A development from Dixieland polyphony and a precursor to swing, the records cut by this group served as a model for all aspiring jazz musicians and a platform for Armstrong to launch his career from. As a result of the lack of recorded material from the s and early s, there are limited recordings that arguably truly reflect the jazz music that had emerged from New Orleans Beard and Gloag — p Marcus further stresses their importance of the 2 The term the jazz age used here refers to the growing popularity of jazz and dance music in the s also known as the roaring twenties that ran until the Great Depression.
Although these represent the feelings of just two jazz historians, they reflect points held commonly amongst historians, musicians and critics alike and support the argument that the Hot Five recordings provide us with a truer reflection of what early jazz from New Orleans really sounded like. Armstrong was not the first jazz musician to try and pry Ory away from California where he had been residing since recording with Sunshine Records in To be such a desired musician by such household names as Armstorng, Oliver and Morton suggests a musical presence and level of proficiency that is of the highest order and when one listens to the performances of Kid Ory a strong sense of confidence and character is unavoidable.
However, in terms of musical and technical proficiency, Ory often comes under fire especially with regard to his ability to improvise melodically and truly swing his parts. More critical historians however land heavier blows with their assessments of Ory, none more so than Andre Hodeir. When discussing the term genius and what musicians it is acceptable to apply this term to in regard to the development of jazz Hodeir — p30 writes: Hundreds of fans are convinced this is so.
Alas, how far they are from the point! It is not a question of disparaging Dodds and Ory, but simply of setting things straight. The shortcomings of these two musicians are not merely technical; both are deficient musically as well. In that case the logical conclusion would be that rhythm, and therefore swing, are inconsequential elements in jazz.
Who would argue in favour of such a paradox? Aims and Objectives This paper aims to explore and analyse the improvisations of Kid Ory heard on eight key recordings made with The Hot Five from to Attention will be given to the musicality of the improvisations including melodic, harmonic and rhythmic expositions, as well as an analysis of the idiosyncracies of his performance style.
An analysis of how the recordings were organised, run and completed will also made to further understand the context behind the sessions.
The paper will form an initial piece of work to contribute to my doctorate studies. The aim is to challenge the perceptions of jazz historians to acknowledge his musical contribution as well as his entrepreneurialism which he is often more credited for. Research Questions My current research questions for my doctorate study are: Is it reasonable to argue that Kid Ory played an even greater role in the stylistic development of jazz in New Orleans during the s and s then he is generally attributed with?
These three questions apply to my overall research however considering them individually in terms of this paper, the first will look to explore the stylistic and musical features specific to his improvisations with the Hot Five. This should demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of key devices and licks that Kid Ory felt comfortable exploiting in the studio. As further study continues, these will be compared and contrasted with improvisations recorded in different ensembles to see how Kid Ory approached the different recording environments. Musical analysis at this stage will be used as a means of desubjectification towards the music.
As Kramer — p identifies, the analysis of music does assume that an individual has a certain amount of existing musical knowledge and that this takes corrodes the subjectivity of the appreciation an audience may experience from listening to a recording or performance.
The focus of the cultural landscape question will look at the recordings with the Hot Five and the coming together of the different musical styles Kid Ory had been exposed to through out his career, as a younger musician in Louisiana, an entrepreneurial band leader musician in New Orleans and Los Angeles, and as a professional sideman in Chicago and New York. My initial assessment here is that I expect to find a wide range of different musical idioms and influences from different styles and occasion music.
This is an issue of hybridity4 and will consider where the influences have arisen from and how a product has been created through this fusing of devices and styles. The last question, although will require a greater scope to make a detailed assessment of reassessing his impact to the development of jazz, will be considered in terms of what he brought to these recordings as a means of producing an effective insight into what early jazz actually sounded like and how it was already developing in the Chicago scene into an increasingly solo form of virtuosic music, breaking down the traditions of the polyphonic sound of New Orleans.
Due to the geographical location and arguably a more laissiez-faire approach to race relations, New Orleans at the turn of the century was a diverse and progressive city and this reflected on the music. In particular, New Orleans had a love of brass bands and many musicians who had played in military brass bands brought their instruments to the city in times of peace. New Orleans was no exception to these issues and once the Jim Crow lands had been implemented, black and Creole musicians alike found themselves second-class citizens with limited rights Armstrong What the term integrated does correctly describe is the hybridity of the many musical elements that define the different styles and genres played by the musicians of the time.
The problem however, is that as identified, there is a lack of recorded music to base a truly authentic analysis on. Defined only in retrospect, the New Orleans jazz scene found its identity 1,miles away in Chicago. In the early decades of the 20th century, jazz was not perceived as an art form; certainly not in the way bebop or smooth jazz was appreciated. Bands would play blues, ragtime, polka, waltzes, marches, early swing and hot jazz numbers for audiences to dance to as well as drink and socialise.
