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Chapter 3 "Roots of Jazz"

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Marc Siegel

on 16 October 2018

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Transcript of Chapter 3 "Roots of Jazz"

Chapter 3
The Roots of Jazz
More on Folk Music
Ethnomusicology: The Study of Folk Music
A short excerpt from documentary
"Lomax The Songhunter"
about William Lomax the great Ethnomusicologist. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnomusicology
Popular Music
Folk Traditions
"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny"
The Jazz Singer (1927)
1st "Talkie" (motion picture with sound)
featuring Al Jolson 1886-1950
Congressional resolution of 1987 claims it is art yet also a (public) people's music; indigenous American music, yet global; ethnically unifying, yet
Work Song
Call and Response
used to keep pace for work
chain gang/the military cadence
Early Gospel Music: The Spiritual
Fisk Jubilee Singers: late 1800's black singing group
"Throw Me Anywhere Lord"
listening chart in book
The Georgia Sea Island Singers
(The Gullah Culture) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gullah
Three-line (AAB) stanza distinguishes it from other forms, which usually were structured with two or four lines. Blues also has a distinctive chord progression.
Unlike the ballad, the blues was personal, which reflected the cultural shift from slave community to individualism and the former slave's engagement with freedom.

Country Blues

Vaudeville (Classic) Blues

Vaudeville/Classic Blues
1st huge African/American Music Stars

Empty Bed Blues
Music is full of the 'double entendre'
The Minstrel Show:
So called Plantation Melodies were often derived from authentic black songs and spirituals but turned into formal compositions by schooled white and sometimes black songwriters. It was a ritualized blend of lively music, knockabout comedy, sophisticated elegance, the reinforcement of ugly stereotypes and unabashed enthusiasm for the music and dance of the country's most despised minority. The first minstrel show was written and performed in NY in 1833 by Thomas Dartmouth Rice (Daddy Rice): Who said he overheard it being sung by a black stable hand and he named it after him “Jim Crow”. The two stock characters were the Simpleton and the Sharpster.

Hollywood Dance Orch.
Irving Kaufman
"Oh, Dem Golden Slippers"
Blacks and Vaudeville: PBS documentary
featuring the great Bert Williams
Amos and Andy-
Check and Double Check
1930 featuring a cameo by
Duke Ellington
Louis Armstrong performing "Shine". Notice the stereotypically demeaning Hollywood portrayal of Blacks from this era. Also notice that despite the campy comedy and his ridiculous attire Armstrong lets the music speak for itself
singing "Mammy"
Singing the hit "Toot Tootsie"
I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of these rude, and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within a circle, so that I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear. They told a tale which was altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones, loud, long, and deep, breathing the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with the bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirits, and filled my heart with ineffable sadness. The mere recurrence, even now, afflicts my spirit, and while I am writing these lines, my tears are falling. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conceptions of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for brethren in bonds.
"My Bondage My Freedom"
Frederick Douglass 1818-1895

Cultures that influenced the creation of Jazz
Two contributions from the West African culture,
in order of importance, are rhythm and improvisation.
The Dahomey Kingdom, ravaged by the slave trade,
was a main contributor. The Dahomey people used
music as communication, during ceremonies, as
entertainment, for storytelling and for work.
Music was an integral part of this society.

West-African instrumental categories include:
A. membranophones: any instrument utilizing stretched animal skin (drums)
B. idiophones: anything that was used as a percussive instrument
C. aerophones: wind instruments (elephant/rhinoceros hollowed tusks etc...)
D. chordophones: stringed instruments using animal hair or gut
(an example is the xalam the ancestor of Banjo)

West-African musical characteristics include:
A. call and response (in jazz called trading fours)
B. ostinatos: short, repetitive melodic or rhythmic patterns (in jazz called a riff)
C. an awareness of the sounds produced by their percussion
instruments (this does not originate in Africa but comes via the Caribbean;
an example are the steel drums)
D. a preponderance of complex rhythms (syncopation, polyrhythm, polymeter, etc...)
*ethnomusicological evidence asserts that the more primitive a culture, the more complex its rhythms*

