White Way Blues -
1919 - Lada/Nunez
in the traditional 12 bar blues form, 'White Way' is labeled a fox
trot. Possessing a chromatic theme, it appears like an upside down
statement of the theme of 'Tin Roof Blues.' There is use of
syncopation and dotted rhythms. The trio is written for trombone solo
until the last phrase of this section.
Blues - 1919 - Lada/Spencer Williams
by La 5 member Anton Lada and songwriter Spencer Williams (composer of
'Basin St. Blues'). The first section is a 12 bar blues structure
with the second section in two 8 bar phrases. The second of the 2
phrases is extended by 2 bars. This section does not have a blues
feeling. The first section contains some jazz breaks for the saxes and
trumpets. This arrangement gives us a sound that we have come to
recognize as the 'jazz' sound that was emerging in the early 20's.
This arrangement uses three saxes and a clarinet solo in the first
Blossom Rag - 1919 - Nunez/Lada/Cawley
by La members Al Nunez, Anton Lada and Joe Cawley, it is labeled a
'One-Step, Two-Step or Trot'. By 1919 the style of popular music had
progressed past the popularity of the classic ragtime. The blues and the
jazz song (called many times a 'fox trot') became the dominant
style/form of this era. In 'Orange Blossom' there can be found the
use of the cakewalk rhythm in the first section and the trio. We find an
interesting coda that contains a trombone smear/solo, a sound that
became an element of jazz style. As the title suggests, this is a
southern type subject, thus the use of the cakewalk rhythm.
Foot Warmer - 1919 -
a fox trot, this arrangement's first section is in 4 bar phrases, each
statement of the theme is slightly different. An interesting second
section also in 4 bar phrases that are sequence-like in four statements.
This is repeated in the next 16 bars. Directly following there appears
an 8 bar section that acts like a transition to the third section, using
the rhythms of the introduction that interestingly leads to the third
section, also using the rhythm of the introduction. This leads to a D.
Golden Rod Blues - 1919 -
the arrangements and publications of the La. 5 reflex the emerging jazz
style of the period just after World War I. The song is in 4 bar phrases
and it is called a 'blues' and is labeled a fox trot. There is the
use of syncopation. At the middle of the second section there is an
interesting descending rhythmic/ melodic figure in a downward sequence
pattern. The La 5 presents a tight arrangement and it creates a good
jazz sound. They presented it to the public in the 'now' jazz sound
that became the rage of the era., the 'Jazz Age.' The La 5 was only
organized for a short period but these arrangements left a profound
message - legit dance bands could play and create a 'jazz' sound.
Their influence became an important step in the progress of jazz after
World War I, as witnessed by the large number of published arrangements
by the band in 1919.
Thunderbolt Blues - 1919 -
as a 'One-Step' there is a 4 bar introduction that leads to a 16 bar
sections (A) and a 16 bar 2nd section (B), using some
syncopation and mostly diatonic harmony. There is a modulation from
section A to B (from F major to Bb major) in two 8 bar phrases using
basically the I and V chords and presents a diatonic theme. Section C is
the trio that begins with a 10 measure transition to the main theme that
uses the first theme stated in cakewalk rhythm within a 16 bar section
repeated once. This section sounds like the trio of a march and without
the more 'jazzy' early sections you would say that you are hearing a
instrumentation is interesting, having 2 cornets, a piccolo instead of a
flute, and an alto and tenor sax along with a clarinet. Written in 1919
there was still not a 'set' way to write for saxophones. In this
arrangement the sax at times double another part and other times plays a
harmony supporting part. We can see the changing in the use of the
clarinet as it doesn't always double the melody as is earlier
Be-Hap-E Blues - 1919 - Lada
is not a 12 bar blues but has a bluesy feeling within the 16 bar
phrases. There is an interesting use of the cakewalk rhythm, interesting
in that the rhythm is still being used within a 'jazz' arrangement
and by a jazz band in 1919. It is also interesting as the 2nd section sounds like the strains of a march. The arrangements of the La 5
seem to use elements of past musical styles in the setting of the then
contemporary jazz band of the early 20's.
Blues - 1919 - Lada/Nunez
piece is a true 12 bar blues, with a few added, more modern chords than
just the three primary chords of the blues. There is the use of
syncopation in this first section and sparingly in the other two
sections. The La. 5 arrangements seem to present all the current clichés
of early jazz elements. The other two sections of this work did not use
the blues 12 bar form.
