A Version of Jazz History

john-tenniel-alice-looking-through-the-looking-glass-1-of-2-this-sideThey’re not a proper account of the landmark moments in jazz history, but these records do make for fascinating comparison and enjoyable listening (especially if you’ve already taken one or two Jazz History courses)…

“Livery Stable Blues,” made famous by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band as the first jazz record, played by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings:

The NORK’s “Tin Roof Blues,” best known for trombonist George Brunies and clarinetist Leon Roppolo’s solos, referenced by Miff Mole and Jimmy Lytell on the Original Memphis Five’s recording:

“Singin’ The Blues,” forever associated with Bix Beiderbecke and Frank Trumbauer, given rhythmic tribute by the Fletcher Henderson band:

“West End Blues,” synonymous with Louis Armstrong, in its restrained inaugural recording by composer and Armstrong mentor Joe “King” Oliver:

Duke Ellington, best known as a composer, with a simple but highly personal arrangement of the WC Handy standard “St. Louis Blues” for backing Bing Crosby:

Meanwhile, across the pond, British bandleader paying homage to Ellington’s music by getting people out on the dance floor:

Jelly Roll Morton revisiting Scott Joplin’s ragtime staple “Maple Leaf Rag” on his own pianistic terms:

Morton’s “King Porter Stomp,” perhaps the most popular Morton tune when it comes to distinct approaches by bands, soloists and arrangers, becomes a swinging guitar partita in Teddy Bunn’s hands:

Count Basie’s “One O’Clock Jump,” for many the apotheosis of the riff-based, blues-soaked Kansas City sound, live at Carnegie Hall in 1938 with the Benny Goodman band expressing their admiration as well as their own unique sound:

Finally, Basie’s innovations in the scope and sound of the rhythm section, the prominence of the soloist in an ensemble setting and the very concept of “swing,” taken to turbo-charged abstraction on Gil Evan’s arrangement of the Basie staple “Lester Leaps In”:

These are just a few ways to mess with a jazz history syllabus. They might not be innovative recordings but they do show musicians listening and learning from one another while expressing themselves. That has to count for something in jazz, or music.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: