La música de Jazz des dels seus orígens ha passat per diversos estils. Certament els estils responen a un moment determinat i per tant es poden identificar amb costums, modes, corrents de pensament, conjuntures, etc. En tots els casos un nou estil musical, sigui del jazz o de qualsevol altre música, respon a un acte de creació i sens cap mena de dubte és una innovació, un canvi, respecte el que es feia fins aquell moment. Els processos d’innovació i de canvi en qualsevol àmbit considero que són molt interessants, i en el cas del jazz aquests nous estils sempre els ha aportat algun o alguns músics destacables i reconeguts, evidentment com en qualsevol àmbit de la creativitat. També es cert que el món del jazz, com un dels “negocis” del show bussiness, pel que fa a aquests lideratges hi ha darrera de l’èxit moltes vegades una campanya de màrketing perfectament orquestrada que ens fa difícil diferenciar en el moment que apareix el nou estil que té realment d’acte creatiu o que té simplement de campanya publicitària o gatget per atreure el consum cultural o d’entreteniment cap a altres ofertes. Però de nous estils amb campanya de màrketing als USA n’han sortit un reguitzell, un darrera l’altre al llarg dels anys, i al final tant sols alguns d’aquests romanen i penso que val la pena retenir justament aquests que finalment s’han mantingut després de les campanyes.
En tots aquests processos de canvi en els estils jazzístics penso que cal captar fonamentalment dues coses: en primer lloc, la relació de la innovació amb la comunitat creativa, o sigui els músics; i en segon lloc, la relació amb el públic en general.
En el primer cas, penso que quan aquesta innovació o nou estil l’acaba adoptant la comunitat de músics, o sigui que es passa a sociabilitzar entre els musics, el nou estil ja no es cosa d’un líder o un grup de músics que han trobat “un producte” per diferenciar-se, atreure la atenció, tenir més contractes o augmentar el seu caché, si no que aporta quelcom més als creadors. Aquest fet es clau a l’hora d’analitzar la seva aportació o no al jazz com a patrimoni musical.
En el segon cas, o sigui en relació al públic, aquí també podem trobar que el nou estil pot ser efímer i moure’s segons el mercat de consum o arribar a ser incorporat a la memòria musical col·lectiva i es converteix amb un referent. Quan això passa ho hem de saber captar i valorar respectuosament el nou estil, doncs d’alguna manera ja estem davant d’un fenomen més sòlid.
De la mateixa manera que un estil musical neix en un moment determinat i lògicament té uns anys d’esplendor, algunes vegades inclús de predomini aclaparador, o en alguns casos de domini aniquilador i exterminador dels altres estils comtemporànis, o més aviat de competència amb els anteriors o els contemporanis, o simplement de coexistència o complementarietat, de barreja sostenible, etc. En tots els estils podríem trobar quin és el tipus de relació que ha establert amb la resta d’estils i probablement arribar a esbrinar el per què. Però també com totes les coses en la vida, res és permanent, i un dia o altre perden influència els nous estils, o fins i tot s’acaben, s’apaguen, s’obliden, o s’abandonen, o ja no agraden tant com abans, o agraden menys que d’altres, o per que ja no és rentable mantenir-los en el show bussiness, o el seu format es insostenible (com en el cas de les big band en la musica en directe), en fi o pel motiu que sigui. Penso que tots estaríem bastant d’acord amb aquestes biografies dels estils que relaciono a continuació, finalment és el que ha passat, són fets incontestables.
El que plantejo de forma una mica provocadora en relació als estils jazzístics, es que una vegada ha nascut un nou estil i s’ha implantat entre la comunitat de jazzmen i entre els afeccionats al jazz, considero que aquest estil passa a formar part del patrimoni cultural del jazz en majúscules i per tant, des del punt de vista musical, no té una data de caducitat (que seria el moment en que deixa de ser un estil nou o perdre el predomini). Aquesta es la meva proposta en relació als diversos estils jazzístics. Es més, vull dir que cal acabar amb les baralles estèrils que s’han mantingut durant tants d’anys entre els afeccionats, normalment els blancs, en relació a que si els intèrprets d’un o altre estil es mereixen o no ser catalogats com a jazz autèntic (per exemple la nefasta “ex-comunió” per part d’una sèrie d’aficionats del jazz dit tradicional de totes les corrents be-bop i posteriors) i a la vegada la marginació per part d’un altre sèrie d’aficionats d’intèrprets de determinats estils simplement pel fet de no ser els que toca o tocava per la moda predominant, per ser catalogats com a música decadent d’entreteniment, etc. Aquesta mena de sisme en el món del jazz des dels anys ’40 ha estat molt empobridor per tots els aficionats, pels musics de jazz i pel jazz. Actualment estic totalment convençut de la validesa, des del punt de vista del jazz, de tots els estils de jazz, doncs considero que tots i cadascun d’ells forma part del patrimoni musical del jazz més autèntic i hauríem de parlar del gran patrimoni d’estils de jazz sense exclore’n cap.
Actualment estan sorgint un munt de grandíssims músics de jazz que encapçalen la tasca de reconstrucció i preservació del gran patrimoni de la música de jazz, entre ells i de forma destacada, en Winton Marsallis, però també molts d’altres. Penso que no són, ni se’ls pot catalogar, d’eclèctics pel fet de saber interpretar rigorosament jazz en diversos estils. Es sorprenent sentir com alguns intèrprets actuals són capaços de passar a interpretar un tema en un estil dels anys 20, totalment hot, i del més genuí, i tot seguit interpretar un tema tècnicament complicat en la més pura tradició be-bop, per passar a un tema swing executat de forma impecable, seguir amb un altre d’estil afrobeat, etc. Després de tants anys de desqualificacions fonamentalistes i d’intèrprets tant especialitzats en determinats estils, tant fàcilment catalogables, certament aquesta capacitat integradora i aquest coneixement enciclopèdic, a l’estil dels reneixentistes, poder ens desorienta per manca de costum o de mandra intel·lectgual, però sense cap mena de dubte aquests jazzmen que són capaços de fer-ho, a tots ells els avala una sòlida formació, una tècnica fora de lo comú, una trajectòria musical diversa i coherent, una proposta cultural de referència i una pertinença social absolutament seriosa i inequívoca. Aquesta generació de músics joves és la més ben preparada de tota la història del jazz. Davant la seva proposta jazzística tant atractiva en algunes coses i tant complicada en altres, si més no ens obliga a escoltar-la sense prejudicis, sense necessitat de catalogar-la i sobretot d’aprofundir-la i conèixer-la “par coeur” com toca, com hem fet sempre amb els jazzmen que ens agradaven des de l’Amrstrong del Hot Five, o Louis Jordan, o Ellington, o Lester Young, o Billie Holiday, etc. Justament penso que la nova generació de músics de jazz, tots ells s’han format en grans escoles, poder sí que els hi podem tirar en cara que no tenen la espontaneïtat, la frescor, la picardia, la intuïció i la capacitat de comunicació natural dels músics originals, més primaris culturalment parlant, però sens dubte, el que fan amb el material de jazz que han heretat o han recuperat, el que creen, i tot el que divulguen i preserven no es altre cosa que una mostra de l’ampli domini i coneixements de la música de jazz. El tema com sempre, es fer jazz amb rigor, autenticitat, creativitat, comunicant, etc. I encara un altre, una qüestió és si un intèrpret ens agrada més o menys (sempre hem dit que a nivell de gustos, no hi ha disputes), i un altre de molt diferent, es si això es degut precisament a l’estil en que toca l’intèrpret (i aquí penso que hi ha bastant de fonamentalisme excloent). Admeto que no tots els estils han aportat el mateix, es més segons en quins moments, situacions, o etapes de la vida ens diu més un estil que un altre. Fins i tot alguns estils, personalment ho admeto, no em diuen res, però això també em passa amb molts temes, o amb determinats compositors, o amb alguns arranjaments, etc., i no per això penso que podem plantificar la llufa excloent de que això, com que no m’agrada, no és jazz. Faltaria més! Seria hora d’abandonar els fonamentalismes i els prejudicis i fer una revisió a fons del que hem dit i pontificat tots aquests anys. El temps tot ho cicatritza i avui, la perspectiva que ens dona el temps (mai en la història del jazz, tants afeccionats havíem tingut tants materials disponibles de totes les èpoques i estils i de tanta qualitat) penso que ens pot aportar una aproximació molt enriquidora de l’univers tant complex del jazz. En aquest sentit trobo que cal aplaudir que ha emprès amb tant de rigor “The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music”(ABRSM) que en el syllabus inclou de forma obligatòria el domini de tots els estils, o si més no els més característiques de tota la història del jazz (com pots veure en una sèrie de posts d’aquest blog podràs consultar les seves propostes específiques sobre alguns dels més fonamentals).
Per tant, no hi ha cap estil caducat i tots són vàlids segons el que volem comunicar. Tots aporten alguna qüestió musicalment interessant. Proposo fer una excursió per aquesta llarga llista d’estils i intentar captar el que té d’específic cada un d’ells. A continuació et relaciono per ordre alfabètic els estils probablement més característics de tota la història d’aquesta música (en tots els casos veuràs la font de procedència de la descripció):
- Cool jazz
- Gypsy jazz (o “Jazz manouche”)
- Hard Bop
- Hip Hop
- Kansas City Jazz
- Latin jazz
- Modal jazz
- Negro Spiritual (o Gospel)
- Rhythm & Blues
- Ska jazz
- Soul jazz
- Trad jazz
A continuació una breu descripció de cada un dels estils mencionats. En cada cas es descriuen les característiques de cada estil, indicant en quin període han estat més rellevants.
(Font, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afro-beat )
Afrobeat is a combination of Yoruba music, jazz, Highlife, and funk rhythms, fused with African percussion and vocal styles, popularized in Africa in the 1970s. Afrobeat’s main creator and best known artist was the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Fela Kuti, who coined the term Afrobeat, shaped the musical structure and also the political context of the genre in Nigeria
Kuti launched Afrobeat in the late 60′s with his famous and unequalled band Egypt 80. He had earlier played a fusion of jazz and highlife (For which he first used the term ‘Afrobeat’) with his Koola Lobitos Band.
Characteristics of Afrobeat are:
* Big bands: A large group of musicians playing various instruments;
* Energy: Energetic, exciting and with high tempo, polyrhythmic percussion;
* Repetition: The same musical movements are repeated many times;
* Improvisation: Performing without set music;
* Combination of genres: A mixture of various musical influences.
* Vocals tend to be sung in Yoruba and Pidgin English as Kuti, who spoke perfect English, regarded this as being the language best understood across all of Africa’s borders.
Afrobeat originated from the southern part of Nigeria in the 60s where Kuti experimented with many different forms of contemporary music of the time. Prevalent in his music are native African harmonies and rhythms, taking different elements and combining, modernizing and improvising upon them. Politics are essential to the genre of Afrobeat, since founder Kuti used social criticism to pave the way for social change. His message can be described as confrontational and controversial, which can be related to the political climate of most of the African countries in the 60s, many of which were dealing with political injustice and military corruption while recovering from the transition from colonial governments to self-determination.
As the genre spread throughout the African continent many bands took up the style. The recordings of these bands and their songs were rarely heard or exported outside the originating countries but many can now be found on compilation albums and CDs from specialist record shops.
Many jazz musicians have been attracted to Afrobeat. From Roy Ayers in the seventies to Randy Weston in the nineties, there have been collaborations which have resulted in albums such as Africa: Centre of the World by Roy Ayers, released on the Polydor label in 1981. In 1994 Branford Marsalis, the American jazz saxophonist, included samples of Fela’s “Beast of No Nation” on his Buckshot leFonque album.
Afrobeat has profoundly influenced important contemporary producers like Brian Eno, who credits Fela Kuti as an influence. The horn section of Antibalas are guest musicians on the Foals album, Antidotes.
(Font, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bebop )
Bebop or bop is a form of jazz characterized by fast tempos and improvisation based on harmonic structure rather than melody. It was developed in the early and mid-1940s. It first surfaced in musicians’ argot some time during the first two years of the Second World War.
The 1939 recording of “Body and Soul” by Coleman Hawkins is an important antecedent of bebop. Hawkins’ willingness to stray — even briefly — from the ordinary resolution of musical themes and his playful jumps to double-time signaled a departure from existing jazz. The recording was popular; but more importantly, from a historical perspective, Hawkins became an inspiration to a younger generation of jazz musicians, most notably Charlie Parker, in Kansas City.
In the 1940s, the younger generation of jazz musicians forged a new style out of the swing music of the 1930s. Mavericks like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Thelonious Monk, were influenced by the preceding generation’s adventurous soloists, such as pianists Art Tatum and Earl Hines, tenor saxophonists Hawkins and Lester Young, and trumpeter Roy Eldridge. Gillespie and Parker had traveled with some of the pre-bop masters, including Jack Teagarden, Hines, and Jay McShann. These forerunners of bebop began exploring advanced harmonies, complex syncopation, altered chords, and chord substitutions, and the bop generation advanced these techniques with a more freewheeling and often arcane approach.
Minton’s Playhouse in New York served as a workout room and experimental theatre for early bebop players, including Charlie Christian, who had already hinted at the bop style in innovative solos with Benny Goodman’s band.
Christian’s major influence was in the realm of rhythmic phrasing. Christian commonly emphasized weak beats and off beats, and often ended his phrases on the second half of the fourth beat. Christian experimented with asymmetrical phrasing, which was to become a core element of the new bop style. Swing improvisation was commonly constructed in two or four bar phrases that corresponded to the harmonic cadences of the underlying song form. Bop improvisers would often deploy phrases over an odd number of bars, and overlap their phrases across bar lines and across major harmonic cadences. Christian and the other early boppers would also begin stating a harmony in their improvised line before it appeared in the song form being outlined by the rhythm section. This momentary dissonance creates a strong sense of forward motion in the improvisation. Swing improvisers commonly emphasized the first and third beats of a measure. But in a bebop composition such as Dizzy Gillespie’s “Salt Peanuts”, the rhythmic emphasis switches to the second and fourth beats of the measure. Such new rhythmic phrasing techniques give the typical bop solo a feeling of floating free over the underlying song form, rather than being tied into the song form.
Swing drummers had kept up a steady four-to-the-bar pulse on the bass drum. Bop drummers, led by Kenny Clarke, moved the drumset’s time-keeping function to the ride or hi-hat cymbal, reserving the bass drum for accents. Bass drum accents were colloquially termed “dropping bombs.” Notable bop drummers such as Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Roy Haynes, and Kenny Clarke began to support and respond to soloists, almost like a shifting call and response.
This change increased the importance of the string bass. Now, the bass not only maintained the music’s harmonic foundation, but also became responsible for establishing a metronomic rhythmic foundation by playing a “walking” bass line of four quarter notes to the bar. While small swing ensembles commonly functioned without a bassist, the new bop style required a bass in every small ensemble.
By 1950, a second wave of bebop musicians — such as Clifford Brown, Sonny Stitt, and Fats Navarro — began to smooth out the rhythmic eccentricities of early bebop. Instead of using jagged phrasing to create rhythmic interest, as the early boppers had, these musicians constructed their improvised lines out of long strings of eighth notes, and simply accented certain notes in the line to create rhythmic variety.
Bebop differed drastically from the straightforward compositions of the swing era, and was instead characterized by fast tempos, asymmetrical phrasing, complex harmonies, intricate melodies, and rhythm sections that expanded on their role as tempo-keepers. The music itself seemed jarringly different to the ears of the public, who were used to the bouncy, organized, danceable tunes of Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller during the swing era. Instead, bebop appeared to sound racing, nervous, and often fragmented. But to jazz musicians and jazz music lovers, bebop was an exciting and beautiful revolution in the art of jazz.
While swing music tended to feature orchestrated big band arrangements, bebop music was much more free in its structure. Typically, a theme (a “head,” often the main melody of a pop or jazz standard of the swing era) would be presented in unison at the beginning and the end of each piece, with improvisational solos based on the major chords making up the body of the work. Thus, the majority of a song in bebop style would be improvisation, the only threads holding the work together being the underlying harmonies played by the rhythm section. Sometimes improvisation included references to the original melody or to other well-known melodic lines (“allusions,” or “riffs”). Sometimes they were entirely original, spontaneous melodies from start to finish.
Bebop music extended the jazz vocabulary by exploring new harmonic territory through the use of altered chords and chord substitutions (using a different chord than originally composed, such as a diminished or flattened fifth, the “blue note”). While this produced a more colorful and rich harmonic sound than past jazz styles, it also required a highly trained musician to execute well. Melodies grew in complexity from those of swing jazz, and began to twist, turn, and jump rapidly to follow quickly-changing chord progressions.
As bebop grew from its swing-era roots, these progressions often were taken directly from popular swing-era songs and reused with a new and more complex bebop melody, forming new compositions known as a contrafacts. While contrafaction was already a well-established practice in earlier jazz, it came to be central to the bebop style. Musicians and audiences alike were able to find something familiar in this new exotic sound, but perhaps more importantly, small record labels such as Savoy, often avoided paying copyright fees for pop tunes.
Specific harmonic vocabulary
The predominating contour of bebop melodies is that they tend to ascend in arpeggios and descend in scale steps – the composed melody to “Donna Lee” (a be-bop tune based on the changes of the ’30s pop tune Indiana) being a classic example. While a stereotype, an examination of improvised and written be-bop melodies shows this to be a key quality of the music.
Ascending arpeggios are frequently of diminished seventh chords, which function as 7b9 chords of various types. Typical scales used in bebop include the bebop major, minor and dominant (see below), the harmonic minor and the chromatic.
The half-whole diminished scale is also occasionally used, and in the music of Thelonious Monk especially, the whole tone scale.
Of the modes of the ascending melodic minor, such as the altered scale and lydian dominant beloved of many modern jazz educators, there is little or no sign — it is widely thought that John Coltrane was among the first to use them, but as with many things in Jazz history, it’s hard to be certain.
Bebop frequently elaborates arpeggios with extra chromatic and scalar passing notes, some of which seem perverse. The flattened seventh is frequently added to major seventh arpeggios, the major to dominant chords and minor chords. Phrases frequently terminate on the 9th of the chord — a traditionally dissonant tone.
