Listening exercise , Read the "Listening Exercise" text below. Then CLICK ON AUDIO PLAYER IMMEDIATELY ABOVE, It will play the music for the "Bourbon St. Parade" exercise.
"Bourbon Street Parade" by the Wynton Marsalis Trio (trumpet, bass, and drums) Listening through headphones or attached speakers is highly recommended.
LISTENING EXERCISE: Try to hear the 32-measures of the song's form in four 8-measure. phrases . The song is of the form A (16 measures) B (16 measures) A and B each have two 8-meaure phrases. The A and B themes are similar, but definitely not the same.
First, you have to catch the tempo -- how fast are the four beats per measure going. tap your foot or find some other way to feel the pulse and tempo.
GOAL: How many "choruses" (the full 32 measure of the song) does Wynton Marsalis improvise before he lets the bass player take over? How many full choruses (of 32 measures) does the bass player solo?
One chorus of the song (known by improvisors as "going through the form") is 32 measures.That is the A theme (16 measures) and the B theme (16 measures)
HINT: The intro is four measures of four beats each. That should help you establish "tempo." Adjust your tempo so that the intro to the tune is four measures long. That is . . . . . (1) - 2 - 3 - 4 (2) -2 -3 - 4 (3) 2-3-4 (4) 2-3-4 (Intro) The first note of the song starts on beat #3 of measure 1 of the A theme. This occurs at just short of 6 seconds into the recording.) NOTE: The first note of the song itself (which follows the 4-measure intro) falls on the 3rd beat of the first measure, not on the 1st beat. (1) - 2 - 3 - 4 . The same is true of the second 16-measure theme.
As you hear the tempo and the four beats per measure, you will begin to notice the "off-time" phrasing of the trumpet. -- which is NOT aligned exactly to the four beats of the measure. When you can hear how the soloist is playing with (altering) melodic time, you will enjoy the music even more and you will hear the conflict between the time-zone of the song itself, and the time-zone created by the soloist.
Bourbon Street Parade" (Video link here - a charming video of the band playing with street scenes in New Orleans; however the video unfortunately omits the bass solo which is an important part of the overall experience of this recording).
"Antecedents of Jazz" presents a brief summary of jazz origins. Through youtube links, it enables you to trace the evolution of "stride" piano -- one of the building blocks of the jazz piano tradition -- from marching band music and ragtime. (As always, I recommend you listen to these links through headphones or good attached speakers.)
The Louis Armstrong selections were taken from the "Hot Five" and "Hot Seven" recording from 1927 - 1928. If you search for them on YouTube or your music streaming service, you will find most of them. Those we played from that group are
West End Blues (especially the inspirational solo intro) Hotter Than That Weather Bird (duo with Earl Hines on piano)
Other tunes from these sessions worth hearing are "Skip the Gutter" and "Potato Head Blues" and "Another Monday Date" also with Earl Hines on piano.
We also played "Up a Lazy River" from 1931 and a video of "Dinah" (on film from 1931) You can probably find these on Youtube. We compared the Big Crosby version with the Mills Brothers with Armstrong's version.
Jelly Roll Morton: The Jelly Roll Morton Red hot Peppers example is called "Dead Man Blues," rec. in 1926. It is the orchestration in the last minute that makes it a unique example of the transition between the New Orleans style and later "notated" arrangements. (Click Here to Listen to Dead Man Blues/)
Contemporary pieces are "Bourbon St. Parade" Wynton Marsalis (recording is posted above) and version of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" involving "scat-singing" sung by Tierney Sutton. The version I played in class is from her CD. Here is a link to a live performance. This version is in the same vein, but is a very different improvisation from the one we heard in class -- for those who are wondering if the music is the same each time.
From the movie "The Five Pennies" Louis Armstrong - Danny Kaye duet. "When the Saints Go Marching In " You can also find this on Youtube, but not with the same quality of sound as you heard on my DVD>
The web site, jazztalks.com, created by a former participant in one of my classes (in 2018), Peter Geller.
Mister Jelly Roll a book by Alan Lomax. A colorful and dramatic reminiscence of New Orleans and the life of Jelly Roll Morton. It's almost like visiting New Orleans a hundred years ago, Based on interviews by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress
DVD series, "Jazz" by Ken Burns.A superb historical overview with great documentary footage and excellent music. You get 10 discs for only $69. When I bought it, it cost twice that and it was still a bargain in my opinion.