited J.S. Bach and Bela Bartók as major influences. By the mid to late 1950s, the cool movement would spawn a more serious bridge between jazz and classical music called "third stream." Aside from cool, other strains of jazz began to evolve from the influences of bebop by the mid 1950s. Big bands held over from the swing era, including the Woody Herman and Stan Kenton Orchestras incorporated elements of the bebop and cool styles into their music. On the East Coast, musicians began developing a jazz style that contrasted the laid back cool approach. While remaining grounded in bebop, the "hard bop" style developed from a perspective of African American and urban lifestyles. Typically more blues based and rhythmically driven than the cool style, hard bop would dominate jazz by the end of the 1950s.

Jazz History - Hard Bop
The term "hard bop" encompasses a variety of jazz styles developed through the mid-1950s and 1960s. While firmly rooted in the bebop tradition, hard bop began to develop a more intense rhythmic drive along with an infusion of blues and gospel influences. By the mid-1950s, hard boppers began breaking out of the standard bebop format using popular songs as vehicles for improvisation, played at torrid tempos with a straight ahead groove. They also created original compositions expressing a variety of tempos, grooves, and emotions. Such diversity led to the development of classic songs like Clifford Brown's "Joy Spring," Benny Golson's "Blues March," Bobby Timmons's "Moanin'," and Cannonball Adderley's "Work Song." Musicians including Sonny Stitt, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis and John Coltrane developed their hard bop styles from early experience as beboppers. Bassist Charles Mingus as well as pianist Horace Silver and organist Jimmy Smith were also inspired by the soul music of Ray Charles and gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, developing a "funky" side to hard bop. In contrast to the approach and attitude of mostly white "cool" players on the West Coast, hard bop evolved among African-American musicians and reflected the black experience in Eastern cities including New York, Philadelphia, and Detroit. Incorporating rhythms rooted in traditional African music, drummers like Max Roach and Art Blakey re-established the drums as the core for this style. Blakey's group, called the Jazz Messengers, fostered the early careers of many great musicians including Horace Silver, Wayne Shorter, Lee Morgan, Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Cedar Walton, and Curtis Fuller. Hard bop also encompasses modal jazz developed by trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Bill Evans, and saxophonist John Coltrane, as well as Coltrane's experiments with dense harmonic structures found in his compositions including "Giant Steps" and "Countdown." The hard bop period also spawned several approaches to the piano trio. The Oscar Peterson Trio featuring bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis exemplifies a traditional sound, sans drums. Other groups including the Ahmad Jamal and Bill Evans trios chose the format of piano, bass and drums. The term "post bop" became the label for the music that sprung out the hard bop period. Incorporating many of the characteristics of hard bop, post bop also included exploration within the avant garde realm. Charles Mingus combined the blues and gospel styles with avant garde improvisations by such musicians as alto saxophonist and bass clarinetist Eric Dolphy. The popularity of hard bop has continued to be an influential force in the direction of jazz since the 1950s. Today the tradition continues with musicians such as tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and alto saxophonist Donald Harrison.

Jazz History - Third Stream
Throughout most of the 1950s, a handful of jazz composers began incorporating classical music techniques within the jazz idiom. Although the cool style experimented with fugues, rondos, and extended forms, exemplified by the work of pianist Dave Brubeck, "third stream" developed into a musical style with a deliberate intent to fuse jazz with western classical music. The two mainstreams combined to form a third stream. Earlier in the century, composers had pursued similar directions - George Gershwin with "Rhapsody in Blue," and Darius Milhaud with "The Creation of the World." Bandleader Paul Whiteman, whose motto was to "make a lady out of jazz," popularized what was to be labeled "symphonic jazz" during the 1920s and '30s. Duke Ellington began creating his extended works including "Reminiscing in Tempo," in 1935, and "Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in Blue," in 1937. Intrigued by jazz rhythms, classical composer Igor Stravinsky created his "Ebony Concerto" in 1946 for clarinetist Woody Herman and his Orchestra. Other examples of classical explorations in jazz can be found in the late-1940s Miles Davis Nonet recordings referred to as the "Birth of the Cool," as well as the recordings of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra arranged by Gil Evans. Both groups incorporate the use of counterpoint and intricate harmonies, as well as flute, French horn, and tuba, adding a classical element to jazz. In 1955 composers John Lewis and Gunther Schuller formed an organization called the Jazz and Classical Music Society to present concert performances of rarely heard music. Emphasizing contemporary music, these concerts included jazz composers, offering them an opportunity to present their less conventional works under formal concert conditions. With the aim of bringing together jazz and classical composers to learn from each other, compositions were commissioned and recorded including works by Schuller, Lewis, Jimmy Giuffre, J.J. Johnson, George Russell, and Charles Mingus. Other approaches to third stream include pianist Bill Evans's recording with string orchestra featuring jazz treatments of classical works by Granados, Bach, Faure, and Chopin in 1965, as well as Stan Getz's Focus recording, featuring his improvisations over orchestral themes composed and arranged by Eddie Sauter.

