|Visit Us On FB
THE INSTRUMENTS, THE SOUNDS, THE PERFORMERS
1939. The bands Henderson led intermittently during the 1940s were of minor importance.
Henderson set the classic pattern for jazz orchestral arranging, pitting reeds against brass for "call-and-response" effects, fusing them for block-voiced ensembles, and always placing a firm accent on a sense of swing, in which the use of syncopation played a dominant part
Almost contemporaneous with Henderson was Duke Ellington, whose first orchestra in New York grew out of a group under the leadership of a banjo player, Elmer Snowden, at Barrons in Harlem. Ellington had been a leader off and on since his teen-aged debut in Washington, but a discussion of his work in the context of a survey of big-band jazz must begin around 1926, when the orchestra evinced the first signs of the path it was to pursue as the first completely effective synthesis of orchestrated jazz and solo improvisation, the first geared specifically to the personalities and styles of the second,
Ellington was responsible for many other innovations. His was the first orchestra to make frequent and effective use of form in arrangements (most of Henderson's performances consisted of a string of choruses based either on popular songs or on instrumental themes borrowed from outside sources); of the rubber plunger mute for brass color effects (played originally by Bubber Miley, trumpet, and Joseph "Tricky Sam" Nanton, trombone); of the baritone saxophone as a solo vehicle (Harry Carney joined the band in 1926 and was still a member in 1957); of ingenious variations on the blues, such as the juxtaposition of themes in two modes; of the use of the human voice with an orchestra for pseudo-instrumental effects (Adelaide Hall on Creole Love Call in 1927 initiated a device still widely imitated three decades later).
In its early years the Ellington band was given to so-called "jungle music/* a survival of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band days when titles and sound effects suggesting a zoological background were a part of the game. Though Duke's titles sometimes could be classified as Americana (his original radio theme was East St. Louis Toddle-O and his early compositions included Birmingham Breakdown, Washington Wobble, Harlem River