West African Countries: Senegal, Ghana, Cote D'Azur (The Ivory Coast), Sierra Leone, Liberia, Mauritania, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Guinea, Angola
The beganna, an African instrument, is a descendant of the ancient Greek lyre. It is made of wood, with a leather-covered soundbox. The beganna is played only by the aristocracy and priests of Ethiopia and nearby countries. The lyre, like the harp, is a plucked instrument, but its shape is distinctly different.
Art Music
John Philip Sousa 1854-1932

Learning music theory and notation was important to aspiring African American musicians.
Through public education, blacks learned classical music (e.g., Joseph Douglass, Sisserietta Jones, the "black Patti"), but whites would not listen to them and the black community was too poor to support them.
Classically trained blacks went to jazz to make a living, thus extending their classical technique and changing the standards, performance, craft, and musical ambition in jazz.

Brass Bands
Originally from England, they became the "people's" orchestra.
John Philip Sousa (1854-1932). Took over the U.S. Marine band and made it into a topnotch, world- famous concert ensemble.
Most every town had a brass band made up of local townsfolk to play at parades and dances.

Brass Bands and Jazz
African Americans formed their own brass bands, offering insurance and brass-led burials for its members. They played dances with boiled-down versions including violin, cornet, trombone, clarinet, and drum set. Usually in duple meter 24 or 68, many marches were adapted for social dancing.
The brass band's primary contribution to jazz lay in its formal compositional structure, which was made up of a succession of distinctive 16-bar strains, each of which was usually repeated.
The third strain (known as the trio) contrasts with the other strains. It introduces a new key, is often twice as long as other strains, and may be introduced by a short passage.
The Stars and Stripes Forever
The great guitarist Chet Atkins arrangement of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" 1924-2001
Scott Joplin 1868-1917
"Maple Leaf Rag" 1899 1st Million seller
pre-dates recording industry
sheet music sold by "pluggers" around the country and by the "piano roll"
How Player Pianos Are Made
Maple Leaf Rag
Performed by Scott Joplin
The Entertainer
In the late 1980s, Timothy Duffy, a penniless North Carolina musicology student, set out to document and preserve traditional southern roots and blues music. On his travels from Winston-Salem's drinkhouse music scene, an off-the-grid hotbed of gritty traditional blues, to deep-south family run churches, he found purpose and inspiration from a cast of amazingly talented, pure and unique set of characters (the artists!!).
Toot Blues remarkably captures the true essence and talent of the artists from Guitar Gabriel, a 'homeless magic potion selling' blues genius; to Willa Mae Buckner, a snake charming elderly woman taunting delightfully raunchy blues; to Beverly 'Guitar' Watkins, a grandmother who continues to tear up the stage and play a killer electric guitar behind her head; to Bishop Dready Manning and family churning out homebrewed rockabilly-gospel; to Boo Hanks, an 80 year-old bluesman recording an album for the very first time; to blind guitarist, Cootie Stark, mesmerizing crowds world-wide while never failing to find his way home by himself.
Shortly after befriending and championing for these artists Tim quickly realized the limitations set upon them by living in poverty, not only in their struggles to survive and support their families but also their ability to afford time and outlets to continue with their deepest passions-music, by a simple twist of fate, Tim along with his wife Denise, began the Music Maker Relief Foundation.
With rare footage, interviews, and numerous live performances, the film documents these unique musicians, brought together through the Music Maker community and their shared and vital musical heritage.
What types of West-African musical characteristics do you hear?
The John and Ruby Lomax Southern States
Recording Trip 1939
Library of Congress website:
Three classifications of jazz:

Art form:

Popular music:

Folk music:

The Historical Past
Western European and Western African Musical Traits
West-European Art Music Tradition
West-African Music Traditions
Miserere Mei Deus (Allegri) - King's College Choir, Cambridge
Bach - Mass in B minor (Proms 2012)
Purcell -Dido and Aeneas"When I am laid in earth" / Emma Kirkby
Paganini Caprice no.24
Gustavo Dudamel & Beethoven 5 - 1st movement
Western European Art Music Informed by Jazz
Featuring: Zucchero, Pavarotti AND Bocelli
FOLI (There is No Movement Without Rhythm)

Life has a rhythm, it's constantly moving.
The word for rhythm (used by the Malinke tribes) is FOLI. It is a word that encompasses so much more than drumming, dancing or sound. It's found in every part of daily life. In this film you not only hear and feel rhythm but you see it. It's an extraordinary blend of image and sound that feeds the senses and reminds us all how essential it is.
Like jazz, ragtime embodied the mix of African American and white art, popular, and folk musics.
The name comes from "ragged time." During the Civil War it was mostly played on the banjo. Later it was played on the piano, where the left hand kept a steady two-beat rhythm between bass notes and chords while the right hand created contrasting rhythms.

Scott Joplin (1868-1917)
Improvised piano ragtime was toned down and translated into sheet music starting in 1897. It was wildly popular and featured many composers. Scott Joplin was the best known.
Born in East Texas, Joplin believed in racial uplift, studied with a local German piano teacher, turned pro, and toured along the Mississippi River. In 1893 he performed at the Chicago World's Fair.
In 1894 he settled in Sidelia, Missouri, where he led a black marching band and studied composition. In 1899 he wrote "Maple Leaf Rag" and-again convention for African American composers of the period-insisted on royalties instead of a flat fee for the piece. His strategy paid off well.
He moved to St. Louis and then New York, publishing many rags, a ballet, and two operas. In 1903 he published "The Entertainer," which was rekindled in the 1970 film The Sting. Joplin died in 1917 of syphilis just as recordings started to take over from sheet music as the preferred means of distribution.
Though many other fine pianists played ragtime, few of them recorded, so much of this vast repertoire has been lost.
"Why the Slaves Sang" by Frederick Douglass:

...Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as work. A silent slave is not liked by masters or overseers. "make a noise, " "make a noise," and "bear a hand," are the words usually addressed to the slaves when there is silence amongst them. This may account for the almost constant singing heard in the southern states. There was, generally, more or less singing among the teamsters, as it was one means of letting the overseer know where they were, and that they were moving on with the work. but, on allowance day, those who visited the great house farm were peculiarly excited and noisy. While on their way, they would make the dense old woods, for miles around, reverberate with their wild notes. These were not always merry because they were wild. On the contrary, they were mostly of a plaintive cast, and told a tale of grief and sorrow. In the most boisterous outbursts of rapturous sentiment, there was ever a tinge of deep melancholy. I have never heard any songs like those anywhere since I left slavery, except when in Ireland. There, I heard the same wailing notes, and was much affected by them. It was during the famine of 1845-46....
Frederick Douglass, My Bondage and My Freedom (New York and Auburn, 1855)

Read the first chapter of "Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original" for a deeper look into the lives of NC African American's in the late 1800's
and HERE:
Tallis - Spem in alium
Western European:
A. a tempered and tuned system of pitches divided into twelve equal half steps.
B. the tonal system of harmony based on set intervallic relationships and aural expectations derived from these relationships.
C. a highly developed melodic style.
D. a strong concept of form.
E. the mastery and study of European instruments.
F. a well founded and evolving intellectual procedure for dissecting the processes which created their music (music theory).
Black Betty by LEADBELLY, Blues Legend (1939)
Tom Jones Black Betty
Ram Jam - Black Betty (Official Video)
Huddie Ledbetter
Huddie Ledbetter, better known to the music world as “Lead Belly” was born January 20, 1889, in Mooringsport, Louisiana (near Shreveport). Lead Belly was the only child of Wesley and Sally Ledbetter. Lead Belly first tried his hand at playing music when he was only two years old. As a young man he was introduced to the guitar by his Uncle Terrell Ledbetter and from that moment on he was electrified by the guitar. He mastered that instrument and just about any instrument he laid his hands on. He learned to play the accordion, mandolin and piano. Which gave hime a wide knowledge of various musical instruments and rhythm. It has been said that one day Lead Belly witnessed a Mexican guitarist playing the twelve string guitar which struck his interest in mastering the unusal instrument.