Jazz History - Avant Garde
The 1960s in America were filled with social unrest, with protests against oppression and racial discrimination. The "avant garde," (translation: "advance group") as with other musical styles, reflected the social and political climate of the time. Avant garde, a term used synonymously in the 1960s with "free" jazz, first gained recognition in 1958 through saxophonist Ornette Coleman, as well as other pioneers including pianists Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra. The avant garde challenged the listener by allowing the musician to choose his own musical path rather than follow the traditional approaches to which jazz musicians had previously adhered. All aspects of the music were at the discretion of the improviser. The music often transcended recognizable pitches and musical shapes, allowing moans, shrieks, and cries to convey the energy and emotional discourse of the individual musician. In 1960 Ornette Coleman made his revolutionary "Free Jazz" recording featuring collective improvisation between double quartets. Although collective improvisation became a major component within the avant garde movement with recordings including Coltrane's "Ascension," and "Om," the concept of group improvisation dates back to early New Orleans jazz at the turn of the 20th Century. As early as the mid-1950s, jazz musicians including Charles Mingus with his recording "Pithecanthropus Erectus," began re-introducing collective improvisation into modern jazz. In 1959, Miles Davis introduced modal jazz into the mainstream with his composition "So What," allowing the soloist more freedom to explore new ideas by simplifying the chord changes. Saxophonist John Coltrane took on the role of "father figure" in the '60s, bringing exposure to younger avant garde musicians including saxophonists Eric Dolphy, Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, and Albert Ayler. Coltrane would spend the rest of his short life expressing himself musically through the avant garde, also labeled the "new thing" movement. In the 1960s and '70s, Chicago developed an avant garde scene led by pianist/composer Muhal Richard Abrams. In 1965 he founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, whose members eventually included saxophonists Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Chico Freeman, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Avant garde styles practiced today can be found in the work of musicians including saxophonists Steve Coleman and David S. Ware. New York City's "downtown" scene headquartered at the Knitting Factory is also a breeding ground for new and experimental music. The musicians in that sphere, such as saxophonists John Zorn and Tim Berne, trumpeter Dave Douglas, drummer Joey Baron, and violinist Mark Feldman, have helped to reshape new directions for the avant garde.

Jazz History - Bossa Nova
In the early 1950s, Brazilian musicians including Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, and Luíz Bonfa, were exposed to jazz records from the popular West Coast, or cool jazz style. By the late 1950s, these musicians had blended elements of the Brazilian samba rhythm, commonly heard in parades and street music, with the delicate sound and harmonic approach of cool jazz, creating a charming and subdued, but harmonically advanced "bossa nova" (translation: "new beat") style. The early 1960s was a period of transition for jazz and popular music. The impact of great American songwriters, including Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, and Jerome Kern, whose careers began in "Tin Pan Alley" at the turn of the century, was dissipating. The popularity of hard bop and other strains of jazz in the 1950s began to wane by the early 1960s with declining record sales and nightclub attendance. Prior to the British invasion by the Beatles and the development of the Motown sound that eventually swept the record industry, the bossa nova emerged as a new musical direction in both jazz and popular genres. In 1962, the bossa nova was introduced to America by guitarist Charlie Byrd, who had toured Brazil and became immersed in the idiom. His recording with saxophonist Stan Getz, Jazz Samba, became an immediate popular success, spawning the birth of the bossa nova style. Soon other jazz musicians, including saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins and flutist Herbie Mann, began making bossa nova recordings. By the mid-1960s, bossa nova compositions including Jobim's "Girl From Ipanema" and "Wave" had become standard within the jazz repertoire. Today, a new generation of Brazilian musicians continue to weave floating melodies and hypnotic grooves founded in the bossa nova style. Current artists include Vinicius Cantuária, Ivan Lins, Djavan, Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, and Eliane Elias.

Jazz History - Groove Jazz
"Groove" is inclusive of various jazz styles ranging from the early 1960s to current musical trends. The singular musical characteristic that ties these styles together is the importance of the underlying and continuous funky backbeat. Included in this category may be elements of hard bop, soul jazz, R&B, funk, fusion, rap, hip-hop, and acid jazz. During the 1960s, groove styles were labeled soul jazz. The combination of popular soul and gospel tinged, dance-oriented music — fused with improvisation — offered an accessible approach to jazz, which broadened its appeal to a wider audience. Less cerebral than the avant garde and hard bop styles, soul jazz drew from and reacted to the rich cultural experience that defines the African-American culture. Soul music laid the rhythmic groove and emotional foundation for this style including influences by Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. Musicians like saxophonist King Curtis and Hammond organist Jimmy Smith often portrayed the experiences of African-Americans by tying their music to cultural themes. Song titles alone could offer a context for the music. Smith's recordings including "Back at the Chicken Shack", "The Sermon", and Curtis's "Memphis Soul Stew" helped to convey earthy and down home images of the African-American lifestyle of the 1960s. Smith's grooving style has been influential to new generations of organ players including Barbara Dennerlein, Larry Goldings, and John Medeski. Jazz musicians spawned from hard bop styles often ventured into soul jazz. Artists including guitarist Wes Montgomery, multi-reed player Roland Kirk, tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley, and alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, developed styles based on the groove of soul music. In 1966 Eddie Harris developed a funky approach to jazz, incorporating the electrified tenor saxophone. Joining Les McCann's soul jazz group in 1969, Harris would later record with rock musicians Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck, and post-fusion guitarist John Scofield. Scofield has continued to explore funk in a recent collaboration with organ-groove trio Medeski, Martin & Wood. Influenced by funk groups including George Clinton and Parliament, keyboardist Herbie Hancock released the album Headhunters in 1973, marking the beginning of his exploration of more commercial types of music. This culminated in his 1980s MTV-driven video for the hit song "Rockit." The 1980s and '90s witnessed new approaches incorporating the groove style. Rap and hip-hop began influencing jazz artists including saxophonists Maceo Parker and Courtney Pine, while acid jazz combined "techno" aspects of the music controlled by DJs incorporating looped music samples along with live improvisations.

