Born April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Va., jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- female jazz singers of all time. Born into a poor family, Fitzgerald was homeless for a time before launching her professional singing career in 1934 with a victory in an Apollo Theater amateur contest.
Duke Ellington was one of the first big band leaders. His arrangements for larger bands helped to bring about the Swing Era of Jazz. His tunes were much more arranged and much less improvisationally based than the music that was being played by the smaller, New Orleans based ensembles. Duke’s music was said to have had “Jungle Sounds” because of his use of effects like the growl, different mutes, more African based melodies and rhythms and especially because of the sounds that his players were able to produce.
Trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie emerged in the middle 1940s as essentially the last in a series of symbolic progressions of virtuosity in jazz that culminated in the consolidation of bebop.
In Calloway's band the guy getting the attention was to be Calloway, who was not amused at Gillespie's peculiar brand of antics that had a way of winking at the audience behind the leader's back. Fired in 1941, Gillespie moved to Lucky Millinder's orchestra, where, just as Parker's first alto solos were coming out on the Jay McShann Deccas, Gillespie recorded "Little John Special" for the same label. It not only included solo work every bit as provocative as Parker's, but it also had the singular riff that the jazz world would shortly come to know as "Salt Peanuts."
Dizzy made many recordings with Parker including performances such as "Groovin' High," "Dizzy Atmosphere" and "Hot House” and toured extensively throughout his life. He is also credited, along with several others, with bringing latin music and jazz together to form latin jazz. His composition “A Night In Tunisia” is an example of this form of jazz.
2016 Concert Pieces with Listening and Video links
Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven – Potato Head Blues by Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong (trumpet), John Thomas (trombone), Johnny Dodds (clarinet),
Lil Armstrong (piano), Johnny St. Cyr (banjo), Pete Briggs (tuba)
and Baby Dodds (drums).
Recorded in Chicago on May 10th, 1927
The Duke Ellington Orchestra – Concerto for Cootie – Written by Duke Ellington
This tune is a great example of the “Jungle Sounds” and instruments that imitate
the human voice that the Ellington Orchestra was known for. His band had
virtuosos on every part and he showcased their talents in his arrangements. In
this case, Ellington showcases the growls, plunger and vocal sounds that can be c
reated by his trumpeter, Cootie Williams.
This was originally recorded on March 15th, 1940
The Duke Ellington Orchestra – Ko-Ko by Duke Ellington
In this selection, Ellington utilizes plunger mutes in order to make the instruments
sound more like the human voice. The “Wa” sounds are produced by placing the
plunger over the bell of a brass instrument and then slowly opening the mute.
Ellington was a writer/arranger, bandleader and pianist for his ensembles.
This was originally recorded on September 21st, 1932
Album below. Start once prior to classes arriving to skip commercials.
Ella Fitzgerald – A Tisket, A Tasket
This recording is Ella’s most popular hit. This recording was her breakthrough into
the popular music of the day. This recording, completed in 1938 brought her wide
acclaim. The rhyme was first noted in the United States in 1879 as a children's
rhyming game. It was sung while children danced in a circle. One of the number ran
on the outside of the circle and dropped a handkerchief. The nearest child would
then pick it up and chase the dropper. If caught the dropper was either kissed,
joined the circle, or had to tell the name of their sweetheart
Ella Fitzgerald – Pick Yourself Up
"Pick Yourself Up" is a popular song composed in 1936 by Jerome Kern, with lyrics
by Dorothy Fields. The song was written for the film Swing Time (1936), where it
was introduced by dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. This tune was recorded
by Ella in 1962, and the recording was the winner of the 1963 Grammy Award for "
Best Vocal Performance, Female".
The Count Basie Orchestra – Tall Cotton by Sammy Nestico
This was also written for the Count Basie Orchestra by Sammy Nestico. It was originally recorded on the album “The Basie Big Band” in 1975. It is another example
of the swing style of the Count Basie Orchestra.
The Count Basie Orchestra – Four Five Six by Frank Foster
This was written for the Count Basie Orchestra by tenor saxophonist Frank Foster.
Frank was onr of the most famous performers to play with Count Basie and his
Orchestra. This is one of his most famous compositions and one of the Basie Band’s
most requested songs.
Gotta Be Jazz
We would love for all of you to sing along with us on this song!!
Dizzy Gillespie – Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie
Dizzy Gillespie was one of the most influential jazz trumpeters. This is a fun
song because it utilizes one of the earliest influences on the jazz language, the
street call. Dizzy remembered all of the street vendors in his neighborhood as a
kid and he used this call in his song, “Salt Peanuts.”
Youtube video below (skip the intro - fast foward to the curtain opening)
Dizzy Gillespie – Cool Breeze by Dizzy Gillespie
This tune was written in 1947 by Dizzy and his pianist Tadd Dameron. It is a
well-known piece because it, like “Groovin’ High” helped set the stage for the
modern harmonies and sounds of the Be-bop era of jazz.