Re: [RedHotJazz] Fletcher Henderson's legacy
- 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
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
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
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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