Jazz History - Jazz Fusion
"Fusion" has often been described as the melding of jazz with rock styles, although most fusion music initially drew from the rhythmic and harmonic aspects of soul music, particularly the music of James Brown and Sly Stone. Such harmonic material found in soul music was also similar to the modal improvisation developed by Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and John Coltrane in the late 1950s and '60s. Improvisations based on these modal structures rather than relying on the blues, (the main structure for rock music), created the mold for the fusion style. Other defining characteristics of fusion music include the use of funk backbeats, electric instruments, loud volumes, rock textures, and intricate ensemble compositions. During the 1960s, popular music in America began changing directions. Younger audiences often chose the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, or the politically oriented folk music of Bob Dylan over the more complex and demanding jazz styles. With rock and soul appealing to a younger generation, jazz musicians were torn between following conventional approaches to their music or pursuing the avant garde. Miles Davis chose another direction, one that incorporated the influences of rock and soul music as well as modal and contemporary approaches to jazz. This music became known as fusion. Miles's earliest experiment with fusion was documented on his 1968 recording Miles In The Sky, with the song "Stuff." Featuring Herbie Hancock on electric piano and Tony Williams playing a funky back beat, "Stuff" illustrated the genesis of this musical style. By 1969, Davis's albums In a Silent Way and the commercially successful Bitches Brew led the way for this new direction in jazz. Many musicians felt threatened by this new music, and lashed out against the direction that Miles, saxophonist Charles Lloyd, and others including began to pursue. Fusion groups led by Davis and Lloyd began performing alongside successful rock acts including Blood, Sweat and Tears, and singer Laura Nyro at major venues. The exposure from these new venues helped fusion gain new acceptance from the younger Woodstock generation of rock fans. The '70s fusion "supergroups" were led by Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul (Weather Report), Chick Corea (Return To Forever), John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra), Herbie Hancock, and Michael Brecker (Brecker Brothers). By no coincidence, most of the leaders of the fusion movement had spent time in the '60s or '70s Miles Davis groups. During these years, fusion became increasingly innovative and adventurous, melding the wild energy of rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix with the advanced technical proficiency of the most evolved jazz musicians. Fusion often incorporated elements of world music — Latin, African, Indian, and Caribbean influences. The fusion style with its very accessible rock-oriented textures gained widespread popularity but declined by the end of the decade. In its place rose a somewhat less aggressive form of electric music called "contemporary" jazz, as well as the "neo-classic" period of the 1980s.

Jazz History - Smooth & Contemporary Jazz
Instrumental pop music that emerged in the 1970s is often labeled "contemporary" jazz and reflects some of the same influences found in fusion music. Artists including saxophonists Grover Washington Jr. and David Sanborn developed a lighter, funkier approach, with a radio-friendly style that was even more accessible than the fusion movement's supergroups. Chuck Mangione, John Klemmer, Earl Klugh, Spyro Gyra, and George Benson each had commercial success on pop radio. Benson's hit, "Breezin'", produced by Tommy LiPuma, became a landmark recording, creating widespread acceptance of contemporary jazz and selling millions. The '70s was a period of major transition in jazz. Prior to this time, many jazz recordings focused on capturing live performances created in clubs. Musicians like Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, and Horace Silver preferred recording in the club setting in an attempt to capture the spontaneity and excitement of performing before live audiences. By the late 1960s, Creed Taylor began creating highly produced jazz records within the controlled environment of the recording studio. No longer attempting to recreate the club scene, Taylor's approach was to record jazz artists within a studio setting while retaining the elements of improvisation. By combining jazz artists like guitarist George Benson and trumpeter Freddie Hubbard with arrangers Don Sebesky and Bob James, Taylor's concept proved commercially successful. In 1982, Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen launched GRP Records. With Grusin's formidable background as a composer and arranger and Rosen's interest in developing recording technology, GRP created an approach to record production similar to Creed Taylor's studio recordings. In the '80s, with the post-disco record industry in a slump, many major record labels dropped their jazz rosters, creating opportunities for GRP to sign artists including keyboardist Chick Corea, and guitarist Lee Ritenour. By combining contemporary jazz artists with digital recording technology, GRP gained widespread acceptance as one of the first labels to release recordings in the CD format. Open to the concept of integrating elements of pop music with jazz, Grusin and Rosen reacted to popular musical trends and successfully broadened the appeal of jazz to a wider audience. Vocalists Patti Austin, Angela Bofill, and Diane Schuur rounded out what later became known as the "GRP sound." In the '90s, a commercial radio format evolved under the name "smooth jazz" which continues to feature many of the innovators of contemporary jazz.

Jazz History - Neo-Classic Jazz
The idea of recreating classic jazz first came to fruition in 1985 with the American Jazz Orchestra, created by critic Gary Giddins. Under the musical direction of pianist John Lewis, the Orchestra functioned as a repertory ensemble recreating classic works seminal to the rich history of jazz. In 1991 Lincoln Center made a major commitment, appointing Wynton Marsalis as artistic director of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. Soon other organizations including the Smithsonian Institution and Carnegie Hall created their own repertory jazz orchestras. The efforts of these groups have helped to revitalize music from earlier jazz periods including the works of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, among others. During the mid 1980s and '90s, many younger musicians began to explore earlier jazz styles, incorporating them into their music. Musicians rooted in bebop and hard bop styles also began developing a repertoire incorporating influences from early jazz and the swing era. Deemed "Young Lions," they began gaining a popular following through record sales and widespread media attention, including the soundtrack to the motion picture "Kansas City" in 1997. Today, the seminal musicians within this style include trumpeters Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, and Nicholas Payton; pianists Stephen Scott, Eric Reed, and Marcus Roberts; saxophonist Donald Harrison, guitarist Russell Malone, and bassist Christian McBride. By returning to these earlier styles and reevaluating the significance of classic jazz, these "neo-classic" musicians offer new direction, and the revitalization of historically important music.

Jazz History - The Jazz Vocalists
Early jazz owes its improvisational approach to the vocal style of the blues. By 1920, blues vocalists like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith had an impact on other performers including the early trumpet styles of Joe "King" Oliver and Louis Armstrong. Influenced in turn by both Armstrong's trumpet and vocal style, singers including Bing Crosby and Connie Boswell developed distinctive vocal styles as early as 1926. During the swing era of the 1930s and '40s, every band included a "girl" or "boy" singer. While the era of the big bands focused mainly on instrumental music, occasionally vocalists were featured on ballads or novelty songs. Vocalists who began their early careers as band singers include Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald with the Chick Webb Orchestra, and Anita O'Day with the Gene Krupa Orchestra. World War II wrought economic demise on the big bands, creating new opportunities for vocalists as leaders. A recording ban was imposed by the American Federation of Musicians during the war but vocalists were excluded, since the union did not recognize them as musicians. This opportunity allowed vocalists to record freely, gaining widespread popularity in the commercial market. Through the late 1940s, '50s, and '60s, a variety of male jazz vocalists ascended to great commercial success. The vibrant and strong baritone voices of Nat King Cole, Billy Eckstine, Arthur Prysock, Joe Williams, and Johnny Hartman epitomized popular music, especially romantic ballads and love songs. By the 1950s, blues and R&B music began influencing the jazz vocal style. Crossover artists Dinah Washington and Etta James became influential to younger singers including Nancy Wilson and Abbey Lincoln. The vocal styles of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald continued to influence singers into the 1990s. From the 1940s on, vocalists including Peggy Lee, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Shirley Horn, Betty Carter, and Teri Thornton, developed their individual vocal styles and influenced future generations of singers. Throughout the 1970s and '80s, jazz musicians were often influenced by the popular appeal of commercial music. Vocalists like Patti Austin, Mark Murphy, Diane Schuur, and Dee Dee Bridgewater developed their musical directions often infusing jazz with pop, R&B, gospel, and other commercial styles. By the 1990s, a new generation of vocalists had developed. Well-versed in the jazz tradition, singers including Diana Krall, Cassandra Wilson, and Kevin Mahogany continue to draw from the innovators of vocal and instrumental jazz, as well as pursue new musical frontiers. =>>>>>>>>>>>

