Big Band Jazz

Topics: Big band, Jazz, Duke Ellington Pages: 4 (1317 words) Published: November 21, 2008
Big Band Jazz

Across the world there are thousands of languages that we as people use to communicate with one another. Many of these languages have been developed out of others, therefore sharing similar dialects, accents, and in some cases even some words are very similar. Yet of all the languages that are spoken across the world, there is only one that is fluently spoken and understood on every continent, and that is the language of Music. Yet because this language is spoken in so many different parts of the world, in many cases the way it is spoken has a direct relation to when, and where it is spoken as well. This country has yielded many different types of music that have in turn, yielded different types of music. For example; from Bluegrass came modern country music, from Soul came R&B and Neo-Soul, from Rock and Roll came alternative and punk rock. All of these different types of music are products of their surroundings at conception, but no other than Jazz could yield as dynamic and brilliant of a sound as Big Band Jazz.

Following the rise of Dixieland jazz in the 1920s was a new style performed by a large ensemble usually consisting of 10 or more players. These bands, called big bands, relied increasingly on saxophones instead of clarinets, and emphasized sectional playing. The overall instrumentation was broken down into three groups of instruments: brass which included trumpets and trombones, reed which included saxophones with players sometimes doubling on clarinet, and rhythm section which included the piano, bass, drums, guitar, and in later years, the vibes . Generally big band arrangements followed a standard form; the melody was played by the entire band in unison or harmony then the soloists would improvise based on the songs melody, style, and chord progression, and then the melody would be restated, sometimes in a varied or more elaborate way.

The music performed by big bands was called swing, a type of music that people could...

Bibliography: - “Jazz Styles: History and Analyses” fifth edition. By Marc Gridley, Prentice Hall copyright 1994.

- “Jazz: A History” by Frank Tirro, W.W. Norton & Co. Inc, copyright 1977
- “ The Swing Era”, by Gunther Schuller, Oxford University press, copyright
- “The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz” edited by Barry Kernfeld, copyright
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