In Storyville, the music was the soundtrack to the night-time activities as well as a key element to the marches and carnivals that ran through New Orleans. The music was as much a part of the ambience of New Orleans, as the people and buildings. Due to this fact, bands would not identify themelves as artistic jazz bands but professional musicians, competing to be the most popular bands therefore the most successful. As a young man Ory would organize fish fries in his home town of La Place picture below where his band would perform popular numbers they had heard from travelling bands on the river boats.
As he moved to New Orleans he organised bands to play ballrooms, dance halls, bars, parades and any other environment that wanted live music. Whilst at this stage it is not my intention to overly explore these terms it is important to explain how they are interpreted within the context of early jazz. The first of these to identify is the use of swung rhythms as a departure from syncopation. Syncopated rhythms was a key component of rag time music and often when musicians are referred to as ragged it is not necessarily a criticism of their style, more so it suggests that they play syncopated or dotted rhythmic phrases as opposed to a more contemporary swung feel.
Syncopation is the displacement of emphasis from the strong beat to a weaker rhythmical point of a bar. When the demand in the venues on Storyville was for dance and popular music, entrepreneurial musicians would have known the importance to be able to perform stylistically accurate ragtime music.
But where the swing rhythms start to filter into common practise is where we see the biggest shift in rhythmic devices in the development of jazz and the foundation of swing cemented. The swing rhythm was supposed to deconstruct the rigidity of syncopation and humanise the rhythm of melodic part playing. Therefore you have the offbeat emphasis being reminiscent of the syncopated ragged rhythms yet the looseness of rhythmic positioning to soften the rigidity of the predeceasing style.
What was quite common in some of the earlier recordings of New Orleans jazz, take for example the Kid Ory Sunshine recordings as analysed by Brian Thacker in his performance edition dissertation, is that melodic phrases and counter lines demonstrate a variety of different rhythmic feels Thacker They are not entirely swung neither are they entirely syncopated, at times Kid Ory may exploit both swung and syncopated phrases within one short section. However a swung feel appears twice, both times towards the later parts of his solos where the quavers are played in a more recognisably swung manner.
A great deal of research and study has gone into understanding the nuances of swung rhythms. The second key defining feature of New Orleans jazz is the application of improvisation through a sense of collective polyphony within an ensemble. Numbers would have lead melodies of course, but throughout heads6 and solo sections, musicians would perform a collective improvisatory polyphony; instruments effectively soloing at the same time. Typically, the trumpet would take the lead role in a improvisation section and this would be complimented by often fast moving clarinet runs and trombone counter lines articulating the spaces in the trumpet phrases.
The Hot Five recordings do start to show a shift from this style towards a concept of arrangement and the creation of independent solos in order, rather than collective improvisation. The earlier recordings however, do still demonstrate the sense of polyphony we can assume is typical of New Orleans jazz. Improvisation The term improvisation should be considered at this stage, as it is a term that can be interpreted in different manners that have long been debated.
For the purposes of this paper, the term improvisation refers to the act of creating an immediate musical response either in the form of a solo musician or simultaneously with other musicians as part of an ensemble. With this knowledge, the improviser with exception of unturned percussionists creates melodic phrases to exploit the harmony as well as the technical prowess of the individual.
It could be argued that this is not a true improvisation but for a musician to create a successful improvisation as part of an ensemble, understanding the different musical parameters of the piece are essential. The bigger issue when examining a jazz improvisation is understanding what makes an improvisation successful. For the purposes of this study, the improvisations will be scrutinised in terms of the melodic virtuosity particularly considering how far the solo phrases are based on the original melodies of the piece and where the melodies are ornamented.
Phrasing will be considered in terms of how successfully it exploits the given harmony and where dissonance and release are created, especially in the realisation of extended chords. Rhythmic features will be examined to identify the percussiveness of syncopation, the fluidity of triplet and swung rhythms as well as freer phrasing and lyrical shaping of notes.
In terms of the successfulness of the improvisations, that is an aspect that should become apparent once reflection of the analysis has occurred. The final consideration to make with regard to improvisations is the notion of uniqueness. Musicians have always based improvisations on phrases that have been tried and tested before. With simpler harmonies for example a standard 12 bar progression, jazz musicians do build up a catalogue of stock phrases with which to form longer phrases and improvisations. The term tailgate refers to the style developed by trombonists in New Orleans of which Kid Ory was a pioneer.
The term was conceived when describing trombonists performing with groups on advertising trucks and horse drawn carts where their slides would protrude out behind the vehicle.
