America's Top Jazz Information Source
Davis's Grave Robbed
Miles Davis, a widely known trumpet player died on September 28th, 1991. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York. Davis was buried with his trumpet, a Martin Committee Handcraft Trumpet, produced in 1939 that is worth over $10,000.
On January 8th cemetery keepers noticed something strange. “We usually see some rough patches of dirt, but this was really strange,” stated keeper Bill Shipp.
According to the police report, the headstone was turned and the casket of Davis was sitting unlatched and unprotected by the heavy soil.
“I was just mowing the grass like I do every Friday and I almost ran right over the casket,” said Shipp.
In an interview on January 9th about the incident, Police Chief Gregg Klak stated, “We are using our greatest efforts to make sure the trumpet is returned to the casket and that the suspect is taken into custody.” It was also noted that music stores and pawn shops across the Bronx and New York have been notified to watch for the trumpet making appearances within their stores.
The cemetery does not have any video footage of the innocent, but DNA samples from the casket have been taken and lab results will not be unearthed for another two weeks.
“I hope a suspect is found, I don’t believe that something like this should go unnoticed. Especially for a legend such as Miles Davis,” said Shipp
If you have any information about the crime please contact the Bronx police department at 555-3498.
Essentially Ellington, an opportunity for High School Bands.
Essentially Ellington is a program through Jazz at Lincoln Center that provides various jazz resources to High School Jazz Bands throughout the United States and Canada. According to academy.jazz.org, Essentially Ellington is a free program for high school jazz bands, it aims to elevate musicianship, and broaden perspectives and inspire performance.
The program has various benefits for members. One benefit of a membership is electronically receiving six new pieces, annually. Also the Essentially Ellington offers teaching support for many pieces newly or previously released to members.
By holding a membership in the program, a band can compete in their annual festival held in the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Fredrick P. Rose Hall every May. The first competition was held in 1996 with bands from New York and New Jersey attending. Since then bands from twenty eight states and Canada have attended.
In order to attend the festival in New York, each band wanting to audition must prepare three of the six newly released songs and record them. Then a panel of judges picks the top fifteen bands to attend the festival in New York.
Festival director Wynton Marsalis recently stated, “The audition screening process is blind, so every band has a fair chance.”
Upon arriving at the festival each participating band is given a mentor, who is usually from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The person will help the band and also will act as a clinician throughout the duration of their stay. (Continued Below)
“My favorite part of the festival is the jam session. The first night all the bands get together and we play the top ten jazz songs of all time. The kids love it! It is amazing to see how competitors come together to have a little fun.” Marsalis said when asked what the best part of the festival was.
The next day each band is judged by top level musicians from all across the world. While the bands are performing, they are also being professionally recorded. Later in the year all recordings are released on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s website.
To finish up the festival, a concert is held featuring the top three bands at Avery Fisher Hall, home of the New York Philharmonic. There, the winner is announced as well as top rhythm and horn sections.
Lastly Marsalis declared, “Not only can bands compete they can also be inspired and learn about jazz culture and playing through the Essentially Ellington program.”
For more information about the program visit http://academy.jazz.org/ee/
Essentially Ellington Competition and Festival
Thursday, May 5th, 4pm to Saturday, May 7th, 9pm
3 Columbus Circle
New York, NY
"Ba" versus "Da"
As you scat your favorite song you might use syllables similar to "ba." It just seems natural, and flows off the tongue. But when it comes to the jazz band setting you often hear some syllables similar to "da." But why?
Well, when playing an instrument in order to articulate a note you use your tongue. The tongue emphasizes the attack of the note as well. For brass instruments the tongue makes contact with the roof of the mouth to articulate the note. And for reed instruments the note is articulated when the tongue hits the reed.
When saying "ba" the tongue does not make contact with the roof of the mouth. When the tongue does not make contact with the roof of the mouth the note is not articulated and the attack is not present.
Unlike "ba" as you say "da" the tongue does make contact with the roof of the mouth. By making contact with the roof of the mouth "da" can be more directly related to articulating notes on an instrument.
The syllables "doo," "dah," and "dit" are also used in a jazz band setting for the same reason, of directly relating singing to playing an instrument.
Another question may arise, why would a jazz band sing? The answer is simple, by singing the band can identify the attack better and it makes articulations easier to translate to their instruments. Many say, “If you can sing it, you can play it.”
Chart of the Week- Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was written by Andy Razaf and Chu Berry. This week we will be talking about the arrangement by Horace Henderson. This chart comes right out of the 2016 Essentially Ellington library.
The song begins with the trombones and saxophones playing a common melody that will appear throughout the rest of the piece. After eight measures the trumpets come in with a counter melody that will change frequently. At that point the “A” section of the piece has begun.
The “A” section of the piece repeats twice then the bridge, after the “A” section. This chart has a constant thirty two measure "AABA" pattern.
The first bridge section begins with a small saxophone soli, then the brass section comes in screaming four measures in. To complete the pattern the “A” section begins again.
The pattern "AABA" then repeats three more times throughout the piece. The first time, is open to brass soloists with saxophone backgrounds. The second time, is open to a woodwind solo with small but powerful brass backgrounds.
The piece then finishes up with the melody (AA) but over the bridge (B) there is a clarinet solo. The piece then concludes with the head (melody) repeating twice.
Below is a link to a recording of Christopher Columbus by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Last Week's Chart of the Week- Blue Goose
Blue Goose was written by Duke Ellington. The chart that will be mentioned is from the 2016 Essentially Ellington library.
The song begins with a six measure piano introduction. In the original recording this part was played by Duke Ellington.
The pieces then continues to a soprano saxophone solo with gentle rhythm section accompaniment and light brass attacks. After eight measures the melody brought forth through the soprano saxophone is passed to the baritone saxophone. The melody interpreted by the baritone saxophone is similar to that of the soprano, but with a slight twist.
After another eight measures a trumpet soloist emerges with gentle saxophone and clarinet backgrounds and some slight attacks by the trombones.
Once the trumpet solo is complete there is a screaming saxophone soli but with a twist, the third trombone is also included with the saxophones.
Once the soli is complete there is a four measure tenor saxophone interlude leading into a trombone solo over the melody for sixteen measures.
The piece soon concludes with eight measures of counter melodies featuring the entire ensemble and the soprano saxophone returning with the melody.
Below is a link to a recording of Blue Goose by the Duke Ellington Orchestra.