Jazz of New Orleans

Jazz of New Orleans

Although in the period that goes from the end of the War of Secession up to the end of the XIXth century, already there existed some bands that were touching something similar to a rudimentary jazz, like those of the cornetistas Sam Thomas, Louis Ned, James L. Harris or Robert Baker or the band that was usually touching in Kelly’s Stables of New Orleans,  is considered to be usually to Buddy Bolden as the first big figure and the initiator of the first definite style of jazz.

Conditionally, it is named «a style New Orleans» to this initial form of the jazz. It still has not got rid of the influences of the minstrel and contains all the proper characteristics of the hot. The improvisations, in the sense that today we know them, did not exist; in fact, the soloists were preparing long melodic changes on the main topic (usually integrated by two different songs), in very slow or average tempos, never rapid. The bands were ambulant and they usually preferred always to interpret spiritual, ragtimes, marches and singings of Afro-Cuban origin. The sonorous and conceptual weight of the music was relapsing into the cornet, which was who was developing the melodies, supported by the trombonist and the clarinet, which there were preparing changes improvised on the basic melody. This is what Peter Clayton calls «the Holiest Trinidad of the jazz of New Orleans».

The rest of the instruments (banjo, tuba, box and big drum, although gradually they were interfering the double bass, the piano and the battery) usually had a function merely rhythmic. Sometimes the violin as complement was used in the metal section.

It is a school of famous bands, like that of Johnny Schenk (1893), that of John Robechaux (1895), that of the cornetista Freddie Keppard (1900 – 1909), and others of historical fame like Onward Brass Band, Eagle Band or Tuxedo Brass Band of the trumpeter Pope Celestin, this one previous at the rate of century. Also the bands of the cornetista were Pope Mutt Carey, who is reputed like the introductor of the damper of «plunger« (plunger) and its typical wah-wah effect, and who had Sidney Bechet in the clarinet; the band of Lorenzo Tio, or Original Creole Orchestra, etc.


To little of the XXth century began, the white persons and poor Creoles of the Delta of the Mississippi began to be interested by the Hot and its influence produced some changes in the way of touching of the bands of New Orleans: more improvisations developed, the tempos sped up and looked for less “African” rhythmic structures The new style was “less expressive, but with major technical resources”, with more polished melodies and armonías you “clean”. Also, the piano and the saxophone interfered, and there developed new instrumental skills, like the style tailgate of the trombonistas.

Its main figures were, in the first epoch, the bugler Pope Jack Laine, who is reputed like the “father of the dixieland”; The trumpeter Nick La Rocca and its Original Jass; the Louisiana Five of Anthony Lada; the trombonista Edward “Kid” Ory; or “New Orleans Rhythm Kings” of the cornetista Paul Mares. In the 40s, the Dixieland enjoyed a powerful revival, obtaining world success groups as the Dukes of Dixieland, of the brothers Frank and Fred Assunto, and still nowadays bands exist with names as mellow as Tuxedo Jass Band or Onward Jazz Band.

The jazz of Chicago and New York

The closing for the authorities of New Orleans of the quarter of Storyville in 1917, he supposed an important mishap for most of the musicians of jazz of the area, since on this free time district almost all the places of music were concentrating in vivo. Made East initiated the big migration of the musicians of jazz towards the cities of the north, and especially towards Chicago, which was enjoying for then a rough night life, with a powerful blues scene and ragtime, from a decade earlier. King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton or Johnny Dodds, between many others, moved to the «city of the wind» and recorded there its first discs, at the beginning of the decade of 1920.

In Chicago a rawer and dynamic style developed, with a plain and laconic language cleared of adornments, economic in resources, area of marshland «in an annoyed ambience, of a heated dynamism, of a rigid tension hot». The sound lost plasticity after the refining fitted for influence of the white musicians and there gave in the proper desincronizacion of the rhythmic African one but, on the contrary, there developed enormously the concept of individual improvisation and the parallel melodies, leaving the polyphonic passages for the final cycle (sock chorus). The thematic material tended to an abandonment of the rags and stomps and its replacement for blues and songs of European influence, with written musical arrangements. In fact, this epoch is that of the explosion of the called «blues outstanding figure», with artists like Bessie Smith, who were surrounding themselves with bands of jazz in replacement of the traditional accompaniment of guitar or piano only.

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