First known as the Friar's Society
Orchestra in the early 1920's, by 1923 it became known as the New
Orleans Rhythm Kings. Their first recordings in 1922 for Gennett were
met with great success. While personnel changed or were added to the
musicians most associated with the group include: Paul Mares, Leon
Roppolo, Jack Pettis, Elmer Schoebel, Arnold Loyocano, Lou Black, Frank
Snyder, Steve Brown, Chink Martin, Ben Pollack, Mel Stitzel, Charlie
Cordilla, George Brunis, Ben Pollack and Santo Pecora. After a change in
personnel that saw three key members return to New Orleans, the group
disbanded around 1925. While it was active it was one of the most
influential early jazz bands, A great front line of: Mares, Brunis and
Roppolo inspired a school of young white Chicago jazz musicians which
Blues - 1923 - New
Orleans Rhythm Kings
to be an early blues riff by legendary New Orleans cornetist Buddy
Petit, the theme was called 'Rusty Nail Blues' around New Orleans.
The verse is a 12 bar blues statement leading to the famous riff that is
also a 12 bar blues form. This is the melody that has been renamed a
number of times: "Jazz Baby Blues" in 1926, "Make Love To Me" in
1950 as recorded by Kay Starr with only slight modifications. The third
section is open for solos - most NORK arrangements are found with solo
sections. This arrangement is from 1923, and progress can be heard from
the La. 5 to the NORK.
Farewell Blues - 1923 -
song is not in true blues form. It contains open sections for solos in
the second section. It is one of the earliest examples of jazz solos in
print. Written by clarinetist Leon Rappolo, the solo is given to the
clarinet. The piece is in song form with four bar phrases.
'King' Oliver's Jazz Band
One of the most
influential bands in early jazz was the Oliver Creole Jazz Band. The
band was lead by Joe 'King' Oliver, who had moved to Chicago in 1918
and formed a band in 1920. After a trip to the San Francisco area he
returned to Chicago and formed his most famous band that brought up
Louis Armstrong to Chicago in 1922. This was the most influential jazz
band in early jazz, influencing such bands as the New Orleans Rhythm
Kings and many others. It is interesting to note that the New Orleans
cornetists Buddy Petit and Kid Rena were first asked to come and join
the band. When they refused Armstrong was sent for. The Band included:
Oliver-trumpet, Armstrong-trumpet, Dodds-drums, Dutrey-trombone, J.
Dodds-clarinet and Johnson-bass & banjo. After a successful
engagement in Chicago the band was asked to play at the Cotton Club in
New York. A dispute of money caused the management of the Cotton Club to
hire 'Duke' Ellington. Armstrong left the band in 1924 to form his
own group in New York. While the band continued without Armstrong until
1927, its influence had been superseded by Armstrong's emerging style.
Oliver died in Savannah, Georgia in 1938, virtually in obscurity
Chime Blues - 1923 -
in a true 12 bar blues pattern, with the 3rd section
imitating a chime effect. The 4th section uses a quasi
cakewalk rhythm but with the accents placed differently (o o o o o). Joe
Oliver was not the first New Orleans musician to bring a jazz band to
Chicago, but became the most influential, especially when Louis
Armstrong joined the band in 1922.
Snag It - 1926 - Joe
jazz reached Chicago and moved onto the national scene, it became the
most popular dance music around. No one group did more to shape the jazz
style of this era then the 'King' Oliver Band with Louis Armstrong
on trumpet. Though only on the scene for a brief time, Oliver's place
in jazz history is secure, thanks to the influence of his ensemble.
It' is a true blues and was a big hit in its time. In it we hear minor
blues and the traditional jazz riffs that leads to the blues choruses.
The tempo is taken fast on the record, which was used so that the whole
arrangement could get on one side of a record. It should be taken slower
to that its contents can be heard and at a tempo that I am sure was used
very popular piece when it was published in 1926, 'snag It' contains
jazz breaks and arranged solos.
Dixieland Jazz Band(ODJB)
The ODJB, the
first jazz band to record, brought their brand of New Orleans Jazz to
the world via recordings. One of these recordings the 'Livery Stable
Blues' has been analyzed as to its harmony, form and structure on the
web site of <www.basinstreet.com> on which all the programs of the
Lake Arrowhead Jazz Band appear
the La. 5, the ODJB had arrangements published for the 'legit'
orchestras to play for dancing.
