One O’ Them Things - 1904 - J. Chapman/L. Smith
in 1904 and written by James Chapman and Leroy Smith, the song is labeled
‘ragtime/two-step.’ ‘One O’ Them Things’ begins with an
introduction in the cakewalk rhythm (o o o ), and this intro is followed
by a 12 bar blues section. The middle two sections, (not in the blues
form), is followed by a D. S. that repeats the first section. There is use
of syncopation in the blues section. Most blues (either authentic or so
titled) were considered to be rags during the early 20th
century, thus the labeling as a ragtime piece. The cakewalk rhythm is used
sparingly in section two. These sections sound like a cakewalk. Thus we
have the mixing again of styles and forms. Within this piece we find the
cakewalk, the blues, the march form and the dancers dancing the two-step
to the rhythm presented.
I Got The Blues - 1908 - A. Maggio
the origin of the blues is clouded, its popularity is not. Many of the
early jazz bands such as Chris Kelly’s and Buddy Bolden’s Bands had
blues repertoire. Kelly was known in New Orleans as the ‘King of the
the blues gained popularity, Tin Pan Alley began publishing blues
arrangements, many of which were not in the traditional 12 bar blues form.
One of the earliest published blues was ‘”I Got The Blues,”
published in 1908, Written by New Orleanian A. Maggio, this blues was part
of the John Robichaux dance band library.
first section is in 12 bar blues form, with part of the 2nd
section not in blues form but it precedes a statement of the blues
progression in a minor key. This piece shows the use of the traditional
blues form but containing a section not in blues form.
Magnetic Rag - 1914 - Scott Joplin
Rag is the last rag from Scott Joplin’s pen. It was posthumously
published in 1914, three years after the publishing of Berlin’s
‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band.’ The Tin Pan “Alley ‘rags’ hastened
the fate of classical ragtime, as most were easily played. Magnetic Rag
interestingly possesses a quasi blues form in the third section. In this
section we find an extension of the harmony after the first four bars, but
can be called a use of the blues 12 bar form as it continues after this
inserted two bars. If played excluding the two bars you will hear a 12 bar
blues progression. Probably because of prestige, Joplin didn’t want to
use the traditional form as he felt it would degrade (musically) from his
reputation and the song itself. A description is found in the preface of
Joplin’s collected piano works:
Rag” covers a range of moods unusual even in Joplin’s works, one that
almost strains the capacity of the short form. “Magnetic Rag,’ as pure
music is an impressive, although sadly premature, close to Joplin’s
piano works. It hints at future directions and demonstrates ragtime’s
potential capability of expressing profounder musical thoughts.”
Rag tragically was to be the zenith in classical ragtime and indicates the
potential musical detachment that was to end soon after its publication.
It seems to have been foretold with Joplin’s choice of theme moods; the
G minor theme is somewhat presented in a pathetic vein, and the die is
cast in the Bb minor theme, a truly grave casting. Joplin also shows the
use of ragtime syncopation in his most profound musical statement that
became his last artistic musical composition.
the mixture of blues and rags enriched the ragtime vernacular, it also
detracted from its distinctiveness. Thus evolved a grouping group of
hybrids that included elements of bluesy rags and raggy blues.
Original Jelly Roll Blues - 1915 - Jelly Roll Morton
in Chicago by Will Rossiter in 1015, J. P. Johnson had heard Morton play
the song in New York in 1911. Jelly built his pianist reputation playing
this piece on his travels. As with all of Morton’s piano pieces the
piece was written with orchestration in mind. (to have the piano sound
like an orchestra). The piece is very versatile and diversified in using many
creative ideas. From a bluesy introduction, it is next followed by a
characteristic trumpet fanfare. Morton uses the 12 bar blues progression
very creatively. Starting at A, each 12 bar blues statement (there are 9)
begins with a typical blues theme, many sounding like a known cliché.
There are e choruses of blues followed by a transition at D for 4 bars.
Beginning at E there is a modified blues 12 bar progression. At F there is
another 12 bar blues followed by another 12 bar blues statement. At H
another blues variation followed at I with still another 12 bar blues
statement. At H and I still more blues variations, each slightly
different. J is the same modified blues progression. This piece remains
one of the best examples of the blues style of jazz musicians in the early
part of the 20th century, showing their use of the blues
progression, and how truly creative they were.