Bebop was also heavily characterized by melodic use of the flatted fifth. This is related to the harmonic technique of tritone substitution, popularised during the pre-war era by the pianist Art Tatum. Here, the familiar series of perfect cadences is replaced by chromatic motion of the root. Thus, the standard “IIm7 – V7 – I” sequence, a building block of the 20th century popular song, is reconstructed as “IIm7 – bII7 – I”. A bebop pianist, confronted with a chord marked as G7 (G dominant seventh) resolving to C, would often replace it with Db7 (Db dominant seventh). The tritone substitution could also be used within a standard dominant (V7) chord: for example, the G7 chord above could be a Db7 chord with G as the bass (another example of a flatted fifth). The original chord and the substituted chord share two important tones, the third and the seventh (in this case B and F).
Later codifications of bebop harmony emerged, notably in the teachings of pianist/educator Barry Harris, who encouraged players to learn “bebop scales” for improvising such as the Bebop Dominant 7th Scale (1 2 3 4 5 6 b7 7) and the Bebop Major Scale (1 2 3 4 5 #5 6 7) (although Barry himself refers to them by a different name.) A feature of these scales is that when they are played in 8th notes, up or down, players automatically play a tone featured in the corresponding chord on every 4/4 beat. These scales are often disguised by playing them through segments of an octave, changing direction on chord tones, or enclosing chord tones with a chromatic tone above and below the chord tone. Both of these techniques allow the improviser to embellish the bebop scale without sacrificing the effect of chord tones on every 4/4 beat.
Another important technique is anticipation — where a chord is expressed before it appears, and expansion, where the improviser holds on to it into the next chord. Again Parker’s recorded solos have many examples of this technique, which creates dissonance.
Many bebop progressions and solos make heavy use of tonicization, but this is typical of harmonic jazz in general.
Overall, bebop seems to have taken many of the raw materials of swing and liberated them — the underlying harmony and rhythm of improvised jazz lines became more malleable, and improvisers embraced this new freedom with relish. However, the raw materials of be-bop and swing era jazz; 12 bar blues forms and the pop songs of the 1930′s; remained central, with tunes like “I Got Rhythm”, “Cherokee” and “How High the Moon” forming central planks of the education of almost every subsequent generation of jazz musician.
The classic bebop combo consisted of saxophone, trumpet, bass, drums, and piano. This was a format used (and popularized) by both Charlie Parker (alto sax) and Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet) in their 1940s groups and recordings, sometimes augmented by an extra saxophonist or guitar, occasionally adding other horns (often a trombone), or other strings (usually fiddle or violin) or dropping an instrument and leaving only a quartet.
Although only one part of a rich jazz tradition, bebop music continues to be played regularly throughout the world. Trends in improvisation since its era have changed from its harmonically-tethered style, but the capacity to improvise over a complex sequence of altered chords is a fundamental part of any jazz education.
The word “bebop” is usually stated to be nonsense syllables (vocables) which were generated in scat singing, and is supposed to have been first attested in 1928. One speculation is that it was a term used by Charlie Christian, because it sounded like something he hummed along with his playing. However, possibly the most plausible theory is that it derives from the cry of “Arriba ! Arriba !” used by Latin American bandleaders of the period to encourage their bands. This squares with the fact that, originally, the terms “bebop” and “rebop” were used interchangeably. By 1945, the use of “bebop”/”rebop” as nonsense syllables was widespread in R&B music, for instance Lionel Hampton’s “Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop”, and a few years later in rock and roll, for instance Gene Vincent’s “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (1956).
Bebop’s influence. By the mid-1950s musicians (Miles Davis and John Coltrane among others) began to explore directions beyond the standard bebop vocabulary. Simultaneously, other players expanded on the bold steps of bebop: “cool jazz” or “West Coast jazz”, modal jazz, as well as free jazz and avant-garde forms of development from the likes of George Russell.
Bebop style also influenced the Beat Generation whose spoken-word style drew on jazz rhythms, and whose poets often employed jazz musicians to accompany them. The bebop influence also shows in rock and roll, which contains solos employing a form similar to bop solos, and “hippies” of the 60s and 70s, who, like the boppers had a unique, non-conformist style of dress, a vocabulary incoherent to outsiders, and a communion through music. Fans of bebop were not restricted to the USA; the music gained cult status in France and Japan.
More recently, Hip-hop artists (A Tribe Called Quest, Guru) have cited bebop as an influence on their rapping and rhythmic style. Bassist Ron Carter even collaborated with A Tribe Called Quest on 1991′s The Low End Theory, and vibraphonist Roy Ayers and trumpeter Donald Byrd were featured on Jazzmattazz, by Guru, in the same year. Bebop samples, especially bass lines, ride cymbal swing clips, and horn and piano riffs are found throughout the hip-hop compendium.
El Blues no el considero ni molt menys un estil si no una de les formes musicals troncals de la música negre afro-nord-americana més genuïna que ha donat peu justament al naixement del Jazz juntament amb els Negro Spirituals i el Ragtime. Es més el Blues en sí mateix es tot un enorme àmbit musical amb diversos estils, es més, el Blues s’ha tocat en pràcticament tots els estils del Jazz que es mencionen aquí, i a més a més ha generat estil propis i exclusius del Blues. Aquí no tractarem aquests temes per que ens portarien per camins molt diferents. De moment, reconèixer en primer lloc el deute musical del Jazz al Blues i per tant clarificar que el Blues no és un estil de Jazz, i per altre banda considerar el Blues com un dels pilars fonamentals, de les arrels, de la música negre afro-nord-americana. Això penso que calia aclarir-ho.
Es molt recomanable consultar la historia del Blues a Wikipwdia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blues
Boogie-woogie is a style of piano-based blues that became very popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but originated much earlier, and was extended from piano, to three pianos at once, guitar, big band, and country and western music, and even gospel. Whilst the blues traditionally depicts sadness and sorrow, boogie-woogie is associated with dancing. The lyrics of one of the very earliest, “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie”, consist entirely of instructions to dancers: “Now, when I tell you to hold it, I don’t want you to move a thing. And when I tell you to get it, I want you to Boogie Woogie!”
It is characterized by a regular bass figure, an ostinato and the most familiar example of shifts of level, in the left hand which elaborates on each chord, and trills and decorations from the right hand.
It is not strictly a solo piano style, but is also used to accompany singers and as a solo part in bands and small combos. It is sometimes called “eight to the bar”, as much of it is written in common time (4/4) time using eighth notes (quavers). The chord progressions are typically based on I – IV – V – I (with many formal variations of it, such as I/i – IV/iv – v/I, as well as chords that lead into these ones.
For the most part, boogie-woogie tunes are twelve-bar blues, although the style has been applied to popular songs like “Swannee River” and hymns like “(Just a) Closer Walk with Thee.”
The origin of the term boogie-woogie is unknown, according to Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary states that the word is a redoubling of boogie, which was used for rent parties as early as 1913. The term is often hyphenated.
Blues historian Robert Palmer wrote that the boogie-woogie style bass pattern may have been created in the logging and turpentine camps and oil boomtowns of Texas, Louisiana, and the Mississippi Delta circa 1900. Palmer also reports that Willie Dixon told Karl Gert zur Heide, author of “Deep South Piano” that in Mississippi before the term boogie was used, the eight to the bar piano patterns were called “Dudlow Joes”. In an interview with NPR blues singer and pianist Marcia Ball stated that “Boogie woogie started out with a bunch of different names, depending on where you were. Apparently there was a song by a guy named Dudlow, Joe Dudlow. He’s the first guy that a lot of them heard that was playing that kind of um… [playing]. And so they called it that for a while, Dudlow Joe.” The precise origin of boogie-woogie piano is, however, uncertain; it was no doubt influenced by early rough music played in honky tonks in the Southern United States. W.C. Handy and Jelly Roll Morton both mentioned hearing pianists playing this style before 1910. According to Clarence Williams, the style was started by Texas pianist George W. Thomas. Thomas published one of the earliest pieces of sheet music with the boogie-woogie bassline, “New Orleans Hop Scop Blues” in 1916, although Williams recalled hearing him play the number before 1911. The term “boogie” itself was in use very early, as in Wilbur Sweatman’s “Boogie Rag” recorded in April, 1917.
‘The Fives’, which was composed by George and Hersal Thomas from Texas, was copyrighted in 1921 and published in 1922, deserves much credit for the development of modern Boogie Woogie. All modern Boogie Woogie bass figures can be found in “The Fives,” including swinging, walking broken-octave bass, shuffled (swinging) chord bass (of the sort later used by Ammons, Lewis, and Clarence “Pine Top” Smith), and the ubiquitous “oom-pah” ragtime stride bass.
A song titled “Tin Roof Blues” was published in 1923 by the Clarence Williams Publishing Company. Compositional credit is given to Richard Jones. The Jones composition uses a boogie bass in the introduction with some variation throughout.
In February of 1923 Joseph Samuels’ Tampa Blue Jazz Band recorded the George W. Thomas number “The Fives” for Okeh Records, considered the first example of jazz band boogie-woogie. Jimmy Blythe’s recording of “Chicago Stomps” from April of 1924 is sometimes called the first complete boogie-woogie piano solo record.
The first boogie woogie hit was “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” by Pinetop Smith recorded in 1928 and first released in 1929. Pinetop’s record was the first boogie-woogie recording to be a commercial hit, and helped established boogie-woogie as the name of the style. It was closely followed by another example of pure boogie-woogie, “Honky Tonk Train Blues” by Meade Lux Lewis, recorded by Paramount Records; 1927 in music, first released in March of 1930. The performance emulates a railroad trip, perhaps lending credence to the “train theory”.
Boogie-woogie gained further public attention in 1938 and 1939, thanks to the From Spirituals to Swing concerts in Carnegie Hall promoted by record producer John Hammond. The concerts featured Pete Johnson and Big Joe Turner performing Turner’s tribute to Johnson, “Roll ‘Em Pete”, as well as Meade Lux Lewis performing “Honky Tonk Train Blues” and Albert Ammons playing “Swanee River Boogie’.
These three pianists, with Turner, took up residence in the Café Society night club in New York City where they were popular with the sophisticated set. They often played in combinations of two and even three pianos, creating a richly textured piano performance.
After the Carnegie Hall concerts, it was only natural for swing bands to incorporate the boogie woogie beat into some of their music. One of the first to do this was the Will Bradley orchestra, starting in 1939, which got them a string of boogie hits such as the original versions of “Beat Me Daddy (Eight To The Bar)” and “Down The Road A-Piece,” both 1940, and “Scrub Me Mamma With A Boogie Beat,” in 1941. The Andrews Sisters sang some boogies, and Tommy Dorsey’s band had a hit with an updated version of Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie in 1938, which was the Swing Era’s second best seller, only second to Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood”. After the floodgates were open, it was expected that every big band should have one or two boogie numbers in their repertoire, as the dancers were learning to jitterbug and do the Lindy Hop, which required the boogie woogie beat.
The popularity of the Carnegie Hall concerts meant work for many of the fellow boogie players and also led to the adaptation of boogie-woogie sounds to many other forms of music. Tommy Dorsey’s band had a hit with “T.D.’s Boogie Woogie” as arranged by Sy Oliver and soon there were boogie-woogie songs, recorded and printed, of many different stripes. Most famously, in the big-band genre, the ubiquitous “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” which was revamped recently by Christina Aguilera as her 2006 hit, “Candy Man.”
In the many styles of blues, especially Chicago blues and (more recently) West Coast blues, most pianists were influenced by, and employed, the traditional boogie woogie styles. Some of the earliest and most influential were Big Maceo Merriweather and, later, Sunnyland Slim (perhaps the greatest of all Chicago blues pianists). Otis Spann and Pinetop Perkins, two of the best known blues pianists, are heavily boogie-woogie influenced, with the latter taking both his name and signature tune from Pinetop Smith.
The boogie-woogie fad lasted from the late 1930s into the early fifties, and made a major contribution to the development of jump blues and ultimately to rock and roll, epitomized by Jerry Lee Lewis. Boogie woogie is still to be heard in clubs and on records throughout Europe and North America.
In classical music, the composer Conlon Nancarrow was also deeply influenced by boogie-woogie, as many of his early works for player piano demonstrate. “A Wonderful Time Up There” is a boogie woogie gospel song.
Povel Ramel’s first hit in 1944 was Johanssons boogie-woogie-vals where he mixed boogie-woogie with waltz.
John Lee Hooker took the Boogie-woogie style over to guitar from piano, creating the Boogie song “Boogie Chillen”.
Cool jazz is a jazz style that emerged in the late 1940s in New York City.
During 1945, after the Second World War, there was an influx of Californian (predominantly white) jazz musicians to New York. Once there, these musicians mixed with the mostly black bebop musicians, but were also strongly influenced by the “smooth” sound of saxophonist Lester Young. The style that emerged became known as “cool jazz”, which avoided the aggressive tempos and harmonic abstraction of bebop. Cool jazz is often differentiated from other jazz idioms by its emphasis on the intellectual aspects of the music. Such aspects would include intricate arrangements, innovative forms, and through composed feel (even through improvised sections.)
Cool jazz had several sources and tributaries. Arrangers Gil Evans and Gerry Mulligan developed their initial ideas working for the Michael Tower Orchestra, which featured such then-unheard-of instruments (for jazz) as french horn and tuba; the added forces permitted Evans and Mulligan to explore softer emotional and timbral shading than had been typical of swing-era big bands. Another variety of “cool jazz” was that of the pianist Lennie Tristano and his students, notably the saxophonists Lee Konitz (who spent some time in the Thornhill band) and Warne Marsh. Tristano’s music is very different from what Evans and his colleagues were up to: its “coolness” was a matter of emotional temperature (Tristano required saxophonists to play with a “pure” tone and to concentrate on melodic development and interaction rather than overt emotionalism), but his emphasis on sometimes ferociously fast tempos and on pure improvisation rather than arrangement was closer to bebop.
The classic confluence of these various streams came with the 1949-1950 sessions now best known under their later title: Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool (1957). Despite Davis’s top billing, this was in fact a collective project that drew together many players and arrangers/composers from the period: Davis, Evans, Mulligan, Konitz, John Lewis, Gunther Schuller, and Johnny Carisi. Issued only shortly after bebop had begun to establish itself, it offered an alternative aesthetic that was initially unpopular – the recordings originally sold poorly and the band did not last long – but slowly established itself as a jazz classic.
Despite its impact in the New York scene, cool jazz later became strongly identified with the West Coast jazz scene. Californian group The Dave Brubeck Quartet recorded the popular Cool Jazz album Time Out in 1959, which rose to number two on the Billboard “Pop Albums” chart. The Cool Jazz influence stretches into such later developments as bossa nova, modal jazz (especially in the form of Davis’s Kind of Blue 1959), and even free jazz (in the form of Jimmy Giuffre’s 1961-1962 trio).
(Font, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixieland )
Dixieland music or sometimes referred to as Hot jazz is a style of jazz which developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century, and was spread to Chicago and New York City by New Orleans bands in the 1910s. Dixieland jazz combined brass band marches, French Quadrilles, ragtime and blues with collective, polyphonic improvisation by trumpet (or cornet), trombone, and clarinet over a “rhythm section” of piano, guitar, banjo, drums, and a double bass or tuba.
Well-known jazz standard songs from the Dixieland era, such as “Basin Street Blues” and “When the Saints Go Marching In”, which are known even to non-jazz fans (for more information on Dixieland songs, see the List of Dixieland standards).
The style combined earlier brass band marches, French Quadrilles, ragtime and blues with collective, polyphonic improvisation. While instrumentation and size of bands can be very flexible, the “standard” band consists of a “front line” of trumpet (or cornet), trombone, and clarinet, with a “rhythm section” of at least two of the following instruments: guitar or banjo, string bass or tuba, piano, and drums.
The term Dixieland became widely used after the advent of the first million-selling hit records of the Original Dixieland Jass Band in 1917. The music has been played continuously since the early part of the 20th century. Louis Armstrong’s All-Stars was the band most popularly identified with Dixieland, although Armstrong’s own influence runs through all of jazz.
The definitive Dixieland sound is created when one instrument (usually the trumpet) plays the melody or a recognizable paraphrase or variation on it, and the other instruments of the “front line” improvise around that melody. This creates a more polyphonic sound than the extremely regimented big band sound or the unison melody of bebop.
The swing era of the 1930s led to the end of many Dixieland Jazz musicians’ careers. Only a few musicians were able to maintain popularity. Most retired.
With the advent of bebop in the 1940s, the earlier group-improvisation style fell out of favor with the majority of younger black players, while some older players of both races continued on in the older style. Though younger musicians developed new forms, many beboppers revered Armstrong, and quoted fragments of his recorded music in their own improvisations.
There was a revival of Dixieland in the late 1940s and 1950s, which brought many semiretired musicians a measure of fame late in their lives as well as bringing retired musicians back onto the jazz circuit after years of not playing (e.g. Kid Ory). Many Dixieland groups of the revival era consciously imitated the recordings and bands of decades earlier. Other musicians continued to create innovative performances and new tunes. For example, in the 1950s a style called “Progressive Dixieland” sought to blend traditional Dixieland melody with bebop-style rhythm. Steve Lacy played with several such bands early in his career. This style is sometimes called “Dixie-bop”.
Some fans of post- bebop jazz consider Dixieland no longer to be a vital part of jazz, while some adherents consider music in the traditional style, when well and creatively played, every bit as modern as any other jazz style.
Etymology. While the term Dixieland is still in wide use, the term’s appropriateness is a hotly debated topic in some circles. For some it is the preferred label (especially bands on the USA’s West coast and those influenced by the 1940s revival bands), while others (especially New Orleans musicians, and those influenced by the African-American bands of the 1920s) would rather use terms like Classic Jazz or Traditional Jazz. Some of the latter consider Dixieland a derogatory term implying superficial hokum played without passion or deep understanding of the music.
According to jazz writer Gary Giddins, the term Dixieland was widely understood in the early 20th century as a code for “black music.” Frequent references to Dixieland were made in the lyrics of popular songs of this era, often written by songwriters of both races who had never been south of New Jersey. Other composers of the “Dixieland” standards, such as Clarence Williams and Jelly Roll Morton, were native New Orleanians.