After the 8th grade, he quit school and, by the time he was 14 years old, he was a popular musician and singer in the weekend “sukey jumps” and “juke joints.” He later became known as the king of the twelve-string guitar and “Stella” as he affectionately called his guitar became his ticket to life and his freedom. Leadbelly was passionate about his love of music. It was his way of expressing what was written on his heart and soul. This love of music led him to leave his father’s farm at an early age to pursue his music. Huddie traveled the southwest playing his guitar and working as a laborer when he had to.

Huddie was legendary for picking 1,000 lbs of cotton a day, and lining the railroad tracks.

Lead Belly once said, "When I play, the women would come around to listen and their men would get angry." In 1918, he fought and killed a man in Dallas and was sentenced to thirty years to be served in the state prison in Huntsville, Texas. In 1925, he wrote a song asking Governor Pat Neff for a pardon. Neff, who had promised at his election never to pardon a prisoner, broke his promise and set Huddie Ledbetter free. Back on the road with many new songs he had learned or written at Huntsville, Huddie again found enthusiastic audiences throughout the south. But, as the center of admiring crowds, he was again the target of envy and jealousy. In 1930, after a fight at a party, which was normal in the Jim Crow south he was sentenced to another prison term in the infamous Angola Farm prison plantation in Louisiana. In a way, this was a stroke of luck, because he was discovered by folklorists John and Alan Lomax, who were recording prison songs for the Library of Congress. John Lomax and his son Allen, who brought him to New York where he played on college campuses like Harvard, Priceton, NYU and the list goes on. He was received with great acclaim.

Shortly thereafter Lead Belly relocated to New York, where he forged a reputation on the folk circuit, making personal appearances, recording for a variety of labels and doing radio work. In the early 40s he performed with Josh White, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and Woody Guthrie. In 1948 Lead Belly cut, with the aid of the newly invented long playing record, what would later become known as his Last Sessions, a definitive document of The Life and Music of the King of the Twelve-String Guitar. Lead Belly enjoyed national recognition as a blues and folk musician and singer. Lead Belly felt his music and talent were gifts from God. His songs could not be put into one category. He wrote children’s songs, field songs, ballads, square dance songs, prison songs, folk songs, and blues.

Lead Belly was a man whose life, like that of any other man, had its ups and downs. Good or bad, Lead Belly told the world about those things through his songs. Lead Belly’s fame and success continued to increase until he fell ill while on a European Tour. Tests revealed that he suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 1949. This disease destroyed all the muscles in his body giving him little opportunity to fully play the guitar without pain. He died on December 6,1949 and never got to fully enjoy the fruits of his music. In which Lead Belly's song catalog is consisted of well over 500 songs. The most famous were Midnight Special, Cotton Fields, Boll Weevil, Kisses Sweeter than Wine, Rock Island Line, and many, many more.

After Lead Belly’s death, the Weavers, a folk quartet sent “Good Night, Irene” to #1 on the charts, which became the most famous song in his repertoire. That song sold a million copies and was recorded also six months later by Pete Seeger. His music still has a great influence on some of the greatest artists both black and white. Artists like The Beetles, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Little Richard,have all expressed their early studies of music to Lead Belly's records.

