Chick Webb

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  • Topic: Duke Ellington, Swing music, Jazz
  • Pages : 4 (1512 words )
  • Download(s) : 100
  • Published : November 18, 2012
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In a genre as widely popular and influential as jazz, even some of the most well-respected musicians could fall through the cracks in terms of being a mainstream legend. This is not a revelation of a statement on its own, as this was the story for many a musician. The cause could be simply be a casualty of overshadowing during the jazz/swing craze, not being terribly innovative, or not having a string of hits. Some of these causes even afflicted the subject of this paper. However, it was another factor that makes his story so interesting, yet tragic. Not every artist could be etched in legend such as figures like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, or have his music played all over like Benny Goodman. But Chick Webb’s impact on both the music, culture and technique regarding the drums were and still are well-respected in the jazz scene, despite some of the factors that would hold him back from being a transcendent star. The story of Chick Webb has to begin with the factor that held him back the most and is also the first to afflict him. Despite his disputed birth date, Chick was born in Baltimore, Maryland to William H. and Marie Johnson Webb. William Henry Webb, his birth name, was born with spinal tuberculosis, a condition that would negatively affect him his whole life and ultimately cost him his life. So how does one manage all this pain, let alone become the greatest jazz drummer in history? For starters, the idea of playing the drums came from his doctor. The intent was that the rapid movement of the limbs that is required by the drums would “loosen up” his stiff limbs and lessen the pain. With the appeal of the instruments’ recreational and medicinal apparent, a young Webb would become a newspaper boy with the sole goal of saving up enough money to buy a drum set. Until then, Webb would settle for the bottom of overturned garbage cans to whet his appetite. By 11 years old, Webb would have his drum set and by 17 years old, he had moved to New York City to...
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