Take Five (To Please Read This) – M3Q3

I’ve found my love for playing music as I started playing piano at a young age. In sixth grade I started playing the trombone and carried on with the instrument into high school; I still play the trombone in an ensemble today. I played tenor and bass trombone in my high school jazz ensemble and continue now to play tenor trombone in the Wooden Nickel Dance Band (of the Saskatoon Lindy Hop Organization).

I was doing some digging and found an old video from a music festival where our high school jazz ensemble competed. (Please excuse the cringe, or maybe it’s just me cringing from watching old videos of myself).

(Here we are playing “Take Five” composed by Paul Desmond and performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet(1959). I am playing the bass trombone for this arrangement of the piece).

(Here is video of the Dave Brubeck Quartet playing their own tune. I think they are bit more polished than our high school ensemble – haha).

“Take Five”contains several influences of the early jazz icons studied in this module, more specifically icons of the swing era: Fletcher Henderson, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington.

Influences of these jazz icons in this piece can be heard from its fast tempo-ed, swing rhythm filled with syncopated riffs in an AABA form, including improvised solos throughout. Unique to this tune is its five beat rhythm instead of the traditional four beat. One could argue this uniqueness may be a product of Duke Ellington’s influence, as he was known for his distinct, artistic approach to composition. Other notable influences from the text would be the spotlighting of soloists influenced by Count Basie and furthermore, the use of different improvisational styles of solos influenced by Benny Goodman.

(Whereas the previous video spotlights solos of saxophone and piano, this recording features a drum solo in addition to the saxophone solo).

“Take Five” applies a unique rhythmic approach to jazz, while the roots of the genre and the influence of previous jazz musicians are still well entrenched into the piece at its core.

Sources:

DaveBrubeckVEVO(Uploader). “Dave Brubeck, The Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five”. YouTube video, 5:25. Posted [Oct 29, 2013]. https://youtu.be/-DHuW1h1wHw. (accessed September 23, 2016).

Gor Re(Uploader). “Dave Brubeck – Take Five (Original Video)”. YouTube video, 5:11. Posted [Feb 12, 2013]. https://youtu.be/zFk-kiDW_tA. (accessed September 23, 2016).

Superduperdude60(Uploader). “Take 5 BCHS Jazz Band”. YouTube video, 3:05. Posted [Sept 23, 2016]. https://youtu.be/hzA196ZyRf4. (accessed September 23, 2016).

“Take Five by The Dave Brubeck Quartet Songfacts.” Take Five by The Dave Brubeck Quartet Songfacts. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5293. (accessed September 23, 2016).

Wikipedia contributors, “Dave Brubeck,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dave_Brubeck&oldid=739791805 (accessed September 23, 2016).

Wikipedia contributors, “Take Five,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Take_Five&oldid=734779918 (accessed September 23, 2016).

 

 

 

“All that Jazz” – Past and Present – M2Q1

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From the genres studied in module 2, I’d have to say that jazz has resonated with me most this week (and resonates with me most every week). I find a great deal of interest and excitement to learn/hear/play jazz in that despite how “all over the place” it may seem at first, there is a science to jazz’s “madness” that makes sense of its sound through all the specific chord progressions, syncopation, and improvisations to create a distinct and unique genre of music with an infectious rhythm that leaves you happily seeking more. I will start with an older example of jazz, then continue on with a few more modern examples to finish.

“At the Jazz Band Ball” was recorded in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Band and carries familiar aspects as found in “Dippermouth Blues” from this week’s coursework. Specific qualities of early jazz to listen for in this song are its fast tempo, abundant syncopation, and collective improvisation of the front line trumpet, trombone, and clarinet with the rhythm section of drums and banjo keeping the steady beat. Instances of clarinet bends, trombone slides, and the influence of the 12 bar blues progression can also be heard.

“Bodhisattva” was recorded by the band Steely Dan in 1973. It takes a more modern approach to jazz while still maintaining several aspects of the genre. This modern form of jazz has a closer relationship to this week’s coursework of “Hotter Than That” than it does with the older sound of “Dippermouth Blues.” Steely Dan’s track uses the instrumentation of electric guitar/bass and some synthesizer in addition to the standard drums and piano (without the traditional trombone, trumpet, and clarinet). Despite the differences from what would considered to be traditional of this genre, roots of jazz can be heard from this tune in its swing rhythm, syncopation, chord progressions, harmony, expressiveness, and its solo-orientated, improvisational playing with the occasional segments of band members “playing-off of” each other during these solos.