Today Lead Belly is remembered not only as a musical giant but a legend in his own right throughout the world. He is remembered as the “King of the 12-String Guitar.” Many of his songs can be found in the Library of Congress, where generations to come can listen and enjoy them.
Good Night Irene
LeadBelly - Midnight Special
Why do you dance? Some people dance to release tensions and stress, to exercise, for personal expression, and to be with friends. Dancing was, and still is, one of the few public activities in which it is socially acceptable for people who hardly know one another to touch intimately. Thinoit Arbeau, a dancing instructor, wrote Orchesographie (1589), a dance manual in which he described, among other things, some of the benefits of social dance. When people are that close to one another, he writes, they can see if people are healthy and fit, and when the dance concludes and they're allowed to kiss, they can determine whether dance partners "are shapely or emit an unpleasant odor as of bad meat." In other words, dancing was one way to find a good mate for marriage, one who was attractive physically, one who was fit, and one who could move gracefully, all necessities for success in 16th-century court life. For these reasons, Arbeau states that dancing is "essential to a well-ordered society." That sort of physical closeness has been and continues to be one of the central features of social dance, a feature that draws us together and, throughout generations, expresses the combination of music and movement in new and exciting ways.
Published on Aug 27, 2015
The Whitney Plantation near Wallace, Louisiana, is the first and only U.S. museum and memorial to slavery. While other museums may include slavery in their exhibits, the Whitney Plantation is the first of its kind to focus primarily on the institution. John Cummings, a 78-year-old white southerner, has spent 16 years and more than $8 million of his own fortune to build the project, which opened in December of last year.

Cummings, a successful trial attorney, developed the museum with the help of his full-time director of research, Ibrahima Seck. The duo hope to educate people on the realities of slavery in its time and its impact in the United States today. “The history of this country is rooted in slavery," says Seck. “If you don’t understand the source of the problem, how can you solve it?”

Watch more videos: http://www.theatlantic.com/video
Subscribe to The Atlantic on YouTube: http://bit.ly/1pE29OW
Why Some Say America Needs a Slavery Museum
Now This:
Another Black Betty
Moby sampling Leadbelly's
"Look, Looky Yonder"
For More Watch HERE:
Where the slaves allowed to sing and make music in the southern states?
Start @ 5:26 for Bessie's Performance
St Louis Blues (1929) with Bessie Smith
Other Early Blues Recordings
Muddy Waters:
Should history remember ugly truths of the past or should we move on?
what do you think?
Start @ 2:20
A Story told in the Traditional Gullah Language at African American Heritage Day
What was the most popular form of entertainment throughout the US from 1840's until early 1900's?
It created unity across a
continent, that took months or years to cross. It has been likened to the TV in that everybody sang the same songs, told the same jokes etc...
Songs like Oh Susannah, She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain, so Called 'Plantation Melodies'
Jokes like 'Why Did the Chicken Cross The Road' etc...
Eventually evolves into Vaudeville and early Movies/Radio/TV
What am I talking about?
What kind of music is jazz?
African American
Jazz is an
African American
vs. distinctions:
jazz viewed as heart of institutional America played by skillfully trained musicians.
jazz viewed as a commodity partly dependent on taste.
although urban, jazz stems from African American folk traditions.
Jazz musicians may be black or white or any other ethnicity.
Here we speak of African American: not a race (genetically determined physical characteristics) but rather an (cultural).
African American musical principles include:

these are not unique to jazz, but their interaction within the genre is highly specific to it.
ethnic group
As such, the ethnic features of this music (unlike racial features) can be learned and shared.
polyrhythm, call and response, blue notes, and timbre variation
Quick Quiz...
list 5 Western European Countries
now list 5 Western African Countries
How did you do? Probably got all 5 Western European Countries no problem. How about the Western African countries?
Cultural Bias?
Institutionalized Racism?
or worse
Combination of folk elements (e.g., field holler) and new technology (wide availability of the guitar).
Performed by solitary male musicians accompanying themselves on guitar in the American South;
loosely based around blues form.