It is believed that the slide would fill in the gaps as the truck rode over potholes and bumps to keep the music fluidity and allow the instruments performing the melodies breathing space between phrases. Anecdotally it is said that the early forms of syncopated rhythms found in New Orleans jazz are reflective of the poor road conditions which effected the musicians rhythmical articulation.
Key features of tailgate style include long glissandos with slurs into and out of phrases as well as notes within phrases. A wide range of different speed vibratos would be applied to enhance held notes especially at the higher end of the register and at the end of melodic phrases. Different types of articulation predominantly staccato, tenuto and legato help to give a sense of character to lyrical phrases whilst animalistic and muted sounds further exploit the personality of the instrument and player. The recordings were cut in the morning after the musicians had completed their late night performances with different ensembles.
This was customary for the jazz musician of the time, often performing evening sessions with one group and then a late night session with another. Often the players would not finish playing until 6 in the morning. Gut Bucket Blues was written for the session by the request of E. Copyrighted by Armstrong himself, he named the track Gut Bucket after memories of the fish mongers in the markets back in New Orleans.
When preparing fish the guts would be collected in a bucket under the tables. There are arguments that this blues number was supposed to reflect the bottom of the barrel in lowbrow jazz and blues. Gut Bucket Blues stands out as the first recording where all musicians take a solo over a chorus individually during the track.
It starts with an unusually chromatic banjo 12 bar chorus from Johnny St. After the group perform the head chorus twice through as an ensemble, the other four musicians take their turns to solo, with Armstrong calling encouragement vocally and identifying the players by name throughout their choruses. Although this may not have been the first time it had been 7 When Armstrong solos Kid Ory steps in to vocally articulate his phrases.
The whole chorus is made up of three phrases, all three of which are broken into two shorter figures; initially this is based on a rising phrase followed by a falling phrases which then lead onto a series of falling descending phrases.
At which point there is an awkward break in the phrase as Ory takes a breath and the ragged arpeggio that follows in bars sounds generic and without a sense of melody. After the group perform the head chorus twice through as an ensemble, the other four musicians take their turns to solo, with Armstrong calling encouragement vocally and identifying the players by name throughout their choruses. The final consideration to make with regard to improvisations is the notion of uniqueness. This range of emotiveness is demonstrated in his solos, which also tell us a little about the story behind them. It starts with an unusually chromatic banjo 12 bar chorus from Johnny St.
Not a single phrase is swung which challenges the assumption that jazz needs to be swung to be jazz. This would suggest that Ory had been playing swing rhythms for over a decade before these recordings were made yet in his three phrases, not a note swings in terms of our understanding of swing leaning on the third quaver triplet see Fig 1. This polka style he identifies is a reflection of the demands of working musicians and the expectation that they can play all sorts of styles and dances for different types of audience.
Ory's Creole Trombone - E-flat Lead Sheet - Kindle edition by Brian Priestley, Edward Ory. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or. Ory's Creole Trombone - B-flat Lead Sheet - Kindle edition by Brian Priestley, Edward Ory. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or.
For a musician like Ory he would have spent time mastering polkas, marches, fox trots and rag time rhythms so when faced with a more swung environment, he may have struggled. There is an argument here that this reinforces how the recordings were reflective of New Orleans jazz as this more traditionally syncopated rhythm demonstrated the fused elements of what made up traditional jazz.
However, the more critical observer would identify this more as a performance shortcoming rather than a conscious decision to make that musical statement. His use of dotted pick-ups to lead into phrases bar , tied notes within bars bar and the use of accents on weaker beats bars all demonstrate that he was highly attentive to the rhythms he was performing, but from this first improvisation his ability to swing is not clear. The second key aspect to identify from this chorus is his choice of pitches and sense of harmonic ambiguity.
In bars 2 and the band perform an F7 chord as is typical of a 12 bar structure and this is consistently sounded throughout the all the choruses on the recording. This F7 is stressed each time with all performers exploiting the blues notes within their melodic phrases by emphasising the Eb dominant seventh of the chord. Interestingly, both times the chord is played in this chorus, Ory does not observe the Eb and plays an E natural over the chord creating dissonance. Although he does slide up into the note therefore at one point each time performing the Eb he peaks his phrases on the E natural making those notes the most confidently sounding pitches and emphasising the dissonance further.
The fact that he repeats that same dissonance the second time around suggests that either he was unaware of his harmonic mistake or that he purposely wanted to remove the blues element from his chorus, potentially reflecting his playful character and sense of humour. As already discussed, Kid Ory was recognised as a pioneer of tailgate trombone techniques and the chorus in Gut Bucket Blues is no exception to this. His bends into notes using both the slide and the mouthpiece to give unique articulation to the notes of his phrases.