A traditionalist jazz band plays at a party in New Orleans in 2005. Shown here are Chris Clifton, on trumpet; Brian O’Connell, on clarinet; Les Muscutt, on banjo; Chuck Badie, on string bass; and Tom Ebert, on trombone.
A traditionalist jazz band plays at a party in New Orleans in 2005. Shown here are Chris Clifton, on trumpet; Brian O’Connell, on clarinet; Les Muscutt, on banjo; Chuck Badie, on string bass; and Tom Ebert, on trombone.
Dixieland is often today applied to white bands playing in a traditional style. Some critics regard this labeling as incorrect. From the late 1930s on, black and mixed-race bands playing in a more traditional group-improvising style were referred to in the jazz press as playing “small-band Swing,” while white and mixed-race bands such as those of Eddie Condon and Muggsy Spanier were tagged with the Dixieland label.
This brings us back to the fundamentally problematic character of the term Dixieland as a musical category. There are black musicians today, young as well as old, who play New Orleans jazz, traditional jazz, or small band swing that musically could also be called Dixieland, although black musicians would not usually accept that term. Thus it makes sense to say only white musicians play Dixieland. In the early 20th century, Dixieland may have been understood as a code for black music in the northern US. However, in New Orleans the distinction was as clear then as now. It is sometimes said that only white bands were called Dixieland bands, like the Original Dixieland Jazz Band.
While there is some evidence for this generalization, there are numerous counterexamples of African-American New Orleans musicians calling their music “Dixieland” or including the word “Dixieland” in the name of their band from the 1920s through the 1960s. Younger generations of African-American New Orleans musicians generally strongly reject the “Dixieland” label.
A number of early black bands used the term “Creole” or possibly “Creole Jazz” (as with King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band), including some that were not actually ethnic Creoles. It is therefore unclear whether this usage of the term “Creole” was descriptive of the band in question, or of the musical style itself. When interpreted as being descriptive of the musical style, the term “Creole Jazz” exists as evidence that some early black jazz musicians believed that Jazz was Creole in origin.
Younger generations of primarily white players continued to find inspiration in the spirited, highly rhythmic traditional style of playing, with the result that the ranks of African-Americans today playing in the Dixieland style of jazz are very few. However, this has to be understood with the recognition that Dixieland jazz is as much a social/racial category as it is a musical one, unlike the more specifically musical New Orleans jazz or Traditional jazz. In these latter categories there are plenty of active young black musicians. The upshot of this is that although Dixieland is a term used to mean “traditional jazz” outside of jazz, within jazz it is a white subset of traditional jazz.
Today there are three main active streams of Dixieland jazz:
- “Chicago style” is often applied to the sound of Chicagoans such as Eddie Condon, Muggsy Spanier, and Bud Freeman. The rhythm sections of these bands substitute the string bass for the tuba and the guitar for the banjo. Musically, the Chicagoans play in more of a swing-style 4-to-the-bar manner. The New Orleanian preference for an ensemble sound is deemphasized in favor of solos. Chicago-style dixieland also differs from its southern origin by being faster paced, resembling the hustle-bustle of city life. Chicago-style bands play a wide variety of tunes, including most of those of the more traditional bands plus many of the Great American Songbook selections from the 1930s by George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. Non-Chicagoans such as Pee Wee Russell and Bobby Hackett are often thought of as playing in this style. This modernized style came to be called Nicksieland, after Nick’s Greenwich Village night club, where it was popular. though the term was not limited to that club.
- The “West Coast revival” is a movement begun in the late 1930s by the Lu Watters Yerba Buena Jazz Band of San Francisco and extended by trombonist Turk Murphy. It started out as a backlash to the Chicago style, which is closer in development towards swing. The repertoire of these bands is based on the music of Joe “King” Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and W.C. Handy. Bands playing in the West Coast style use banjo and tuba in the rhythm sections, which play in a 2-to-the-bar rhythmic style. Watters was fixated on reproducing the recorded sound of King Oliver’s band with Armstrong on second cornet. Since the Oliver recordings were acoustic, they had no drums, so Watters omitted the drums as well, even though Oliver had drums when he played live.
- The “New Orleans Traditional” revival movement began with the rediscovery of Bunk Johnson in 1942 and was extended by the founding of Preservation Hall in the French Quarter during the 1960s. Bands playing in this style use string bass and banjo in the rhythm section playing 4-to-the-bar and feature popular tunes and Gospel hymns that were played in New Orleans since the early 20th century such as “Ice Cream,” “You Tell Me Your Dream,” “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and some tunes from the New Orleans brass band literature. The New Orleans “revival” of the 1960s added a greater number of solos, in a style influenced by mid-century New York Dixieland combos, as this was less of a strain on some musicians of advanced years than the older New Orleans style with much more ensemble playing.
There are also active traditionalist scenes around the world, especially in Britain and Australia.
Famous traditional Dixieland tunes include: “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Muskrat Ramble,” “Struttin’ With Some Barbecue,” “Tiger Rag,” “Dippermouth Blues,” “Milenburg Joys,” “Basin Street Blues,” “Tin Roof Blues,” “At the Jazz Band Ball,” “Panama,” “I Found a New Baby,” “Royal Garden Blues” and many others. All of these tunes were widely played by jazz bands of both races of the pre-WWII era, especially Louis Armstrong. They came to be grouped as Dixieland standards beginning in the 1950s.
Styles influenced by Dixieland/Trad Jazz. Musical styles with important influence from Dixieland or Traditional Jazz include Swing music, some Rhythm & Blues and early Rock & Roll also show significant trad jazz influence, Fats Domino being an example. The contemporary New Orleans Brass Band styles, such as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Primate Fiasco, the Hot Tamale Brass Band and the Rebirth Brass Band have combined traditional New Orleans brass band jazz with such influences as contemporary jazz, funk, hip hop, and rap.
Partial List of Dixieland musicians. Some of the artists historically identified with Dixieland are mentioned in List of jazz musicians. Some of the best-selling and famous Dixieland artists of the post-WWII era:
* Tony Almerico, trumpeter, played Dixieland live on clear channel WWL radio in New Orleans, as well as at many downtown hotels, and was a tireless promoter of the music.
* The Dukes of Dixieland, the Assunto family band of New Orleans. A successor band continues on in New Orleans today.
* Eddie Condon, guitarist who led bands and ran a series of nightclubs in New York City and had a popular radio series. Successor bands played until the 1970s, and their mainstream style is still heard.
* Reed player Ron Dewar, who in the 1970s revitalized the Chicago traditional jazz scene with his short-lived but influential band The Memphis Nighthawks.
* Turk Murphy, a trombonist who led a band at Earthquake McGoons and other San Francisco venues from the late 1940s through the 1970s.
* Al Hirt, trumpeter who had a string of top-40 hits in the 1960s, led bands in New Orleans until his death.
* Pete Fountain, clarinetist who led popular bands in New Orleans, retired recently.
* Ward Kimball, leader of the Firehouse Five Plus Two
* Kenny Ball, had a top-40 hit with “Midnight in Moscow” in the early 1960s. From Britain.
* Jim Cullum, cornetist based in San Antonio, TX. With his late father, led bands in San Antonio since 1963, originally known as the Happy Jazz Band. Today leads the Jim Cullum Jazz Band featured on the long-running USA public radio series, Riverwalk Jazz.
* Tim Laughlin, clarinetist, protege of Pete Fountain, who has led many popular bands in New Orleans, and often tours in Europe during the summer
* Chris Tyle, cornetist, trumpeter, drummer, clarinetist, saxophonist, leader of the Silver Leaf Jazz Band. Also known as a jazz writer and educator. A member of the International Associate of Jazz Educators and the Jazz Journalists Assn.
* Mike Milnarik, tuba player based in Boston, Massachusetts. Leader of Dr. Fidgety Dixieland Jazz Band with Jimmy Mazzy, banjo/vocals; Ted Casher, clarinet; Gary Bohan, cornet; Fran Morello, trombone/vocals; and Dave Markell, drums.
* George Lewis and his band were one of the long time greats of Dixie Land Jazz – George died in 1968.
* Ivan Mládek is a Czech musician popular in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary whose humorous country-style songs are heavily influenced by dixieland.
* In Dresden, Germany, Dixieland is the name of Europe’s biggest international jazz festival. 500,000 visitors celebrate it mainly on the river. A smaller festival, called “Riverboat Jazz Festival” is held annually in the picturesque Danish town of Silkeborg.
* In the US, the largest traditional jazz festival, the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, is held in Sacramento, CA annually on Memorial Day weekend, with about 100,000 visitors and about 150 bands from all over the world. Other smaller festivals and jazz parties arose in the late 1960s as the rock revolution displaced many of the jazz nightclubs.
* The enormously famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival features jazz and many other genres by local, national, and internationally known artists.
* In Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain’s only dixieland festival has been held annually the week before Easter, since 1994, with 25 bands from all over the world and 100 performances in streets, theatres, cafés and hotels: Tarragona international dixieland festival.
* In Ascona, Switzerland, the JazzAscona New Orleans & Classics festival features Dixieland and other jazz styles and draws people to the shores of Lake Maggiore each summer: New Orleans Jazz Festival.
For more details on this topic, see List of festivals in Louisiana.
There are several active periodicals devoted to traditional jazz: The Mississippi Rag, the Jazz Rambler, and the American Rag published in the US; and Jazz Journal International published in Europe.
(Font, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funk_music )
Funk is an American musical style that originated in the mid- to late-1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, soul jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony, and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground. Unlike R&B and soul songs, which had many chord changes, funk songs are often based on an extended vamp on a single chord.
Like much of African inspired music, funk typically consists of a complex groove with rhythm instruments such as electric guitar, electric bass, Hammond organ, and drums playing interlocking rhythms. Funk bands also usually have a horn section of several saxophones, trumpets, and in some cases, a trombone, which plays rhythmic “hits”.
Influential African American funk performers include James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Curtis Mayfield, The Meters, The Funk Brothers, Bootsy Collins, and Prince. Notable 1970s funk bands included Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, The Commodores, and Kool & the Gang though many of these most famous bands in the genre also played disco and soul extensively. Funk music was a major influence on the development of 1970s disco music and funk samples are used in most styles of house music and hip hop music, and it’s also the main influence of Go-Go. Funk even left its mark on New Wave, and its pulse was evident in post punk as well.
Funk creates an intense groove by using strong bass guitar riffs and bass lines. Funk was built on Motown recordings, which put bassists such as James Jamerson to the forefront. Like Motown recordings, funk songs used bass lines as the centerpiece of songs. Notable funk bassists include Bootsy Collins, Bernard Edwards, George Porter, Jr., Louis Johnson and Larry Graham of Sly & the Family Stone. Graham is generally credited with inventing the percussive “slap bass technique.” Slap bass’ mixture of thumb-slapped low notes and finger “popped” high notes allowed the bass to have a drum-like rhythmic role, which became a distinctive element of funk. Some of the best known and most skillful soloists in funk have jazz backgrounds. Trombonist Fred Wesley and saxophonist Maceo Parker are among the most notable musicians in the funk music genre, with both of them working with James Brown, George Clinton and Prince. Sometimes 1970s funk bands are divided to “hardcore funk” and “sophisticated funk”, former concept referring to earthy sound in a vein of James Brown or Funkadelic while “sophisticated funk” refers to artists such as Earth, Wind & Fire or Brothers Johnson who use softer sounds and fill their albums with soul ballads.
Funk utilized the same extended chords found in bebop jazz, such as minor chords with added sevenths and elevenths or dominant seventh chords with altered ninths. However, unlike bebop jazz, with its dizzying and complex rapid-fire chord changes, funk virtually abandoned chord changes, creating static single chord vamps with little harmonic movement, but with a complex and driving rhythmic feel.
The chords used in funk songs typically imply a dorian or mixolydian mode as opposed to the major or natural minor tonalities of most popular music. Melodic content was derived by mixing these modes with the blues scale. In the 1970s, jazz music drew upon funk to create a new subgenre of jazz-funk, which can be heard in 1970s recordings by Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock.
In funk bands, guitarists typically play in a percussive style, often using the wah-wah sound effect and muting the notes in their riffs to create a percussive sound. Guitarist Ernie Isley of The Isley Brothers and Eddie Hazel of Funkadelic were influenced by Jimi Hendrix’s improvised solos. Eddie Hazel, who worked with George Clinton, is one of the most notable guitar soloists in funk. Ernie Isley was tutored at an early age by Jimi Hendrix himself, when he was a part of The Isley Brothers backing band and lived in the attic temporarily at the Isleys’ household. Jimmy Nolen and Phelps Collins are famous funk rhythm guitarists who both worked with James Brown.
Origin of funk. The word “funk”, once defined in dictionaries as body odor or the smell of sexual intercourse, commonly was regarded as coarse or indecent. African-American musicians originally applied “funk” to music with a slow, mellow groove, then later with a hard-driving, insistent rhythm because of the word’s association with sexual intercourse. This early form of the music set the pattern for later musicians.
The music was slow, sexy, loose, riff-oriented and danceable. Funky typically described these qualities. In jam sessions, musicians would encourage one another to “get down” by telling one another, “Now, put some stank (“stink”/funk) on it!” At least as early as 1907, jazz songs carried titles such as Buddy Bolden’s “Funky Butt.” As late as the 1950s and early 1960s, when “funk” and “funky” were used increasingly in the context of soul music, the terms still were considered indelicate and inappropriate for use in polite company.
The distinctive characteristics of African-American musical expression are rooted in West African musical traditions, and find their earliest expression in spirituals, work chants/songs, praise shouts, gospel and blues. In more contemporary music, gospel, blues and blues extensions and jazz often flow together seamlessly. Funky music is an amalgam of soul music, soul jazz and R&B.
James Brown and funk as a genre
By mid-1960s, James Brown had developed his signature groove that emphasized the downbeat – with heavy emphasis “on the one” (the first beat of every measure) – to etch his distinctive sound, rather than the backbeat that was familiar to many R&B and soul musicians. Brown often cued his band with the command “On the one!,” changing the percussion emphasis/accent from the one-two-three-four backbeat of traditional soul music to the one-two-three-four downbeat – but with an even-note syncopated guitar rhythm (on quarter notes two and four) featuring a hard-driving, repetitive brassy swing. This one-three beat launched the shift in Brown’s signature funk music style, starting with his 1964 hit single, “Out of Sight” and his 1965 hit, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”
Brown’s innovations pushed the funk music style further to the forefront with releases such as “Cold Sweat” (1967), “Mother Popcorn” (1969) and “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine” (1970), discarding even the twelve bar blues featured in his earlier music. Instead, Brown’s music was overlaid with “catchy, anthemic vocals” based on “extensive vamps” in which he also used his voice as “a percussive instrument with frequent rhythmic grunts and with rhythm-section patterns … [resembling] West African polyrhythms.” Throughout his career, Brown’s frenzied vocals, frequently punctuated with screams and grunts, channeled the “ecstatic ambiance of the black church” in a secular context. Although “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “Cold Sweat” were widely credited as the prototype songs that launched the funk genre, “Out of Sight” was the breakthrough hit that signaled the shift in Brown’s sound to establish funk as a distinct genre.
In a 1990 interview, Brown offered his reason for switching the rhythm of his music: “I changed from the upbeat to the downbeat … Simple as that, really.” According to Maceo Parker, Brown’s former saxophonist, playing on the downbeat was at first hard for him and took some getting used to. Reflecting back to his early days with Brown’s band, Parker reported that he had difficulty playing “on the one” during solo performances, since he was used to hearing and playing with the accent on the second beat.
Other musical groups picked up on the riffs, rhythms, and vocal style developed by James Brown and his band, and the style began to grow. Dyke & the Blazers based in Phoenix, Arizona, released “Funky Broadway” in 1967, perhaps the first record of the soul/rock n’ roll era to have “funky” in the title. Meanwhile, on the West Coast, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band were releasing funk tracks beginning with their first album in 1967, culminating in their classic single “Express Yourself” in 1970.
The Meters defined funk in New Orleans, starting with their Top Ten R&B hits “Sophisticated Cissy” and “Cissy Strut” in 1969. Another group who would define funk in the decade to come were The Isley Brothers, whose funky 1969 #1 R&B hit, “It’s Your Thing”, signaled a breakthrough in African-American music, bridging the gaps of the rock of Jimi Hendrix and the upbeat soul of Sly & the Family Stone and Mother’s Finest.
1970s and P-Funk
In the 1970s, a new group of musicians further developed the “funk rock” approach innovated by George Clinton, with his main bands Parliament and, later, Funkadelic. Together, they produced a new kind of funk sound heavily influenced by jazz and psychedelic rock. The two groups had members in common and often are referred to singly as “Parliament-Funkadelic.” The breakout popularity of Parliament-Funkadelic gave rise to the term “P-Funk,” which referred to the music by George Clinton’s bands, and defined a new subgenre.
“P-funk” also came to mean something in its quintessence, of superior quality, or sui generis, as in the lyrics from “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)” a hit single from Parliament’s album “Mothership Connection”: I want the bomb. I want the P-Funk. I want my funk uncut.
The 1970s was probably the era of highest mainstream visibility for funk music. Other prominent funk bands of the period included Stevie Wonder, The Brothers Johnson, Earth, Wind & Fire, Bootsy’s Rubber Band, The Meters, Tower of Power, Ohio Players, The Commodores, War, Kool & the Gang, Confunkshun, Slave, Cameo, the Bar-Kays, Zapp, and many more. George Clinton also played a masterminding role in Bootsy’s Rubber Band and several other bands he put together, including Parlet, the Horny Horns, and the Brides of Funkenstein, all part of the P-Funk conglomerate.
Already, in late 1960s, many jazz musicians — among them Horace Silver, Herbie Hancock (with his Headhunters band), Grover Washington, Jr., and Cannonball Adderley, Les McCann and Eddie Harris — had begun to combine jazz and funk. Sometimes this approach is called “jazz-funk”. Additionally, in the late 1960s work of Miles Davis (with girlfriend/wife Betty Davis) and Tony Williams helped to create Jazz fusion and influenced funk.