When blues crossed over into pop music, jazz musicians became involved. For example, Gertrude Pritchett ("Ma" Rainey, 1886-1939) heard blues in St. Louis and transformed it into a theatrical form for the black vaudeville circuit during the 1910s and 1920s, featuring a female singer and small band.
Blues became more codified (12-bar stanzas, written harmony), more closely resembling the basic blues form known and practiced today. Jazz musicians also played in these bands.
W. C. Handy: cornet player who heard the blues in Mississippi. He started writing and publishing blues for dance ensembles, and a number of them became hits.
First audiences for recordings were white, but when Perry Bradford convinced

to record Mamie Smith singing "Crazy Blues," audience composition changed.
The growing northeastern urban African American population wanted music that they could relate to, and "race records" were born.
Companies owned by whites did not provide royalties to black singers; they were pressured into giving up ownership of their songs.
"Ma" Rainey (Gertrude Pritchett) 1886-1939
Most popular classic blues singer; recorded well.
Born in Tennessee, she started as a stage professional on the Theatre Owners Booking Association (TOBA) vaudeville circuit.
First recordings in 1923; jazz musicians learned to accompany her phrasing and copy her tone.
Her career peaked in 1929. In the same year, she starred in the short film St. Louis Blues. The Depression curtailed her earnings. She tried performing swing but was not a success.
Bessie Smith (1894-1937)
for More:
Racism made it difficult for black performers to succeed, white performers took on black styles in an exaggerated fashion, performing music and comedy using banjo and bones.
In 1843 in New York, the Virginia Minstrels put on a show in blackface that purported to depict plantation slave culture. It was wildly popular.
Racist exaggerations in appearance and behavior were typical.
White audiences enjoyed these depictions.
Black Performers
After emancipation, black performers started to perform in minstrelsy, accepting the stereotypes of the genre: Billy Kersands, James Bland.
Although minstrelsy was on its last legs by the time jazz came along, the racial stereotypes persisted in vaudeville, film (The Jazz Singer), and radio (Amos and Andy).
Although most jazz musicians were not entertainers and therefore avoided perpetuating minstrel stereotypes, musicians who acted in film, such as Louis Armstrong, were compelled to play into these stereotypes
More on Minstrelsy Here:

Even though this was a period of intense racism, black musicians provided not only music that offered a new sense of cultural identity but also dance music for whites.
Jazz as we know it started in New Orleans, as ragtime, blues, march music, and social dance combined.
Serve to establish a persistent musical identity.
Helped create the hybrid nature of American culture.
Various Genres:
local history through long songs; often include braggadocio.
Work songs:
accompanied manual labor.
Field hollers:
unaccompanied, rhythmically loose, designed to accompany farm labor.

call and response with religious poetry. Two types: polished Fisk Jubilee singers style and orally transmitted Pentecostal church singing. By 1920s, gospel music had developed. Spirituals are highly interactional, which strongly influenced jazz musicians.
Folk ballad "
John Henry
1. Early slave musicians used their music for dance; for example, southern itinerant black fiddlers or, rarely, early black bandleaders such as
2. Nineteenth-century musicians were hired as servants.
The Dancing Craze
Late nineteenth century: respectable people danced formal elaborate dances such as the quadrille, the lancer, or the waltz.
In the early part of the twentieth century, there was a major shift: dancing began to take place in restaurants and cabarets. These "animal dances" were less inhibited and more physical
The Castles and James Reese Europe (1881-1919)
African American-derived dances became a
for white America (e.g., "The Charleston") and were often introduced by white "experts" such as Irene and Vernon Castle, who
toned down
these dances for their white audience
The music was not toned down and was often ragtime.
World War I
; Europe formed the 369th infantry band Hellfighters. Their music anticipates jazz style and interaction in some ways.
legacy left behind two types of dance bands: small and inexpensive, (suited for jazz) and the large dance orchestra (e.g., Will Marion Cook's Southern Syncopated Orchestra and Tim Brymm's Black Devil Orchestra). Both types show up in later jazz.
Frank Johnson
James Reese Europe 1881-1919
and the HellFighters
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