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Scott Joplin [2]

A Biography of Scott Joplin
(c.1867 - 1917)

Edward A. Berlin @ Scott Joplin.org
(Written for the exclusive use of the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Foundation.) © 1998, Edward A. Berlin

Sedalia, Missouri was Scott Joplin’s home for only a few years, but it was a home with a special meaning for him. It is with good reason that Sedalia has become central to the Joplin story and the site of the annual Scott Joplin Festival.

There is no question as to Joplin’s greatness, his talent, his importance in the history of ragtime and American music. Yet, for all his prominence and recognition, many of the facts regarding his life still elude us.

We are not quite sure, for example, where or when he was born. The best we can say is that he was born in Texas, probably in the northeast part of the state, for the U.S. Census locates him there in July 1870 as a two-year-old child. That he was already two at that time (and was twelve when the next Census was taken, in June 1880) indicates that the frequently-cited and celebrated birth date of November 24, 1868 is incorrect.

So then, when was he born? Available documents point to a birth between June 1867 and mid-January 1868.

When he was still a young child, his family left the farm on which his father (formerly a slave) worked as a laborer. They moved to the newly established town of Texarkana, which straddles the Texas-Arkansas border. The Joplins lived on both sides of the border.

Anecdotes relate that the young Scott gained access to a piano in a white-owned home where his mother worked, and taught himself the rudiments of music. In support of this story, we note its reflection in a detail in Treemonisha, an opera that Joplin published in 1911: paying tribute to his mother’s efforts that enabled him to start his musical education, he has the heroine of the opera obtain education through her parent’s labors in a white-owned home.

Joplin’s talent was noticed in Texarkana by a local, German-born music teacher (Julius Weiss), who instructed him further, placing special emphasis on European art forms, including opera. This teacher’s influence may be the foundation of Joplin’s desire for recognition as a classical composer.

In the 1880s, the teenage Joplin lived for a while in Sedalia and attended Lincoln High School in the black neighborhood north of the railroad. He may have resided with one of several black families named “Joplin” that lived in Sedalia. Unconfirmed anecdotes tell also of his starting a musical career in the 1880s and traveling to St. Louis, which was to become a major center of ragtime.

The first documented sign of Joplin’s musical career is in the summer of 1891 when, as reported in newspapers, he was back in Texarkana working with a minstrel troupe. In 1893, he was in Chicago at the time of the World’s Fair, leading a band and playing cornet, probably somewhere outside the fair grounds. After the fair he returned to Sedalia, established it as his home, and played first cornet in the Queen City Cornet Band, a local ensemble of black musicians. His membership in the band was for only about a year, and on leaving he formed his own band, working at dances and other events. While retaining Sedalia as his home base, he continued the life of an itinerant musician. In 1895 he traveled as far East as Syracuse, NY, with his Texas Medley Quartette, a vocal group. His performances so impressed several businessmen in Syracuse that they issued his first two publications, the songs Please Say You Will and A Picture of Her Face.

When not traveling, he worked in Sedalia as a pianist, playing at various events and sites, including the town’s two social clubs for black men, the Maple Leaf and Black 400 clubs (both founded in 1898). He also taught several of the local young musicians in town, most notably Scott Hayden and Arthur Marshall, with whom he later wrote collaborative rags.

It was probably in 1896 that he attended music classes at George R. Smith College in Sedalia, an institution for African-Americans established by the Methodist Church on land donated by daughters of the town’s founder. Since the college and its records were destroyed in a fire in 1925, we have no evidence of the extent of Joplin’s studies, but anecdotes suggest that until the end of the 1890s he still lacked complete mastery of music notation.

This technical deficit did not prevent him from developing as a composer. In 1896 he published two marches and a fine waltz. Late in 1898 he tried to publish his first two piano rags, but succeeded in selling only Original Rags. This publication experience was not satisfactory as he was forced to share credit with a staff arranger. Charles N. Daniels’ name was added as “arranger,“ and on the copyright and in some newspaper advertisements Daniels was cited as composer.

Cover of the Maple Leaf RagBefore Joplin published his next rag, he obtained the assistance and guidance of a young lawyer, Sedalia resident Robert Higdon. In August 1899 they contracted with Sedalia music store owner and publisher John Stark to publish The Maple Leaf Rag, which was to become the greatest and most famous of piano rags. The contract specified that Joplin would receive a one-cent royalty on each sale, a condition that rendered Joplin a small, but steady income for the rest of his life.

Sales in the first year were slight, only about 400. This is probably because Stark was at the time only a small-town publisher, and the Maple Leaf is a difficult piece to play. But as Maple Leaf became known, sales increased substantially. By 1909, approximately a half-million copies had been sold, and that rate was to continue for the next two decades.

Within weeks of the Maple Leaf’s publication, Joplin completed The Ragtime Dance, a stage work for dancers and singing narrator. It is a folk-ballet of sorts, illustrating the type of dancing that was done in the Black 400 and Maple Leaf clubs. Stark announced its publication in September 1899, but then delayed issuing it until 1902. However, the work was staged at Wood’s Opera House in Sedalia on November 24, 1899, performed by a group of talented, young Sedalians from the Black 400 Club.