Funk music was exported to Africa in the late 1960s, and melded with African singing and rhythms to form Afrobeat. Fela Kuti was a Nigerian musician who is credited with creating the music and terming it “Afrobeat”.
In the early 1970’s, when funk was becoming more mainstreamed, artists like Parliament Funkadelic, the Isley Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone, Ohio Players, Confunkshun, among others, were successful and getting radio play but according to Billboard Magazine, only Sly & the Family Stone had singles which made it to #1. In 1970 ‘Thank You Falletinme Be Mice Elf Agin’ hit # 1 as did ‘Family Affair’ in 1971 affording Sly and Funk crossover success and greater recognition unlike some of their equally talented but moderately popular peers before the onslaught of Disco around the middle of that decade which remained hugely popular thru the early 80′s.
Disco music owed a great deal to funk. Many early disco songs and performers came directly from funk-oriented backgrounds. Some disco music hits, for example “Le Freak” by Chic, included riffs or rhythms very similar to funk music.
1980s and stripped-down funk
In the 1980s, many of the core elements that formed the foundation of the P-Funk formula began to be usurped by electronic machines and synthesizers. Horn sections of saxophones and trumpets were replaced by synth keyboards, and the horns that remained were given simplified lines, and few horn solos. The classic keyboards of funk, like the Hammond B3 organ and the Fender Rhodes piano began to be replaced by the new digital synthesizers such as the Yamaha DX7. Electronic drum machines began to replace the “funky drummers” of the past, and the slap and pop style of bass playing were often replaced by synth keyboard bass lines. As well, the lyrics of funk songs began to change from suggestive double entendres to more graphic and sexually explicit content.
Rick James was the first funk musician of the 1980s to assume the funk mantle dominated by P-Funk in the 1970s. His 1981 album Street Songs with the singles “Give It To Me Baby” and “Super Freak” resulted in James becoming a bit of a rock star, and paved the way for the future direction of explicitness in funk.
Prince used a stripped-down instrumentation similar to Rick James, and went on to have as much of an impact on the sound of funk as any one artist since James Brown. Prince combined eroticism, technology, an increasing musical complexity, and an outrageous image and stage show to ultimately create a musical world as ambitious and imaginative as P-Funk or The Beatles. The Time, originally conceived as an opening act for Prince and based on his “Minneapolis sound”, hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B & new wave. They went on to define their own style of stripped-down funk based on tight musicianship and sexual themes.
Bands that began during the 1970s P-Funk era incorporated some of the uninhibited sexuality of Prince and state-of-the-art technological developments to continue to craft funk hits. Cameo, Zapp, The Gap Band, The Bar-Kays, and The Dazz Band all found their biggest hits in the 80s, but by the latter half of the 80s, funk had lost its commercial impact.
Afrika Bambaataa, influenced by Kraftwerk, created “Electro Funk”, a minimalist machine-driven style of funk with his single “Planet Rock” in 1982. Also known simply as Electro, this style of funk was driven by synthesizers and the electronic rhythm of the TR-808 drum machine. The single “Renegades of Funk” followed in 1983.
While funk was all but driven from the radio by slick commercial R&B and New Jack Swing, its influence continued to spread. Rock bands began adding elements of Funk to their sound, creating new combinations of “funk rock” and funk metal. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Living Colour, Jane’s Addiction, Prince, Primus, Fishbone, Faith No More, Incubus and Rage Against the Machine spread the approach and styles garnered from funk pioneers to new audiences in the mid-to-late 1980s and the 1990s. These bands later inspired the underground mid-1990s funkcore movement and current funk-inspired artists like Outkast, The Black Eyed Peas, and Van Hunt.
In the 1990s, artists like Me’shell Ndegeocello and the (predominantly UK-based) Acid jazz movement including artists and bands such The Brand New Heavies, Incognito, Omar and Jamiroquai carried on with strong elements of funk. However, they never came close to reaching the commercial success of funk in its heyday, with the exception of Jamiroquai whose album Travelling without Moving sold about 11.5 million units worldwide. Meanwhile in Australia and New Zealand, bands playing the pub circuit, such as Supergroove, Skunkhour and The Truth, preserved a more instrumental form of funk.
Since the middle of the 80s hip hop artists regularly sample old funk tunes. James Brown is said to be the most sampled artist in the history of hip hop. while P-Funk is the second most sampled artist; samples of old Parliament and Funkadelic songs formed the basis of West Coast G Funk.
Original beats that feature funk-styled bass or rhythm guitar riffs are also not uncommon. Dr. Dre (considered the progenitor of the G-Funk genre) has freely acknowledged to being heavily influenced by George Clinton’s psychedelic funk: “Back in the 70s that’s all people were doing: getting high, wearing Afros, bell-bottoms and listening to Parliament-Funkadelic. That’s why I called my album The Chronic and based my music and the concepts like I did: because his shit was a big influence on my music. Very big”. Digital Underground was a large contributor to the rebirth of funk in the 1990s by educating their listeners with knowledge about the history of funk and its artists. George Clinton branded Digital Underground as “Sons of the P”, as their second full length release is also titled. DU’s first release, Sex Packets, was full of funk samples, with the most widely known “The Humpty Dance” sampling Parliament’s “Let’s Play House”. A very strong funk album of DU’s was their 1996 release Future Rhythm. Much of contemporary club dance music, drum and bass in particular has heavily sampled funk drum breaks.
Funk is a major element of certain artists identified with the Jam band scene of the late 1990s and 2000s. Phish began playing funkier jams in their sets around 1996, and 1998′s The Story of the Ghost was heavily influenced by funk. Medeski Martin & Wood, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Galactic, Soulive, and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe all drawing heavily from the funk tradition.
Since the mid 1990s the nu-funk scene, centered around the Deep Funk collectors scene, is producing new material influenced by the sounds of rare funk 45′s. Labels include Desco, Soul Fire, Daptone, Timmion, Neapolitan, Kay-Dee, and Tramp. Bands include Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, The Soul Destroyers, The Grits, Chris Joss, Speedometer, The Poets of Rhythm, The Neapolitans, Quantic Soul Orchestra, The New Mastersounds and Lefties Soul Connection. These labels often release on 45 rpm records. Although specializing in music for rare funk DJ’s, there has been some crossover into the mainstream music industry, such as Sharon Jones’ 2005 appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
In the early 2000s, some punk funk bands such as Out Hud perform in the indie music scene. Prince, with his recent albums has given a rebirth to the funk sound with songs like “The Everlasting Now”, “Musicology” and “Black Sweat”.
Gypsy jazz (o “Jazz manouche”)
(Font, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gypsy_jazz )
Gypsy jazz (also known as “Gypsy Swing”) is an idiom sometimes said to have been started by guitarist Django Reinhardt in the 1930s. Because its origins are largely in France it is often called by the French name, “Jazz manouche,” or alternatively, “manouche jazz,” even in English language sources. Django was foremost among a group of guitarists working in and around Paris in the late 1920s and 30s.
Many of the musicians in this style worked in Paris in various popular Musette ensembles. The Musette style waltz remains an important component in the Gypsy jazz repertoire. Reinhardt was noted for combining a dark, chromatic Gypsy flavor with the swing articulation of the period. This combination is critical to this style of jazz. In addition to this his approach continues to form the basis for contemporary Gypsy jazz guitar. Reinhardt’s most famous group, the Quintette du Hot Club de France, also brought fame to jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli.
Gypsy jazz, along with traditional Gypsy music, is learned by the passing down of knowledge from older generations. Many Gypsy musicians do not read notated music. It is more common for beginners to spend hours learning and memorizing songs from recordings and gleaning techniques from more experienced players.
In Gypsy jazz, guitar and violin are the main solo instruments, although clarinet and accordion are also common. The rhythm guitar is played using a distinct percussive technique, “la pompe”, that essentially replaces the drums; however, in Eastern gypsy jazz, rhythm section is most likely covered by one or two cymbaloms, or (less frequently) a cymbalom and an acoustic guitar (the cymbalom accompaniment technique is called in Romanian “ţiitură”). An upright bass fills out the ensembles. Although many instrumental lineups exist, a group including one lead guitar, violin, two rhythm guitars, and bass is often the norm.
Contemporary Gypsy jazz
Gypsy jazz is thriving today, with fans and practitioners found all over the globe. The largest audiences and highest caliber of musicians are still found in Europe as this is where the style originates. Stochelo Rosenberg, Biréli Lagrène and Tchavollo Schmitt are perhaps the most famous performers today.There is also a substantial American Gypsy Jazz movement headed by groups like Pearl Django and the John Jorgenson Quintet.
Other outstanding contemporary Manouche instrumentalists in the Django Reinhardt/Le Jazz Hot Tradition, as heard annually at the Festival de Jazz Django Reinhardt at Samois-sur-Seine, France, include Dorado Schmitt, Fapy Lafertin, Jimmy Rosenberg, Jon Larsen, Angelo Debarre, Babik Reinhardt, Moreno, Patrick Saussois, Dario Pinelli, Ritary Gaguenetti, Robin Nolan, Samson Schmitt, Mandino Reinhardt, Stephane Wrembel, Evan Perri, and Florin Niculescu.
DjangoFest NW, a celebration of Gypsy Jazz, takes place each September at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in Langley, Washington, in the USA.
Every year, in August, New York’s Lincoln Center hosts a Concert at Rose Hall, and the world famous Jazz Club, Birdland, in New York, features a week long Gypsy Jazz concert series in November.
Hard bop is a style of jazz that is an extension of bebop (or “bop”) music. Hard bop incorporates influences from rhythm and blues, gospel music, and blues, especially in the saxophone and piano playing.
David H. Rosenthal also contends in his book Hard Bop that it is to a large degree the natural creation of a generation of black American musicians who grew up at a time when bop and rhythm and blues were the dominant forms of black American music and prominent jazz musicians like Tadd Dameron worked in both genres.
Hard bop was developed in the mid-1950s, partly in response to the vogue for cool jazz that became popular in the early 1950s. A simplistic definition states that cool jazz, or “west coast” jazz, emphasized the more European elements of the music, deriving to a great extent from the “chamber jazz” experiments of the Miles Davis nonet, while hard bop brought the church and gospel music back into jazz, emphasizing the African elements. In fact, both cool and hard bop contain European and African elements, but the simplistic definition offers a short-hand way of addressing the difference. The hard bop style coalesced in 1953 and 1954, paralleling the rise of rhythm and blues, the latter developed by African-American musicians in part as a means of giving their audiences dance music in the wake of the decline of the swing bands, and the abandonment of jazz as a music to dance by as bebop emerged, with its intricacies and emphasis on being a serious listening experience.
In 1954, Davis’ performance of the title track of his album Walkin’ at the very first Newport Jazz Festival, held that same year, announced the style to the jazz world. Davis would form his first great quintet with John Coltrane later in the year to play hard bop, before moving on to other things. Other key documents were the two volumes of the Blue Note albums A Night at Birdland, also from 1954, recorded at the legendary jazz club months before the Davis set at Newport. The quintet by Art Blakey featured pianist Horace Silver and trumpeter Clifford Brown, all of whom would be leaders in the hard bop movement along with Davis. Blakey and Silver would start the seminal band The Jazz Messengers, although Silver would leave to front his own hard-bop groups in 1956, and Brown formed the other trend-setting hard bop band with drummer Max Roach, the Brown-Roach Quintet.
The hard bop style enjoyed its greatest popularity in the 1950s and 1960s, but hard bop performers, and elements of the music, remain popular in jazz. According to Nat Hentoff in his 1957 liner notes for the Blakey Columbia LP of the same name, the phrase “hard bop” was originated by critic-pianist John Mehegan, jazz reviewer of the New York Herald Tribune at that time. Soul jazz developed from hard bop.
Other musicians who contributed prominently to the hard bop style include Cannonball Adderley, Donald Byrd, Sonny Clark, Lou Donaldson, Kenny Drew, Benny Golson, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Andrew Hill, Freddie Hubbard, Jackie McLean, Charles Mingus, Blue Mitchell, Hank Mobley, Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan, and Sonny Rollins.
Hip hop is a cultural movement which developed in New York City in the early 1970s primarily among African Americans and Latin Americans. Hip hop’s four main elements are MCing (often called rapping), DJing, graffiti writing, and breakdancing. Other elements include beatboxing, hip hop fashion, and slang. Since first emerging in the Bronx, the lifestyle of hip hop culture has spread around the world.
When hip hop music began to emerge, it was based around disc jockeys who created rhythmic beats by looping breaks (small portions of songs emphasizing a percussive pattern) on two turntables. This was later accompanied by “rapping” (a rhythmic style of chanting). An original form of dancing, and particular styles of dress, arose among followers of this new music. These elements experienced considerable refinement and development over the course of the history of the culture.
The relationship between graffiti and hip hop culture arises from the appearance of new and increasingly elaborate and pervasive forms of the practice in areas where other elements of hip hop were evolving as art forms, with a heavy overlap between those who wrote graffiti and those who practiced other elements of the culture. Beatboxing is a vocal technique mainly used to imitate percussive elements of the music and various technical effects of hip hop DJs.
The word “hip” was used as African American Vernacular English (AAVE) as early as 1898. The colloquial language meant “informed” or “current,” and was likely derived from the earlier form hep. The term “hip hop” also followed logically the previous African-American music culture of “Bebop”.
Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins, a rapper with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five has been credited with the coining of the term hip hop in 1978 while teasing a friend who had just joined the US Army, by scat singing the words “hip/hop/hip/hop” in a way that mimicked the rhythmic cadence of marching soldiers. Cowboy later worked the “hip hop” cadence into a part of his stage performance. The group frequently performed with disco artists who would refer to this new type of MC/DJ produced music by calling them “those hip-hoppers”. The name was originally meant as a sign of disrespect, but soon come to identify this new music and culture. Other artists quickly copied the Furious Five and began using the term in their music; for example the opening of the song “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang in addition the verse found on Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s own “Superrappin’”, both released in 1979. Lovebug Starski, a Bronx DJ who put out a single called “The Positive Life” in 1981, and DJ Hollywood then began using the term when referring to this new disco rap music. Hip hop pioneer and South Bronx community leader Afrika Bambaataa also credits Lovebug Starski as the first to use the term “Hip Hop,” as it relates to the culture. Bambaataa, a former Black Spades gang member also did much to further popularize the term.
Jamaican born DJ Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell is credited as being highly influential in the pioneering stage of hip hop music, in the Bronx, New York, after moving to New York at the age of thirteen. Herc created the blueprint for hip hop music and culture by building upon the Jamaican tradition of toasting, or boasting impromptu poetry and sayings over music, which he witnessed as a youth in Jamaica.
Herc and other DJs would tap into the power lines to connect their equipment and perform, at venues such as public basketball courts and the historic building “where hip hop was born,” 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York. Their equipment was composed of numerous speakers, turntables, and one or more microphones. In late 1979, Debbie Harry of Blondie took Chic co-founder and lead guitarist Nile Rodgers to such an event, as the main backing track used was the break from Chic’s Good Times.
Herc was also the developer of break-beat deejaying, where the breaks of funk songs—the part most suited to dance, usually percussion-based—were isolated and repeated for the purpose of all-night dance parties. This breakbeat DJing, using hard funk, rock, and records with Latin percussion, formed the basis of hip hop music. Campbell’s announcements and exhortations to dancers would lead to the syncopated, rhymed spoken accompaniment we now know as rapping. He dubbed his dancers break-boys and break-girls, or simply b-boys and b-girls. According to Herc, “breaking” was also street slang for “getting excited” and “acting energetically”. Herc’s terms b-boy, b-girl and breaking became part of the lexicon of hip hop culture, before that culture itself had developed a name.
Later DJs such as Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Flash and Jazzy Jay refined and developed the use of breakbeats, including cutting and scratching. The approach used by Herc was soon widely copied, and by the late 1970s DJs were releasing 12″ records where they would rap to the beat. Popular tunes included Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks”, and The Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”.
Emceeing is the rhythmic spoken delivery of rhymes and wordplay, delivered over a beat or without accompaniment. Rapping is derived from the griots (folk poets) of West Africa, and Jamaican-style toasting. Rap developed both inside and outside of hip hop culture, and began with the street parties thrown in the Bronx neighborhood of New York in the 1970s by Kool Herc and others. It originated as MCs would talk over the music to promote their DJ, promote other dance parties, take light-hearted jabs at other lyricists, or talk about problems in their areas and issues facing the community as a whole.
Melle Mel, a rapper/lyricist with The Furious Five, is often credited with being the first rap lyricist to call himself an “MC”.
By the late 1970s, the culture had gained media attention, with Billboard magazine printing an article titled “B Beats Bombarding Bronx”, commenting on the local phenomenon and mentioning influential figures such as Kool Herc.
Hip hop as a culture was further defined in 1982, when Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force released the seminal electro-funk track “Planet Rock.” Instead of simply rapping over disco beats, Bambaataa created an electronic sound, taking advantage of the rapidly improving drum machine, synthesizer technology as well as sampling from Kraftwerk. The appearance of music videos changed entertainment: they often glorified urban neighborhoods. The music video for “Planet Rock” showcased the subculture of hip hop musicians, graffiti artists and breakdancers. Many hip hop-related films were released between 1982 and 1985, among them Wild Style, Beat Street, Krush Groove, Breakin, and the documentary Style Wars.
These films expanded the appeal of hip hop beyond the boundaries of New York. By 1985, youth worldwide were embracing the hip hop culture. The hip hop artwork and “slang” of US urban communities quickly found its way to Europe and Asia, as the culture’s global appeal took root.
The 1980s also saw many artists make social statements through hip hop. In 1982, Melle Mel and Duke Bootee recorded “The Message” (officially credited to Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five), a song that foreshadowed the socially conscious statements of Run-DMC’s “It’s like That” and Public Enemy’s “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos”.
During the 1980s, hip hop also embraced the creation of rhythm by using the human body, via the vocal percussion technique of beatboxing. Pioneers such as Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie, and Buffy from the Fat Boys made beats, rhythm, and musical sounds using their mouth, lips, tongue, voice, and other body parts. “Human Beatbox” artists would also sing or imitate turntablism scratching or other instrument sounds.
