Battery Jazz

Battery Jazz

From the point of view of the European classical music, the jazz battery can look like a simple producing noise device, then, this is, in certain way, its function there: the kettledrums of Tchaikovsky, Beethoven or Wagner are a noise in the sense that they produce a fortissimo effect. In the jazz, the baterista does not use its instrument as an effect, but it creates with him the space in which the music has place.

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Double bass and under electrical

Double bass and under electrical

Double bass

The main function of the bassist in the jazz, as in any other musical style, is to maintain the time and to delineate the harmonic frame of the topic, to turn, generally of a walking line bass.

Of between the first jazz counterbassists, the most important was Pops Foster, easily identifiable for its skill of slap, which it kept on exhibiting till the end of the decade. Foster was, next to Steve Brown, Bill Johnson or Wellman Braud the initiator of a tradition that continued with John Kirby, Walter Page, Slam Stewart and Bob Haggart: the biggest counterbassists of the age of swing.

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Saxophone

Saxophone

Saxo tenor

The saxophone occupies a central place in the religious images of the jazz, up to the point of being the instrument – reference of the same one. Nevertheless, in the beginning of the jazz hot, and at least up to well brought in the year, the saxo did not manage to find a hollow in the formations of the genre. Initially there would be very punctual appearances: Sidney Bechet with the saxo soprano, the tenors Bud Freeman or Gene Sedric; Frankie Trumbauer with the melodic saxo in Do (interval between the tenor and the high place); or Ernie Caceres with the baritone, although all of them already much advanced the decade. It will be only immediately after the changes that the styles of Chicago and, especially, New York introduced in the jazz, and that they ended up by driving to the appearance of the Swing, that the saxophone begins to occupy a predominant place in the jazz, not without the initial reserves of the proper criticism jazzistica.

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Clarinet

Clarinet

In the primitive jazz of New Orleans, the clarinet was marking the contrast between the trumpet and the trombonist, the two most important melodic instruments, but it was in the age of the swing, that the jazz enjoyed a commercial success which he never would enjoy again, when it found its epoch of major splendor the clarinet. Alphonse Picou was the first clarinettist of New Orleans that marked a style with its alone famous person on the topic High Society, known by practically all the later clarinettists. George Lewis, also of New Orleans, was another important clarinettist of this first stage of development of the instrument, as Jimmie Noone, Johnny Dodds and – especially – Sidney Bechet.

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Trumpet

Trumpet
Photo of the trumpeter of New Orleans Louis Armstrong.
In many aspects, the position that the trumpet has had in the jazz has been inverse to the one that the saxo has occupied, and especially the saxo tenor. From the first times of the hot, and up to the revolution bop, the trumpet has been “the king of the instruments of the jazz”, so much for the big number of big soloists that has given, as for its domineering role in the bent ones of traditional jazz and in the big bands of Swing.

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Piano

Piano

Portrait of Scott Joplin.
The history of the jazz, for having begun with the ragtime, began also with the piano like protagonist, although it is true that the first bands of jazz of New Orleans were lacking this instrument. The piano has a series of advantages on other instruments typical of the jazz: it is polyphonic and not monophonic like the wind instruments, and it does not limit itself to the melodies execution, but it allows the rhythms execution and of armonias, what does of him a more finished capable instrument of a good performance like instrument solist.

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The melody

The melody

The melody intimately related to the harmony, has covered a singular evolution along the succession of the different stages of the history of the jazz. In the primitive jazz scarcely there existed something that we could call a melody, which in any case, was not differing much of the melodies from the music of circus, of the military marches, or of the music of piano and of lounge of the XIXth century. The same way as the phrasing of the soloists was evolving, he was exercising a notable influence in the melody, shaping little by little a type of typical melody, the “melody jazzistica”, characterized by its fluency, its unexpected nature, its express resignation of the use of black women and eighth notes and by its taste for the tones and the individuality of interpretacion.

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The modal jazz

The modal jazz

Separate chapter in the theory of the jazz is deserved by the modal jazz, a substyle characterized by the use of few chords and very much harmonic space, which Kind of Blue was popularized by Thousands Davis in its album. On the disc there is “So What”, a topic of only two chords that sums up to the perfection the extract of the modal jazz: to stop much more spread for the improvisation in every chord of the accustomed in most of topics and standards, so that it turns out to be natural for the musician to explore in detail the musical scale or way derived from every chord, instead of centring simply on the notes of acorde.

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The Blues

The Blues
A change of the basic blues of compases, much used by the jazz musicians.

Most of the topics of jazz from the age of the bebop from now on are based structurally on the form of allegro of sonata of the classic theory: an optional introduction, the exhibition of the topic (that sometimes recurs), a section of development and the end continued optionally by a coda. In the terminology of the jazz, such sections receive commonly the following names:

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