Joplin published one more rag while in Sedalia, Swipesy, a collaboration with his student Arthur Marshall. He then moved, in 1901, to St. Louis with his new wife, Belle, the widow of Scott Hayden’s older brother.

In St. Louis, Joplin associated with ragtime pioneer and saloon owner Tom Turpin and with other ragtimers, but he performed little, preferring to devote his time to composition and teaching. His publisher John Stark had also moved to St. Louis, and Joplin frequently passed time at the publishing office, talking with other ragtimers and with Stark’s daughter Eleanor, a highly accomplished classical piano recitalist. Eleanor was part owner in her father’s firm and was his major musical adviser. Her influence on both her father and on Joplin seems to have been significant, for Stark called his publishing firm “The House of Classic Rags,” and Joplin further developed his aspirations as a classical musician. It was probably through her, also, that Joplin met in 1901 with Alfred Ernst, conductor of the St. Louis Choral Symphony Society, the city’s most important music organization. In a newspaper interview following this meeting, Ernst commented on Joplin’s musicality, his interest in classical music, and declared him to be a genius as a composer of ragtime.

Among Joplin’s significant publications in St. Louis were Sunflower Slow Drag (a collaboration with Scott Hayden), Peacherine Rag, The Easy Winners (all in 1901); Cleopha, The Strenuous Life (a tribute to President Theodore Roosevelt), A Breeze from Alabama, Elite Syncopations, The Entertainer, and The Ragtime Dance (all in 1902).

Early in 1903 he filed a copyright application for an opera, A Guest of Honor. A few months later, he formed an opera company with personnel of 30, rehearsed the work at the Crawford Theatre in St. Louis, and embarked on a tour scheduled to take him to towns in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. Early in the tour, someone associated with the company stole the box office receipts, seriously damaging the company’s financial position. It was probably in Pittsburgh, Kansas, a couple of weeks later, that the tour ended, with Joplin unable to meet his payroll. Furthermore, unable to pay for the company’s board at a theatrical boarding house, all of his possessions, including the music from the opera, were confiscated. Copies of the score were never filed with the Library of Congress and the music has never been recovered.

Comments in newspapers reveal what the opera was about: black leader Booker T. Washington’s dinner at President Roosevelt’s White House in 1901. This was an event that polarized the nation, with African-Americans, naturally, taking pride in the event. It was for this reason that Joplin paid tribute to Roosevelt with his piano rag A Strenuous Life, and then tried to memorialize the event with his opera.

Joplin had expected Stark to publish the opera, and indicated this in his copyright application. Stark’s decision not to publish it may have caused a temporary break between the two, leading Joplin to publish with other firms in 1903, including Something Doing (another collaboration with Hayden), Weeping Willow, and Palm Leaf Rag.

Following the failed opera tour, Joplin went to Chicago for a few months, and then returned to Arkansas to visit relatives. In Arkansas he met Freddie Alexander, a 19-year-old woman, and was so taken with her that he dedicated The Chrysanthemum to her. Probably because ragtime was considered in many circles to be a disreputable form, Joplin sought to endow this rag with more dignity by portraying it as “An Afro-American Intermezzo.” The music was published by Stark in the early spring of 1904, and in April Joplin returned to Sedalia, where he distributed copies and gave several concerts. From there he went to St. Louis for the opening of the World’s Fair, where his Cascades, written for the Fair, received much play. Two other significant rag publications from this year are The Sycamore and The Favorite.

In June, his marriage with Belle having ended, Joplin returned to Arkansas and married Freddie Alexander in Little Rock. Following the marriage, the couple traveled by train to Sedalia, stopping at towns along the way so that Joplin could give concerts. Early in July they arrived in Sedalia, where Joplin continued his concertizing. Tragically, Freddie developed a cold that progressed into pneumonia, and she died at the age of 20 on September 10, 1904, ten weeks after their marriage.

After Freddie’s funeral, Joplin left Sedalia and never returned. Through the next few years his career seems to have floundered and, having lost much of his money on the failed opera, he was in a poor financial condition. He spent most of the time in St. Louis, picking up insignificant playing jobs for little money. His Binks’ Waltz was written as a commission from a local businessman. Still, he issued several outstanding works during this period. In 1905, his publications included the ragtime waltz Bethena, the ragtime song Sarah Dear, Leola, in which he further develops musical ideas first used in the Maple Leaf, and The Rose-Bud March, dedicated to his friend Tom Turpin, who operated the Rosebud Bar. Of these, only The Rosebud was published by Stark, although Leola was issued by a company that may have been associated with Stark. In 1906 Stark issued the march Antoinette and a piano version of the Ragtime Dance. Eugenia, a significant rag, went to a Chicago publisher.

Joplin spent part of 1907 in Chicago, living for a while with his Sedalian friend Arthur Marshall. While in Chicago he got together with Louis Chauvin, a brilliant young pianist he had met in St. Louis, and together they composed Heliotrope Bouquet, one of the most enchanting of all rags. Chauvin died several months later, Heliotrope being his only published rag.

In the summer of 1907 Joplin went to New York to make contacts with new publishers and to find financial backing for Treemonisha, an opera he had been working on for the past few years. Stark was also in New York at this time, and Joplin renewed his friendly relationship with the publisher and his family. It was while at the store connected to Stark’s office that Joplin met Joseph Lamb, a young white man who composed ragtime as an avocation. The two became friends and on Joplin’s recommendation Stark published Lamb’s Sensation in 1908. Lamb went on to become one of ragtime’s great composers and during the rest of the ragtime years published only with Stark.

