Read the Afropunk Article “Black History: Congo Square, New Orleans – The Heart of American Music.” What Did You Find Interesting in This Reading?
After reading Black History: Congo Square, I appreciate that Congo Square in New Orleans is the heart of American music. Congo Square grew in fame due to the influx of visitors pulled by African dancing and music (Candy & Douglas, 2018). The free people of colour who lived in New Orleans around the Congo square contributed their energy and vigour to New Orleans’ musical tradition. Those who visited Congo Square and New Orleans took its musical experience to their homes. New Orleans’ musical tradition and musical families continued despite restricting the congregation of free black people in Congo Square after the civil war. The desire to advance the musical practice forced free people of colour to form social clubs and musical clubs such as the Preservation Hall and the Economy Hall (Candy & Douglas, 2018). By the 1920s, Luis Armstrong and Kid Ory spread jazz music from New Orleans to other parts of America. Women played a significant role in Congo Square music and dancing due to their powerful position in the Voodoo religion.
What Are the Characteristics of the Bebop Period? What Is Unique About It Stylistically and in Terms of Its Historical/Political Context? Choose One Musician of the Bebop Period and Describe His Style and Characteristics as Well.
One of the unique characteristics of the Bebop period is the economic hardship caused by the Second World War, forcing young musicians to experience new approaches to music. Also, Bebop remained firmly rooted in jazz music, but it promoted the return of small-ensemble music (Candy & Douglas, 2018). Worth mentioning, Bebop period was characterized by more complex melodies and harmonies and a faster tempo. Elsewhere, the racial tension surrounding bebop music caused it to be a rebellious musical genre that fought and brought down racial barriers. Charlie Parker is one of the musicians of the bebop period who defined the sound and substance of the music. Parker’s art expressed the violence and existential danger of wartime (Brody, 2020). His art mobilized the pursuit of victory in the war. Parker performed solos in clubs and radio stations.
Listen to a Piece by Billie Holiday. How Would You Describe Her Voice and the Way She Interprets the Melody? What Do You Think About Her Performance?
Billie Holiday is one of the most exemplary musicians whose voice sounds like a horn in the way she focuses on the pitch and resonance. In Strange Fruits, she asserts that the southern trees bear strange fruits (Reelin in the Years, n.d). This is a protest song against racial injustice in the south. Holiday interprets the melody by singing around it to turn her vocals into other parts of instrumentalization. She plunges into the music, changes it, making her performance more personal and profound. Her Strange Fruit song that protested about lynching in the south exhibited her ability to convey her emotions.
Listen to “In a Sentimental Mood” By Duke Ellington, Featuring John Coltrane. What Could You Say About the Playing and Shifts of the Drummer in That Ballad?
The playing and shifts in the drummer show different layers of pace and intensity. In the first part of the music, the drummers are slow but intensify, and the music moves closer to the end to show the excessive indulgence of emotions and express romantic feelings.
Choose One Piece by Miles Davis. It Does Not Have to Be One in the Notes. Describe That Piece and What Artistic Period of Miles It Exemplifies.
Mile Davis’ So What is one of the most recognized jazz music globally. It is a relatively simple blue jazz piece that begins with an extended improvised bass solo that eventually switches to bass lines. It is one of the jazz pieces where the bass as a melody. The song ends with the repetition of the melody. So what exemplifies the bebop period because it is a piece of small-ensemble music with a new approach to jazz music.
Watch This Video of Sun Ra and His Orchestra. Make Research About Him. What Can You Say About the Texture in That Performance and How the Different Voices and Instrumental Lines Independently Connect? What Does It Evoke to You in Regards to Sun Ra and His Afro-Futuristic Vision?
The performance in the Sun Ra and His Orchestra exhibits a thick texture with many layers of instruments. The richness of the instruments playing the music changes the thickness of the texture. Various voices and instrumental lines connect independently by playing different characters and parts at once. The video evokes the feeling of reimagining the future of art through the black lens.
Brody, R. (2020). How Charlie Parker defined the sound and substance of bebop jazz. The New Yorker. https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-front-row/how-charlie-parker-defined-the-sound-and-substance-of-bebop-jazz
Candy, E., & Douglas, N. (2018). Black history: Congo Square, New Orleans – The heart of American music. Afropunk. https://afropunk.com/2018/02/black-history-congo-square-new-orleans-heart-american-music/
Reelin in the Years. (n.d). Billie Holiday – “Strange Fruit” Live 1959 [Reelin in the Years Archive]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-DGY9HvChXkOrder Now