- 1918 - Tony Sbarbaro
by the ODJB's drummer, Tony Sbarbaro, it was published in 1918. Under
the title we see that it is called a fox trot. The first section is in
16 bar song form. The second section is a 12 bar blues form. The third
section is also in 12 bar blues form. Both black and white bands used
the blues form as the bases for many of its songs. The blues also became
an instrumental musical form, its beginning being in vocal style. The
second section uses the 'blue' notes (the flatted third) and while
the first 6 bars of the 2nd and 3rd section are
different, the same melody is stated in both sections.
War Cloud - 1918 -
Cloud (recognized as the tune 'Fidgety Feet) begins with an
introduction that uses the cakewalk rhythm and proceeds to a 16 bar song
form with a theme reminiscent of the '12th Street Rag.'
There is a quasi stop time that begins the second section. The name
'War Cloud' probably was given to help sell arrangements - it was a
'fad' to give songs an interesting name. While the melody for the
first section is in 16th notes and is contrasted in the trio
with a long note theme that sound like the trio of a march. (This march
style has been seen in some of the songs of the La. 5.) It is labeled a
One-Step and composer credit is given to Nick LaRocca and Larry Shields.
Skeleton Jangle -
1918 - Nick LaRocca
by Nick LaRocca "'Skeleton' contains dotted rhythms reminiscent of
the cakewalk rhythm. It is in song form, the three section in two 8 bar
phrases. The third section has a bass figure under a tutti chord pattern
that plays on 1 and 3. The piece ends with a riff-sounding figure that
reminds one of the way a blues figure is repeated. The title is not
referring to any spooky effect but as with 'War cloud' it was named
to sell the piece of music. There is use of syncopation and contains the
jazz element of a smearing trombone.
Livery Stable Blues (Barnyard Blues) - 1927 -
ODJB recorded their historic session on Feb. 26, 1917, using the
'Livery Stable Blues' on one side and 'Dixieland Jass Band
One-Step' on the reverse side. The sheet music was published in 1927
by Roger Graham Music Publishers located at 143 N. Dearborn St.,
Chicago, Ill. The music gives credit to Ray Lopez and Alcide Nunez as
the composers and Marvin Lee as lyricist. A second recording was made in
London, in April of 1919.
Livery Stable Blues - 1917 - N. LaRocca
Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB) recorded their historic session on
Feb. 26, 1917, using the 'Livery Stable Blues' on one side and the
"Dixieland Jass Band One Step" on the other. The sheet music was
published in 1917 by Robert Graham Music Publishers at 143 N. Dearborn
Street, Chicago, Ill. The music gives credit to Ray Lopez and Alcide Nunez
as the composers and Marvin Lee as lyricist A second recording was made in
London on April 16,1919. There was a legal battle in court as to the
authorship of the song - thus the two names.
analysis of the recording can be found on the web sit: <www.basinstreet.com>
Roll Morton, one of the legendary names in early jazz, is best known for
his reputation as an early jazz pianist and for his narratives recorded
at the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. As important as his
interviews and recordings are, I feel his importance to the preservation
of early jazz are his accomplishments as one of the earliest jazz
chose the men for his recording session personally. He worked on each
number until he was satisfied. Baby Dodds recalls "You did what jelly
Roll wanted you to do. He knew what he wanted and he would get the men
he knew could produce it, but never interfered with the solos."
was true to the New Orleans style and was a leader in the movement that
these recording sessions and Melrose' publications help spread
world-wide an authentic duplication of the New Orleans sound. It
preserved the new Orleans style and guarded its integrity, for this
style was beginning to be an unknown and misunderstood style, more
spontaneous than the early jazz music that was primarily dance music.
His music was more exact in musical clarity and proficiency that the
more rough ensembles of the looser, less technical early jazz combos.
Morton's music could be thought of as a written down, more disciplined
King Oliver Band sound, more polished and musically correct than the
ODJB. Morton's orchestral style is in essence the New Orleans
polyphonic style (called collective improvisation, better described as
heterphonic). Morton's style included unison and harmonized passages
with solos, and a very melodic, harmonic and tonal sophistication which
by comparison made King Oliver's early recordings no more than the
work of an early blues band using all the devices Morton used but with
less orchestral skill and clarity.
orchestral style came from his piano style. His presentation of
orchestral jazz somewhat saved and preserved the original sound of an
early jazz band from what could have become a degeneration of the style.