Joplin published Nonpareil with Stark in 1907 and Fig Leaf Rag and Heliotrope Bouquet with him in 1908, but sought out new publishers for his other works: in 1907, Searchlight Rag and Gladiolus Rag (another Maple Leaf clone) with Jos. W. Stern, and Rose Leaf Rag. In 1908 he self-published his ragtime manual School of Ragtime, but then turned it over to Stark and others to market it. His most significant new publisher became Seminary Music, a firm that shared office space and was closely associated with Ted Snyder Music, a publisher that employed the young Irving Berlin, destined to become America’s greatest songwriter. Seminary issued Joplin’s Sugar Cane and Pine Apple Rag in 1908, and in 1909 Wall Street Rag, Solace, Pleasant Moments, Country Club, Euphonic Sounds, and Paragon Rag. The last was dedicated to the C.V.B.A. -- the Colored Vaudeville Benevolent Association -- an organization that he had just joined and with which he would be active during the next few years.

Joplin published only one rag in 1910, Stoptime Rag (with Stern), but completed his opera and tried to get it published. He told his friends that he had turned it over to Irving Berlin at Snyder/Seminary, but that Berlin rejected it a few months later. The following spring, in 1911, Irving Berlin published his greatest hit song up to that time, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, and Joplin complained to friends that the song’s verse was taken from the “Marching Onward“ section of “A Real Slow Drag“ in Treemonisha. Joplin then altered that section and published the opera himself in mid-May, 1911.

The opera’s story, written by Joplin, takes place in a rural, black community in Arkansas, not far from his childhood home of Texarkana. In part, the opera is a tribute to both his mother, for the way that Treemonisha obtains her education, and to Freddie, with the opera’s action occurring in September 1884, the month and year of Freddie’s birth. The opera’s story relates how Treemonisha, the only educated member of her community, leads her townspeople out of the bondage of ignorance and superstition. The story is an allegory of how Joplin viewed the problems of the African-American community of his time, proposing the view that racial equality would come with education.

Joplin gave a copy of the score to the editor of the American Musician and Art Journal, an important music magazine. In the June issue the magazine published a lengthy review of the score, declaring it to be the most American opera ever composed, far more so than Horatio Parker’s Mona, which had just won a $10,000 “American opera” prize from the Metropolitan Opera.

Encouraged by this review, Joplin set about to arrange a performance of the opera, but he was unsuccessful. Through the next four years, he announced several full productions, but none were realized. In 1911, he mounted an unstaged run-through with piano accompaniment, but it failed to win him the financial backing he sought. He may have had a partial performance in 1913 of “A Real Slow Drag,” the opera’s closing number, in a theater in Bayonne, NJ; and in 1915 the Martin-Smith Music School, of Harlem, included in its year-end concert an orchestral performance of “Frolic of the Bears,” the Act 2 ballet. But Joplin was never to witness a completely staged performance of his opera.

His futile efforts to have the opera produced apparently detracted from his other creative work. Stark published Felicity Rag in 1911 and Kismet Rag in 1913, two works that Joplin had composed in collaboration with Scott Hayden a decade earlier. In 1912 Stern published Scott Joplin’s New Rag. In 1913 Joplin formed, with his new wife Lottie, his own publishing company, and they issued Magnetic Rag in 1914. During the next two years, Joplin composed several new rags and songs, a vaudeville act, a musical, a symphony, and a piano concerto, but none of these were published and the manuscripts have been lost.

By 1916, Joplin was experiencing the devastating physical and mental effects of tertiary syphilis, a disease he had probably contracted almost two decades earlier. By mid-January, 1917, he had to be hospitalized, and was soon transferred to a mental institution where he died on April 1, 1917.

Scott Joplin was the most sophisticated and tasteful ragtime composer of the era. But he aspired to more. His goal was to be a successful composer for the lyric stage and he continually worked toward this end.

That he called himself “King of Ragtime Writers,” omitting a claim for his piano playing, reveals his recognition that not all of his music musical skills were on the same high level. His piano playing was described as mediocre, perhaps due to early effects of syphilis. He also played cornet and violin, but put little effort into developing himself on those instruments. He is reported to have had a fine singing voice, and performed at times as a singer. He also had perfect pitch and, on becoming proficient at music notation, composed away from the piano.

As a person, he was intelligent, well-mannered and well-spoken. He was extremely quiet, serious and modest. He had few interests other than music. He was not good at small talk and rarely volunteered information, but if a subject interested him, he might become animated in his conversation. He was generous with his time and was willing to assist and instruct younger musicians. He had a profound belief in the importance of education.

At the time of his death, he was almost forgotten. Interest in ragtime, too, was quickly waning as the new style of “jazz” took center stage. But Joplin never slipped totally into oblivion. His Maple Leaf Rag continued to exercise its magic on successive generations of musicians and music lovers.

In the 1940s, a group of jazz musicians seeking to revitalize their art with the spirit of the past, included ragtime in their development of “traditional jazz.” This inspired a “ragtime revival,” and though it was slight, it continued to slowly gain adherents. The revival peaked in the 1970s as new recordings of Joplin’s music, produced for the first time on classical labels, set classical sales records. At the same time, the notated music became available through reprinted collections, most notably a two-volume set issued by the New York Public Library, and Treemonisha was successfully staged, finally reaching Broadway. This quickly growing presence inspired a film director to use Joplin’s music in his film The Sting, which became immensely popular and brought Joplin to the notice of the mass public. The result was unprecedented in music history. Led by music that Joplin had composed more than a half-century earlier, ragtime became a current and universally loved style. Piano recitalists programmed it alongside Chopin mazurkas, dancers stepped to its rhythms in discos, and pop artists played it in stadiums filled with thousands of delighted rock fans. Recordings of Joplin’s music reached the top rungs of the marketing charts for both classical and popular categories. Ragtime was back. In recognition of his significant achievements, the Pulitzer Committee in 1976 issued a posthumous award for Scott Joplin’s contribution to American music.

Plan to attend the 2007 Scott Joplin Ragtime Music Festival!The frenzy of the 1970s revival is long over, but Scott Joplin and ragtime are not about to beforgotten. Ragtime has once again become a living language and its substantial public is not about to relinquish it. Ragtime is now a permanent part of the American musical landscape.

Ed Berlin is one of the foremost authorities on Scott Joplin’s life.
Additional Reading: Edward A. Berlin, King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era (New York: Oxford, 1994)

For more biographical information about Scott Joplin, please visit Edward Berlin's website.

