Jazz Big Band Essay

272 words - 2 pages

Big Band

Context

* Originated in the US, associated with the Jazz and Swing Era.
* In the mid 1920s, big band was the main popular music.

Features
* The bands did little improvisation. However by the end of the 1920s, big bands added more improvised soloing.
* However, more emphasis on written arrangements. Showmanship, e.g. band uniforms, theme songs, logos on stands, choreography, singers.
* Typically consisting approximately 12 ...view middle of the document...

* Smoother swing feels with a steady 4/4 time with emphasis on 2 & 4.
* Rhythm also reinforced with walking bass and ride cymbal.
* Common feature was tutti which meant all horns playing a melodic line in harmony.
* Soli that meant one section playing a melodic line in harmony.
* Shout Chorus, a climatic tutti section at the end of the arrangement.
* Cross-section voicing, which is a harmonized melodic line, voiced using instruments from different sections within the band.
* Additionally, Riffs, repeated short melodic and/or rhythmic pattern.

Key Musicians
* Duke Ellington (piano/composer)
* Count Basie (piano/bandleader)
* Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax)
* Lester Young (tenor sax)
* Roy Eldridge (trumpet)

Why did the era end?

* The “recording ban” of 1942-1944, which kept big bands from recording.
* Whereas singers didn’t belong to the musicians’ union, so they kept recording. Therefore, the popularity of Frank Sinatra and other singers emerged.
* The loss of many big-bang musicians to the wartime military.
* The migration of many Southern, both white and black, to large Northern and Western cities to work, who preferred R&B and country.

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