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In 's London a set of politically motivated French criminals are discovered interfering at The Conference of London. But when a jazz club is destroyed in a.
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And, of course, besides his golden trumpet sound, he boasted a rough-edged singing voice that was instantly recognisable. Henderson, who worked as a lab chemist before discovering he could make more money playing music, was a pianist who accompanied blues singers and then formed his own jazz band, which by the mids, was one of the hottest in the Big Apple.

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Like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington was a musician who emerged in the 20s and remained popular until his death, many years later. White musicians and bandleaders, among them Bix Beiderbecke and Paul Whiteman, were quick to embrace the music and appropriate it as their own.


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As a consequence, they sold thousands of records across the US, helping to further the popularity of jazz music. But on 29 October a cataclysmic event brought the curtain down on the jazz age and ended the non-stop party that had defined the 20s. In ten years, America had gone from heady exultation into a deep spiral of depression that ravaged the nation both economically and spiritually.

The Jazz Age Essay - Words | Bartleby

In fact, jazz became bigger and bolder than ever before, even though the depression exerted a powerful effect on record companies, who trimmed their rosters and budgets accordingly. Even so, jazz music grew more extravagant, dominated by propulsive swing rhythms that were executed by much larger ensembles.

This was jazz in glorious Technicolor to beat the blues. The Great Depression lasted ten years but the jazz music from that time is mostly upbeat, targeting the feet rather than the head. But it was the 30s when the big band sound really blossomed. For some, the swing era exploded into life on a Wednesday evening in August Assisted by the power of a new marketing tool called radio, Goodman began selling records in large quantities and, soon afterwards, was crowned The King Of Swing.

Death in the Jazz Age

One of the bandleaders whose music had presaged the swing explosion was Kansas City pianist Benny Moten, whose band started its recording career in the 20s. At the end of that decade, Moten recruited a young pianist called Bill Basie and brought in a bassist to replace a departing tuba player. It soon caught on. In fact, it was an embryonic version of the sound and style that Basie now known as Count Basie would go on to explore and refine with his own group as the 30s progressed. The original jazz aristocrat, Duke Ellington, was big in the 20s but even bigger in the following decade. His band grew in size too, evolving into a finely-wrought compositional tool that featured superior soloists such as saxophonists Lester Young and Johnny Hodges.

But it was the all-white big bands that were taking jazz music to the masses in America in the 30s and helping to make music of African-American origin ubiquitous. Another swinging clarinet player was Jimmy Dorsey, who, together with his younger sibling, Tommy, a trombonist, co-led The Dorsey Brothers Orchestra in the 30s. Tommy Dorsey was also noted as an eagle-eyed talent-spotter who gave opportunities to young musicians. Jazz music had helped to raise both spirits and morale during the dark days of the Great Depression, which was officially declared over in , as the green shoots of economic recovery began to blossom.

Soon afterwards, however, it also became the soundtrack to a new, and more serious, problem — World War II. While the war raged, jazz records — particularly those by big bands — dominated the US pop charts. Indeed, most of the US chart-toppers between and were by big bands, among them those led by Jimmy Dorsey who scored nine No.

But while on the surface big bands still seemed to flourish, the economic reality of being at war meant that the days of the large ensembles were numbered. With increased costs in transportation, big bands were just too expensive to maintain and keep on the road. The situation was compounded in when the American Federation Of Musicians, a powerful union, initiated a strike against royalty rates paid by record companies that lasted until All union musicians were prevented from not only recording any kind commercial sessions but also playing on the radio. It was, perhaps, the final nail in the coffin for the big band.

Some, however, such as those led by Duke Ellington and Count Basie, soldiered on regardless — and would keep going for many years or, in the case of Count Basie, even after their leader had died. The US charts reflected the waning influence of the big bands during the final two years of the war, when pop vocalists began to thrive and prosper.

In the big band age, singers were usually added to augment the sound, and got a feature spot to perform a few numbers, but now they were branching out on their own. From onwards, male crooners began to proliferate, and their female counterparts Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee , Doris Day broke through as well.

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There were also vocal groups such as The Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots, who were beginning to find favour with the public and light up the charts. While this was going on, instrumental jazz music was undergoing a revolution. He recruited some forward-thinking musicians in his band — notably alto saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie — and together they began developing a new, complex jazz language where they improvised at a terrific speed over advanced harmonies. This was the start of jazz being perceived as intellectual art music as opposed to its previous role as functional dance music.