Early hip hop has often been credited with helping to reduce inner-city gang violence by replacing physical violence with dance and artwork battles. In the early 1970s, Kool DJ Herc began organizing dance parties in his home in the Bronx. The parties became so popular they were moved to outdoor venues to accommodate more people. City teenagers, after years of gang violence, were looking for new ways to express themselves. These outdoor parties, hosted in parks, became a means of expression and an outlet for teenagers, where “Instead of getting into trouble on the streets, teens now had a place to expend their pent-up energy.”
Tony Tone, a member of the pioneering rap group the Cold Crush Brothers, noted that “Hip-hop saved a lot of lives. Hip hop culture became an outlet and a way of dealing with the hardships of life as minorities within America, and an outlet to deal with violence and gang culture. MC Kid Lucky mentions that “people used to break-dance against each other instead of fighting. Inspired by Kool DJ Herc, once-gang leader of the Black Spades, Afrika Bambaataa created a street organization called Universal Zulu Nation, centered around hip hop, as a means to draw teenagers out of gang life and violence.
Contrary to popular belief, the hip hop movement was not centered around violence, drugs, and weapons in the early days. Many people used hip hop in positive ways. The lyrical content of many early rap groups concentrated on social issues, most notably in the seminal track “The Message”, which discussed the realities of life in the housing projects. “Young black Americans coming out of the civil rights movement have used hip hop culture in the 1980s and 1990s to show the limitations of the movement.” Hip hop gave young African Americans a voice to let their issues be noticed. It also gave young blacks a chance for financial gain by “reducing the rest of the world to consumers of its social concerns.”
Hip hop’s social impacts on the country have not been all negative. It has positively affected many youth and encouraged them to voice their opinions on world and personal issues. “Like rock-and-roll, hip hop is vigorously opposed by conservatives because it romanticises violence, law-breaking, and gangs”. Both hip hop and rock-and-roll were musical movements used by teens in order to express how they felt about certain issues.Now hip hop and rock-and-roll are combined in many ways including rewriting songs where a rapper or rock band play with the other.
With the emergence of commercial and crime-related rap during the early 1990s, however, an emphasis on violence was incorporated, with many rappers boasting about drugs, weapons, misogyny, and violence. While hip hop music now appeals to a broader demographic, media critics argue that socially and politically conscious hip hop has long been disregarded by mainstream America in favor of gangsta rap.
Though created in the United States by African Americans and Latinos, hip hop culture and music is now global in scope. Youth culture and opinion is meted out in both Israeli hip hop and Palestinian hip hop, while France, Germany, the U.K., Brazil, Japan, Africa, Australia and the Caribbean have long-established hip hop followings. According to the U.S. Department of State, hip hop is “now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world,” that crosses social barriers and cuts across racial lines. National Geographic recognizes hip hop as “the world’s favorite youth culture” in which “just about every country on the planet seems to have developed its own local rap scene.”Through its international travels, hip hop is now considered a “global musical epidemic,” and has diverged from its ethnic roots by way of globalization and localization.
Although some non-American rappers may still relate with young black Americans, hip hop now transcends its original culture, and is appealing because it is “custom-made to combat the anomie that preys on adolescents wherever nobody knows their name.”Hip hop is attractive in its ability to give a voice to disenfranchised youth in any country, and as music with a message it is a form available to all societies worldwide.
Even in the face of growing global popularity, or perhaps because of it, hip hop has come under fire for being too commercial, too commodified. Artist Nas said it himself in his 2006 album Hip Hop is Dead. While this of course stirs up controversy, a documentary called The Commodification of Hip Hop directed by Brooke Daniel interviews students at Satellite Academy in New York City.
One girl talks about the epidemic of crime that she sees in urban black and Latino communities, relating it directly to the hip hop industry saying “When they can’t afford these kind of things, these things that celebrities have like jewelry and clothes and all that, they’ll go and sell drugs, some people will steal it…” Many students see this as a negative side effect of the hip hop industry, and indeed, hip hop has been widely criticized for inciting notions of crime, violence, and American ideals of consumerism although much of the hip-hop dancing community still chooses to refer back to more “oldschool” types of hip-hop music that does not preach violence and drugs.
In an article for Village Voice, Greg Tate argues that the commercialization of hip hop is a negative and pervasive phenomenon, writing that “what we call hiphop is now inseparable from what we call the hiphop industry, in which the nouveau riche and the super-rich employers get richer”. Ironically, this commercialization coincides with a decline in rap sales and pressure from critics of the genre. However, in his book In Search Of Africa, Manthia Diawara explains that hip hop is really a voice of people who are down and out in modern society. He argues that the “worldwide spread of hip-hop as a market revolution” is actually global “expression of poor people’s desire for the good life,” and that this struggle aligns with “the nationalist struggle for citizenship and belonging, but also reveals the need to go beyond such struggles and celebrate the redemption of the black individual through tradition.”
This connection to “tradition” however, is something that may be lacking according to one Satellite Academy staff member who says that in all of the focus on materialism, the hip hop community is “not leaving anything for the next generation, we’re not building.”
As the hip hop genre turns 30, a deeper analysis of the music’s impact is taking place. It has been viewed as a cultural sensation which changed the music industry around the world, but some believe commercialization and mass production have given it a darker side. Tate has described its recent manifestations as a marriage of “New World African ingenuity and that trick of the devil known as global-hypercapitalism”, arguing it has joined the “mainstream that had once excluded its originators.” While hip hop’s values may have changed over time, the music continues to offer its followers and originators a shared identity which is instantly recognizable and much imitated around the world.
From its early spread to Europe and Japan to an almost worldwide acceptance through Asia and South American countries such as Brazil, the musical influence has been global. Hip hop sounds and styles differ from region to region, but there is also a lot of crossbreeding. In each separate hip hop scene there is also constant struggle between “old school” hip hop and more localized, newer sounds. Regardless of where it is found, the music often targets local disaffected youth.
Hip hop has given people a voice to express themselves, from the “Bronx to Beirut, Kazakhstan to Cali, Hokkaido to Harare, Hip Hop is the new sound of a disaffected global youth culture.” Though on the global scale there is a heavy influence from US culture, different cultures worldwide have transformed hip hop with their own traditions and beliefs. “Global Hip Hop succeeds best when it showcases … cultures that reside outside the main arteries of the African Diaspora.” Not all countries have embraced hip hop, where “as can be expected in countries with strong local culture, the interloping wildstyle of hip hop is not always welcomed”.
As hip hop becomes globally-available, it is not a one-sided process that eradicates local cultures. Instead, global hip hop styles are often synthesized with local styles. Hartwig Vens argues that hip hop can also be viewed as a global learning experience. Hip hop from countries outside the United States is often labeled “world music” for the American consumer. Author Jeff Chang argues that “the essence of hip hop is the cipher, born in the Bronx, where competition and community feed each other.”
Hip hop has impacted many different countries culturally and socially in positive ways. “Thousands of organizers from Cape Town to Paris use hip hop in their communities to address environmental justice, policing and prisons, media justice, and education.”
While hip hop music has been criticized as a music which creates a divide between western music and music from the rest of the world, a musical “cross pollination” has taken place, which strengthens the power of hip hop to influence different communities. Hip hop’s impact as a “world music” is also due to its translatability among different cultures in the world. Hip hop’s messages allow the under-privileged and the mistreated to be heard. These cultural translations cross borders. While the music may be from a foreign country, the message is something that many people can relate to- something not “foreign” at all.
Even when hip hop is transplanted to other countries, it often retains its “vital progressive agenda that challenges the status quo.”Global hip hop is the meeting ground for progressive local activism, as many organizers use hip hop in their communities to address environmental injustice, policing and prisons, media justice, and education. In Gothenburg, Sweden, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) incorporate graffiti and dance to engage disaffected immigrant and working class youths. Indigenous youths in countries as disparate as Bolivia, Chile, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Norway use hip hop to advance new forms of identity.
Turntablism refers to the extended boundaries and techniques of normal DJing innovated by hip hop. One of the few first hip hop DJ’s was Kool DJ Herc, who created hip hop through the isolation of “breaks” (the parts of albums that focused solely on the beat). In addition to developing Herc’s techniques, DJs Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore, and Grandmaster Caz made further innovations with the introduction of scratching.
Traditionally, a DJ will use two turntables simultaneously. These are connected to a DJ mixer, an amplifier, speakers, and various other pieces of electronic music equipment. The DJ will then perform various tricks between the two albums currently in rotation using the above listed methods. The result is a unique sound created by the seemingly combined sound of two separate songs into one song. A DJ should not be confused with a producer of a music track (though there is considerable overlap between the two roles).
In the early years of hip hop, the DJs were the stars, but their limelight has been taken by MCs since 1978, thanks largely to Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash’s crew, the Furious Five. However, a number of DJs have gained stardom nonetheless in recent years. Famous DJs include Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Mr. Magic, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Scratch from EPMD, DJ Premier from Gang Starr, DJ Scott La Rock from Boogie Down Productions, DJ Pete Rock of Pete Rock & CL Smooth, DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill, Jam Master Jay from Run-DMC, Eric B., DJ Screw, Funkmaster Flex, Tony Touch, DJ Clue, and DJ Q-Bert. The underground movement of turntablism has also emerged to focus on the skills of the DJ.
Mixtape DJs have also emerged creating mixtapes with different artist and getting exclusive songs and putting them on one disc, djs such as DJ White Owl, DJ Skee, DJ Drama, and DJ Whoo Kid
Rapping, also known as Emceeing, MCing, Rhyme spitting, Spitting, or just Rhyming, is the rhythmic delivery of rhymes, one of the central elements of hip hop music and culture. Although the word rap has sometimes been claimed to be a backronym of the phrase “Rhythmic American Poetry”, “Rhythm and Poetry”, “Rhythmically Applied Poetry”, or “Rhythmically Associated Poetry”, use of the word to describe quick and slangy speech or repartee long predates the musical form. One early example includes the spoken word group The Last Poets. Rapping can be delivered over a beat or without accompaniment.
In America around the late 1960s, graffiti was used as a form of expression by political activists, and also by gangs such as the Savage Skulls, La Familia, and Savage Nomads to mark territory. Towards the end of the 1960s, the signatures—tags—of Philadelphia graffiti writers Top Cat, Cool Earl and Cornbread started to appear. Around 1970-71, the centre of graffiti innovation moved to New York City where writers following in the wake of TAKI 183 and Tracy 168 would add their street number to their nickname, “bomb” a train with their work, and let the subway take it—and their fame, if it was impressive, or simply pervasive, enough—”all city”. Bubble lettering held sway initially among writers from the Bronx, though the elaborate Brooklyn style Tracy 168 dubbed “wildstyle” would come to define the art. The early trendsetters were joined in the 70s by artists like Dondi, Futura 2000, Daze, Blade, Lee, Zephyr, Rammellzee, Crash, Kel, NOC 167 and Lady Pink.
The relationship between graffiti and hip hop culture arises both from early graffiti artists practicing other aspects of hip hop, and its being practiced in areas where other elements of hip hop were evolving as art forms. Graffiti is recognized as a visual expression of rap music, just as breakdancing is viewed as a physical expression. The book Subway Art (New York: Henry Holt & Co, 1984) and the TV program Style Wars (first shown on the PBS channel in 1984) were among the first ways the mainstream public were introduced to hip hop graffiti.
Breakdancing, also breaking or B-boying, is a dynamic style of dance which developed as part of the hip hop culture. Breaking began to take form in the South Bronx alongside the other elements of hip hop. The “B” in B-boy stands for break, as in break-boy (or girl). The term “B-boy” originated from the dancers at DJ Kool Herc’s parties, who saved their best dance moves for the break section of the song, getting in front of the audience to dance in a distinctive, frenetic style. According to the documentary film The Freshest Kids: A History of the B-Boy, DJ Kool Herc describes the “B” in B-boy as short for breaking which at the time was slang for “going off”, also one of the original names for the dance. However, early on the dance was known as the “boiong” (the sound a spring makes). Breaking was briefly documented for release to a world wide audience for the first time in Style Wars, and was later given a little more focus in the fictional film Beat Street. Early acts include the Rock Steady Crew and New York City Breakers.
B-boying is one of the major elements of hip hop culture, commonly associated with, but distinct from, “popping”, “locking”, “hitting”, “ticking”, “boogaloo”, and other funk styles that evolved independently during the late 1960s in California. It was common during the 1980s to see a group of people with a radio on a playground, basketball court, or sidewalk performing a B-boy show for a large audience.
Beatboxing, popularized by Doug E. Fresh, is the vocal percussion of hip hop culture. It is primarily concerned with the art of creating beats, rhythms, and melodies using the human mouth. The term beatboxing is derived from the mimicry of the first generation of drum machines, then known as beatboxes. As it is a way of creating hip-hop music, it can be categorized under the production element of hip-hop, though it does sometimes include a type of rapping intersected with the human-created beat.
The art form enjoyed a strong presence in the ’80s with artists like the Darren “Buffy, the Human Beat Box” Robinson of the Fat Boys and Biz Markie showing their beatboxing skills. Beatboxing declined in popularity along with break dancing in the late ’80s, and almost slipped even deeper than the underground. Beatboxing has been enjoying a resurgence since the late ’90s, marked by the release of “Make the Music 2000.” by Rahzel of The Roots (known for even singing while beatboxing).
As it grew and developed into a multi-billion dollar industry, the scope of hip hop culture grew beyond the boundaries of its traditional four elements. KRS-ONE, a rapper from the golden age of hip hop, names nine elements of hip hop culture: the traditional four and beatboxing, plus hip hop fashion, hip hop slang, street knowledge, and street entrepreneurship. He also suggests that hip hop is a cultural movement and that the word itself had to reflect this. He spells it Hiphop (one word, capital “h”) and this is reflected in his Temple of Hiphop.
Hip hop has made considerable social impacts since its inception in the 1970s. Orlando Patterson, a sociology professor at Harvard University helps describe the phenomenon of how hip hop spread rapidly around the world and diffusion of Global. Professor Patterson argues that mass communication is controlled by the wealthy, government, and businesses in Third World nations and countries around the world. Professor Patterson believes that mass communication created a global cultural hip hop scene. As a result, the youth absorb and are influenced by the American hip hop scene and start their own form of hip hop. Professor Patterson believes that revitalization of hip hop music will occur around the world as traditional values are mixed with American hip hop musical forms, and ultimately a global exchange process will develop that brings youth around the world to listen to a common musical form known as hip hop. It has also been argued that rap music formed as a “cultural response to historic oppression and racism, a system for communication among black communities throughout the United States”. This is due to the fact that the culture reflected the social, economic and political realities of the disenfranchised youth. .
Hip hop has a distinctive slang. Due to hip hop’s commercial success in the late nineties and early 21st century, many of these words have been assimilated into many different dialects across America and the world and even to non-hip hop fans (the word dis for example is remarkably prolific). There are also words like homie which predate hip hop but are often associated with it.
Sometimes, terms like what the dilly, yo are popularized by a single song (in this case, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” by Busta Rhymes) and are only used briefly. One particular example is the rule-based slang of Snoop Dogg and E-40, who add -izz to the middle of words. This practice, with origins in Frankie Smith’s nonsensical language from his 1980 single “Double Dutch Bus”, has spread to even non-hip hop fans, who may be unaware of its derivation. As a genre of music popular all over the world, World hip hop, in which African-American English is not the dialect used, is as prevalent as ever.
Hip hop has probably encountered more problems with censorship than any other form of popular music in recent years, due to the frequency of expletives used in lyrics. It also receives flak for being anti-establishment, and many of its songs depict wars and coup d’états that in the end overthrow the government. For example, Public Enemy’s “Gotta Give the Peeps What They Need” was edited without their permission, removing the words “free Mumia”.
After the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, Oakland, California group The Coup was under fire for the cover art on their Party Music, which featured the group’s two members holding a detonator as the Twin Towers exploded behind them. Ironically, this art was created months before the actual event. The group, having politically radical and Marxist lyrical content, said the cover meant to symbolize the destruction of capitalism. Their record label pulled the album until a new cover could be designed.
The use of profanity as well as graphic depictions of violence and sex creates challenges in the broadcast of such material both on television stations such as MTV, in music video form, and on radio. As a result, many hip hop recordings are broadcast in censored form, with offending language “bleeped” or blanked out of the soundtrack (though usually leaving the backing music intact), or even replaced with “clean” lyrics. The result – which sometimes renders the remaining lyrics unintelligible or contradictory to the original recording – has become almost as widely identified with the genre as any other aspect of the music, and has been parodied in films such as Austin Powers in Goldmember, in which Mike Myers’ character Dr. Evil – performing in a parody of a hip hop music video (“Hard Knock Life” by Jay-Z) – performs an entire verse that is blanked out. In 1995 Roger Ebert wrote: “Rap has a bad reputation in white circles, where many people believe it consists of obscene and violent anti-white and anti-female guttural. Some of it does. Most does not. Most white listeners don’t care; they hear black voices in a litany of discontent, and tune out. Yet rap plays the same role today as Bob Dylan did in 1960, giving voice to the hopes and angers of a generation, and a lot of rap is powerful writing.”
In a way to circumvent broadcasting regulations BET has created a late-night segment called “Uncut” to air uncensored videos. Not only has this translated into greater sales for mainstream artists, it has also provided an outlet for undiscovered artists to grab the spotlight with graphic but low production quality videos, often made cheaply by non-professionals. Perhaps the most notorious video aired, which for many came to exemplify BET’s program Uncut, was “Tip Drill” by Nelly. While no more explicit than other videos, its exploitative depiction of women, particularly of a man swiping a credit card between a stripper’s buttocks, was seized upon by many social activists for condemnation. The segment was discontinued in mid 2006.
Critics such as Businessweek’s David Kiley argue that the discussion of many products within hip hop music and culture may actually be the result of undisclosed product placement deals. Such critics allege that shilling or product placement takes place in commercial rap music, and that lyrical references to products are actually paid endorsements. In 2005, a proposed plan by McDonalds, which would have paid rappers to advertise McDonalds food in their music, was leaked to the press. After Russell Simmons made a deal with Courvoisier to promote the brand among hip hop fans, Busta Rhymes recorded the song “Pass The Courvoisier”. Simmons insists that no money changed hands in the deal.
