Saturday, October 29, 2016

Maturation of Jazz: 1917 to the Early 1930s

In 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band cut the first commercial jazz recording while playing in New York City, where they were enthusiastically received. The Victor release was an unexpected hit. Suddenly, jazz New Orleans style was a national craze.
With the new demand for jazz, employment opportunities in the North coaxed more musicians to leave New Orleans. For example, clarinetist Sidney Bechet left for Chicago in 1917, and cornetist Joe “King” Oliver followed two years later. The appeal of the New Orleans sound knew no boundaries. By 1919, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band was performing in England and Bechet was in France; their music was wholeheartedly welcomed.
King Oliver, who had led popular bands in New Orleans along with trombonist Edward “Kid” Ory, established the trend-setting Creole Jazz Band in Chicago in 1922. Also in Chicago, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings blended the Oliver and Original Dixieland Jazz Band sounds and collaborated with Jelly Roll Morton in 1923.
Perhaps the most significant departure from New Orleans was in 1922 when Louis Armstrong was summoned to Chicago by King Oliver, his mentor. Louis Armstrong swung with a great New Orleans feeling, but unlike any of his predecessors, his brilliant playing led a revolution in jazz that replaced the polyphonic ensemble style of New Orleans with development of the soloist’s art. The technical improvement and popularity of phonograph records spread Armstrong’s instrumental and vocal innovations and make him internationally famous. His “Hot Five” and “Hot Seven” recordings (1925–1928), including his celebrated work with Earl Hines, were quite popular and are milestones in the progression of the music.
Louis Armstrong, “Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans”
The funerals in New Orleans are sad until the body is finally lowered into the grave and the reverend says, “ashes to ashes and dust to dust.” After the brother was six feet under the ground the band would strike up one of those good old tunes like “Didn’t He Ramble,” and all the people would leave their worries behind. Particularly when King Oliver blew that last chorus in high register.
Once the band starts, everybody starts swaying from one side of the street to the other, especially those who drop in and follow the ones who have been to the funeral. These people are known as ‘the second line,’ and they may be anyone passing along the street who wants to hear the music. The spirit hits them and they follow along to see what’s happening.
New Orleans musicians and musical styles continued to influence jazz nationally as the music went through a rapid series of stylistic changes. Jazz became the unchallenged popular music of America during the “Swing” era of the 1930s and 1940s. Later innovations, such as “bebop” in the 1940s and “avant-garde” in the 1960s, departed further from the New Orleans tradition.
Once the small-band New Orleans style fell out of fashion, attempts were made to revive the music. In the late 1930s, recognizing that early jazz had been neglected and deserved serious study, jazz enthusiasts turned back to New Orleans. Many New Orleans musicians and others were still actively playing traditional jazz. Recordings and performances by Bunk Johnson and George Lewis stimulated a national jazz revival movement, providing opportunities for traditional jazz players that persist today.

1.  Why did so many jazz musicians leave New Orleans during this time?

a.                   Demand for jazz had diminished in New Orleans.
b.                  Jazz had gained worldwide popularity and work abounded.
c.                   Other cities paid musicians better money.
d.                  Work was impossible to find because there were too many musicians. 

2. What probably helped jazz to gain its initial international acclaim?
a.                   telegraphs
b.                  phonograph records
c.                   radio
d.                  television 

3. In what way did Louis Armstrong revolutionize jazz?

4. The playing of lively music after a New Orleans funeral
a. is a method of helping mourners to forget the dead.
b.helps to bring feelings of comfort and familiarity to mourners.
c. is highly inappropriate and disrespectful because a funeral should be a somber event.
d.keeps mourners from feeling sad.

5. Which of the following best tracks the evolution of jazz in America?
a. solo acts, string bands, polyphonic sounds, drumming and chanting
b.polyphonic sounds, drumming and chanting. string sounds, solo acts
c. string sounds, solo acts, polyphonic sounds, drumming and chanting
d.drumming and chanting, string bands, polyphonic sounds, solo acts
6. In your own words, explain the evolution of jazz from its earliest origins through maturity.
7. Why was New Orleans the perfect breeding place for jazz?

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