The use of the slide can be heard most prominently at the slide from the D - C at the end of the second phrase and then again in the third phrase at the descending figure up to the B then down the G underneath the G chord.
Where his attention to articulation is further demonstrated is through the use of vibrato. Typically, a jazz musician would apply vibrato to held notes, particularly at the end of a melodic phrase. Ory however, interesting applies his vibrato more commonly within phrases to emphasizes key moments for example on the tied notes in figures 2, 5 and 6 underneath the F7 chords and when performing the Eb blues note on the descending resolution phrase back to C at the end of the chorus.
In this way, the vibrato is used to highlight key rhythmical and harmonic features within the phrases. The final two notes also demonstrate a key articulation device serving as full stop to the music. Ory plays a staccato E natural to lift from the Eb preceding it, then resolves onto the root of C with a sense of tenuto to add weight to the resolve and bring the solo to a close. Here the articulation enhances the descending chromatic arpeggio, by adding a sense of lyrical rhythm to the phrase.
The style of exploiting these devices may have arisen through performance and expectation of the instrument however, the characterisation of the lines comes from this exploitation. It is these devices that give the phrases their interest and help us identify Ory from some of his trombone contemporaries. Gut Bucket Blues is not regarded as a great solo in terms of challenging rhythmic, melodic or harmonic approaches to improvisation in any measure. However, as the first recorded solo of Kid Ory with the Hot Five, it introduces some of his key stylistic features; features that reappear on different songs and with different artists.
It is not until the band returned to the studio for the third recording session that Ory had the opportunity to explore different ways of improvising and whether the time spent playing together in live performances was going to demonstrate an enhanced level of musicality in the recordings was yet to be seen.
This time however, phrase one starts on beat one and ends with an extended descending phrase that finishes on the root of chord IV rather than before where his phrases would start before the chords were sounded. As a result, his second phrase appears later with an arguably clumsy sounding break or hole in bar To reconcile this, Ory lavishly applies the slide to his phrases to cover the lack of his melodic confidence with an exploitation of his tailgate style. His final phrase characteristically leads into chord V, briefly resolving to the Eb in bar 11 bar articulating the end of the whole chorus with a tight, staccato syncopation on the dominant.
Here we can see how he is exploring extended phrasing in one sense, although not fully confident on how to move into phrase two of the chorus. Whether this is a confidence issue or perhaps a lack of breath, it is unclear to say. There are key aspects of this chorus however that are worth noting. Considering the rhythmical aspects already discussed, this solo starts with a rigid syncopation in the polka style he has demonstrated before. Most interestingly is the use of swung rhythms can be heard in bar This is the first solo where Ory swing a phrase adhering to the understanding that swing relies on the a stress on the 3rd triplet quaver.
In comparison to the syncopated phrases of before, the swung phrase at bar 10 sounds almost unnatural and on first listen does not necessarily sit with the preceding feel. This addition of a swung phrase here could be an indication that through playing with Armstrong, Ory was starting to learn new musical techniques.
Basing our understanding on contemporary recordings to these where there is limited swing on the trombone parts, this one bar figure suggests that Ory is improving his swing. At this stage, it would appear that Ory has delivered a fairly successful improvisation. The problem is what do we mean by the term improvisation? Improvisation suggests that to some extent the 12 bar trombone chorus has been made up on the spot, although of course the musician knew the changes and structure of the 12 bar form.
It suggests that the part is unique and although may contain melodic ideas that Ory has relied on before, as a solo has not been heard in this way. The head starts at 0. His improvisation therefore is effectively the melody with the counter lines already established earlier in the track. A part that on first listen comes across as a successful improvisation is when analysed, a predesigned counter melody, applied as a solo.
The importance of this cannot be under stressed as it questions what is truly meant by an improvisation. Although the band sounds out slower moving chords, the high tempo of bpm with an almost Native American rhythmic ostinato underneath causes certain issues for Ory. It is difficult to imagine the era when this "old-timey" jazz was the "bee's knees" of its time, when it was the modern sound of music without evoking an antiquated image or some kind of novelty nostalgia.
But the unusual thing about music is that it reverses the aging process; the adolescent relates to the current musical trends while the maturing adult seems to slip backwards in time with their evolving musical tastes. A recording may be a frozen moment in time, but that youthful vigor is preserved within the music and it ripens with age. It can be argued that traditional jazz fails in comparison with the complexities of modern jazz. Perhaps today's musicians are discovering ways to mirror and broadcast multiple streams of mobile media while the old guys are still trying to program a VCR.
But at the end of the day, or century, we still press the Play button.