The symbiotic relationship has also stretched to include car manufacturers, clothing designers and sneaker companies, and many other companies have used the hip-hop community to make their name or to give the credibility. One such beneficiary was Jacob the Jeweler, a diamond merchant from New York, Jacob Arabo’s clientèle included Sean Combs, Lil Kim and Nas. He created jewelry pieces from precious metals that were heavily loaded with diamond and gemstones. As his name was mentioned in the song lyrics of his hip hop customers, his profile quickly rose. Arabo expanded his brand to include gem-encrusted watches that retail for hundreds of thousands of dollars, gaining so much attention that Cartier filed a trademark-infringement lawsuit against him for putting diamonds on the faces of their watches and reselling them without permission. Arabo’s profile increased steadily until his June, 2006 arrest by the FBI on money laundering charges.
While some brands welcome the support of the hip-hop community, one brand that did not was Cristal champagne maker Louis Roederer. A 2006 article from The Economist magazine featured remarks from managing director Frederic Rouzaud about whether the brand’s identification with rap stars could affect their company negatively. His answer was dismissive in tone: “That’s a good question, but what can we do? We can’t forbid people from buying it. I’m sure Dom Pérignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business.” In retaliation, many hip hop icons such as Jay-Z and Sean Combs who previous included references to “Cris”, ceased all mentions and purchases of the champagne.
Hip-hop culture is intrinsically related to television; there have been a number of television shows devoted to or about hip-hop. For a long time, BET was the only television channel likely to play much hip hop, but in recent years the mainstream channels VH1 and MTV have added a significant amount of hip hop to their play list. With the emergence of the Internet a number of online sites have also begun to offer Hip Hop related video content.
Hip hop films have been related since hip-hop’s conception and have become even more related in the 21st century. During the early 1990s, African-Americans experienced a film renassiance, sparked by the popularity of hood films, in-depth looks at urban life, focusing on violence, family, friends and hip-hop. There have also been a number of hip hop films, movies which focused on hip-hop as a subject.
Hip hop magazines have a large place in hip hop lifestyle, including Hip Hop Connection, XXL, Scratch, The Source and Vibe. Many individual cities have produced their own local hip hop newsletters, while hip hop magazines with national distribution are found in a few other countries. The 21st century also ushered in the rise of online media, and hip hop fan sites now offer comprehensive hip hop coverage on a daily basis.
Having its roots from reggae, disco, funk, hip hop has since exponentially expanded into a widely accepted form of representation world wide. It expansion includes events like Afrika Bambaataa releasing “Planet Rock” in 1982 which tried to establish a more global harmony in hip hop. In the 1990s MC Solaar became an international hit that was not from America, the first of his kind. From the 80s onward, television became the major source of widespread outsourcing of hip hop to the global world. From Yo! MTV Raps (a television show that was shown in many countries) to Public Enemy’s world tour, hip hop spread further to Latin America and became highly mainstream. Ranging from countries like France, Spain, England, the US and many many other countries world wide, voices want to be heard, and hip hop allows them to do so. As such, hip hop has been cut mixed and changed to the areas that adapt to it.
Early hip hop has often been credited with helping to reduce inner-city gang violence by replacing physical violence with hip hop battles of dance and artwork. However, with the emergence of commercial and crime-related rap during the early 1990s, an emphasis on violence was incorporated, with many rappers boasting about drugs, weapons, misogyny, and violence. While hip hop music now appeals to a broader demographic, media critics argue that socially and politically conscious hip hop has long been disregarded by mainstream America in favor of its media-baiting sibling, gangsta rap.
Many artists are now considered to be alternative/underground hip hop when they attempt to reflect what they believe to be the original elements of the culture. Artists/groups such as Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Dilated Peoples, dead prez, Blackalicious, Jurassic 5, Immortal Technique and newly added Ghana Force may emphasize messages of verbal skill, unity, or activism instead of messages of violence, material wealth, and misogyny.
Authenticity is often a serious debate within hip hop culture. Dating back to its origins in the 1970s in the Bronx, hip hop revolved around a culture of protest and freedom of expression in the wake of oppression. As hip hop has become less of an underground culture, it is subject to debate whether or not the spirit of hip hop is embodied in protest, or whether it can evolve to exist in a marketable integrated version. In “Authenticity Within Hip-Hop and Other Cultures Threatened with Assimilation,” Commentator Kembrew McLeod argues that hip hop culture is actually threatened with assimilation by a larger, mainstream culture. In support of this position, editors of magazines such as the Village Voice have said that hip hop is slowly losing its edge due to the genre’s involvement in the mainstream, hyper-capitalist world.[not in citation given] Believing that hip hop should be utilized as a voice for social justice, Tate points out that in the marketable version of hip hop, there isn’t a role for this evolved genre in context of the original theme hip hop originated from (freedom from oppression). The problem with Black progressive political organizing isn’t that hip hop, but that the No. 1 issue on the table needs to be poverty, and nobody knows how to make poverty sexy. Tate discusses how the dynamic of progressive Black politics cannot apply to the genre of hip hop in the current state today due to the genre’s heavy involvement in the market. In his article he discusses Hip Hop’s 30th birthday and its evolution has been a devolution due to its capitalistic endeavors. Both Tate and McLeod argue that hip hop has lost its authenticity due to its losing sight of the revolutionary theme and humble “folksy” beginnings the music originated from. “This is the first time artists from around the world will be performing in an international context. The ones that are coming are considered to be the key members of the contemporary underground hip-hop movement.” This is how the music landscape has broadened around the world over the last ten years. The maturation of Hip Hop has gotten older with the genres age, but the initial reasoning of why Hip Hop has started will always be intact. Expression and oppression will always be at the root of any Hip Hop movement.
Though born in the United States, the reach of hip hop is global. Youth culture and opinion is meted out in both Israeli hip hop and Palestinian hip hop, while France, Germany, the U.K., Africa and the Caribbean have long-established hip hop followings. According to the U.S. Department of State, hip hop is “now the center of a mega music and fashion industry around the world”, that crosses social barriers and cuts across racial lines.National Geographic recognizes hip hop as “the world’s favorite youth culture” in which “just about every country on the planet seems to have developed its own local rap scene.”
Jive is a dance style in 4/4 time that originated among African-Americans in the early 1940s. It is a lively and uninhibited variation of the Jitterbug, a form of Swing dance.
In Ballroom dancing, Jive is one of the five International Latin dances. In competition it is danced at a speed of 44 bars per minute, although in other cases this is reduced to between 32 and 40 bars per minute.
Many of its basic patterns are similar to these of the East Coast Swing with the major difference of highly syncopated rhythm of the Triple Steps (Chasses), which use straight eighths in ECS and hard swing in Jive.
Jive (or the correct term jitterbug jive) is named after a 30′s Mickey Mouse cartoon where Mickey and Minnie danced a country style jitterbug. The name came from Jitterbugs being the dancers and Jive meaning fake or not right. But, the dance steps are actually derived originally from country dancing. The turns and overhead moves are a direct descendant of some very old English country dances where couples cross over in a diagonal. Jive actually has nothing to do with the Lindy Hop, Charleston or any other body lead dance of the time, this is due to the dance being hand lead rather than body lead as in all the other swing dances of the 30′s and 40′s. Real 30′s jive dancing is very smooth and with sliding footwork whereas later the footwork was not as smooth due to the dancers lifting their feet so as not to trip on rough floor boards or the local rough country entertainment establishments. American soldiers brought these dances to Europe around 1940, where they swiftly found a following among the young. After the war, the boogie became the dominant form for popular music. However, it was never far from criticism as a foreign, vulgar dance. The famous ballroom dancing guru, Alex Moore, said that he had “never seen anything uglier”. English instructors developed the elegant and lively Jive, danced to slightly slower music. In 1968 it was adopted as the fifth Latin dance in International competitions.
Kansas City Jazz
(Font, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City_Jazz )
Kansas City Jazz is a style of jazz that developed and flourished in Kansas City, Missouri and the surrounding Kansas City Metropolitan Area during the 1930s and marked the transition from the structured big band style to the musical improvisation style of Bebop. The hard-swinging, bluesy transition style is bracketed by Count Basie who in 1929 signed with the Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra and Kansas City native Charlie Parker who was to usher in the Bebop style in the 1940s. According to a Kansas City website, “While New Orleans was the birthplace of jazz, America’s music grew up in Kansas City”.
The first band from Kansas City to acquire a national reputation was the Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra, a white group which broadcast nationally in the 1920s. However, the Kansas City jazz school is identified with the black bands of the 1920s and 1930s.
Kansas City in the 1930s was very much the crossroads of the United States resulting in a mix of cultures. Transcontinental trips at the time whether by plane or train often required a stop in the city. The era marked the zenith of power of political boss Tom Pendergast. Kansas City was a wide open town with liquor laws and hours totally ignored and was called the new Storyville. Most of the jazz musicians associated with the style were born in other places but got caught up in the friendly musical competitions among performers that could keep a single song being performed in various variations for an entire night.
Often members of the big bands would perform at regular venues earlier in the evening and go to the jazz clubs later to jam for the rest of the night.
Claude Williams described the scene: “Kansas City was different from all other places because we’d be jamming all night. And [if] you come up here … playing the wrong thing, we’d straighten you out”.
Clubs were scattered throughout city but the most fertile area was the inner city neighborhood of 18th Street and Vine.
Among the clubs were the Amos ‘n’ Andy, Boulevard Lounge, Cherry Blossom, Chesterfield Club, Chocolate Bar, Dante’s Inferno, Elk’s Rest, Hawaiian Gardens, Hell’s Kitchen, the Hi Hat, the Hey-Hay, Lone Star, Old Kentucky Bar-B-Que, Paseo Ballroom, Pla-Mor Ballroom, Reno Club, Spinning Wheel, Street’s Blue Room, Subway and Sunsetx.
Kansas City jazz is distinguished by the following musical elements:
- A preference for a 4/4 beat over the 2/4 beat found in other jazz styles of the time. As a result, Kansas city jazz had a more relaxed, fluid sound than other jazz styles.
- Extended soloing. Fueled by the non-stop nightlife under Mayor Pendergast, Kansas City jam sessions went on well past sunrise, fostering a highly competitive atmosphere and a unique jazz culture in which the goal was to “say something” with one’s instrument, rather than simply show off one’s technique. It was not uncommon for one “song” to be performed for several hours, with the best musicians often soloing for dozens of choruses at at a time.
- So-called “head arrangements”. The KC big bands often played by memory, composing and arranging the music collectively, rather than sight-reading as other big bands of the time did. This further contributed to the loose, spontaneous Kansas City sound.
- A heavy blues influence, with KC songs often based around a 12-bar blues structure, rather than the 32-bar jazz standard.
One of the most recognizeable characteristics of Kansas City jazz is frequent, elaborate riffing by the different sections. Riffs were often created – or even improvised – collectively, and took many forms:
- one section riffing alone, serving as the main focus of the music;
- one section riffing behind a soloist, adding excitement to the song; or
- two or more sections riffing in counterpoint, creating an exciting hard-swinging sound.
Latin jazz is the general term given to music that combines rhythms from African and Latin American countries with jazz and classical harmonies from Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe and United States.
The two main categories of Latin Jazz are Brazilian and Afro-Cuban: Brazilian Latin Jazz includes bossa nova; Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz includes salsa, merengue, songo, son, mambo, Timba, bolero, charanga and cha cha cha.
One of the contribution of Latins (Latinos in Spanish) to America, Latin jazz was further popularized in the late 1940s. Dizzy Gillespie and Stan Kenton began to combine the rhythm section and structure of Afro-Cuban music, exemplified by Machito and His Afro-Cubans, whose musical director Mario Bauza created the first Latin jazz composition “Tanga” on May 31, 1943, with jazz instruments and solo improvisational ideas. On March 31, 1946, Stan Kenton recorded “Machito,” written by his collaborator / arranger Pete Rugalo, which is considered by many to be the first Latin jazz recording by American jazz musicians. The Kenton band was augmented by Ivan Lopez on bongos and Eugenio Reyes on maracas. Later, on December 6th of the same year, Stan Kenton recorded an arrangement of the Afro-Cuban tune The Peanut Vendor with members of Machito’s rhythm section. In September of 1947, Dizzy Gillespie collaborated with Machito conga player Chano Pozo to perform the “Afro-Cuban Drums Suite” at Carnegie Hall. This was the first concert to feature an American band playing Afro-Cuban jazz and Pozo remained in Gillespie’s Orchestra to produce “Cubana Be, Cubana Bop” among others.
In comparison with traditional jazz, Latin jazz employs straight rhythm, rather than swung rhythm. Latin jazz rarely employs a backbeat, using a form of the clave instead. The conga, timbale, güiro, and claves are percussion instruments which often contribute to a Latin sound.
Samba originated from nineteenth century Afro-Brazilian music such as the Lundu. It employs a modified form of the clave. Bossa Nova is a hybrid music based on the samba rhythm, but influenced by European and American music from Debussy to US jazz. Bossa Nova originated in the 1960s, largely from the efforts of Brazilians Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto, and American Stan Getz. Its most famous song is arguably The Girl from Ipanema sung by Gilberto and his wife, Astrud Gilberto.
Latin jazz music, like most types of jazz music, can be played in small or large groups. Small groups, or combos, often use the Be-bop format made popular in the 1950s in America, where the musicians play a standard melody, many of the musicians play an improvised solo, and then everyone plays the melody again. In Latin jazz bands, percussion often takes a center stage during a solo, and a conga or timbale can add a melodic line to any performanc
(Font, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modal_jazz) Later 1950
Modal jazz is jazz using musical modes rather than chord progressions as its harmonic framework.
An understanding of modal jazz requires knowledge of musical modes. In bebop as well as in hard bop, musicians used chords to provide the background for their solos. A song would start out with a theme, which would introduce the chords used for the solos. These chords would be repeated throughout the whole song, while the soloists would play new, improvised themes over the repeated chord progression. By the 1950s, improvising over chords had become such a dominant part of jazz, that sidemen at recording dates were sometimes given nothing more than a list of chords to play from. Creating innovative solos became exceedingly difficult.
In the later 1950s, spurred by the experiments of composer and bandleader George Russell, musicians began using a modal approach. They chose not to write their songs using chords, but instead used modal scales. This meant that the bassist, for instance, did not have to ‘walk’ from one important note of a chord to that of another – as long as he or she stayed in the scale being used and accentuated the right notes within the scale, he could go virtually everywhere. The pianist, to give another example, would not have to play the same chords or variations of the chords, but could do anything, as long as he or she stayed within the scale being used. The overall result was more freedom of expression.
In fact, the way that a soloist creates a solo changed dramatically with the advent of modal jazz. Before, the goal of a soloist was to play a solo that fit into a set of chords. However, with modal jazz, a soloist must create a melody in one scale (typically), which could be potentially boring for the listener. Therefore, the goal of the musician was now to make the melody as interesting as possible. Modal jazz was, in essence, a return to melody.
It is possible for the bassist and the pianist to move to notes within the mode that are dissonant with the prime (tonic) chord of that mode. For example: within the C ionian mode, the notes of the scale are CDEFGABC, with C being the root note. Other non-diatonic notes, such as the note Bb, are dissonant within the C ionian mode, so that they are less used in non-modal jazz songs when playing the chord C. In a modal song, these other notes may be freely used as long as the overall sound of C ionian is entrenched within the listener’s mind. This allows for greater harmonic flexibility and some very interesting harmonic possibilities.
Among the significant compositions of modal jazz were “So What” by Miles Davis and “Impressions” by John Coltrane. “So What” and “Impressions” follow the same AABA song form and were in D Dorian for the A sections and modulated a half step up to E-flat Dorian for the B section. The Dorian mode is the natural minor scale with a raised sixth.
In improvising within a modal context, a musician would basically start by thinking about playing the notes within that specific mode (e.g., D Dorian: D, E, F, G, A, B, C, D). It is also possible to take several notes from that mode (though not all) to create smaller scales or note choices for improvisation. For example, in D Dorian, one may play the notes of the D minor triad. This is what Miles Davis does at the beginning of his solo in “So What”. The player may even choose any of the triads available in that mode: C major, D minor, E minor etc. One thing to note is that choosing an upper structure triad using the 9th, 11th and 13th of the chord will result in tension.
The player may also use the many different pentatonic scales within the scale such as C major pentatonic, F major pentatonic and G major pentatonic. Note that these scales are also relative A minor, D minor and E minor pentatonic, respectively.
Miles Davis recorded one of the best selling jazz albums of all time in this modal framework. Kind of Blue is an exploration of the possibilities of modal jazz. Included on these sessions was tenor saxophonist John Coltrane who, throughout the 1960s, would explore the possibilities of modal improvisation more deeply than any other jazz artist. The rest of the musicians on the album were alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly (though never on the same piece), bassist Paul Chambers, and drummer Jimmy Cobb. (Kelly, Chambers, and Cobb would eventually form the Wynton Kelly Trio.) This record is considered a kind of test album in many conservatories focusing on jazz improvisation. The compositions “So What” and “All Blues” from Kind of Blue are considered contemporary jazz standards.
While Davis’ explorations of modal jazz were sporadic throughout the 1960s–he would include several of the tunes from Kind of Blue in the repertoire of his “Second Great Quintet”–Coltrane would take the lead in extensively exploring the limits of modal improvisation and composition with his own classic quartet, featuring Elvin Jones (drums), McCoy Tyner (piano), and Reggie Workman and Jimmy Garrison (bass). Several of Coltrane’s albums from the period are recognized as seminal albums in jazz more broadly, but especially modal jazz: Live at the Village Vanguard (1961), Crescent (1964), A Love Supreme (1964), and Meditations (1965). Compositions from this period such as “India,” “Chasin’ the Trane,” “Crescent,” “Impressions,” as well as standards like “My Favorite Things” and “Greensleeves” have entered the jazz repertoire.
Coltrane’s modal explorations gave rise to an entire generation of saxophonists (mostly playing tenor saxophone) that would then go on to further explore modal jazz (often in combination with jazz fusion), such as Michael Brecker, David Liebman, Steve Grossman, and Bob Berg.
