Search This Blog

Sunday, 6 September 2015


Instruments such as the clarinet, trumpet, and trombone, discarded by army bands after the American Civil War were taken up by the emancipated slaves and, together with such simple 'minstrel' instruments as the banjo, became the basis of a new sound-jazz.

The first jazz bands were usually made up of one or two cornet players who played the principal melodies, a clarinetist and trombonist who improvised countermelodies, and a rhythm section (piano, banjo, string bass or tuba, and drums) to accompany the horns. These bands played for dancers or marched in parades in the warm Southern climate.

One of the first jazz musicians was the cornetist Buddy Bolden (1877-1931), leader of a band who played in New Orleans streets and amusement parks.

A 1909 song called "Uncle Josh in Society" was the first use of the term jazz (in this instance it was used to refer to ragtime).

The word “jazz” was originally early 20th century US slang for excitement or energy. In 1913 it started to be used to mean nonsense or babble and it was recorded being used for a form of improvisatory music two years later.

By 1915 New Orleans-style bands were starting to enjoy popularity in Chicago. On May 15, 1915, Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland opened up at Lamb's Cafe at Clark & Randolph Streets in the Windy City. This band was the first to be popularly referred to as playing "Jazz", or, as it was spelled early on, "Jass.”

Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland. Sourece

Tom Brown's Band from Dixieland was formed when Chicago comedian and dancer Joe Frisco was impressed by the music he heard while in New Orleans. He asked New Orlean's trombonist Tom Brown to assemble a group and bring them north for an engagement at Lamb's Cafe in Chicago.
The group comprised Tom Brown, trombone and leader, Ray Lopez, cornet and manager, Paul Mares, cornet, Steve Brown, bass, Gussie Mueller, Yellow Nuñez and Larry Shields clarinet, Arnold Loyacano piano and guitar and Billy Lambert on drums.

Tom Brown's band toured the vaudeville circuit, but they didn't like all of the travel and soon broke up.

The Original Dixieland Jass Band were a group of white New Orleanians who were a sensation during a long engagement in New York City in 1917—18 playing Dixieland music at The Paradise Supper Club.

The Original Dixieland Jass Band 's February 26, 1917 recording of "Livery Stable Blues" was the first jazz single ever issued. It sold a million copies in 1917 and launched jazz as a national phenomenon. (A Black bandleader, Freddie Keppard, had rejected an offer to record because he though others would copy his style.)

Wikipedia Commons

"Livery Stable Blues" was basically a cover of a song that The Original Dixieland Jass Band had heard African-American musicians play in their native New Orleans.  It was the subject of a legal action and the presiding judge ruled that since the song was in bad taste and composed by people who couldn’t actually read or write sheet music, it would be remanded to the "public domain".

The regimental band of the U.S. Army's 369th Regiment (the "Harlem Hellfighters Band") is credited with introducing jazz to Britain and France during World War I. The until-then unknown music provided the first death blow for the British music hall.

F Scott Fitzgerald called the 1920s “The Jazz Age” in his 1922 stories Tales Of The Jazz Age.

In 1923 King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band made the first jazz records of lasting musical significance. Within Oliver's band was his protégé Louis Armstrong The same year marked the recording debuts of such early jazz greats as the New Orleanians Sidney Bechet and Jelly Roll Morton.

Jelly Roll Morton got his musical chops playing piano in a brothel - though he told his very respectable great grandmother that he had a job as a nightwatchman. He notated and arrange the free-flowing improvised jazz that he heard in New Orleans and claimed, to the rage of other players, that he was the "inventor of jazz."

Jazz finally entered the mainstream in 1925 with the popular success of Paul Whiteman.

The jazz musician Django Reinhardt was born on January 23, 1910, in a Gypsy caravan in Liberchies, Belgium. He was forced to give up the violin after a caravan fire in 1928 mutilated his left hand. Despite the accident, Reinhardt overcame the handicap and went on to create the 'hot' jazz guitar technique, which has since become a living musical tradition within French Gypsy culture. He is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of the twentieth century, and possibly the most significant jazz talent to emerge from Europe.

Reinhardt in 1946

Benny Goodman's concert on January 16, 1938 at New York City's Carnegie Hall was the first ever performance given by a jazz orchestra in the famed venue. It was considered instrumental in establishing jazz as a legitimate form of music.

The LP,  The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert by Benny Goodman issued in 1950, was the first ever double album, and one of the first records on the new long-playing format to sell over a million copies.

Goodman with his band and singer, Peggy Lee, in the film Stage Door Canteen (1943)
The bebop era, which lasted from about 1945 to 1960, was also the period of cool jazz,  a movement, originating in opposition to hot jazz, in which emphasis was placed on light, unforced playing.

The comic actor Peter Sellers started his career as a drummer with several jazz bands. His first business cards said: ‘Peter Sellers, Drums and Impressions.’

In 1959, Miles Davis's sextet, featuring saxophonist John Coltrane and pianist Bill Evans, introduced modal improvisation on Kind of Blue. The much acclaimed and highly influential album is the best selling jazz recording of all time,

Coltrane became the most legitimizing exponent of 1960s Free Jazz, a controversial style pioneered by Ornette Coleman and marked by an absence of harmonic sequences and chordal structures.

With 2,221 individual recording credits as of September 15, 2015, legendary American musician Ron Carter earned a Guinness World Records title as the most recorded jazz bassist in history.

Ron Carter

It is a crime to play jazz in North Korea.

Sources  Compton Encyclopedia, Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999, Daily Express

No comments:

Post a Comment