He would eventually go on to become a profoundly influential figure in the development of what became known as modern jazz. The advent of the long-playing record, in , aided the evolution of bebop, allowing jazz musicians to play much longer, more ambitious pieces that featured extended passages of improvisation. While the major labels were suspicious of this new music, smaller independent companies, run by jazz enthusiasts, emerged to spread the bop gospel, among them Blue Note, founded in , and, later, Prestige, Riverside, and Verve, all of which built up impressive catalogues.

But jazz music, in a less challenging and cerebral form, was still dominating the hit parade. Come the 50s, the jazz scene in America was still a vibrant one. Though veterans the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Count Basie were still plying their trade and selling plenty of records and concert tickets to enthusiastic fans, it was bebop that was dictating the course of jazz music. It had cast a hypnotic spell upon many young, up-and-coming musicians who all aspired to blow their horns like Gillespie and Parker.

But while bebop was still the hot currency, Miles Davis, having felt he had reached a creative dead end with bop, came up with the concept of cool jazz, which was a less intense take on bebop, as evidenced by a series of singles for Capitol that were eventually collected and released as the game-changing album Birth Of The Cool.


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  • While California was the capital of cool jazz, New York became the foundry where hard bop was forged. Hard bop had much more heat and intensity than the West Coast sound and was a variant of bebop that drew on blues and gospel. When Silver left to pursue a solo career, Blakey took over leadership of the group and its vibrant, horn-laden sound, powered by his thunderous polyrhythms, came to define the essence of hard bop, arguably the most dominant and popular form of jazz music in the 50s.

    From onwards, Sinatra made a remarkable transition. There was no better interpreter of standards — especially ballads — than Miles Davis, whose fragile tone had a haunting beauty to it. At Columbia, Miles took modern jazz forward with a quintet that included saxophonist John Coltrane in its ranks. Coltrane, too, was an innovator and pathfinder, and, as the 50s became the 60s, he would go on to make as big an impact in jazz as Miles. Creatively, at least, jazz music seemed in a healthy state, but its audience was rapidly shrinking. It shrank even further in the 60s, mainly due to the advent of The Beatles and the British Invasion, which spawned a plethora of pop groups adored by screaming fans.

    What was a jazz musician to do? For some, the answer was to plug in and embrace the zeitgeist. Though fusion helped to revive jazz and was incredibly popular for a while, by the late 70s it was in terminal decline. Since then, jazz music — especially the instrumental variety — has largely remained a minority concern. Though it has witnessed an occasional revival or two, there is nothing to suggest that it will regain its long-lost crown. But thanks to the rise of charismatic singer Gregory Porter, jazz has seen some healthy mainstream chart action recently. People sat on flagpoles, danced the Charleston, read a new novel called The Great Gatsby.

    And a young man named John Scopes went on trial for teaching Darwin's theory of evolution in defiance of a Tennessee law. The Scopes trial was a signature event of the Jazz Age. It had that "ballyhoo" spirit so typical of the s. In one way, however, it was atypical.

    The Scopes trial took place in a little town in the South, far from the roar of the metropolis. The Jazz Age glorified city life. Americans — including many African American sharecroppers from the South — were leaving their farms in record numbers to live and work in places like Chicago and New York City.

    Scott Fitzgerald called it a time when "the parties were bigger, the pace was faster, the buildings were higher, the morals looser. Definitions of the s reflect the extreme nature of the era itself.

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    Not thinkers but rich men rule the world. The 20s in all its lighthearted excess grew from a great darkness. No one who survived what was then known as The Great War could imagine that anything like this cataclysm would happen again. The war opened eyes to unimagined horrors and when it was over people simply wanted to live again.

    Those who could afford it lived with a vengeance. It was best to be young during the roaring 20s. Many people born in the 19th century felt threatened by a culture that seemed to have lost its moral compass. William Jennings Bryan, a political and religious leader of the day, had campaigned hard for Prohibition and in , it became the law of the land.

    But the law meant nothing to a wild new generation.

    It is very sad the death of the legendary jazz singer Nancy Wilson at age 81

    Surveys showed that young people were losing their faith in God. In his attempt to bring America back to the Bible, Bryan chose to attack a single idea — Darwin's theory of evolution.