"STAR SPANGLED BANNER" National Anthem of the U.S.A. Francis Scott Key 1814
Click below to hear our song of the week.
Featured Musician of the Week:
WYNTON MARSALIS b. 1961 U.S.A. (Louisiana)
Listening Example: "New Orleans Bump"
Wynton Marsalis [mar-SAL-lis] is recognized as the most famous jazz artist of our time. He is a virtuoso trumpet player, a composer, and music educator. Marsalis is known for promoting the appreciation of classical and jazz music to young audiences, as well as the history and culture of jazz.
In 1983, Marsalis made history when he became the first musician to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical recordings.
The following year, he did it again.
And for the next three years, he one at least one other Grammy Award.
LISTEN FOR . . . Marsalis’ personal style of composing and arranging covers many different jazz styles, including Dixieland, blues, swing, and bebop. Today’s music example is his arrangement of an old Dixieland piece called “New Orleans Bump”, played with Marsalis’ modern influence. He creates special sound effects by using a mute, a cone-shaped device to muffle the sound. He uses tones that make the trumpet sound like it’s speaking, and gravelly sounds. The first 35 seconds are a drum introduction.
"New Orleans Bump" was originally written by "Jelly Roll" Morton, a pianist and composer of the 1920's.
"Jelly Roll" Morton and the Red Hot Peppers
Listening Example: "Congo Square"
On April 23, 2006, almost a year after hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, Wynton Marsalis conducted an innovative new work he had written called Congo Square. It took place in the Louis Armstrong Park in New Orleans.
There is a sculpture of musicians parading with their instruments to honor Armstrong and jazz. Marsalis’ composition celebrates the historic New Orleans area of Congo Square, which is located in Armstrong Park.
Congo Square was the only place in America where African slaves were allowed to perform their own music and dance in the 1700’s and 1800’s. It helped establish the roots of American music by providing a way for African music to intermix with American forms of music. This is where American spirituals and jazz had their beginnings.
Marsalis teamed up his outstanding players from the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with an African group from Ghana called Odadaa, led by drum master Yacub Addy. Odadaa is made up of nine musicians performing on drums, flutes, balaphones and bells. Yacub Addy is a hip, cosmopolitan musician who is also a composer and choreographer.
Odadaa from Ghana, Africa
LISTEN FOR . . . There are many different movements, or sections to Congo Square. Today's example draws music from a couple of them. It begins with a call and response; then the two cultures and traditions blend together to bring a new sound to the music.
Listening Example: "Back to Basics"
Wynton Marsalis has been celebrated by Time Magazine as one of America’s 25 most influential people. He has received the National Medal of Arts and been proclaimed an international ambassador of goodwill for the United States. The United Nations appointed him a Messenger of Peace. And he has received honorary degrees from numerous universities.
Today we’re going to look at some of the instruments Marsalis plays. These include trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn, and flumpet (what a funny word!). They all sound similar, yet slightly different, according to their construction.
The most commonly recognized is the trumpet. The cornet is similar to the trumpet but has more tubing that circles round the instrument.
A flugelhorn is large around like a cornet, but with less tubing.
The flumpet is a hybrid of a trumpet and flugelhorn. It has irregular shaped tubing. The mouthpiece shown is like the one used by Marsalis, which is different from the standard bell-shaped mouthpiece usually seen on brass instruments.
Then there is a double-belled trumpet! This is sort of like those electric guitars that are double guitars hooked together.
In jazz music, mutes are often used with trumpets and trombones to create subtle differences in the tone color. It can muffle the sound to make it softer, or be moved towards and away from the bell to create a “waa-waa” sound effect.
LISTEN FOR . . . Listen to all the sound effects Marsalis creates in “Back to Basics”. Can you tell which instrument he is playing?
Listening Example: Improvisation on "Happy Birthday"
Wynton Marsalis has led a very busy life composing and performing on tours. But he has also been active in promoting music education. He has taught lessons to individual students, and he often presents master classes to groups of students.
One master class was presented on Sesame Street, called "Monster Class".
Marsalis has also written five books about jazz, including one for kids.
In 1995, PBS had a show called Marsalis on Music, an educational television series on jazz and classical music that was written and hosted by Marsalis.
That same year, National Public Radio began a 26-week series by Marsalis entitled Making the Music. Both series earned him the George Foster Peabody Award.
One of the most important aspects of jazz style is improvisation. You’ve heard this word before. Improvisation is making music up as you go. Improvising requires a knowledge of music ‘vocabulary’, such as scales, patterns and rhythms.
LISTEN FOR . . . Today we’re going to watch Marsalis improvise on “Happy Birthday”. He is teaching a master class in France, so you will hear an interpreter speaking to the students in French.
Marsalis and his group improvise a little 'goofing off' before playing the beautiful French song, "la vie en rose".
Listening Example: "Rainy Day Blues"
Wynton Marsalis has recorded many albums of jazz and classical music, and even a CD about the history of the trumpet.
Lincoln Center of Performing Arts, New York City
As Music Director of Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York City, he has performed with artists such as classical singer Kathleen Battle, pop and jazz artists Norah Jones and Eric Clapton, and country singer Willie Nelson.
Today we’re going to learn about the blues. People most often associate blues with slow, sad songs that tell a story. But they can also be performed in a faster, upbeat manner, as in “Blue Note Jazz” posted under the music links below.
"12-BAR" BLUES While blues can be written in any freestyle manner, the standard musical form is known as “12-bar blues”. The word ‘bar’ is just another word for ‘measure’. Traditional 12-bar blues consist of twelve measures that follow a certain pattern of chords. This pattern keeps repeating over and over. The chords used are those built on the first, fourth and fifth tones of the scale--in other words, DO, LA and SO.
Here’s a diagram of the chord progression through the twelve bars, or measures. If the music is written in a C scale, then Cis DO, F is LA, and G is SO.
LISTEN FOR . . . Our listening example is called “Rainy Day Blues”, performed by Willie Nelson with Marsalis accompanying him. Instead of focusing on the melody or words, try to focus on the chord changes in the background and see if you can follow the pattern.
In this video, Marsalis first sings two verses of these slow blues, then plays them. The "2:19" is the time a train leaves the station.
"Hallelujah, I Love Her So" performed by Willie Nelson, Norah Jones and Wynton Marsalis. Norah Jones is the daughter of Ravi Shanker, famous Indian sitarist.
Norah Jones and Willie Nelson sing the old country duet, "Crying Time", accompanied by Marsalis.
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