Jazz Arranging and Performance Practice: A Guide for Small Ensembles

Arranging and Composing
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Research in Performance Paper!

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By: Ian Sinclair! Supervisor: Prof. This paper examines the literature of jazz performance practice with a view to highlighting theoretical orientation and identifying gaps in the literature.

In this particular survey, I will focus primarily on scholarly work; therefore, I am largely ignoring or glossing over the gigantic mass of pedagogical aids and trade journalism.! The Roots of Jazz Performance Scholarship! As writing on jazz performance practice has evolved, trends have emerged emphasizing one or more of these potential points of focus. Not only was there no significant scholarship to speak of related to jazz early in the twentieth century, the American press, when it covered it at all, was often openly hostile. While jazz remained underappreciated in intellectual circles in its native country in these early decades, it was as recordings became more widely disseminated in Western Europe that some of the first attempts at examining jazz performance at length were!

However, given that most of these writers were relying solely on recordings rather than any first-hand accounts from musicians playing or discussing their performance, what these works had in common was an abundance of opinion and criticism, often based on little but conjecture and anachronistic language.

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As the Swing Era became entrenched in the mids, so did jazz journalism with the establishment of Down Beat in , and, later, Metronome. In these pages, and in other press, more favorable portrayals of jazz performance abounded, establishing the descriptive, critical style that has always been in widest circulation. Many of the writers in these magazines and other press would eventually go on in the s and s to write the earliest attempts at chronicling a narrative to jazz performance history including Leonard Feather The Encyclopedia of Jazz, , Barry Ulanov A History of Jazz in America , and Marshall Stearns The Story of Jazz Leonard Feather, for example, in the leadup to bop emerging from swing!

This classification system of relating melodic improvisation to melodic material in the composition was to be a hallmark for much future scholarship.

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In addition, theoretical analysis, while present, is limited in scope compared to the more ambitious work of later scholars.! Indeed, by mid-century, musicological analysis—albeit also primarily from a Western art music WAM perspective—becomes integrated in writing about jazz performance; leading this trend was composer, musician, and scholar Gunther Schuller.

A particularly influential piece is his article on Sonny Rollins published in one of the!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In these books, there are detailed analyses of recorded performances with notated transcriptions, harmonic analyses and graphs or maps relating to form.

He also treats composition as an art in its own right in jazz, with very detailed accounts of specific works of Morton and Ellington. However, there is only a passing! As such, there is virtually no attempt to incorporate first-hand information from musicians about their work, despite most of them being alive at the time of his research. Schuller does attempt to frame chapters on various styles and artists with some attempt at cultural context, but with little direct reflection on how culture would have had a direct impact on performance.

Nonetheless, no writer prior to Schuller had taken jazz scholarship as seriously in any capacity and thus his work would prove to be a significant turning point.! Many authours would write in a similar Western-oriented analytical perspective in his wake, often picking up on the theme of motivic or formulaic approaches, while similarly downplaying, if not avoiding, cultural contextual issues.

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Musical development and the expansion of motivic material in the extended improvisation of a great jazz performer is comparable to that found in notated compositions of Western music. The best jazz solos are indeed constructive in nature and may be evaluated syntactically as are other teleological compositions of the notating Western composer Tirro !

He also draws a very severe line between melodic! Using varying terminology and cataloguing systems, all of these scholars deal primarily on the use of patterns, motives and formulas, comparing the use of these ideas in different song contexts. Since the work of Owens and others, some scholars have been trying to use similar musicological analysis but are updating this with incorporating other frameworks.

Steve Larson has exhaustively implemented Schenkerian analysis to jazz analysis, picking up on ideas only suggested at in Owens, in a huge dissertation on jazz improvisation In this essay, he cites an interview with Bill Evans who discusses his process with Marian McPartland, and it is this incorporation of actual musicians in analysis that was to become a common aspect of later scholarship in jazz performance practice. He puts the ideas of melodic formulas into the context of the oral narrative theory of Homer scholars Milman Parry and Albert Lord.

This approach drawing on literary theory—and particularly oral traditions as a point of comparison—may have served as a possible seed for future interdisciplinary approaches utilizing these very concepts. Interdisciplinary Approaches! Given the wide influence of mainstream jazz journalism in trade magazines and the work of earlier Western analysts like Schuller, as well as the rise of the African- American civil rights movement, it was perhaps inevitable that black writers would become more explicitly interested in reshaping the cultural context of discussion around jazz.

