Michael Bruschi MUS 262 Final Project Professor Reynolds 13 May 2014 The Evolution of Jazz Styles Four original compositions are considered here, each of which is modeled after a particular canonical jazz form or idiom. This essay will briefly discuss each tune, with special attention given to how the set as a whole exemplifies and demonstrates the evolution of jazz styles. Chronologically speaking, the first song in the set is “Come to Me,” a playful and intimate medium swing chart reminiscent of the Tin Pan Alley popular songs of the 1920s and 1930s, with a vocal line that sounds like it could have been easily sung by Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra. Inspired musically by American songwriters such as George Gershwin and lyrically by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s contemporaneous novel, The Great Gatsby, “Come to Me” is a 32-bar popular song form—motivically AABA—that juxtaposes a harmonically simple A-section (oscillatory in nature, using mainly I, vi, ii, and V) in F major with a sequentially driven Bsection replete with semitonally ascending ii-V-I’s. As such, its harmonic structure is most similar to the 1937 Rodgers and Hart standard, “Have You Met Miss Jones.” The second song in the set is the upbeat 12-bar F blues, “The Sock Hop.” Harmonically, the tune makes use of a form that dates back to the very roots of jazz (c.f. Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Mississippi Fred McDowell, etc.). However, both its melodic contour and its title suggest a later era—that of bebop. Historically positioned between Bird and Trane, “The Sock Hop” has a brisk and serpentine melody that is full of chromaticism, encirclements, pickups, and transformations of a four-note gesture. The tritone substitution in the tenth measure adds some harmonic complexity, and the hits notated underneath the main staff add a forward-driving layer of rhythmic interaction with the head. Though no one instrument is specified to play the head, it sounds most idiomatic on saxophone. The next chart in the set of four is “To Go of Lands,” a rhythm changes contrafact in C written for trombone, inspired in part by JJ Johnson and Carl Fontana. Like “Come to Me,” it is a 32-bar form inspired by Gershwin, and like “The Sock Hop,” its harmonic origins predate its melodic vocabulary. Harmonically, there are a few notable tritone (measure 2 beat 1) and tertian (measure 3 beat 1) substitutions that are deployed to optimally express the nuances of the melodic contour within the harmonic strictures of the rhythm changes. Melodically, the lines are generally bebop-inspired, heavy on chromaticism, and rich in color tones. There are a few choice infusions of the octatonic scale (measures 9 and 10) and a couple of unusually bold melodic leaps (such as the diminished octave leaps in measures 3 and 4, and again at 27-28), contributing to a wholly more modern tonal syntax than the previous two pieces considered. Again, hits are notated on the staff below the main, included for the purposes of answering melodic phrases (mm. 5 and 11) and providing rhythmic grounding after (mm. 7 and 8) and during (mm. 15 and 16) syncopated phrases. This piece is characteristic of the 1940s/1950s, an era in which contrafacts of rhythm changes became increasingly popular, especially with the advent of the bebop paradigm. “Who You Is” closes out the set with a straight and soulful 32-bar form preceded by a 4measure vamp harmonically reminiscent of Robert Glasper. The A sections are driven almost entirely by sequential motion: both melodically, via exact transposition of a four-note phrase (slightly altered in each A section to highlight a different chord tone [9, 5, and 7, in that order]), and harmonically, via a progression of successive major ninth chords whose roots descend by minor third, a tertian-based harmonic approach evocative of “Giant Steps.” The B section is harmonically sequential on a more macroscopic scale—a four-bar phrase transposed up by step (pedantically speaking, by diminished third) and repeated, with a break on the downbeat of measure 28 to lead back into the last A. The harmonic language itself in the B section is freer, more variegated in terms of voicings, and chromatically richer. The #11 chords in measures 21 and 25 provide brightness, the fourth-based voicings in measures 23 and 27 provide a gospelinspired structural contrast to the tertian-dominant A-sections, and the transposition upwards by step acts as a directional foil for the descending minor-third harmonic cycles of the A-section. On the whole, the chart is decidedly modern in its soundscape; The Bad Plus and Brad Mehldau come to mind as two artists who would do it justice.