Jazz at 100

Jazz at 100 poster copy

Program List

Hour 1: Jazz Comes to Records – First Jazz Recordings and Precedents

Hour 2: New Orleans Diaspora – Kid Ory & King Oliver

Hour 3: New Orleans Diaspora – Jelly Roll Morton & Sidney Bechet

Hour 4: Chicago Jazz Roots

Hour 5: Up in Harlem – The Bands

Hour 6: Up in Harlem – Stride

Hour 7: New Orleans Diaspora – Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens

Hour 8: Bix and the Boys

Hour 9: Up in Harlem – Duke Ellington

Hour 10: Birth of the Big Bands

Hour 11: Kansas City and the Territory Bands

Hour 12: The Ascent of the Tenor – Coleman Hawkins

Hour 13: Count Basie – Dueling Tenors and the Great American Rhythm Section

Hour 14: Beyond Category – Duke Ellington in the 1930s

Hour 15: Chick Webb & Benny Goodman

Hour 16: Billie Holiday & Ella Fitzgerald

Hour 17: The Entertainers – Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway and Lionel Hampton

In early 1917, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band made the first jazz recording. Over the next 100 years we have heard transcendent leaps of creativity and staggering virtuosity; we have experienced the music of crushing pain, breathless romance, anger, exhilaration and humor. “Jazz at 100” is that story – one hundred years of jazz recordings – in 100 one-hour programs that will present representative music from a century of recorded jazz history. The series will explore the broad sweep of that narrative; its representative and its idiosyncratic players; its durable movements and dead ends; its popular recordings and rarities.

Hour 1: Jazz Comes to Records – First Jazz Recordings and Precedents

On February 26, 1917, five musicians from New Orleans recorded for Victor Records in New York as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, bringing a new syncopated music to the broader world – jazz. The new music form had developed and evolved in New Orleans and Chicago, primarily, from a rich mix of sources. In this hour, we’ll be exploring these first recordings and their antecedents – African rhythms, sanctified singing, vaudeville, minstrelsy, blues and ragtime.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 1: Jazz Comes to Records – First Jazz Recordings and Precedents

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Hour 2:  New Orleans Diaspora – Kid Ory & King Oliver

As New Orleans lost its commercial position as a major port and blacks fled the oppression of the American south, the cream of NOLA musicians hit the road. Many would play a significant role in the development of jazz.  In this hour we will explore the music of two of these pioneers – trombonist Kid Ory and cornetist King Oliver.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 2: New Orleans Diaspora – Kid Ory & King Oliver

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Hour 3: New Orleans Diaspora – Jelly Roll Morton & Sidney Bechet

In this hour, we’ll explore the music of two more giants of the New Orleans diaspora, pianist and composer Jelly Roll Morton, who left Louisiana in 1908 and clarinetist and soprano saxophone player Sidney Bechet, who hit the road in 1916. In the complex racial landscape of New Orleans, both Jelly Roll Morton, born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, and Sidney Bechet, like Kid Ory, were creoles. Creoles were lighter skinned mixed-race people, who brought conservatory musical training to the mélange that became jazz.


Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 3: New Orleans Diaspora – Jelly Roll Morton & Sidney Bechet

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Hour 4: Chicago Jazz Roots

In addition to King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong, The Chicago scene bristled with black and white bands, initially dominated by more New Orleans musicians, but in time a home grown group of Chicago players emerged. In this hour, we’ll return to the Chicago of King Oliver. As the 1920s progressed the Chicago music scene attracted such early jazz luminaries as Louisiana born clarinetists Jimmie Noone, Johnny Dodds and Leon Roppolo, Earl Hines from Pittsburgh, pianist Lovie Austin from Chattanooga, and Georgia-born trumpeter Jabbo Smith. We will also explore the scant recorded legacy of Freddie Keppard, who reigned in New Orleans as Cornet King after Buddy Bolden, until unseated by Joe “King” Oliver.


Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 4: Chicago Jazz Roots

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Hour 5:  Up in Harlem – The Bands

Now we move from Chicago to the other emerging center of the music in the 1920s, New York. While New York hosted small combos similar to Chicago, it also grew a number of significant larger groups and orchestras. We’ll hear from orchestras led by Fletcher Henderson, Paul Whiteman, Don Redman and Red Allen. Within these bands, we’ll find some of the greatest soloists of the period – Bix Beiderbecke, Coleman Hawkins, Miff Mole, and Louis Armstrong, who spent a little more than a year in Harlem in 1924 and 1925.


Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 5: Up in Harlem – The Bands

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Hour 6: Up in Harlem – Stride

In the last hour, we listened to several of the bands associated with New York, with an emphasis on the new large ensemble form, the jazz orchestra. In this hour we’ll stick with New York, but focus in on the piano music of Harlem – “Stride.” We are joined in this hour by Art Wheeler, pianist, producer, composer and educator.


Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 6: Up in Harlem – Stride

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Hour 7: New Orleans Diaspora – Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens

In the past two hours, we’ve heard the music of the newly conceived jazz orchestras of New York and the Harlem-style or “Stride” pianists. We touched on Louis Armstrong’s contributions to the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra and the invention of the big band soloist. In this hour, we return with Louis Armstrong to Chicago and listen to his seminal small group recordings. We are joined in this hour by John D’earth – trumpet player, composer educator and member of the jazz performance faculty at the McIntyre Department of Music at UVa.


Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 7: New Orleans Diaspora – Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens

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Hour 8: Bix and the Boys

In the last hour we heard the most important jazz recordings of the 1920s – the Hot Fives and Hot Sevens led by cornetist Louis Armstrong. Perhaps the other most influential cornet player of the era was a young white player from Davenport Iowa, Bix Beiderbecke. In this hour we will listen to his music often in the company of C-melody saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer. We’ll also listen to several bands featuring cornetist Red Nichols and ground-breaking trombonist Miff Mole. We are joined in this hour by Brendan Wolfe, the author of “Finding Bix – The Life and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend”. He is the managing editor of the Encyclopedia of Virginia, a project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.


Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 8: Bix and the Boys

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Hour 9: Up in Harlem – Duke Ellington

In previous programs in this series, we have listened to Stride pianists and jazz orchestras from New York. In this hour, we’ll return to Harlem to listen to maybe the most important band leader in jazz history and one of the most significant composers of the music – Duke Ellington. We are joined in this hour by John D’earth – trumpet player, composer, educator and member of the music performance faculty of the McIntyre Department of Music at the University of Virginia.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 9: Up in Harlem – Duke Ellington

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Hour 10: Birth of the Big Bands

In the last hour, we listened to the pioneering jazz orchestra of Duke Ellington. Large jazz ensembles, such as Ellington’s, soon to be known as “Big Bands”, evolved through the 1920s with significant innovations led by bandleaders Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, Jimmy Lunceford and Don Redman, and arrangers Carter, Redman, Edgar Sampson and Sy Oliver. By the mid-1930s Big Bands dominated popular music.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 10: Birth of the Big Bands

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Hour 11: Kansas City and the Territory Bands

Outside of the Chicago – New York nexus, jazz thrived during the late 1920’s and 1930’s in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, with its center in Kansas City. Under the careful control of Boss Pendergast, Kansas City was a wide open town with a thriving night club music scene, nurturing musicians like Joe Turner, Count Basie, Ben Webster, Lester Young and Charlie Parker. Working the urban centers and roadhouses in the region were a slew of “territory bands” only a handful of whom are preserved in the recorded legacy. In this hour, we’ll explore the early jazz of Kansas City and the Territory Bands. Our guest in this hour is Jeff Decker – saxophonist, composer, educator and member of the jazz performance faculty of the University of Virginia McIntyre Department of Music

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 11: Kansas City and the Territory Bands

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Hour 12: The Ascent of the Tenor – Coleman Hawkins

We have to remember that the clarinet dominated the reeds throughout the 1920s. Sidney Bechet made a stand with the soprano sax and Frankie Trumbauer celebrated the lightness of the C-melody sax. And then there was Coleman Hawkins. Our guest in this hour is Jeff Decker – saxophonist, composer, educator and member of the jazz performance faculty of the University of Virginia McIntyre Department of Music

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 12: The Ascent of the Tenor – Coleman Hawkins

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Hour 13: Count Basie – Dueling Tenors and the Great American Rhythm Section

In the eleventh hour of Jazz at 100, we followed Count Basie through the Benny Moten Band in Kansas City and heard his first recordings as a leader. In 1937, after Benny Moten’s death, he took the nation by storm with his driving band lead by the “All American Rhythm Section” and the dual tenor saxophones of Herschel Evans and Lester Young. We are joined in this hour by Robert Jospe – percussionist, composer, recording artist and member of the performance faculty at the McIntire Department of Music at the University of Virginia.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 13: Count Basie – Dueling Tenors and the Great American Rhythm Section

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Jazz at 100 Hour 14: Beyond Category – Duke Ellington in the 1930s

In the last hour, we heard Count Basie emerge as an exciting new voice from Kansas City. In this hour, we return to New York to follow Duke Ellington’s innovative path through the 1930s as he experiments with longer musical forms while building one of his greatest bands featuring tenor player Ben Webster and bassist Jimmy Blanton. We are joined in this hour by Peter Spaar – bassist, composer, educator and member of the performance faculty of the McIntyre Department of Music at the University of Virginia.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 14: Beyond Category – Duke Ellington in the 1930s

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Jazz at 100 Hour 15: Chick Webb & Benny Goodman

In the mid-1930s, jazz orchestras led by drummer Chick Webb and clarinetist Benny Goodman rose to prominence with the arrangements of Edgar Sampson and Fletcher Henderson. After launching the careers of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, Webb succumbed to spinal tuberculosis in 1939, at age 34. Goodman launched the careers of Gene Krupa, Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Harry James and Charlie Christian over a storied run that earned him the controversial sobriquet “King of Swing”.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 15: Chick Webb & Benny Goodman

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Jazz at 100 Hour 16: Billie Holiday & Ella Fitzgerald

Billie Holiday began recording at 18 years old in 1933 in a session with Bennie Goodman and was musically active until her death at 44 in 1959. Ella Fitzgerald also began recording at 18 (in 1935 as the singer with Chick Webb), but in her case, her career surged again in the mid-1950’s with the songbook series on Verve. They are perhaps the two most important female singers to come out of the Swing Era.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 16: Billie Holiday & Ella Fitzgerald

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Jazz at 100 Hour 17: The Entertainers – Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway and Lionel Hampton

Jazz has often been understood through the lens of the conflict between art and commerce. In the 1930s, several artists successfully blurred these distinctions. Louis Armstrong adopted popular song as his vehicle foe a successful career shift into the mainstream. Cab Calloway defined his popular hipster persona while fronting one of the most professional big bands of the era and providing an incubator for numerous future jazz starts including Dizzy Gillespie, Chu Berry and Milt Hinton. Lionel Hampton, a key member of Benny Goodman’s courageous color-blind quartet and the leading vibraphone player of his generation, created a series of high-energy recordings that were foundational in the development of Rhythm and Blues.

Annotated Playlist and Resources available at: Hour 17: The Entertainers – Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway and Lionel Hampton

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