També conegut com Gospel. Aquest gènere passa el mateix que el Blues, no es tracta d’un estil musical, si no d’una de les músiques negres afro-nord-americanes més genuïnes que juntament amb el Blues i el Ragtime van donar peu al naixement del Jazz. Els Negro Spirituals també es poden interpretar segons gairebé tots els estils jazzístics i a més a més hi ha estils exclusius dels Gospel. Es un altre música del mateix poble. Es la música de celebració religiosa que de forma molt característica van crear els esclaus negres en les terres americanes del nord i en lloc més del món. Aquest és el seu interès.
(Font, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_(music) )
Spirituals (or Negro spirituals) are religious songs which were created by enslaved African people in America.
Terminology and origin
The term spiritual is derived from spiritual song. The King James Bible’s translation of Ephesians V.19 is: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” The term spiritual song was often used in the white Christian community through the 19th century (and indeed much earlier), but not the term spiritual. Negro spiritual first appears in print in the 1860s, where slaves are described as using the noun spiritual for religious songs sung sitting or standing in place, and spiritual shouts for more dance-like music.
Musicologist George Pullen Jackson extended the term spiritual to a wider range of folk hymnody, as in his 1938 book White Spirituals in the Southern Uplands, but this does not appear to have been widespread usage previously. The term is often broadened to include subsequent arrangements into more standard American hymnodic styles, and to include post-emancipation songs with stylistic similarities to the original Negro spirituals.
Although numerous rhythmical and sonic elements of Negro spirituals can be traced to African sources, nonetheless it is a fact that Negro spirituals are a musical form that is indigenous and specific to the religious experience in the United States of Africans transported from Africa. They are a result of the interaction of African religious elements with music and religion derived from Europe. Further, this interaction occurred only in the United States. Africans who converted to Christianity in other parts of the world, even in the Caribbean and Latin America, did not evolve this form.
Negro spirituals were primarily expressions of religious faith. They may also have served as socio-political protests veiled as assimilation to white American culture. They originated among enslaved Africans in the United States. Slavery was introduced to the British colonies in the early seventeenth century, and enslaved people largely replaced indentured servants as an economic labor force during the 17th century. These people would remain in bondage for the entire 18th century and much of the 19th century. Most were not fully emancipated until the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Suppression of indigenous religion
During slavery in the United States, there were systematic efforts to de-Africanize the captive Black workforce. Enslaved people were forbidden from speaking their native languages.
Because they were unable to express themselves freely in ways that were spiritually meaningful to them, enslaved Africans often held secret religious services. During these “bush meetings,” worshippers were free to engage in African religious rituals such as spiritual possession, speaking in tongues and shuffling in counterclockwise ring shouts to communal shouts and chants. It was there also that enslaved Africans further crafted the impromptu musical expression of field songs into the so-called “line singing” and intricate, multi-part harmonies of struggle and overcoming, faith, forbearance and hope that have come to be known as Negro spirituals.
Restrictions were placed on the religious expression of slaves. Rows of benches in places of worship discouraged congregants from spontaneously jumping to their feet and dancing. The use of musical instruments of any kind often was forbidden, and slaves were ordered to desist from the “paganism” of the practice of spiritual possession.
Replacement with Christianity
Nonetheless, the Christian principles which teach that those who suffer on earth hold a special place with God in heaven undoubtedly spoke to the enslaved, who saw this as hope and could certainly relate to the suffering of Jesus. For this reason many slaves genuinely embraced Christianity.
While slaveowners used Christianity to teach enslaved Africans to be long-suffering, forgiving and obedient to their masters, as practiced by the enslaved, it became something of a liberation theology. The story of Moses and The Exodus of the “children of Israel” crossing the Jordan River, and the idea of an Old Testament God who struck down the enemies of His “chosen people” resonated deeply with the enslaved (“He’s a battleaxe in time of war and a shelter in a time of storm”). The lyrics of Christian spirituals reference symbolic aspects of Biblical images such as these, in songs like “Michael Row the Boat Ashore”. In Black hands and hearts, Christian theology became an instrument of liberation.
Claims of coded messages
Many internet sources and popular books claim that songs such as “Wade in the Water” contained explicit instructions to fugitive slaves on how to avoid capture, and on which routes to take to successfully make their way to freedom. This particular song allegedly recommends leaving dry land and taking to the water as a strategy to throw pursuing bloodhounds off one’s trail. “The Gospel Train” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” are equally supposed to contain veiled references to the Underground Railroad, and many sources assert that Follow the Drinking Gourd contained a coded map to the Underground Railroad. The authenticity of such claims has been challenged as speculative, and critics have pointed to the apparent lack of primary source material in support of them.
Jubilee Singers of Fisk University
In the 1850s, Reverend Alexander Reid, superintendent of the Spencer Academy in the old Choctaw Nation, hired some enslaved Africans from the Indians for some work around the school. He heard two of them, “Uncle Wallace” and “Aunt Minerva” Willis, singing religious songs they had composed. Among these songs were “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, “Steal Away to Jesus”, “The Angels are Coming”, “I’m a Rolling, and Roll Jordan Roll”. Later, Reid, who left Indian Territory at the beginning of the Civil War, attended a musical program put on by a group of Negro singers from Fisk University. Although they were singing mostly popular music of the day, Reid thought the songs he remembered from his time in the Choctaw Nation would be appropriate. He and his wife transcribed the songs of the Willises as they remembered them and sent them to Fisk University.
The Jubilee Singers put on their first performance singing the old captives’ songs at a religious conference in 1871. The songs were first published in 1872 in a book titled Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University, by Theodore F. Seward. Later these religious songs became known as “Black spirituals” to distinguish this music from the spiritual music of other peoples. Wallace Willis died in 1883 or 84.
Over time the pieces the Jubilee Singers performed came to be arranged and performed by trained musicians. In 1873, Mark Twain, whose father had owned slaves, found Fisk singing to be “in the genuine old way” he remembered from childhood, but an 1881 performance review said that “they have lost the wild rhythms, the barbarity, the passion.” Fifty years on, Zora Neale Hurston in her 1938 book The Sanctified Church criticized Fisk singers, and similar groups at Tuskegee and Hampton, as using a “Glee Club style” that was “full of musicians’ tricks” not to be found in the original Negro spirituals, urging readers to visit an “unfashionable Negro church” to experience real Negro spirituals.
A second important early collection of lyrics is Slave Songs of the United States by William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware, and Lucy McKim Garrison (1867).
A group of lyrics to Negro spirituals was published by Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, who served as the commander of a regiment of former slaves in the Civil War, in an article in The Atlantic Monthly and subsequently included in his 1869 memoir Army Life in a Black Regiment (1869).
El Ragtime tampoc es pot considerar al meu entendre com un estil del Jazz, ni el proto-jazz. Simplement es una música característica i única que la van crear els negres d’origen africà a les terres nord-americanes i en lloc més. Penso que la van crear els negres cultes i amb formació musical (evidentment clàssica europea). Es tracta d’una música composada i escrita formalment que va ser determinant pel naixement del Jazz. Aquest aspecte es fonamental.
Ragtime (alternately spelled Rag-time) is an American musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1899 and 1918. It has had several periods of revival since then and is still being composed today. Ragtime was the first truly American musical genre, predating jazz. It began as dance music in popular music settings years before being published as popular sheet music for piano. Being a modification of the then popular march, it was usually written in 2/4 or 4/4 time (meter) with a predominant left hand pattern of bass notes on odd-numbered beats and chords on even-numbered beats accompanying a syncopated melody in the right hand. A composition in this style is called a “rag”. A rag written in 3/4 time is a “ragtime waltz”.
Ragtime is not a “time” (meter) in the same sense that march time is 2/4 meter and waltz time is 3/4 meter; it is rather a musical genre that uses an effect that can be applied to any meter. The defining characteristic of ragtime music is a specific type of syncopation in which melodic accents occur between metrical beats. This results in a melody that seems to be avoiding some metrical beats of the accompaniment by emphasizing notes that either anticipate or follow the beat. The ultimate (and intended) effect on the listener is actually to accentuate the beat, thereby inducing the listener to move to the music. Scott Joplin, the composer/pianist known as the “King of Ragtime”, called the effect “weird and intoxicating”. He also used the term “swing” in describing how to play ragtime music: “Play slowly until you catch the swing…”. The name swing later came to be applied to an early genre of jazz that developed from ragtime. Converting a non-ragtime piece of music into ragtime by changing the time values of melody notes is known as “ragging” the piece. Original ragtime pieces usually contain several distinct themes, four being the most common number.
According to the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz the musical form was originally called “ragged time” which later became corrupted to “ragtime”.
Ragtime originated in African American musical communities, in the late 19th century, and descended from the jigs and marches played by all-black bands common in all Northern cities with black populations. By the start of the 20th century it became widely popular throughout North America and was listened and danced to, performed, and written by people of many different subcultures. A distinctly American musical style, ragtime may be considered a synthesis of African syncopation and European classical music, though this description is oversimplified.
Some early piano rags are entitled marches, and “jig” and “rag” were used interchangeably in the mid-1890s and ragtime was also preceded by its close relative the cakewalk. In 1895, black entertainer Ernest Hogan published two of the earliest sheet music rags, one of which (“All Coons Look Alike to Me”) eventually sold a million copies. As fellow Black musician Tom Fletcher said, Hogan was the “first to put on paper the kind of rhythm that was being played by non-reading musicians.” While the song’s success helped introduce the country to ragtime rhythms, its use of racial slurs created a number of derogatory imitation tunes, known as “coon songs” because of their use of extremely racist and stereotypical images of blacks. In Hogan’s later years he admitted shame and a sense of “race betrayal” for the song while also expressing pride in helping bring ragtime to a larger audience.
The emergence of mature ragtime is usually dated to 1897, the year in which several important early rags were published. In 1899, Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag” was published, which became a great hit and demonstrated more depth and sophistication than earlier ragtime. Ragtime was one of the main influences on the early development of jazz (along with the blues). Some artists, like Jelly Roll Morton, were present and performed both ragtime and jazz styles during the period the two genres overlapped. Jazz largely surpassed ragtime in mainstream popularity in the early 1920s, although ragtime compositions continue to be written up to the present, and periodic revivals of popular interest in ragtime occurred in the 1950s and the 1970s.
Some authorities consider ragtime to be a form of classical music. The heyday of ragtime predated the widespread availability of sound recording. Like classical music, and unlike jazz, classical ragtime was and is primarily a written tradition, being distributed in sheet music rather than through recordings or by imitation of live performances. Ragtime music was also distributed via piano rolls for player pianos. A folk ragtime tradition also existed before and during the period of classical ragtime (a designation largely created by Scott Joplin’s publisher John Stark), manifesting itself mostly through string bands, banjo and mandolin clubs (which experienced a burst of popularity during the early 20th Century), and the like.
A form known as novelty piano (or novelty ragtime) emerged as the traditional rag was fading in popularity. Where traditional ragtime depended on amateur pianists and sheet music sales, the novelty rag took advantage of new advances in piano-roll technology and the phonograph record to permit a more complex, pyrotechnic, performance-oriented style of rag to be heard. Chief among the novelty rag composers is Zez Confrey, whose “Kitten on the Keys” popularized the style in 1921.
Ragtime also served as the roots for stride piano, a more improvisational piano style popular in the 1920s and 1930s. Elements of ragtime found their way into much of the American popular music of the early 20th century. It also played a central role in the development of the musical style later referred to as “Piedmont blues;” indeed, much of the music played by such artists of the genre, such as Reverend Gary Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Elizabeth Cotten, and Etta Baker, could be referred to as “ragtime guitar.”
Although most ragtime was composed for piano, transcriptions for other instruments and ensembles are common, notably including Gunther Schuller’s arrangements of Joplin’s rags. Occasionally ragtime was originally scored for ensembles (particularly dance bands and brass bands), or as songs. Joplin had long-standing ambitions for a synthesis of the worlds of ragtime and opera, to which end the opera Treemonisha was written; but it was never performed in his lifetime. In fact the score was lost for decades, then rediscovered in 1970; it has been performed in numerous productions since then. An earlier opera by Joplin, A Guest of Honor, has been lost.
Styles of ragtime
Ragtime pieces came in a number of different styles during the years of its popularity and appeared under a number of different descriptive names. It is related to several earlier styles of music, has close ties with later styles of music, and was associated with a few musical “fads” of the period such as the foxtrot. Many of the terms associated with ragtime have inexact definitions, and are defined differently by different experts; the definitions are muddled further by the fact that publishers often labelled pieces for the fad of the moment rather than the true style of the composition. There is even disagreement about the term “ragtime” itself; experts such as David Jasen and Trebor Tichenor choose to exclude ragtime songs from the definition but include novelty piano and stride piano (a modern perspective), while Edward A. Berlin includes ragtime songs and excludes the later styles (which is closer to how ragtime was viewed originally). Many ragtime pianists, Eubie Blake and Mark Birnbaum among them, include the songs and the later styles as ragtime. The terms below should not be considered exact, but merely an attempt to pin down the general meaning of the concept.
* Cakewalk – A pre-ragtime dance form popular until about 1904. The music is intended to be representative of an African-American dance contest in which the prize is a cake. Many early rags are cakewalks.
* Characteristic march – A march incorporating idiomatic touches (such as syncopation) supposedly characteristic of the race of their subject, which is usually African-Americans. Many early rags are characteristic marches.
* Two-step – A pre-ragtime dance form popular until about 1911. A large number of rags are two-steps.
* Slow drag – Another dance form associated with early ragtime. A modest number of rags are slow drags.
* Coon song – A pre-ragtime vocal form popular until about 1901. A song with crude, racist lyrics often sung by white performers in blackface. Gradually died out in favor of the ragtime song. Strongly associated with ragtime in its day, it is one of the things that gave ragtime a bad name.
* Ragtime song – The vocal form of ragtime, more generic in theme than the coon song. Though this was the form of music most commonly considered “ragtime” in its day, many people today prefer to put it in the “popular music” category. Irving Berlin was the most commercially successful composer of ragtime songs, and his “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” (1911) was the single most widely performed and recorded piece of this sort, even though it contains virtually no ragtime syncopation. Gene Greene was a famous singer in this style.
* Folk ragtime – A name often used to describe ragtime that originated from small towns or assembled from folk strains, or at least sounded as if they did. Folk rags often have unusual chromatic features typical of composers with non-standard training.
* Classic rag – A name used to describe the Missouri-style ragtime popularized by Scott Joplin, James Scott, and others.
* Fox-trot – A dance fad which began in 1913. Fox-trots contain a dotted-note rhythm different from that of ragtime, but which nonetheless was incorporated into many late rags.
* Novelty piano – A piano composition emphasizing speed and complexity which emerged after World War I. It is almost exclusively the domain of white composers.
* Stride piano – A style of piano which emerged after World War I, developed by and dominated by black East coast pianists (James P. Johnson, Fats Waller and Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith). Together with novelty piano, it may be considered a successor to ragtime, but is not considered by all to be “genuine” ragtime. Johnson composed the song that is arguably most associated with the Roaring Twenties, “Charleston.” A recording of Johnson playing the song appears on the compact disc, James P. Johnson: Harlem Stride Piano (Jazz Archives No. 111, EPM, Paris, 1997). Johnson’s recorded version has a ragtime flavor.
James Scott’s 1904 “On the Pike”, which refers to the midway of the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904.
In the early 1940s many jazz bands began to include ragtime in their repertoire and put out ragtime recordings on 78 RPM records. Old numbers written for piano were rescored for jazz instruments by jazz musicians, which gave the old style a new sound. The most famous recording of this period is Pee Wee Hunt’s version of Euday L. Bowman’s Twelfth Street Rag.
A more significant revival occurred in the 1950s. A wider variety of ragtime styles of the past were made available on records, and new rags were composed, published, and recorded. Much of the ragtime recorded in this period is presented in a light-hearted novelty style, looked to with nostalgia as the product of a supposedly more innocent time. A number of popular recordings featured “prepared pianos,” playing rags on pianos with tacks on the keys and the instrument deliberately somewhat out of tune, supposedly to simulate the sound of a piano in an old honky tonk.
Three events brought forward a different kind of ragtime revival in the 1970s. First, pianist Joshua Rifkin brought out a compilation of Scott Joplin’s work on Nonesuch Records, which was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Classical Performance – Instrumental Soloist(s) without Orchestra” category in 1971. This recording reintroduced Joplin’s music to the public in the manner the composer had intended, not as a nostalgic stereotype but as serious, respectable music. Second, the New York Public Library released a two-volume set of “The Collected Works of Scott Joplin,” which renewed interest in Joplin among musicians and prompted new stagings of Joplin’s opera Treemonisha. Finally, with the release of the motion picture The Sting in 1973, which had a Marvin Hamlisch soundtrack of Joplin tunes, ragtime was brought to a wide audience. Hamlisch’s rendering of Joplin’s 1902 rag The Entertainer was a top 40 hit in 1974.
In modern times, younger musicians have again begun to find ragtime, and incorporate it into their musical repertoires. Such acts include The Kitchen Syncopators, Inkwell Rhythm Makers, The Gallus Brothers and the not-quite as young Baby Gramps.
Ragtime composers. By far the most famous ragtime composer was Scott Joplin. Joseph Lamb and James Scott are, together with Joplin, acknowledged as the three most sophisticated ragtime composers. Some rank Artie Matthews as belonging with this distinguished company. Other notable ragtime composers included May Aufderheide, Eubie Blake, George Botsford, Zez Confrey, Ben Harney, Charles L. Johnson, Luckey Roberts, Paul Sarebresole, Wilbur Sweatman, and Tom Turpin.
Modern ragtime composers include William Bolcom, William Albright, David Thomas Roberts, Frank French, Trebor Tichenor, Mark Birnbaum, Reginald R. Robinson, John Roache, Tom Brier, and Warren Trachtman.
