THE BLACK QUEEN QUADRILLE – 1886 – R. Schlepagrell (4:35)
Perhaps the most popular social dance in the city of New Orleans, a French and Spanish City, was the Quadrille (Sic: a small square). The Quadrille is best described as a type of square dance but with more ‘polite’ movements, more grace, and more formal calls. It is a series of settings that alternate between the meters of 2/4 and 6/8. The movements were never in any set rhythmic pattern.
1911. Listen for quotes from ‘Swanee River’ and ’Dixie.’
COTTON PICKERS RAG & CAKEWALK – 1899 – William Braun (12:50)
One of the most popular arrangements in New Orleans during its publication, ‘Cotton Pickers’ is a great example of the cakewalk genre on its evolution into jazz.
The composer, William Braun, was born in New Orleans in 1867. He became a prominent bandleader in the city and was most famous for his association with he Rex Carnival Krewe and the Pan-American Life Insurance Company Band. He was associated with a great number of New Orleans early jazz musicians such as Nick LaRocca, Emmett Hardy, and Eddie Edwards. He died in 1940.
Cotton Pickers Rag and Cakewalk is a charming cakewalk and is fun to play. It could be the model for all music that was called a cakewalk. A characteristic of these early cakewalks was the use of the cakewalk rhythm in the 12 and 13th measures of the first section. It was published by one of the leading music stores of the era, the Grunewald Music Company of New Orleans.
SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY – 1899 – Arthur Pryor (18:26)
Marked a ragtime/cakewalk, we find the name of “Sousa’s Band” following Pryor’s name on the composer’s credit. The introduction has an interesting use of the cakewalk rhythm in tutti unison. It is marked “Marcia Moderato” again linking ragtime music to the march and the brass band. Using both the cakewalk rhythm and the syncopation of ragtime it is a bridge between the two styles. The great trombonist of Sousa’s Band, Arthur Pyror, wrote it.
HELLO MY BABY – 1899 – Howard/Emerson (24:00)
No less than Johann Brahms was a fan of this song. He heard a lady performer playing the banjo and singing this song in a Paris nightclub. He remarked how he really loved the rhythmic structure. Unfortunately Brahms died before he was able to use the rhythm in a complete composition. Brahms was a great user of syncopation in his music and perhaps, he, in his way, paved the way for the syncopated, rhythmic music of jazz. This arrangement begins with three sections of unfamiliar melodies but ends with the fourth section using the well-known melody of “Hello My Baby.” This piece is an example (along with Alexander’s Ragtime Band) of the ragtime style filtering into Tin Pan Alley and American popular music. It uses the cakewalk rhythm in its main melody.
PEACEFUL HENRY – 1902 – E. H. Kelly (27:54)
Written in 1902 by E.H. Kelly, it was a ‘hit’ instrumental piece and is called a slow drag. It was named after an old colored janitor in the basement of a building who was called ‘Peaceful henry.’ The piece does use tied syncopation to great effect.
A slow drag is defined as ‘a deliberately or unintentional attempt to sing or play slightly behind the beat. As articulated by the rhythm section or implied by the playing of the rest of the ensemble. Its’ style is difficult to interpret by an ensemble. It was published by a Detroit Press and has a picture of a Negro youth on the cover.
JELLY BEAN– 1920 – Joe Verges (33:04)
Written in song form, using simple harmonies and with the use of some syncopation, ’Jelly Bean’ is a well-written and ‘swingin’ jazz arrangement by Joe Verges. Verges was born in New Orleans, La. in c1883. Having an early interest in music as a youngster, he entered vaudeville in the early 1900’s and among his associates was Eddie Edwards, the trombonist in the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Verges’ early success in song writing began in 1915 with the song, ‘Don’t Leave Me Daddy,’ which became a local hit. Jelly Bean is typical of the early jazz songs being played by jazz/dance ensembles, and is the result of early ragtime elements and influences.
WAR CLOUD – 1918 – Nick LaRocca/Larry Shields (39:04)
The song begins with an introduction that uses the cakewalk rhythm and then proceeds to a 16 bar song form, with a theme reminiscent of the “12th Street Rag.” There is a quasi stop tune section to begin the 2nd strain. While the melody is the 1st strain is in 16th notes, it is contrasted in the trio with a long note theme that sound more like the theme for the trio of a march. Students of New Orleans music will recognize the tune as “Fidgety Feet.” It is said that the Original Dixieland Jazz Band put a new title on the song in hopes that having an Indian theme would help sales.
NEW ORLEANS STOMP – 1924 – Louis Armstrong (43:55)
Writing this piece about 2 years after arriving in Chicago, Armstrong was one of the earliest musicians to emphasize improvising. A stomp is defined as a heavy, strongly marked beat, associated with early ragtime and early blues form and characterized by stamping steps, usually on the last chorus. The trio is a good example of the rhythm of the stomp, being in a quarter note melody with emphasis on the beat with no syncopation.
ALEXANDER’S RAGTIME BAND – 1911 – Irving Berlin (49:05)
One of the most popular and influential pieces of the early 20th century, Alexander’s Ragtime Band paved the way for the beginnings of the famous “Tin Pan Alley.” Berlin was primarily a popular songwriter and whatever was selling was the style of his next composition. Alexander was the name used when persons of authority would call a Negro bandleader, thus the name of the song as typical of the Negro jazz band. It is played in the original arrangement published in 1911. Listen to quotes from “Swanee River” and “Dixie.”