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Scott Joplin: King of Ragtime

Charles K. Moss, M.M.Ed., M.Mus. @ Carolina Classical
Many details in the life of America's first great black composer remain uncertain. He was born in November of 1868, but the place of his birth in east Texas is a matter of some debate. However, regarding his ingenious piano works in the style known as Ragtime, it is undisputed that Scott Joplin created a place for himself among the great composers of piano music in Western culture. Joplin's syncopated musical style found expression in the popular idiom of piano Ragtime, a style that flourished along the Mississippi river in the closing decade of the Nineteenth Century and which endured as a prominent piano style until the end of World War I.

To this improvisational genre Joplin brought great artistry, craftsmanship, and elegance. His piano works influenced such great composers as Claude Debussy, and Joplin is claimed as an important contributor in both serious music and as an innovator in the development of piano Jazz. However, it is clear that Joplin himself considered his music to be in the classical tradition of Western art music since this was the music of his background and education.

Scott Joplin was the child of a former slave and a free-born black woman, Giles and Florence Givens Joplin, and he grew up in the town of Texarkana on the Texas-Arkansas border. He had few early educational opportunities, but his mother took an active interest in his education, and most members of his family played musical instruments. Julius Weiss, a German immigrant musician, taught the young Joplin and played a significant role in the formation of Joplin's artistic aspirations.

His activities during the 1880s are not documented, but anecdotal evidence suggests that he lived for a while in Sedalia, Missouri, a town later linked to his fame. He also worked as a traveling musician and became a close associate of Ragtime pioneer, Tom Turpin, in St Louis. In 1891 he was back in Texarkana, performing with a minstrel company. In 1893 he went to Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition and led a band, playing the cornet.

He returned to Sedalia in 1894, joined the Queen City Cornet Band (a 12-piece ensemble of African-American musicians), playing lead cornet, and formed his own dance band. He traveled with his Texas Medley Quartette, a vocal group, performing as far east as Syracuse, New York, where his first two publications were issued, the songs Please Say You Will and A Picture of Her Face.

Joplin attended music classes at George R. Smith College in Sedalia, and he taught piano and composition to several younger Ragtime composers, including Arthur Marshall and Scott Hayden (with whom he composed collaborative Rags). In 1898 and 1899 he performed as a pianist at the Maple Leaf Club (made famous by Maple Leaf Rag) and the Black 400 Club, and Joplin formed a fruitful relationship with the music publisher John Stark, who published about one-third of Joplin’s known works.

Early in 1899, Joplin's first composition was issued, the piano Ragtime piece, Original Rags. Dissatisfied with the usual arrangement whereby publishers purchased popular music outright for $25 or less, Joplin then obtained the services of a lawyer before publishing again. This was a wise decision, for his next publication, Maple Leaf Rag, on which he had a royalty contract paying one cent per copy, was an extraordinary success. Its success was not immediate, however, since only 400 copies were sold in the first year, but it sold half a million copies by 1909, thereby providing Joplin with a steady, albeit small, income. The most famous of all piano Rags, Maple Leaf Rag, formed the basis of Joplin’s renown and justified his title as the "King of Ragtime Composers."

In 1901, Joplin moved to St Louis with Belle, his new wife, and devoted his time to composition and teaching, relegating performance to a minor part of his activities. Adding to his fame through the next few years were such outstanding Rags as Sunflower Slow Drag (1901, with Scott Hayden), The Easy Winners (1901), The Entertainer (1902) and The Strenuous Life (1902), a tribute to President Theodore Roosevelt.

Despite his success as a Ragtime composer, his ambition was to write for the lyric theatre. His first effort in this direction was The Ragtime Dance, a ballet for dancers and a singer-narrator, depicting a black American ball such as those held at Sedalia’s Black 400 Club. It was first staged on November 24, 1899 at Wood’s Opera House in Sedalia, although it was not published until 1902. His next stage work was A Guest of Honor, an opera depicting black leader Booker T. Washington’s dinner in the White House with President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. Joplin applied for a copyright in February 1903 and took the opera on tour with his company of 30 the following August. Early in the tour the receipts were stolen and the company disbanded. The score was never published and subsequently has been lost.

A notable Rag of 1904 was his The Cascades, performed at the St Louis World’s Fair. Another very popular composition was The Chrysanthemum, dedicated to Freddie Alexander, whom Joplin married in June 1904. She died the following September and was the person to whom he dedicated his next opera, Treemonisha.

In 1907, by which time he had published more than 40 works, mostly Rags, Joplin moved to New York with the intention of finding a publisher for his second opera, on which he was still working. Within his first year in New York he befriended, helped and encouraged Joseph F. Lamb, a young white man who was to become one of Ragtime’s greatest composers. Joplin left his longtime publisher Stark and tried several New York firms, finally settling with Seminary Music, with which he published such piano pieces as Wall Street Rag (which includes a descriptive narrative of events in the famed financial district), Paragon Rag (dedicated to the Colored Vaudeville Benevolent Association, of which he was a member), Solace (a syncopated non-Rag, subtitled "A Mexican Serenade"), and Pine Apple Rag. Seminary Music was linked to and shared an office with Ted Snyder Music, where Irving Berlin was employed at the beginning of his long career. It was through this connection, Joplin maintained, that Berlin had access to the score of Treemonisha, from which he supposedly stole a theme for use in his hit song Alexander’s Ragtime Band.

Joplin completed Treemonisha in 1910 and, after failing to find a publisher willing to issue the score of some 250 pages, he published the score himself in May 1911. The score received a very favorable review in the American Musician and Art Journal in June 1911, and soon afterwards Joplin announced several stagings, but none reached fruition. The only known performances during his lifetime were unstaged run-throughs without scenery or orchestra in 1911, a staging of only the final number in Bayonne, New Jersey, in 1913, and an orchestral performance in 1915 of the ballet from Act 2, Frolic of the Bears. The last work Joplin saw in print was his Magnetic Rag (1914), which he issued through his own publishing company, formed with Lottie Stokes, his third wife. He continued composing almost to the end of his life, including more stage works and orchestral music, but the manuscripts remained unpublished and were apparently destroyed in 1961.

