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Fletcher Henderson's legacy

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  • robin12smith
    We all know about how Fletcher Henderson changed jazz arranging with his call and response, his changing instrumentation, etc. But it s easier to appreciate
    Message 1 of 2 , Jan 17, 2009
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      We all know about how Fletcher Henderson changed jazz arranging with
      his call and response, his changing instrumentation, etc. But it's
      easier to appreciate it when you get a chance to hear what it sounded
      like beforehand.

      I had the opportunity to play with an group call the Highlanders. It
      was named after a local community, not Scotland. Three saxes, two
      trumpets, trombone, piano, and drums. A small big-band predacessor,
      the history of the group was that it was formed in 1930, and kept
      going one way or another. It currently plays one-hour shows at
      retirement homes.

      Anyway, the charts were hand-written from 1930's. And all of them
      were the same formula. First, the trumpets and trombone would play
      the tune in simple three-part harmony, no intro. Then the saxes
      would play the tune in simple three-part harmony. The the first half
      of the tune (3rd time around) would either be a trombone solo, a
      piano solo, or someone would sing. Then for the last half of the
      tune, everyone would play their same part as before. Then the song
      would end, no coda.

      While perhaps the national bands had something more sophisticated, I
      can see how in the 1930's this would be considered adequate
      for "modern" dance music, simply because that's what folks wanted -
      just some nice fox-trots to dance to. They accepted those
      arrangements because it was good enough.

      So let us give a thanks to those early Jazz arrangers for raising the
      bar, and making audiences more aware of good big-band music by
      knowing what it isn't.
    • bruce talbot
      Maybe the original Highlanders didn t want to pay for stock arrangements which did have intros and codas and sax figures behind the brass chorus and brass
      Message 2 of 2 , Jan 17, 2009
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        Maybe the original Highlanders didn't want to pay for stock arrangements which did have intros and codas and sax figures behind the brass chorus and brass figures behind the sax chorus - and a 'hotter' ensemble last chorus.  These were widely available in the 1920s and used all over the world.


        --- On Sat, 1/17/09, robin12smith <robin12@...> wrote:
        From: robin12smith <robin12@...>
        Subject: [RedHotJazz] Fletcher Henderson's legacy
        To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Saturday, January 17, 2009, 4:25 PM











        We all know about how Fletcher Henderson changed jazz arranging with

        his call and response, his changing instrumentation, etc. But it's

        easier to appreciate it when you get a chance to hear what it sounded

        like beforehand.



        I had the opportunity to play with an group call the Highlanders. It

        was named after a local community, not Scotland. Three saxes, two

        trumpets, trombone, piano, and drums. A small big-band predacessor,

        the history of the group was that it was formed in 1930, and kept

        going one way or another. It currently plays one-hour shows at

        retirement homes.



        Anyway, the charts were hand-written from 1930's. And all of them

        were the same formula. First, the trumpets and trombone would play

        the tune in simple three-part harmony, no intro. Then the saxes

        would play the tune in simple three-part harmony. The the first half

        of the tune (3rd time around) would either be a trombone solo, a

        piano solo, or someone would sing. Then for the last half of the

        tune, everyone would play their same part as before. Then the song

        would end, no coda.



        While perhaps the national bands had something more sophisticated, I

        can see how in the 1930's this would be considered adequate

        for "modern" dance music, simply because that's what folks wanted -

        just some nice fox-trots to dance to. They accepted those

        arrangements because it was good enough.



        So let us give a thanks to those early Jazz arrangers for raising the

        bar, and making audiences more aware of good big-band music by

        knowing what it isn't.


























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