[JPL] Larry's Tin Pan Alley Comments.

Eric Jackson eric-jackson at comcast.net
Wed Aug 4 16:22:00 EDT 2004


On Mon, 02 Aug 2004 12:33:34 +0000, Larry Appelbaum <jumpmonk at hotmail.com>  
wrote:


> Hi Eric,
>
> Thanks for your reply. I didn't mean to minimize the importance of Tin

I didn't take your comments as minimizing tin pan alley's importance. I  
just thought I'd share a quick timeline of the events you mentioned.


> Pan Alley or it's role in contributing to jazz repertoire, but the  
> thread began with a discussion of Cole Porter, and several postings  
> lumped Porter in w/Tin Pan Alley, which is historically inaccurate. The  
> monograph you cite sounds interesting, though its scope ends in 1942. I  
> think even a casual examination of post WW II standard jazz repetoire  
> shows a declining influence of Tin Pan Alley, with exemptions made for  
> trad revival of the late 1940s, ragtime revival of the 1970s, Wynton  
> Marsalis, etc. My over-simplified guess is that since the be-bop era,  
> modern musicians, especially instrumentalists, are drawn to songs with a  
> more challenging harmonic framework, not to mention originals which they  
> may own publishing rights to. But I'd like to hear from some of the  
> musicians on this list. This is a subject that's fertile for research.
>

I agree with what you called your over-simplified guess but I wanted to  
point out a few things.

Actually I have this quote in my notes becaused I used it in a lecture I  
gave in Kansas City at the American Jazz Musuem. My topic was Charlie  
Parker and the Blues. I used the quote to support a point I made about  
Bird and the boppers having helped to restore the importance of the blues  
and blue tonality.

The so called modal period of jazz may have had in some ways a less  
challenging harmonic framework. It certainly didn't have the rapid fire  
chord changes earlier styles had. Listen to Miles' Kind of Blue and  
Trane's Giant Steps recording, (done before Trane's modal recordings.)  
These two recordings were made just days apart.


One of the influences that may have come into jazz in the late 60s or  
early 70 is the use of compositions with much more simplified harmonic  
structure often accompanied by long melodic lines and/or increased  
percussive activity.

I am not a musician so it might be nice to hear some comments from some of  
the musicians.


Eric Jackson
WGBH 89.7 Boston
Mon - Thurs 7 PM - Mid
www.wgbh.org

> Larry
>
>> I already deleted the email so I can't respond directly but I believe   
>> Larry from WPFW in DC made a comment about Tin Pan Alley. Here's a  
>> quote  that I have in my notes.
>>
>> "In the two decades that followed the publication of "Maple Leaf Rag"   
>> (1899), the dominant musical forms (as revealed by this study, at any   
>> rate) were rags, blues, and popular songs, many of them composed by  
>> black  musicians. Between 1920 and 1924, Tin Pan Alley made a stronger  
>> impact on  the jazz tradition, with blues songs becoming especially  
>> fashionable. In  the next five years (1925 -1929), Broadway gained  
>> somewhat on Tin Pan  Alley in producing new jazz standards, while rags  
>> and new blues songs  virtually dropped out of the picture. After 1930,  
>> the rags and blues being  recorded were almost exclusively older ones.  
>> Jazz musicians took up some  new Tin Pan Alley and show tunes  
>> (including "I Got Rhythm"); but almost  half of the new favorites  
>> originated inside the folk or jazz traditions -  the latter especially  
>> in the form of pieces by leaders of the popular  swing bands."
>>
>>
>> CBMR Monographs, No. 4 Jazz Standards on Record, 1900-1942: A Core   
>> Repertory
>> by Richard Crawford and Jeffrey Magee
>>
>> CBMR stands for the Center For Black Music Research. They are located  
>> on  the campus of Columbia College in Chicago. www.cbmr.org
>>
>>
>> Eric Jackson
>> WGBH Boston 89.7
>> Mon. - Thurs 7 PM - Mid.
>> www.wgbh.org
>
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