In his compositions, Scott Joplin strove for a "classical" excellence, and he longed for recognition as a composer of artistic merit, rather than one simply of popular acclaim. Although he lavished much of his creative efforts on extended works, it was with his piano Rags (miniatures rarely exceeding 68 bars of music) that he attained greatness. Both he and Stark referred to these pieces as "Classic Rags," comparing their artistic merit to that of European classics. The comparison is not unwarranted, for Joplin clearly sought to transcend the indifferent and commonplace quality of most Ragtime. This aim is evident in his comments regarding his music, in his plea for faithful renderings of his scores, and most of all in the care and skill with which he crafted his works. Joplin’s Rags, unlike those of most of his contemporaries, are notable for their melodically interesting inner voices, consistent and logical voice-leading, subtle structural relationships and rich chromatic harmonies supported by strongly directed bass lines. These qualities are all apparent in Rose Leaf Rag, where Joplin also replaces the traditional Ragtime bass pattern with an original figure. Throughout his music, Joplin reveals himself as a composer of substance.

A renewed interest in Joplin’s music began in the early 1940s, though such interest remained limited until the Ragtime revival of the 1970s, when most of his works were reissued, performed, and analyzed. Treemonisha was lavishly staged and recorded. Public acclaim and official recognition came in the form of a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1976 and a commemorative postage stamp in 1983.

Works of Scott Joplin
Piano Rags
* Maple Leaf Rag (Sedalia, 1899)
* Original Rags (arr. C. Daniels) (Kansas City, 1899)
* Swipesy Cake Walk (collab. A. Marshall) (1900)
* The Easy Winners (1901)
* Peacherine Rag (1901)
* Sunflower Slow Drag (collab. S. Hayden) (1901)
* A Breeze from Alabama (1902)
* Elite Syncopations (1902)
* The Entertainer (1902)
* The Strenuous Life (1902)
* Palm Leaf (Chicago, 1903)
* Something Doing (collab. Hayden) (1903)
* Weeping Willow (1903)
* The Cascades (1904)
* The Chrysanthemum (1904)
* The Favorite (Sedalia, 1904)
* The Sycamore (New York, 1904)
* Bethena, Ragtime Waltz (1905)
* Leola (1905)
* Eugenia (Chicago, 1906)
* The Ragtime Dance (New York, 1906)
* Gladiolus Rag (New York, 1907)
* Heliotrope Bouquet (collab. L. Chauvin) (New York, 1907)
* Lily Queen (collab. Marshall) (New York, 1907)
* Nonpareil (New York, 1907)
* Rose Leaf Rag (Boston, 1907)
* Searchlight Rag (New York, 1907)
* Fig Leaf Rag (New York, 1908)
* Pine Apple Rag (New York, 1908)
* Sugar Cane (New York, 1908)
* Country Club (New York, 1909)
* Euphonic Sounds (New York, 1909)
* Paragon Rag (New York, 1909)
* Pleasant Moments, Ragtime Waltz (New York, 1909)
* Wall Street Rag (New York, 1909)
* Stoptime Rag (New York, 1910)
* Felicity Rag (collab. Hayden) (New York, 1911)
* Scott Joplin’s New Rag (New York, 1912)
* Kismet (collab. Hayden) (1913)
* Magnetic Rag (New York, 1914)
* Reflection Rag (1917)
* Silver Swan Rag (New York, 1971)

Other Piano Works
* Combination March (Temple, TX, 1896)
* Great Collision March (Temple, 1896)
* Harmony Club Waltz (Temple, 1896)
* Augustan Club Waltz (1901)
* Cleopha (1902)
* March Majestic (1902)
* Binks’s Waltz (1905)
* Rosebud (1905)
* Antoinette (New York, 1906)
* School of Ragtime, 6 exercises (New York, 1908)
* Solace (New York, 1909)

Songs for Voice & Piano
* A Picture of Her Face (Joplin) (Syracuse, NY, 1895)
* Please Say You Will (Joplin) (Syracuse, 1895)
* I Am Thinking of My Pickaninny Days (H. Jackson) (1901)
* Little Black Baby (L.A. Bristol) (Chicago, 1903)
* Maple Leaf Rag (S. Brown) (1903)
* Sarah Dear (Jackson) (1905)
* When Your Hair is like the Snow (O. Spendthrift) (1907)
* Pine Apple Rag (J. Snyder) (New York, 1910)

Stage Works
* The Ragtime Dance (Ballet), Wood’s Opera House, Sedalia, 1899 (1902)
* A Guest of Honor (Opera), East St Louis, IL, 1903, (score lost)
* Treemonisha (Opera), Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, Atlanta, GA, 1972, (New York, 1911) =>>>>>>>>>>>

**) All of audio file links stored @ Carolina Classical

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Scott Joplin sheet music
The Easy Winners
A Breeze From Alabama
Maple Leaf Rag
The Entertainer
Scott Joplin sheet music @ Music Scores
Scott Joplin sheet music @ 8 Notes
Scott Joplin - Original Piano Rolls (1896-1917) =>>>>>>>>>>>
  1. The Entertainer (MP3)
  2. Pine Apple Rag (MP3)
  3. Reflection Rag (MP3)
  4. The Ragtime Dance (MP3)
  5. Sugar Cane (MP3)
  6. Combination March (MP3)
  7. Elite Syncopations (MP3)
  8. A Real Slow Rag (MP3)
  9. Paragon Rag (MP3)
  10. Scott Joplin's New Rag (MP3)
  11. Solace (formato MP3)
  12. Paecherine Rag (MP3)
  13. Rose Leaf Rag (MP3)
  14. Swipesy (formato MP3)
  15. The Sycamore (MP3)
  16. Stoptime Rag (MP3)
  17. The Silver Rag (MP3)
  18. Original Rags (MP3)
  19. Pleasant Moments (MP3)
  20. Scott Joplin's Best Rag (MP3)

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