An important point
to make is Morton realized his short-comings in writing down
orchestrations and realized he needed technical help from staff
arrangers, but, his ideas and style, his musical concepts and their
careful refinement and evolution were his own. His progress was an
important step that should be put in historic perception - that jazz
style can be written down and played by other musicians than the early
New Orleans jazz musicians. - this bringing jazz to multitudes of legit
dance musician - a legacy that spread jazz throughout the dance halls of
the world. Morton later took on the problem of a four-man front - a
challenge that opened the way to larger jazz groups and furthered jazz
orchestration that could be furthered by arrangers such as Redman, Grofe
and Still. It reached its zenith in the Jazz Age as this period in jazz
history was the 'arranger's era.'
Original Jelly Roll Blues -
in Chicago by Will Rossiter around 1915, it is said that J. P. Johnson
heard Morton playing it in New York in 1911. Jelly Roll built his
pianistic reputation playing this piece on his travels. As with all of
Morton's piano pieces, it was written with orchestration in mind (or
for the piano to sound like an orchestra). The piece is very versatile
and diversified in using many creative ideas. From a bluesy
introduction, there follows a characteristic trumpet fanfare. Morton
uses the 12 bar blues progression very creatively. Starting at section
A, with each beginning a 4 bar phrase of blues progression repetitive
and it is like hearing a cliché. There are three choruses of blues
followed by a transition at section D for 4 bars. Beginning at section E
there is a modified blues 12 bar progression. At section F there is
another 12 bar blues followed by another 12 bar blues statement. At
section H another blues variation is found which is followed at section
I with another blues section with each section different from the other.
Section J is in the same modified blues progression. This piece is one
of the best examples of the way jazz musicians of the early part of the
320th century used the blues progression and how truly
creative they were.
New Orleans Blues - 1925
is a 12 bar blues Tango, using what is called the rhythm of the
'Spanish Tinge.' Two themes emerge. Beginning at section A and B -
different but coming together in their 5th bar with the same
melody., then branching off again in bar 8 until the end of the section.
The second theme appears at section 3. This part stops the tango rhythm
and as Morton remarked 'stomp.' The piece ends with a straight
forward 4/4 feeling to the end.
Chicago Breakdown - 1925
in 8 bar phrases at Section A, section B contains jazz breaks leading to
a D. s. that repeats section A to a 3rd ending which goes to
the trio and modulates from Bb to Eb. The trio is also in 8 bar phrases
(four times) with the last 8 bars containing new material with jazz
breaks and a source of textual contrast.
Midnight Mama - 1925
piece begins with a 4 bar introduction that leads to Section A. This
section has an interesting constructed theme using repetition and the
use of motif development. There is some use of syncopation. At section B
the theme begins with a motif from the introduction ( o o o o ) which
uses 16 bar song form (AABA) and A and B using material from the
introduction. Section C is a repeat of section A. Section D ends the
piece with a length of 18 bars that includes some jazz breaks, is also
in song form of which the last 4 are extended by 2 bars.
Dead Man Blues - 1926
Morton's masterpiece, the piece begins with Chopin's 'Funeral
March' in the first 8 bars. Within this piece we hear musical and
rhythmic echoes, polyphony, fragmented and split melodic lines, and stop
time - all fads that reoccur at key moments, giving order to the
liveliness of the whole. The piece manages to juxtapose a sober
seriousness and a glinting sprightliness with complete and deceptive
success. The first theme (A) stated in a lightly dancing polyphonic
chorus. (This chorus echoed at the end by the fact the 3rd
appearance of 3rd theme is also played polyphonically). These
2 choruses bring early jazz style to its highest development. Sections C
and D present the 2nd theme with a series of blues variations
for clarinet and trumpet. Section E is reminiscent of the first theme.
The piece ends with the same Chopin quote.
Sidewalk Blues (Fish
Tail Blues) - 1926
Blues' begins with an 8 bar introduction with jazz breaks that lead to
section A. A 12 bar blues that is repeated. Section B is also a 12 bar
blues but with a different melody and harmony ending with a cadence in
the bass in bars 11 and 12, as the A section does.
transition of 4 bars with modulation from Ab to Db leads to section D.
