Presentation on theme: "Dixieland Tuba 101: Getting Started with Traditional Jazz, presented by Dr. Thomas Bough, Northern Illinois University, Yamaha Performing Artist. www.ThomasBough.com."— Presentation transcript:
Dixieland Tuba 101: Getting Started with Traditional Jazz, presented by Dr. Thomas Bough, Northern Illinois University, Yamaha Performing Artist. www.ThomasBough.com
Dixieland = Collective Improvisation Everyone has a role….understand yours!
Bass Lines Dixieland bass lines are very similar to bass lines in a march. Some of the earliest jazz performers were known for playing marches in a ragtime style, i.e., “ragging the march”.
More Information For more information about the correlation between Dixieland and marches, as well as a historical overview of the style, a thorough discography and transcriptions of a dozen Dixieland standards, check out my DMA dissertation “The Role of the Tuba in Early Jazz Music from 1917 to the Present: A Historical, Pedagogical and Aural Perspective”. Google “ UMI Dissertation Express” to order.
Dr. Jazz (Bough) Audio Thomas Bough (tuba) Dissertation Recording, Arizona State University, 1999.
Tradition Dixieland, like all jazz, is primarily an AURAL tradition. No clinic, method book, or dissertation (even mine) will replace careful listening, musical analysis, and active imitation of the style.
Initial Listening List Sam Pilafian and Travelin’ Light Dixie Power Trio Dukes of Dixieland (with Rich Matteson playing tuba) Lu Watters and His Yerba Buena Jazz Band Other great tuba jazz players include: John Sass Youngblood Brass Band (with Nat McIntosh playing tuba) Dirty Dozen Brass Band There are lots more great players out there, but this is a good start.
Publications Both Alfred Publications and Hal Leonard Publications offer Dixieland play-along and instructional CD’s, which might be helpful. The ITEA journal has featured many articles over the years on this topic. Check it out!
There are lots of GREAT materials on jazz bass line construction and jazz improvisation available from a variety of publishers. They may not necessarily focus on early jazz, but they can provide a starting point for learning to construct a bass line.
Chord Changes Learn to play changes! Not only will you become a better musician, but you will have more commercial (gig) opportunities as well.
Tonic-Dominant (I-V). Change octaves (reasonably) to maintain interest. Most Rudimentary Bass line
Gut Bucket audio Lu Watters and His Yerba Buena Jazz Band (I-V)
Historical Notes San Francisco was home to a wonderful revival of Dixieland in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. The audio recordings made during this era are generally technologically better (especially in terms of the bass voices) than those made in the 1920’s and early ‘30’s, which was the height of the Dixieland era. Lu Watters and his Yerba Buena Jazz Band were among the best from this era.
I-V plus short walks. Use dominant-7th scale fragments and leading tones to connect chords. Typical Dixieland Bass line
Long Walks. Less typical of this style, but appropriate at times. Other bass line options
Sheik of Araby audio Louis Armstrong and the Dukes of Dixieland, with Rich Matteson (Long Walks and double time vs. half- time)
Jazz Greats Rich Matteson is one of the greatest musicians, artists, performers and/or entertainers to even play tuba or euphonium. If you are not familiar with his music and career, educate yourself!
Jazz Greats Same for Louis Armstrong. For both, LISTEN to their music, ANALYZE what they are playing, then IMITATE it in your own playing.
Effects Double time / half time effects 3 quarter notes per bar Stop time. Play the downbeat every bar, or every other bar, depending on the tempo.
Avalon (Travelin’ Light) audio Sam Pilafian and Travelin’ Light (stop time)
Solo Breaks King Oliver, Louis Armstrong’s mentor, said “jazz happens in the breaks”. These two-bar or four-bar rests inserted at structural joints in the form of the music are an integral part of this style. Know when NOT to play!
Cornet Chop Suey audio Louis Armstrong: The Hot Fives, Vol. 1 (top time and breaks)
Know the performance traditions of each piece, so you can perform with a high degree of authenticity. Again, know when NOT to play!
Muskrat Ramble audio Louis Armstrong : The Hot Fives, Vol. 1 (traditions of each song)
Riffs ( rhythmic ostinati, for our classically trained friends) Use characteristic rhythms from the period to create accompany an entire chorus.
Tiger Rag (Sam) audio Sam Pilafian and Travelin’ Light (riff and lead)
Dixieland Style characteristics Articulation and tone quality
Bourbon Street Parade by Jazz Incredibles(audio) The Jazz Incredibles with “Red” Lehr (tone quality)
Growls, shrieks, falls and flutter tongue Use tastefully and sparingly to create contrasts and musical effects
Basin Street by Jazz Incredibles audio The Jazz Incredibles with “Red” Lehr. (growls, shrieks and effects)
Practice Tips Learn the words and melody to all songs, as well as the chord changes.
Knowing the words and melody will help you track the form, help you distinguish between songs, and is just GOOD MUSICIANSHIP.
Write out multiple choruses of sample bass lines to practice the cognitive skills of bass line construction.
Record yourself playing multiple choruses of sample bass lines (with metronome, of course) to evaluate the development of your skills.
Form a rehearsal ensemble (or the next great Dixieland band) to practice the skills of collective improvisation. Invest some time in listening to recordings TOGETHER to learn the style and to develop a shared vocabulary about what musical techniques you like and how you will implement them on a gig.
AS ALWAYS, get comfortable enough with the musical and technical demands of this style to allow yourself the freedom to REACT TO and INTERACT WITH the other performers in real time.
Compare song titles between your favorite recordings to get a sense of which titles occur the most frequently. Learn these “standards” first, plus whatever tunes are in your fake book.
Tuba as Lead Voice More common in small ensembles, like a trio.
Know your role! Know your role! Even in professional trios, the tuba is not always the lead voice. Give equal attention to playing the melody and to musical roles which support others.
Sweet Georgia Brown audio (Sam) Sam Pilafian and Travelin’ Light (lead)
Out of time, unaccompanied, improvisatory solos are a part of the Dixieland style in some cases. Think of these as cadenzas in a swing style. Their construction is simple, but not easy…create melodic variations based on motific fragments supported by scalar passages over a limited degree of harmonic motion. In other words….FLASH AND TRASH!
Dixieland solo tradition allows for the use of musical quotes and interjections, often designed to be humorous. One should avoid creating an entire improvised solo based on nothing but quotes, but their occasional use can be appropriate.