The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

Its Nature, Instruments, Sources, Sounds, Development & Performers

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tation only ten men strong. Already on record were his hauntingly exotic theme, East St Louis Toddh-0; his "jungle-style" varia­tion on the blues, Black and Tan Fantasy, and the beautiful sim­plicity of Creole Love Call, in which Adelaide HalFs voice was blended wordlessly with the instruments.
Ellingtons concern was with form, an area in which he had shown himself a master from the start; with timbres, which grew in color and scope as his orchestra and his knowledge expanded through the decades; and with personalities. From the beginning his work was inextricably a part of the musical make-up of its exponents; more and more he conceived his themes in terms of their potential use as a framework for the uniquely gifted soloists at his beck and call.
The voicing of an Ellington arrangement invariably bore the unmistakable imprint of his own feeling for tone combinations. An Ellington score, whether devoted to jungle-style effects with the brass using plunger mutes or to the joyously abandoned spirit of a stomp, was inseparable from the sounds and styles of the men who played it; yet, giants though they were, it was Elling-tons greatest triumph that the overall band effect was even greater than the considerable sum of its parts.
For at least ten years after his ascent to the jazz Olympus Ellington was unchallenged as a completely original force in jazz writing. For the most part, arranging during the 1930s continued to consist of the relatively innocuous art of ranging brass and reed sections against each other, or sometimes with each other in block voicing, and of using occasional variations such as a combination of clarinets and tenor saxes (much used by the enlarged Dixieland bands, heard in the arrangements of Deane Kincaide for Bob Crosby) or a trumpet voiced with saxophones (a device employed effectively in Mary Lou Williams' charts for the old Andy Kirk band).
Glenn Miller earned stature as an arranger for jazz groups of every size in the late 1920s and throughout the *30s. Though some of his later big band scores for the Dorsey Brothers and for his own band seemed stiff and unemotional in conception and execu­tion, his contributions in the days of Ben Pollack and Red Nichols had a stamp of jazz authenticity that was lacking in most of the