The theme of class four has been the new rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic vocabulary that was developed during the modern period, from 1939 - 1949. During these years, the saxophone gained prominence initially under the influence of Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins and a dozen other players. See the bebop appreciation below for a more complete characterization of this period.
Bibliography has already been posted under Class One Notes.
Jammin' the Blues (1946) - an homage to the jam session:
This link is here:www.youtube.com/watch?v=88PwJX5gyxU I showed this video (9 minute long) in class, but if you want to watch it again, there is a link to it below. It is a wonderful period piece, an artistic film created in 1946 by the photo director of Life magazine. The soloists are some of the most prominent players i the big band era, and their names are listed at the beginning of the film It includes a wonderful vocal by little-known but superb jazz singer, Marie Bryant, of the American songbook standard "On the Sunny Side of the Street." She re-phrases the melody in a stunning way, making a rather corny tune incredibly cool. The song itself is atypical 32-meaure song of the form A A B A.
Here are two influential recordings only one of which we listened to in class. "Body and Soul" by Coleman Hawkins. Rec. in 1939, was one of the earliest recording to show how one could virtually create a new song from the original source material. In addition to its historic importance, it is a brilliant improvisation. Though it provided some of the groundwork for bebop, the melodic language of this solo is not itself "modern." But the way he approached the material showed a young generation of jazz musicians the kind of freedoms they could take. (1) Coleman Hawkins influential recording of "Body and Soul." (Click Here)
(2) Lester Young;s influential recording of "Oh, Lady Be Good" with Count Basie, 1936. Click Here. This is the Youtube version, but the audio quality is not bad. There are many collections of Lester young's tenor sax style, which was a big influence on the "mellower" or "cool" players like Stan Getz and Paul Desmond.
Benny Goodman Quartet, Youtube video with Teddy Wilson and Lionel Hampton. (Click Here) This session from before modern jazz (or bebop) ---1936 -or '37 -- shows the increasing virtuosity in small combo format. This virtuosic playing was a big part of the modern jazz style.
Essential compositions by Charlie Parker: (Click Here.) Parker recorded some of these many time and with different bands. The classic Parker recordings were made between 1946 and 1948 for the Dial and Savoy labels. Dozens of musicians ever since then, including contemporary players, have also recorded Parker's tunes. Appointed out, many of the tunes are based on the chord changes of popular songs, like I Got Rhythm or Back Home Again in Indiana.
A big band, "Supersax," -- you can type Supersax into Youtube and hear what they do -- has recorded arranged renditions of his music, including his solos played by an entire sax section. It's quite amazing. Many vocalists have done scat singing replicating his solos with voice, also amazing. Check out the group Lambert Hendrix and Ross.
Essential Tunes by Dizzy Gillespie: Titles: Salt Peanuts, A Night in Tunisia, Emanon, Two Bass Hit, Con Alma, Bebop.
EssentialCompositions by Thelonious Monk. There are dozens, and virtually all are worth listening to, especially as played by one of his bands or by him solo. Classics are Monk Blue Monk, Rhythm-n-ing, 'Round Midnight. Highly Recommended Monk compositions - as played by Monk's bands. Bemsha Swing, Ba-lues -Bolivar Ba-lues R. Well, You Needn't, Epistrophe, Straight No Chaser, In Walked Bud, Off-Minor. Exceptionally beautiful ballads (in addition to "Round Midnight) are Ruby My Dear, Pannonica, Ask Me Now, and Crescule with Nellie. : I highly recommend the Jazz Icons DVD of Thelonious Monkwhich includes two excellent concerts in Europe from 1966 (Cost was $16 when I last checked). Two of the videos we watched in class were from that DVD. Click on the DVD title above to link to the Amazon page. A comprehensive list of Monk's compositions can be found here on Wikipedia.
List of "contrafacts" -- songs composed based on the chord changes (i.e., the harmony) of well known popular songs of the 1930s and 1940s. (Click Here.) Many jazz tunes of the modern era are based on the blues, of course, and they are too numerous to include in a list.
"The Devil's Interval" -- the flatted-fifth The flatted 5th note of the scale, is also known as the "Devil's Interval." This interval (the space between notes) is known asa "tritone" because it is composed of three whole tones. If you start at C, one whole gets you to D, the second whole tone gets you to E, and the third gets you to F# (of G-flat). Thus C to G-flat (or F #) is the tritone. Gerald Moshell, Professor of Music at Trinity College in Hartford, wrote: "It wants to go somewhere. It wants to settle either here, or [there]. You don't know where it'll go, but it can't stop where it is." This is perfect for the tension and ambiguity of jazz. Click here for an NPR piece about the Devil's Interval in music.
Chromaticism (WARNING: Music Theory - i.e., technical stuff).
I tried to explain this in the class at the keyboard. I apologize for its excess of technicality . One student suggest afterwards that I should have projected it on the screen so people would be able to visualize it more easily . Im not sure I have the computer graphics sills to do that very well.
But here is another verbal explanation for those interested. It is also very technical, but if anyone plays an instrument or is interested in Music Theory, this might be something you will enjoy working throws.
from C . . . .to . . .G (a perfect 5th above C). . . .to . . . . . .D (a perfect 5th above G) . . .. to , , , , , A (a perfect 5th above D) . . etc. You will end at the top note on the keyboard (C)
Another way to think of it is to go backwards. Start from the highest note, C. C is the 5th note (dominant chord) of the F scale. Then from F (which is the 5th notes (dominant chord) or the Bb scale) go down to Bb. Then Bb is the 5th note of Eb. Eb is the 5th note of Ab . . .etc. You will end up at the lowest C on the piano.
So if you string all those 5ths together in order, you get the chromatic scale . . all 12 tones of the major scale mode. This means that chromatically you can get to any note (and here is the tricky part) if you recognize that the flatted-fifth of the dominant chord in the C scale (i.e., G ) is Db (D is the fifth of the G scale and its flat is Db) . You can use the Db7 (with a flatted-5th (i.e., G) instead of the fifth itself (G7) to resolve to C. Db7 (with flatted-5th) is a chromatic (half-step) above C. In other words, you can always resolve chromatically.
"Bourbon Street Parade" Analysis
As a listening exercise for Class Two, I suggested trying to analyze the parts of the song as performed by Wynton Marsalis accompanied by bass and drums. (Class Two notes has an audio player with the tune, so you can still try this exercise which is certain to improve your listening skills.) Or you can listen to the piece and see my analysis (or diagram) of the performance by clicking here.