While roots of jazz can be found in contemporary music like rock, R&B, and hip hop, it should also be said that jazz as a standalone genre still exists and holds popularity today (unlike that of minstrel, or parlor songs). The above video is a recording of Roy Hargrove’s Quintet playing their piece “Strasbourg / Saint Denis” that was composed in 2008. The swing rhythms, syncopation, harmony, chord progressions, solo-segments, and overall expressiveness that defines jazz are still present and relatively unchanged from their initial inception nearly a century ago.

Sources:
Balajadia, Eric(Uploader). “Steely Dan Bodhisattva 1973”. YouTube video, 5:19. Posted [Nov 24, 2011]. https://youtu.be/uAEphHf0P-c. (accessed September 16, 2016).

Incognitotraveler(Uploader). “Roy Hargrove Quintet – Strasbourg  Saint Denis”. YouTube video, 12:18. Posted [Oct 1, 2010]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxeb0cwjE8U. (accessed September 16, 2016).

JoolyOTR(Uploader). “Original Dixieland Band: – “At The Jazz Band Ball””. YouTube video, 2:49. Posted [Apr 28, 2010]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbmYb0jogbo. (accessed September 16, 2016).

Wikipedia contributors, “At the Jazz Band Ball,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=At_the_Jazz_Band_Ball&oldid=734949526 (accessed September 16, 2016).

Wikipedia contributors, “Countdown to Ecstasy,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Countdown_to_Ecstasy&oldid=738096893 (accessed September 16, 2016).

Wikipedia contributors, “Roy Hargrove,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Roy_Hargrove&oldid=732018569 (accessed September 16, 2016).

 

 

Charlene Kaye – Stuck on Replay – M1Q1

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Charlene Kaye’s latest solo album “KAYE” has been stuck on my Spotify replay for the past week and I am loving it – more specifically, her song titled “UUU.” This alternative pop/rock piece features the instrumentation of a synthesizer, electric bass, electric guitar, and drums that make up the rhythm section with Kaye’s voice providing the majority of the melody. Some vocal percussion is also used in combination with the drums, producing a four-beat rhythm with a lively tempo and a distinctive back beat. On top of Kaye’s voice carrying the song’s melody, she also shows off her talents as a guitarist with riffs played after the chorus before the following verse begins and later on with a guitar solo as the tune reaches its end. Several instances of harmony can be heard from the chords of the synthesizer and the backup vocals under Kaye’s voice throughout the song. The dynamics of this song could be interpreted as a mezzo-piano to mezzo-forte (medium soft/medium loud) during the verses with a forte (loud) sound and an increase in intensity when Kaye reaches the song’s chorus. UUU primarily follows Verse/Chorus form after further listening and reading of the lyrics. In the realm of texture, timbre, and pitch, listeners can hear a blended sound of light, alto-ranged, female vocals on top of a heavily distorted bass and guitar, with a strong, punchy percussive drum beat. In regards to performance style, the music video portrays Kaye’s strong, confident personality through her vocals, dancing in various outfits, and showing off her guitar skills – all assembled together within a colourful light display. It should be stressed that music videos are an edited production, meaning that performance style could change to a certain degree in the setting of a live performance. That being said, the persona Kaye brings to this song feels very real to me, and the catchy beat makes me want to get up, dance, and repeat the process all over again!

Sources:

Kaye, Charlene. “UUU Lyrics.” Genius. http://genius.com/Kaye-uuu-lyrics (accessed September 10, 2016).

VEVO, Kaye. “KAYE – UUU”. YouTube video, 3:40. Posted (August 2016). https://youtu.be/b3qWCB5xWLo. (accessed September 10, 2016)

Intro Blog to Mus111 – Welcome!

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Hello and welcome to my blog! My name is Ethan Swanson. I’m in my third year of Biochemistry studies and while looking for an interesting elective this term, I stumbled upon Music 111! Having played music for a number of years (Piano/Trombone) I am excited to learn more of the history of popular music and apply my knowledge of music theory to the material discussed in this class. When actually playing music I tend to stick to songs in the areas of classical and jazz, but when listening it could be just about any genre. I find it quite hard to just settle on picking just one favorite, as my list could go on and on, but I figured it would be interesting for me to share with the class a more recent, up-and-coming, Canadian band. Their name? T.W.R.P. TupperWare Remix Party. Their style is just as ridiculous as their name, and their rhythms and melodies will have you wanting to get up and dance!  Meeting somewhere in the middle of Styx’s synth-rock and Daft Punk’s electro-funk you will find TWRP. Seeing a live performance of these interstellar rock stars will have you laughing, dancing, and rocking out the whole night(Links to their website and a song from their youtube channel will be provided below).

Thank you for reading/listening and I’m looking forward to reading/listening to everyone’s awesome contributions!

-Ethan

Links:

TWRP’s official website – linking to their Bandcamp page