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Jazz - Big Band

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Big Band

Context

* Originated in the US, associated with the Jazz and Swing Era. * In the mid 1920s, big band was the main popular music.

Features * The bands did little improvisation. However by the end of the 1920s, big bands added more improvised soloing. * However, more emphasis on written arrangements. Showmanship, e.g. band uniforms, theme songs, logos on stands, choreography, singers. * Typically consisting approximately 12 to 25 musicians. * Usually saxophones, trumpets, trombones with a rhythm section composed of drums, acoustic bass or electric piano, piano and guitar. * Smoother swing feels with a steady 4/4 time with emphasis on 2 & 4. * Rhythm also reinforced with walking bass and ride cymbal. * Common feature was tutti which meant all horns playing a melodic line in harmony. * Soli that meant one section playing a melodic line in harmony. * Shout Chorus, a climatic tutti section at the end of the arrangement. * Cross-section voicing, which is a harmonized melodic line, voiced using instruments from different sections within the band. * Additionally, Riffs, repeated short melodic and/or rhythmic pattern.

Key Musicians * Duke Ellington (piano/composer) * Count Basie (piano/bandleader) * Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax) * Lester Young (tenor sax) * Roy Eldridge (trumpet)

Why did the era end?

* The “recording ban” of 1942-1944, which kept big bands from recording. * Whereas singers didn’t belong to the musicians’ union, so they kept recording. Therefore, the popularity of Frank Sinatra and other singers emerged. * The loss of many big-bang musicians to the wartime military. * The migration of many Southern, both white and black, to large Northern and Western cities to work, who preferred R&B and country.…...

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