Amiri Baraka formerly known as LeRoi Jones and Albert Murray eventually came to represent two sides of the spectrum of this debate in the African-American discourse.

click Baraka was closely allied with the Black Arts Movement, a literary and artistic movement influenced by and allied with Black Nationalism and, to a certain extent, Marxism. In this vein, Blues People was the first full book-length study of jazz and blues by a black writer. His thesis was that blues-related traditions could be used as a gauge to measure the cultural assimilation of African-Americans to North America from the early 18th century through to his present day.

Chapters are devoted to the music in the context of religion context, the rural and urban environments, and slavery as a whole. This emphasis on these cultural contexts in discussing performance, especially from an African- American perspective, was certainly new. Similarly to Baraka, he argues that all relevant iterations of jazz are a subset of the blues. His own work overtly confronts previous definitions and discourse regarding the blues, arguing that most of the writing gets the cultural implications of the blues wrong. Instead, he argued that determination and even joy is often at the core of the blues, albeit in response to difficulty.

This has been particularly true in later incorporation of the African-American literary theory of Henry Louis Gates Jr. Since the mid s, there has been a plethora of jazz performance-related scholarship published that, like Murray and Baraka, uses theoretical frameworks! Even the more conventional forms such as biographies and historical books on jazz have had these attributes.

Numerous interviews and stories about Monk are utilized including new interviews with other pianists and alumni from his own bands.

Jazz Composition & Arranging

Wilmot Alfred Fraser used existing biographies in the aggregate as well as his own interviews to create a dissertation that theorized about what the common cultural process was in becoming a jazz musician. Scott DeVeaux has become one of the most widely cited and published contemporary thinkers in jazz.

In this, oral histories and interviews are frequently cited in addition to transcriptions from recordings, biographies, and other traditional sources. Moreover, economic context is provided as in his explanation of how the economy led to a focus on small group recording DeVeaux ! Interactive practices in jazz performance! Many recent scholars have moved beyond discussion of selected historical figures and styles to address other aspects of performance practice, often stressing the actual process versus the products of jazz improvisation.

In particular, interaction—at times within the group, but also interaction with previous performances by musicians— including those within and outside the tradition—and even popular culture as a whole, has become a touchstone in many performance practice publications. Especially influential in this regard, is an earlier article by Charles Keil Keil , This notion of looking at jazz through its own aesthetic, and focusing on the matter of process, was to be very influential on later scholars.

Some scholars have used this foundation of attention to interaction and process, to include interdisciplinary approaches such as semiotics. In this article, he looks at what alumni of the band have stated as well as video that demonstrates how gesture and kinetics played a role.

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While Davis left an extensive legacy with a long and varied career as a bandleader, all musicians create a performance context in how they interact socially, physically, and musically that draws attention in different ways both for the performers on stage and for the audience witnessing the performance. This term was initially formulated by Julia Kristeva as a means of pointing to the relationships between a given literary text, its audience and other texts both past and contemporary. He compares this to European practices in Dadaism, asserting a relationship in how musicians incorporated various influences as collage.

While an interesting idea, this preliminary attempt at inclusion of audience expectation and reaction is undermined by the lack of evidence of direct feedback from performers or listeners. Nonetheless, this semiotic framework would prove fertile as Ingrid Monson and others would later adopt intertextuality within African-American cultural frameworks.! Signifyin g builds not only on the traditional semiotic term but also includes W. Articles by John P. Murphy, distinctively, frames the work of Henderson in reworking material familiar to a jazz audience as involving the audience in!

Analysis, Composition, & Arranging

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He indicates this in how musicians like Henderson interact with other musicians in performance by transforming ideas suggested by their playing. In doing so, he provides a transcription of his performance that utilizes typical musical notation but is heavily marked and noted to indicate the timbral variety. Walser also points out that audiences of this time—and particularly an audience familiar with Davis—would have been familiar with the popular song itself and, quite possibly, his earlier recorded versions of it.

In this sense, intertextuality is not only a internalized strategy for the musician but, also, a means of interacting with an audience. She acknowledges Berliner as the landmark for literally opening up the conversation to include musicians and interaction. Monson, however, is particularly focused on interaction in an approach that also integrates cultural studies with detailed transcription and analysis. Based on conversations with these expert musicians as well as a full transcription of an improvised solo Freddie Hubbard with rhythm section, she lays out the traditional roles of members of the rhythm section.

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In other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DeVeaux takes this a step further, however, pointing out how the unusual harmonic choices were based on intervallic material found within the melodies themselves. These specific devices, hence, became the fodder for portions of new compositions of his own that utilized these new-found devices Nirvana Greatest Hits. Essential Rock Playlist. Costello Music Guitar Tab. A Weekend in the City.

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