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The Jazz Times

NEW ORLEANS SPECIAL The life of Louis Armstrong

THE INVENTION OF RAGTIME Jelly Roll Morton takes credit See Page 1


Exclusive: The Lindy Hop: The new dance on the block See Page 3

Herbie Hancock Child prodigy at age 11 See Page 7

A Special on one of the most controversial musicians‌


RAGTIME JAZZ 1880 - 1910: Ragtime music was popular between the times of 1880 to 1910. Ragtime music is a form of American Jazz which was influenced by show songs, elements of European music and off beat rhythms of the famous cakewalk dance. Ragtime was usually composed of a 4/4 or 2/4 0 left hand time, and a bouncy fast melody for the right. Most ragtime compositions are performed on the piano. Ragtime jazz is believed to be invented by Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, who was known as the famous pianist, bandleader and composer, Jelly Roll Morton. Jelly Roll Morton grew up in New Orleans and from the age of 10 learnt the piano. In 1902, aged 12, Morton started playing Ragtime in Storyville. Years after, Morton became an itinerant pianist, travelling to Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. During this time he was apparently a heavy gambler and pool player, but his music was still his main focus. In 1920 Morton formed a jazz band called the Red Hot Peppers and made a series of classic records for Citor who were looking for new talent. Click to watch Jelly Roll Morton and his band the Hot Peppers perform Dr. Jazz: Scott Joplin was amongst the many composers who helped populate and develop Ragtime Jazz. Scott Joplin is a famous pianist of Ragtime era. He is the composer of some of the famous pieces such as The Entertainer and Maple Leaf Rag. Click to watch Scott Joplin perform The Entertainer: Q

NEW ORLEANS 1910 – 1930: New Orleans Jazz, or Dixieland Jazz, was a popular jazz era of 1910 to 1930. Early Dixieland jazz was played in small improvised bands and compositions were inspired by the blues, one step marches, Ragtime Jazz and pop tunes. New Orleans bands usually played in small bars. Dixieland bands had 2 sections. The first section was the Rhythm section which used the Piano, Drums, Double Bass, Banjo and Tuba. The second section was called the Front Line utilising the Trumpet, Trombone and clarinet. Between the merge of the Ragtime and Dixieland Jazz eras, this period of time was known as Chicago Style Dixieland. It was given this name as people moved from the south to the centre of Jazz, in Chicago, and brought their love of the Dixieland Jazz entertainment with them. New Orleans Jazz is played with a more relaxed tempo compared to Ragtime Jazz, but it is played more aggressively. A famous artist of the New Orleans time was Louis Armstrong. Louis Armstrong grew up in New Orleans in a poor family. At the age of twelve Armstrong was sent to a reform school, after firing a gun on New Year’s Eve. During his time at school, Armstrong learnt to play the cornet. Two years later, aged 14, Armstrong was released from school and started selling coal and newspapers on the street. At this time Armstrong didn’t own an instrument but continued to listen to famous bands at clubs such as the Funky Butt Hall. One of Armstrong’s favourite artists was Joe “King” Oliver. Oliver acted as a father to Armstrong, giving him his first cornet and instructing him on the instrument.

SWING 1930 – 1945: The Swing era of Jazz proved to be one of the most loved Jazz eras of all times. Early Swing bands had about 10 musicians consisting of 2 or 3 Trumpets and Trombones, a Piano, Guitar, Bass Violin and the Drums. The Guitar, Bass Violin and Drums played simple buoyant ostinato rhythms while the Trumpets and Trombones played large rich tones. During the Swing era many jazz bars started to close down and this resulted in more musicians moving to the centre of Jazz in New York and Chicago where Big Bands were starting to develop. The creator of the first Big Band was Duke Ellington. A big band consisted of 3 sections; the rhythm, the reed and the brass. Big Bands played in large dance halls where their main audience were social dancers. The Americans loved swing so much they created dances, such as the Lindy Hop, while listening to Swing music. Swing music was also believed to have been music for the fighting forces across the seas battling in World War 2. Click here to watch the famous Lindy Hop Dance: Here is a modern take on the dance:

BE BOP 1945: The Be Bop era of Jazz, or Bop era, was one of the most changed jazz eras. Be Bop Jazz was a lot more complex than Swing as it needed a lot more chord and harmonic knowledge. Bop was dislike when it was first released because people disliked the way that a Bop song would never been played the same twice. During the Bop era many people stopped going to Dance Halls to listen to jazz as they had no money. Be Bop was first played by Charlie Parker who grew up in Kansas City. Parker’s love of music first began when he learnt the Barito ne at school. When he was 15, Charlie showed a love for music and the Alto Saxophone, which he later made famous. In 1935 Parker left school to peruse his music career where he started playing in local bands. 4 years later, in 1939, Parker lived in New York for a year where he met guitarist Biddy Fleet who taught Parker about instrumental harmonies. At the time Parker was working as a dish washer at a local food shop. The 1940’s were an exciting time for Parker. In 1940 he recorded his first song with the McShann Orchestra and created his own band in 1945. In 1945 he also collaborated with Gillespie and his ensemble. Click here to watch Charlie Parker’s All the things you are:

COOL JAZZ 1950: The Cool Jazz era was given its name by the companies and journalist as musicians believed it was boring to give their style of music a label. The Cool Jazz era had more of an emphasis on written compositions than improvisations. Cool Jazz had moved closer to the classical style and was defined by the delicate tones and little vibrato used in the music. The instruments used in Cool Jazz ensembles were ones that haven’t been used in previous jazz styles such as the Flute, French horn, Oboe, Cello and Flugelhorn. The ensembles usually had 3 to 8 players who used the middle ranges of their instruments. The Cool Jazz era also introduced a new time signature changing a 2/4 or 4/4 time signature into 3/4, 5/4 or 9/4 time signature. Some musicians in the Cool Jazz era have been categorized as having “third stream music� as their compositions have moved closer to the classical style. A famous artist of the Cool Jazz era was the trumpet player Miles Davis. Davis was raised in East St Louis where he was given his first trumpet ages 13. Davis was a child prodigy who mastered the instrument and looked up to other jazz musicians such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1944 Davis accepted his admission to the Juilliard School where he accomplished his goal of playing in a session led by Parker. In 1950 Davis led his first small group which helped in the movement from Be Bop to Cool Jazz.

FREE JAZZ 1960: The Free Jazz era is also known as Acid Jazz but this time period was ard to give one name so it regularly got regarded as ‘New Things’. Free Jazz was the most spontaneously played of all Jazz eras because it doesn’t use a strict structure for improvisations but it allows musicians to react to each other whilst playing. Ornette Coleman was a famous saxophone player of the Free Jazz era. Coleman grew up in Texas and taught himself how to play the saxophone and read music by the age of 14. At the age of 19 Coleman took to the road and in 1950 went to Los Angeles. While he was in Los Angeles he couldn’t find any public performance opportunities as everyone believed that his music was too controversial. In 1958 Coleman had succeeded with his music releasing his debut album titles ‘Something Else’. When his album was released it was clear that Coleman had created a new style of Jazz which was based around harmony, rhythm and melody. He called this concept Harmolodics. From 1950 through to the 60’s Coleman released more than 15 albums which are now all claimed as jazz classics. Click here to water Ornette Colemans Free Jazz Double Quartet:

JAZZ FUSION 1970: Jazz Fusion was an era which incorporates the blues, rock and fu nk into the musician’s compositions. The electronic sounds of the 70’s helped Jazz take yet another direction. By taking on this electronic sound Jazz bands used the Electric Piano, Electric Guitar, and Synthesizers. As this style of Jazz became more electronic it had become criticized for watering down popular jazz which didn’t have the electronic sound but its stronger popular appeal has helped with its survival. Herbie Hancock was one of the most well-known artists of the Jazz Fusion era. Hancock started playing the piano at the age of 7 and was regarded as a prodigy by the age of 11 when he played Mozart for the Chicago Symphony. After studying at Grinnell College, Hancock was invited in 1961 by Donald Byrd to join his group in New York. Not long after Blue Note offered Hancock a solo contract where he released his debut album ‘Takin’ Off’. In May 1963 Miles Davis asked Hancock to join his band Seven Steps to Heaven where Miles became Hancock’s mentor. In 1969 Hancock created his own band and in 1970 his members both used African and English names. Unfortunately in 1973 the band broke up as they had no money to support them. During the 70’s Hancock recorded many electronic albums and become one of the most controversial jazz figures like his mentor Miles Davis. Hancock’s piano and keyboard compositions are entirely his own which involve his own urbane harm onic complex rhythmic signatures. Click here to watch Herbie Hancock’s Jazz Fusion Cantelope:

The History of Jazz  

A Music Assignment on the History of Jazz