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Transcript of Count basie
by cOUNT BASIE Count Basie
Born 1904 – Died 1984 Swing Big Band structure Rhythm Section Front Line William Basie was a talented pianist and jazz arranger who joined Kansas City Orchestra in 1929
At this time, Chicago and New York were at the main centres for jazz and swing in the 1920s and 30s, although Kansas city had a busy nightlife.
Basie was able to secure many performance opportunities
in the city and his music attracted many black Americans
working on the railroad, in turpentine factories and in the mines.
It was in 1935 after the leader of the band died that Count Basie reformed Kansas City Orchestra and moved it to New York renaming it Count Basie Orchestra.
Many of Basie’s band stayed in the Woodside
hotel in Harlem , this is a venue in which the band
Swing music used a much larger band: a big band or swing band because this music was often used as dance accompaniment in large venues The line-up for Jumpin’ at the Woodside illustrates the fact the frontline soloists of New Orleans jazz had expanded in what could now be described as sections of trumpets, trombones and reeds.
Still, solos were usually improvised, but collective
improvisation was not very practical due to the large band.
Therefore musical arrangements became essential in the swing era.
These arrangements were often in the form of notated
parts for the players, but Jumpin’ at the Woodside is a
head arrangement. Meaning that all parts were memorised
rather than written down. This was made easier by basing many of the ensemble
sections on riffs – short memorable patterns that can be
adapted to different pitches to fit the current chord – played
in either unison or harmony.
The piece is made up of an introduction and five choruses The first four are in 32-bar song form (four 8 bar sections in the pattern AABA). The fifth consists of six statements of the A section The key is B flat major, there is no modulation
but there is much chromatic decoration in the B sections. Section A:-
The A section is harmonically very simple as the chords are just tonic and dominant
These chords sound much more colourful because of the use of 'extended harmony' The Bridge (Section B) is harmonically more interesting
becuase of the use of secondary dominants
This gives the suggestion of passing rapidly through related keys of (B flat 7 is the dominant seventh of E flat and C7 is the dominant seventh of F) This section also has a slightly faster harmonic rhythm. The contrast between these
sections becomes obvious on listening, due to the changes of instrumentation A secondary dominant is a chromatic chord that is the dominant of the chord (not the key) which follows it. The secondary dominant is therefore the dominant of a degree other than the tonic.
The band is divided up into a number of sections, by instrument; each section usually has four or more members. Sometimes there will also be a percussion section, especially if the band plays Latin jazz or salsa music. Big band music peaked in popularity during
the 1940s, and much of the best-known popular
music of the era was recorded by them All bands usually have a rhythm section, made up of drum set, bass, piano, and possibly guitar. There are also sections for trumpets, trombones, and saxophones (who sometimes double on flute or clarinet). The rhythm section of Basie’s band was well known for its precise time keeping. The double bass and drums play lightly so that the rest of section is not overwhelmed. The bass player, Walter Page provides a typical
walking bass style accompaniment – although
this is difficult to hear on this recording.
The piano and guitar 'comp' (accompany) the rest of the band by going through the chord changes Early jazz drummers used to keep time on the
bass drum, but Jo Jones prefers to reserve the
bass drum for unexpected accents.
Jo Jones is the drummer for this band He uses a more modern method, characteristic of later jazz drummers, of time-keeping on the hi-hat or ride cymbals
As mentioned previously, the band used for Jumpin at the Woodside is much larger than bands used in the early-jazz style.
The large number of players enabled Basie to create a larger and fuller sound, but it also caused some problems Basie had been stung by criticism when he first arrived in New York, that his band played out of tune. He replaced some of his players to secure the precise rhythms and intonation that he wanted for tutti chords.
The presence of three sections of frontline instruments allowed Basie to create a variety of textures – solo, ensemble in unison and ensemble in chords – which he combined in different ways.
Accompaniment of solo sections Instruments of the same type do not accompany a solo. The trumpets don’t play during Buck Clayton’s trumpet solo and the saxophones drop out for the solos from Earle Warren (alto sax) and Lester Young (tenor sax)
The sound is balanced by bringing the soloist nearer to the microphone
Accompanying instruments play quieter
The texture is lightened by the style of the accompanying riffs
– often staccato chords separated by rests
Antiphony is used to add variety – as in Chorus 2, where the chordal bass riff from Chorus 1 is divided into antiphonal exchanges between trombones and trumpets.