The artistic and cultural relationships between different styles of music are often complex and constantly changing. This is especially true for much of America’s diverse jazz heritage.
In the late 19th century, Buddy Bolden, Kid Ory and Sidney Bechet played styles of New Orleans jazz that ultimately influenced the later musical development of King Oliver, Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton well into the 1920s. Then Duke Ellington and Count Basie led jazz into the big band forms that were a hit with audiences in Chicago and New York in the 1930s and 1940s.
Later, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins and Bud Powell moved away from the swing of large ensembles, favoring the complex rhythms and solos of the small Bebop combo, which eventually led other musicians to new forms of jazz. free, funk and avant-garde. . Each musician’s unique new style, exploring musical paths less traveled, inspired others to follow their lead.
Readers today can easily recognize the names of some of these jazz legends: Bean, Prez and Trane (as Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and John Coltrane, respectively, are known to jazz aficionados). However, most are unlikely to fully understand how they and other great jazz saxophonists influenced future generations of musicians.
The titans of American jazz saxophone comprise an extraordinary array of accomplished musicians. Their dynamic influences on many jazz musicians include great artists such as Bootsie Barnes, Michael Brecker, John Coltrane, Ron Dewar, Dexter Gordon, Coleman Hawkins, Hank Mobley, Charlie Parker, Joshua Redman, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Lester Young and Ben Webster. .
The Sousa Archives and the Center for American Music celebrate International Jazz Day on April 24 with “Tenor Titans: In the Footsteps of Bean, Prez and Trane,” a free live jazz performance and discussion at the Spurlock Museum in 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. will star Grace Calderon, Reginald Lewis, Chip McNeill and Randy Salman. Each special guest will discuss how they fell in love with the tenor saxophone and demonstrate the unique styles of the great jazz artists who most influenced their playing, with the accompaniment of a very talented rhythm section from the jazz department of the ‘university.
Sam Reese will help moderate our Tenor Titans program hosted by Chip McNeill, who chairs IU’s Jazz Studies Department and has toured with Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole and the band “Tonight Show.”
The presenters will end with a jam session, performing “Long Tall Dex” by tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon to illustrate the musical synergies between each performer’s jazz influences. After the conclusion of Spur performance, the public is invited to the Rose Bowl Tavern in Urbana for a live performance with our presenters from 5-7 p.m. afterglow the show is free and open to general public (tips to the musicians very appreciated). Drinks and snacks will be available for purchase.
“Tenor Titans: In the Footsteps of Bean, Prez & Trane” is presented in conjunction with the exhibition “The Imperfect Saxophone” from the Sousa Archives. This exhibit examines America’s complex social and cultural relationship with the saxophone during a period known as the “saxophone craze.” The Sousa Archives’ new exhibit, “Chambana’s Jazz Saxophone Scene, 1979-1991,” will open later in May.
Sponsors of this special afternoon and evening jazz program include the Central Illinois Conservatory, University of Illinois School of Music Jazz Program, Spurlock Museum of Cultures world and the UNESCO Center for Global Citizenship. For more information about this jazz program and the “Imperfect Saxophone” exhibit, call 217-333-4577 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks for editorial assistance with this article should go to Sam Reese and Nolan Vallier.
Scott Schwartz is director of the Sousa Archives and the Center for American Music at the University of Illinois.