Section d is a 32 bar song form in 8 bar phrases. It is presented in
long tones (whole and half notes) with two bars (7 & 8) in
syncopated rhythm. This is reminiscent of the feeling of 'The Great
Gate of Kiev.' It ends with ensemble playing new, melodic material.
There is as coda of 4 bars that ends the piece in a Charleston rhythm.
Billy Goat Stomp - 1927
stomp is defined as: "A heavy, strongly marked beat associated with
early ragtime and early blues form, characterized by stamping feet."
Roll Morton's emphasis on composition and well rehearsed, coordinated
performance was, during his era, unique and anti-theatrical in relation
to the primarily extemporized collective New Orleans style. In his best
ensemble work, especially with his Red Hot Peppers. Morton showed that
composition and meticulously rehearsed arrangements were not
incompatible with the spontaneity of improvised jazz but could in fact
retain and enhance it. Ultimately he freed ragtime from its narrow
structures by developing within it an ensemble style embracing
homophony, improvised polyphony, solo improvisations, breaks, and a
constant variation of texture and timbre.
Goat Stomp was published in 1927 by Melrose It was assisted
by Tiny Parham who helped Morton in the arranging and the writing
down of the piece. The procedure of this collaboration between Morton
and his arrangers will be studied in this group of Morton compositions
being played and written about.
piece is in 8 bar sections, each more like a series of 8 bar riffs.
There is no return to any central phrase but each section is like a one
bar jazz break with and answered by the tutti ensemble. The final
section is labeled a stomp and is like a tutti riff. This is a very
Boogaboo - 1927
are indeed fortunate to have had Morton and Melrose write down his music
and work closely with educated arrangers to write out Morton's ideas
on the sound of early New Orleans jazz. In this song we can see the use
of the blues scale in the main theme (ex: at A, a flatted 3rd).
At B we find a 16 bar section of 8/8 followed by a new theme of 16 bars.
At C another 16 bars of music uses new material. At D there is a theme
presented using the A theme. The theme of B is presented at section E
with a few substitute chords.
Hyena Stomp - 1927
piece begins (section A) with a developed set of instrumental variations
on a theme or riff. Morton recorded the piece as a piano solo in 1938
and it is a comprehensive and brilliant piece. The piece has only one
theme and the basic theme is stated in 2 measures and is harmonically
modulated in 16 bars and serves as an introduction. The next 16 bar the
melody is stated again. There follows melodic caricatures and
embellishments, each based on musical ideas related to what preceded and
B is a rhythmic variation that simplifies melody and harmony drastically
(like a barrelhouse variation). Section C is an elaborate lyric
transformation of the theme and presents a clarinet in the upper
register with a simplified melody - a quasi second part to section C.
E is a set of variations made in the bass part imitating the phonic line
of the trombone. Section F is reminiscent of the trumpet figures.
Finally, section G is an ensemble tutti variation.
Wild Man Blues - 1927
piece begins with an introduction that contains jazz breaks of 8 bars
length. The melody begins at section A and is in G minor in 4 bar
phrases. Interesting is bar 33 that moves between major and minor. It is
a great example of the progressive style of New Orleans early polyphonic
jazz and its evolution to Chicago style jazz, with solo breaks occurring
throughout. More advanced harmony and structure are used. There is a
modulation at section 3 to C minor that uses the theme stated at j1 but
it contains jazz breaks instead of whole notes and the rhythms of the
first 8 bars, but with some slight alterations in the next phrase. The
phrases and material differ from 1, using thematic motifs more often. It
will be interesting to compare section 1 and 3. Section 1 is 32 bars
long. Section 3 is 30 bars long with a 4 bar transition to 4 Section 4
acts as an out chorus and is marked 'boot that thing.'
London Blues (Shoe
Shine Blues) - 1928
very structured piece that has intrigued jazzmen in the later 30's and
remains an implicit challenge to jazz performers and composers. It is a
12 bar blues in form but it is ingeniously harmonized. The 4th
section has the following chord progression:
Bl/F7C#/Bb/Bb7/Eb Ebm/Bb Fm6/G7/C7/F7/BbEbBb