The Book Of Jazz - online reference book

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

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
202                            THE INSTRUMENTS, THE SOUNDS, THE PERFORMERS
1950. The works of George Handy and Johnny Richards were per­formed by the adventurous Boyd Raebum band of the mid-1940s as musicians began to detect evidence of a Stravinsky influence on jazz writing. Stravinsky himself was cornmissioned to write a work for the Herman band, but most critics both in jazz and concert music circles found the result (Ebony Concerto) a curi­ously dissatisfying hybrid.
Also during ihe war years there emerged another branch of modem jazz writing, that of the men who were important mainly as composers. The spare, moody lines of Thelonious Monk's com­positions CRound Midnight and Ruby My Dear are typical) were an X-ray view of the man's eccentric, probing mind. Of the more prototypical hoppers Bud Powell, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie all created original 'Tines" (ie., themes mainly horizon­tal in concept and most often played by homs in unison) that proved to be of lasting value; Gillespie, in addition, composed the exotic melody of Night In Tunisia and revealed himself, through his work for his own and other name bands, as an orchestrator of exceptional skill.
Lennie Tristano and his disciples were composers, too, of "lines" that followed contours identical with those of their im­provisations. Tristano preferred, even more frequently than the bop musicians, to base his themes on the chord outline of a standard tune, though the departures were the product of a mind so fertile and original that the original point of embarkation be­came imimportant
The policy of using old harmonic structures as a foundation for new melodic ideas became widespread among jazz composers of the late 1940s. Charlie Parker's Ornithology soon was as cele­brated as its source, How High the Moon. Dizzy Gillespie's original treatment of the Tin Pan Alley warhorse Whispering started it on a new life as Groovin9 High There have been hun­dreds of such transformations. The practice seems likely to con­tinue indefinitely, since there is no legal means of copyrighting a chord sequence and the latter is usually far less important musi­cally than what the jazzmen build on it
Since 1950 jazz composing and arranging has moved in two general directions. One is represented by the avant-gardists who