Jazz "Blues After Dark," Dizzy Essay

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SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .

The piano does not really play a major role here but it is still a team effort.

Performance: "Loverman," Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet), Sonny Stitt (tenor saxophone), Belgium 1958

The style is not bebop, but ballad

The role of the piano is delicate

The role of the bass is regular bass line

The role of the drums is brushing

The role of the saxophone is to play lead and melody

Piano adds accent and punctuation, when necessary. Suddenly the saxophone speaks more, packing sixteenth notes into each bar. The overall feeling is soft and mellow, even as the melody becomes more urgent and complex. At about two minutes, the backing band ceases to play. It is Stitt, on his own. He is speaking directly to the listener. His approach allows him to be his own rhythm as well as his own melody section.

It is apparent now that this was his solo. The phrasing at the end, the way he plays the last notes, is iconic. Although the song itself is very slow and languid, it leaves the listener with a deep emotional impact. The title, "Loverboy," does suggest that there is a love song written here.

Performance: "Blues Walk." Dizzy Gillespie Quintet Live in Belgium 1958 with Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet) Sonny Stitt (tenor saxophone), Lou Levy (piano), Ray Brown (bass), Gus Johnson (drums)

Style = BeBop

Role of Piano = Stride and Comping

Role of the Bass = Walking

Role of the Drums = Brushing and Riding but also mallets and sticks

Role of the Trumpet and Saxophone = Lead and Melody

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Then, the tempo slows somewhat so that the meat of the song begins. Central phrases are repeated, and the trumpet and saxophone play together. The drumming is lively and integral to the song, adding a fast tempo and coaxing all the other instruments to follow suit. Drumming is not just brushes, but also using sticks. This is also a complex song.

TOPIC: Essay on Jazz "Blues After Dark," Dizzy Assignment

The first solo is the saxophone. Stitt plays a continuous flow of notes, barely stopping to breathe. The piano accompanies with some punctuation. A walking bass line also plays sixteenth notes. In fact, the title of the song could easily refer to the walking bass line. Toward the end of the saxophone solo, the phrasing changes briefly and it has an overall improvised feel.

Conclusion

The Dizzy Gillespie Quintet concert performed with Sonny Stitt on tenor saxophone, Lou Levy on piano, Ray Brown on bass, and Gus Johnson on drums in Belgium in 1948 offers a delightful array of bebop. This recording provides the student with an example of the dynamics of the genre, and what its musicians were capable of doing. Listening to Gillespie play is a treat. The music is uplifting emotionally, and inspiring. The saxophone player is also amazing, and the two together are wonderful. Although my favorite piece was the first one, "Blues After Dark," the entire performance was impressive.

There was nothing that I can say I did not like. Even the backup band, which was not featured except for the occasional piano solo, did a great job of letting the lead instruments speak for themselves. The rhythm section also provided the structure needed to keep the bebop… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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