“There are a great many colored people who are ashamed of the cake-walk, but I think they ought to be proud of it. It is my opinion that the colored people of this country have done four things which refute the oft-advanced theory that they are an absolutely inferior race, which demonstrate that they have originality and artistic conception, and, what is more, the power of creating that which can influence and appeal universally. The first two of these are the Uncle Remus stories, collected by Joel Chandler Harris, and the Jubilee songs, to which the Fisk singers made the public and the skilled musicians of both America and Europe listen. The other two are ragtime music and the cake-walk. No one who has traveled can question the world-conquering influence of ragtime, and I do not think it would be an exaggeration to say that in Europe the United States is popularly known better by ragtime than by anything else it has produced in a generation. In Paris they call it American music.”
Rhythm & Blues
Rhythm and blues (also known as R&B or RnB) is a popular music genre combining jazz, gospel, and blues influences, first performed by African American artists.
Writer/producer Robert Palmer defined “rhythm & blues as a catchall term referring to any music that was made by and for black Americans.” He has used the term R&B as a synonym for jump blues. Lawrence Cohn, author of Nothing but the Blues, writes that rhythm and blues was an umbrella term invented for industry convenience. According to him, the term embraced all black music except classical music and religious music, unless a gospel song sold enough to break into the charts.
In 1947, the term rhythm and blues was coined as a musical marketing term in the United States by Jerry Wexler of Billboard magazine. It replaced the term race music, which originally came from within the black community, but was deemed offensive in the postwar world. In that year, Louis Jordan dominated the top five listings of the R&B charts with three songs, and two of the top five songs were based on the boogie-woogie rhythms that had come to prominence during the 1940s. Jordan’s band, the Tympany Five (formed in 1938), consisted of him on saxophone and vocals, along with musicians on trumpet, tenor saxophone, piano, bass and drums. Lawrence Cohn described the music as “grittier than his boogie-era jazz-tinged blues”. Robert Palmer described it as “urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a heavy, insistent beat”. Jordan’s cool music, along with that of Big Joe Turner and Wynonie Harris, is now also referred to as jump blues.
In 1948, RCA Victor was marketing black music under the name Blues and Rhythm. That year found the Wynonie Harris song “Good Rockin’ Tonight” in the #2 spot, following band leader Sonny Thompson’s “Long Gone” at #1.
In 1949, the term rhythm and blues replaced the Billboard category Harlem Hit Parade. Also in that year, “The Huckle-Buck”, recorded by band leader and saxophonist Paul Williams, was the #1 R&B tune, remaining on top of the charts for nearly the entire year. Written by musician and arranger Andy Gibson, the song was described as a “dirty boogie” because it was risque and raunchy. Paul Williams and His Hucklebuckers’ concerts were sweaty riotous affairs that got shut down on more than one occasion. Their lyrics, by Roy Alfred (who later co-wrote the 1955 hit “(The) Rock and Roll Waltz”), were mildly sexually suggestive, and one teenager from Philadelphia said “That Hucklebuck was a very nasty dance.” Also in 1949, a new version of a 1920s blues song, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” was a #4 hit for Jimmy Witherspoon, and Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five once again made the top 5 with “Saturday Night Fish Fry”.
Early to mid 1950s
Working with African American musicians, Greek American Johnny Otis, who had signed with the Newark, New Jersey-based Savoy Records, produced many R&B hits in 1951, including: “Double Crossing Blues”, “Mistrustin’ Blues” and “Cupid’s Boogie”, all of which hit number one that year. Otis scored ten top ten hits that year. Other hits include: “Gee Baby”, “Mambo Boogie” and “All Nite Long”. The Clovers, a vocal trio who sang a distinctive sounding combination of blues and gospel, had the #5 hit of the year with “Don’t You Know I Love You” on Atlantic Records. Also in July 1951, Cleveland, Ohio DJ Alan Freed started a late-night radio show called “The Moondog Rock Roll House Party” on WJW-AM (850). Freed’s show was sponsored by Fred Mintz, whose R&B record store had a primarily African American clientele. Freed began referring to the rhythm and blues music he played as rock and roll.
Ruth Brown, on the Atlantic Records label, placed hits in the top 5 every year from 1951 through 1954: “Teardrops from My Eyes”, “Five, Ten, Fifteen Hours”, “(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean” and “What a Dream”. Faye Adams‘s “Shake a Hand” made it to #2 in 1952. In 1953, the R&B record-buying public made Willie Mae Thornton’s original recording of Lieber and Stoller’s Hound Dog the #3 hit that year. That same year The Orioles, a doo-wop group, had the #4 hit of the year with Crying in the Chapel.
In 1954 the Chords’ Sh-Boom became the first hit to cross over from the R&B chart to hit the top 10 early in the year. Late in the year, and into 1955, Hearts of Stone by the Charms made the top 20…”.
Mid to late 1950s
Fats Domino made the top 30 of the pop charts in 1952 and 1953, then the top 10 with “Ain’t That a Shame”. Ray Charles came to national prominence in 1955 with “I Got a Woman”. It was an upfront use of gospel music conventions in an R&B context. Big Bill Broonzy said of Charles’ music: “He’s mixing the blues with the spirituals… I know that’s wrong.” At the urging of Leonard Chess at Chess Records, Chuck Berry had reworked a fiddle tune with a long history, “Ida Red”. The resulting “Maybellene” was not only a #3 hit on the R&B charts that year, but it also reached into the top 30 on the pop charts. Alan Freed, who had moved to the much larger market of New York City, helped the record become popular with white teenagers. Freed had been given part of the writers’ credit by Chess in return for his promotional activities; a common practice at the time. Also at Chess Records in 1955, Bo Diddley’s debut record “Bo Diddley”/”I’m A Man” climbed to #2 on the R&B charts and popularized the Bo Diddley beat.
Two Elvis Presley records made the R&B top five in 1957: “Jailhouse Rock”/”Treat Me Nice” at #1, and “All Shook Up” at #5, an unprecedented acceptance of a non-African American artist into a music category known for being created by blacks. Nat King Cole, a former jazz pianist who had had #1 and #2 hits on the pop charts in the early 1950s (“Mona Lisa” at #2 in 1950 and “Too Young” at #1 in 1951), had a record in the top 5 in the R&B charts in 1958, “Looking Back”/”Do I Like It”.
In 1959, two black-owned record labels, one of which would become hugely successful, made their debut: Sam Cooke’s Sar, and Berry Gordy’s Motown Records. Brook Benton was at the top of the R&B charts in 1959 and 1960 with one #1 and two #2 hits. Benton had a certain warmth in his voice that attracted a wide variety of listeners, and his ballads led to comparisons with performers such as Cole, Sinatra and Tony Bennett.
1960s and later
Sam Cooke‘s #5 hit “Chain Gang” is indicative of R&B in 1960, as is Chubby Checker’s #5 hit “The Twist”. By the early 1960s, the music industry category previously known as rhythm and blues was being called soul music, and similar music by white artists was labeled blue eyed soul. In 1961, Stax Records introduced Memphis soul with the Mar-Keys’ “Last Night”, an instrumental featuring horns, electric organ, and drums. The record label also released Carla Thomas’s “Gee Whiz”, which featured violins, piano, drums and backup singers. That same year, Motown had its first million-seller with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Shop Around”.
By the 1970s, the term rhythm and blues was being used as a blanket term to describe soul and funk. In the 2000s, the acronym R&B is almost always used instead of the full rhythm and blues, and mainstream use of the term usually refers to contemporary R&B, which is a modern version of soul and funk-influenced pop music that originated as disco faded from popularity.
Ska jazz is a music genre derived by combining the melodic content of jazz with the rhythmic and harmonic content of ska.
Ska jazz is considered a subgenre of third wave ska, but lacks the punk rock influence present in much of third wave ska. While lacking the size of a standard jazz band, ska jazz bands usually contain an electric guitar or two, a bass guitar, keyboards, a drum set and a horn section (comprised of any combination of the following: trumpet, trombone, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, and baritone saxophone). Occasionally there may be one or more vocalists, but the genre is primarily focussed on instrumental tunes. The brass instruments usually carry the melody, and there are occasional improvised solos. The rhythm section places accents on the off beats, thus giving the music a different feel than straight jazz.
Notable artists: Don Drummond, Jazz Jamaica, Los Hooligans, Rico Rodriguez, Rotterdam Ska-Jazz Foundation, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, The New York, Ska-Jazz Ensemble
Soul jazz (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_jazz)
Soul jazz was a development of hard bop which incorporated strong influences from blues, gospel and rhythm and blues in music for small groups, often the organ trio which featured the Hammond organ. Important soul jazz organists included Bill Doggett, Charles Earland, Richard “Groove” Holmes, Les McCann, “Brother” Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Lonnie Smith, Don Patterson, Jimmy Smith and Johnny Hammond Smith.
Tenor saxophone was also important in soul jazz; important soul jazz tenors include Gene Ammons, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Eddie Harris, Houston Person, and Stanley Turrentine. Alto player Lou Donaldson was also an important figure, as was Hank Crawford. Unlike hard bop, soul jazz generally emphasized repetitive grooves and melodic hooks, and improvisations were often less complex than in other jazz styles.
Soul jazz was developed in the late 1950s, reaching public awareness with the release of The Cannonball Adderley Quintet in San Francisco, and was perhaps most popular in the mid-to-late 1960s, though many soul jazz performers, and elements of the music, remain popular. Although the term “soul jazz” contains the word “soul,” soul jazz is only a distant cousin to Soul music, in that soul developed from gospel and blues rather than from jazz.
Some well-known soul jazz recordings are Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder” (1963), Herbie Hancock’s “Cantaloupe Island” (1964) (which was popularized further when sampled by US3 on Cantaloop), Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father” (1964) (which was musically alluded to by Steely Dan with “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”), Ramsey Lewis’s “The In Crowd” (1965), and Cannonball Adderly’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” (1966) (also popularized further when covered as a top 40 pop song by The Buckinghams).
Soul Jazz evolved into the Jazz-Funk of the 1970s.
Swing music, also known as swing jazz, is a form of jazz music that developed in the early 1930s and had solidified as a distinctive style by 1935 in the United States. Swing uses a strong anchoring rhythm section which supports a brass section including saxophones, trumpets, and trombones; medium to fast tempos; and a “lilting” swing time rhythm. Swing bands usually featured soloists who would improvise a new melody over the arrangement. The danceable swing style of bandleaders such as Benny Goodman’s was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1945.
The verb “to swing” is also used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong rhythmic “groove” or drive.
During the 1920s and early 1930s, the dance form of jazz was popular. This style used sweet and romantic melody accompanied by lush, romantic string orchestra arrangements. Orchestras tended to stick to the melody as it was written, and vocals would be sung sweetly (often in a tenor voice). Swing music abandoned the string orchestra and used simpler, “edgier” arrangements that emphasized horns and wind instruments and improvised melodies.
Swing, like several other styles of 20th-century popular music, has its origins in African rhythms. Traditional West African music brought to the US and elsewhere by enslaved Africans hybridized with western music to eventually create a distinct style. The first recordings labeled race records date from the 1920s, and come from both the United States and the United Kingdom. They are characterized by an improvised style, a smaller number of musicians, a lack of strings and a distinctive lively style which is harder to define, now known as swing rhythm.
Since these recordings were mainly produced by minorities with limited resources, the recordings were often made with sub-standard equipment such as the acoustic recording method. Many of these records are extremely rare, as they did not sell well with mainstream audiences. Although swing evolved out of the lively jazz experimentation that began in New Orleans and that developed further (and in varying forms) in Kansas City and New York City, what is now called swing diverged from other jazz music in ways that distinguished it as a form in its own right.
The styles of jazz that were popular from the late teens through the late 1920s were usually played with rhythms with a two beat feel, and often attempted to reproduce the style of contrapuntal improvisation developed by the first generation of jazz musicians in New Orleans. In the late 1920s, however, larger ensembles using written arrangements became the norm, and a subtle stylistic shift took place in the rhythm, which developed a four beat feel with a smoothly syncopated style of playing the melody, while the rhythm section supported it with a steady four to the bar.
1935: Birth of Swing
The overall effect is a more sophisticated sound than the styles of the 1920s, but with an exciting feel of its own that really makes you want to dance. Most jazz bands adopted this style by the early 1930s, but “sweet” bands remained the most popular for white dancers until Benny Goodman’s appearance at the Palomar Ballroom in August 1935. The audience of young white dancers favored Goodman’s “hot” rhythms and daring swing arrangements. “Hot Swing” and Boogie Woogie remained the dominant form of american popular music for the next ten years.
With the wider acceptance of swing music around 1935, larger mainstream bands began to embrace this style of music. Large orchestras had to reorganize themselves in order to achieve the new sound. These bands dropped their string instruments, which were now felt to hamper the improvised style necessary for swing music. This necessitated a slightly more detailed and organized type of composition and notation than was then the norm. Band leaders put more energy into developing arrangements, perhaps reducing the chaos that might result from as many as 12 or 16 musicians spontaneously improvising. But the best swing bands at the height of the era explored the full gamut of possibilities from spontaneous ensemble playing to highly orchestrated music in the vein of European art music.
A typical song played in swing style would feature a strong, anchoring rhythm section in support of more loosely tied wind, brass, and later, in the 1940s, string and/or vocal sections. The level of improvisation that the audience might expect at any one time varied depending on the arrangement, the band, the song, and the band-leader.
The most common style consisted of having a soloist take center stage, and improvise a solo within the framework of her or his bandmates playing support. As a song progressed, multiple soloists might be expected to take over and individually improvise their own part; however, it was not unusual to have two or three band members improvising at any one time.
Swing jazz began to be embraced by the public around 1935. Prior to that, it had had limited acceptance, mostly among African American audiences. Radio remotes increased interest in the music, and it grew in popularity throughout the States. As with many new popular musical styles, it met with some resistance from the public because of its improvisation, fast erratic tempos, lack of strings, occasionally risqué lyrics and other cultural associations, such as the sometimes frenetic swing dancing that accompanied performances. Audiences who had become used to the romantic arrangements (and what was perceived as classier and more refined music), were taken aback by the often erratic and edginess of swing music.
WW II era
Harsher conflicts arose when Swing spread to other countries; for example, in Germany it was forbidden by the Nazi regime on the basis of its connection to African and Jewish musicians (see Swing Kids). And, while jazz music was initially embraced during the early years of the Soviet Union, it was soon forbidden as a result of being deemed politically unacceptable.
In the US, by the late 1930s and early 1940s, swing had become the most popular musical style and remained so for several years, until it was supplanted in the late 1940s by the pop standards sung by the crooners who grew out of the Big Band tradition that swing began. Bandleaders such as the Dorsey Brothers often helped launch the careers of vocalists who went on to popularity as solo artists, such as Frank Sinatra.
Swing music began to decline in popularity during World War II because of several factors. Most importantly it became difficult to staff a “big band” because many musicians were overseas fighting in the war. Also, the cost of touring with a large ensemble became prohibitive because of wartime economics. These two factors made smaller 3 to 5 piece combos more profitable and manageable. A third reason is the recording bans of 1942 and 1948 because of musicians’ union strikes. In 1948, there were no records legally made at all, although independent labels continued to bootleg records in small numbers. When the ban was over in January 1949, swing had evolved into new styles such as jump blues and bebop.
Cross-genre swing. Many of the crooners who came to the fore after the swing era had their origins in swing bands. An example is Bing Crosby. Frank Sinatra used the swing-band approach to great effect in almost all of his recordings and kept this style of music popular even after the rock ‘n’ roll era.
In country music, artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, Moon Mullican and Bob Wills introduced many elements of swing along with blues to create a genre called western swing. Like Sinatra did, Moon Mullican went solo from the Cliff Bruner band, had a successful solo career that included many songs that maintained a swing structure. Artists like Willie Nelson and Jerry Lee Lewis have kept the swing elements of country music present into the rock ‘n’ roll era. Nat King Cole followed Sinatra into the pop music world bringing with him a similar combination of swing bands and ballads. Like Moon Mullican, he was important in bringing piano to the fore of popular music.
Rock ‘n’ roll era hit makers like Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent and Elvis Presley also found time to include many swing-era standards into their repertoire. Presley’s hit “Are you lonesome tonight” is an old swing standard and Lewis’ “To make love sweeter for you” is a new song but in the old style. Among the critically acclaimed band leaders of the 1930s and 1940s whose performances included elements of both “Sweet Band” music and traditional swing music was Shep Fields.
Late 1990s: Swing revival
Although ensembles like the Count Basie Orchestra and the Stan Kenton Orchestra survived into the 1950s by incorporating new musical styles into their repertoire, they were no longer the hallmark of American popular music. In the late 1990s (1998 until about 2000) there was a short-lived “Swing revival” movement, led by bands such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, Royal Crown Revue, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Steve Lucky & The Rhumba Bums Featuring Miss Carmen Getit and Brian Setzer. The style also revived swing dancing, both in a traditional style, and in hybrid approaches which blended 1930s dancing with 2000-era dance styles.
Trad jazz, short for “traditional jazz” is a music genre popular in Britain and Australia from the 1940s onward through the 1950s and which still has enthusiasts today. It represented a recreation of the sounds and playing styles of New Orleans dixieland jazz. British and Australian bands of this genre copied the playing style of such artists as Sidney Bechet or King Oliver.
Opinions are divided about whether “trad jazz” is a valid name because one point of view would have it that jazz is a folk music tradition like any other, while the opposite point of view holds that jazz playing breaks loose from traditions and conventions so that, therefore, “traditional jazz” is a contradiction in terms.
In Britain during the 1950s and 1960s trad jazz was used to dance and skip jive, a descendant of jive, and swing dance. Bands like that of Chris Barber, Ken Colyer, Humphrey Lyttleton or Alex Welsh were most known.
For definition, many aficionados today consider trad to be the traditional playing of a piece with solo after solo leading up to a finish. Some feel that “hot jazz” though similar to trad, and indeed containing many of the same tunes, was more ensemble playing with less individual virtuosity brought to the forefront. Early King Oliver pieces define hot jazz to many. As individual performers began stepping to the front as soloists, the music changed. Ironically, one of ensemble players in King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, Louis Armstrong, was by far the most influential of the soloists, creating a big demand for a new style of jazz in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Other influential stylists who are still revered in traditional jazz circles today include Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke and Muggsy Spanier.