Broadway Blues - 1915 - Walsh/Sherman
first section of this song is in a 16 bar song form, but sounds like an
expanded blues progression. The second strain is also in 8 bar phrases
with use of the blues third in the melody. This type of music was typical
of the songs that were sung on the vaudeville circuit by stars such as
Sophie Tucker, who used a jazz band in her portion of the show. The second
strain melody is reminiscent of the St. Louis Blues, published a year
Jogo Blues/St. Louis Blues - 1916 - W. C. Handy
of the early music published and played by dance bands consisted of old
riffs and melodies that had been played for year by older musicians. As an
example: ‘Tar Baby Stomp’ became ‘In the Mood.’ ‘Rusty Nail
blues’ became ‘Tin Roof Blues.’ ‘Praline’ became ‘Tiger
Rag.’ An old blues riff was used by Handy for ‘Jogo Blues,’ a riff
that eventually became ‘St. Louis Blues.’
year before the publication of ‘St. Louis Blues’ Handy published this
song called ‘Jogo Blues that used the main theme of “St. Louis
Blues.’ Further theoretical evidence is found in the title ‘Jogo’
meaning ’colored’ or the slang word used for a Negro.
Livery Stable Blues - 1917 - N. LaRocca
Original Dixieland Jazz Band (ODJB) recorded their historic session on
Feb. 26, 1917, using the ‘Livery Stable Blues’ on one side and the
“Dixieland Jass Band One Step” on the other. The sheet music was
published in 1917 by Robert Graham Music Publishers at 143 N. Dearborn
Street, Chicago, Ill. The music gives credit to Ray Lopez and Alcide Nunez
as the composers and Marvin Lee as lyricist A second recording was made in
London on April 16,1919. There was a legal battle in court as to the
authorship of the song - thus the two names.
analysis of the recording can be found on the web sit: <www.basinstreet.com>
Yelping Hound Blues - 1919 - Anton Lada
piece is as true 12 bar blues, the first strain also using syncopation.
The La. 5 arrangement seems to present all the current clichés of early
jazz, from the various jazz associated rhythms, harmonies and jazz breaks.
The 2nd strain however, is in 16 bar song form. This change
from the opening presentation of 12 bar blues to 16 bar song form is
common during this era of published jazz blues compositions. The La. 5
formed in 1918 and were together only until 1920. The personal included:
Anton Lada, Yellow Nunez, Charles Panelli, Joe Cawley and Karl Berger.
Medley of Blues by: Kern, Porter and Gershwin
of the famous popular song composers of the era wrote blues. We have made
a medley of three composers: Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and George Gershwin.
Kern’s ‘Left all Alone Again Blues’ is not in the 12 bar blues
progression but in popular song form (AABA). The Cole Porter song, ‘Blue
Boy blues’ uses a theme reminiscent of the 1924 riff used in the
‘Rhapsody in Blue’ by George Gershwin. The third section of ‘Blue
Boy’ is close to a 12 bar blues, the only exception is in the first 2
third, Gershwin’s ‘Yankee Doodle Blues’ begins with a bass ostinato
pattern of descending quarter notes (G, F#, F, and D). A 12 bar blues
chordal progression is used with a limited use of blue notes-notably in
the 10th bar).
Jazz Baby Blues (Tin Roof Blues) - 1923 - Richard Jones
to have been used as a blues riff by the famous New Orleans cornetist
Buddy Petit, most New Orleans musicians knew it as ‘Rusty Nail Blues.’
It was published in 1923 by the Clarence Williams Publishing Company, and
compositional credit is given to Richard Jones. Its first notoriety came
from the New Orleans Rhythm Kings (NORK) and was called ‘Tin Roof
Blues.’ It was recorded in the 50’s by Kay Starr with new words and
called ‘Make Love to Me.’ The Jones version uses a boogie bass in the
introduction with some variation throughout.
Snag It - 1926 - Joe ‘King’ Oliver
by legendary cornetist Joe ‘King’ Oliver in 1926, ‘Snag It’ became
a very popular song on its release in 1926. ‘Snag It’ is a true blues
with the use of a minor key version within it structure. Many times
recorded, the tempo on the early records is faster than the usual dance
Boogie Blues - 1946 - Gene Krupa
blues is found in many tempos, both slow and fast, and is arranged for
various sized groups, from small ensembles to the big bands of the swing
era. One of the greatest examples of big band blues it was recorded by the
Gene Krupa Orchestra in 1946. The arrangement contains room for solos and
is ended by a very swinging tutti section.
Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid - 1949 - Lester Young
blues riff used by Lester ‘Prez’ Young became the widely popular
‘Symphony Sid. The Norman Granz concerts of jazz entitled ‘Jazz at the
Philharmonic’s and the disk jockey Sid Freidman, both had an input into
the naming of this blues riff and arrangement. It has been one of the main
themes/riffs used in jam session and the present arrangement leaves plenty
of room for solos.
St. Louis Blues March - 1958 - W. C. Handy/Gene
heard as a Negro riff, we now find the uniting of the blues form and the
march, a form that was an influence on the ragtime musical form. It is
fitting we end the concert with the combining of the blues progression and
the march, both ancestors and influences on early jazz. The W. C. Handy
‘St. Louis Blues’ is arranged by Jerry Gray and was a ‘hit’
recording by Tex Beneke.