Jon Cleary – History of New Orleans Piano

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IN THE HISTORY OF NEW ORLEANS PIANO MUSIC, THAT FEATURES, You are familiar, A LOT OF HORNS, A LOT OF DRUMS, AND THE PIANO– AND THE PIANO’S A HIP LITTLE TOOL BECAUSE IT KIND OF ALLOWS YOU TO REPRODUCE WHAT ALL THE ELEMENTS OF A BAND WOULD DO. SO YOU HAVE THE PERCUSSION …( scatting) … THE SYNCOPATION, WHICH IS AT THE ROOT OF NEW ORLEANS MUSIC. IT’S VERY SYNCOPATED, VERY FUNKY. AND THEN YOU HAVE THE … THE HARMONICA ASPECT: YOU CAN GET TO PLAY AROUND WITH THESE LOVELY CHORD CHANGES. YOU Get THE BLUES. YOU HAVE THE BLUES … AND YOU HAVE THIS 12/8 GROOVE FROM BACK IN THE … AND THEN YOU HAVE– WHAT THEY CALL HERE, THEY CALL IT A RUMBA. IT’S A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT Symbolize FROM RUMBA IN CUBA OR IN SPAIN. YOU HAVE THIS LITTLE GROOVE. AND THEN– I’M JUST GONNA DO A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT STYLES OF NEW ORLEANS STUFF, You are familiar. YOU’VE GOT– BACK IN THE DAY YOU HAD A BIG INFLUENCE FROM CUBA, WHICH IS THE HABANERA. SO BACK IN– LIKE A … Virtually 70 Years AGO, I GUESS, WITH JELLY ROLL MORTON WITH THAT…

THAT’S THAT HABANERA, BUT YOU CAN HEAR, IT’S PRETTY SIMILAR TO THIS … WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT PROFESSOR LONGHAIR DID LATER ON. AND THEN … YOU GOT ALL KINDS OF STUFF, ALL KIND OF GOOD-TIME NEW ORLEANS JAZZ. AND THEN YOU HAVE THE REAL MELANCHOLY WITH THE SWEETENER. AND THEN YOU GOT YOUR BOOG– You are familiar, NEW ORLEANS BOOGIE-WOOGIE. AND THEN YOU GOT YOUR NEW ORLEANS FUNK. AND THEN YOU HAVE ALL THE GOSPEL STUFF, You are familiar? AND You are familiar, THE…

AND IT GOES ON AND ON AND ON, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE PROFESSOR … PROFESSOR LONGHAIR. AND THEN JAMES BOOKER USED TO … AND THEN YOU HAD A CAT CALLED HUEY SMITH, BACK IN THE– YOU KNOW. AND NEW ORLEANS, YOU HAVE A TRADITION OF PARADES, SECOND– IT’S CALLED THE SECOND LINE,’ CAUSE IN THE FRONT YOU HAVE THE BAND THAT’S PLAYING, AND THEN THE SECOND LINE ARE ALL THE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE THAT JOIN ON THE BACK, PLAYING ANY KIND OF PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS AND SINGING ALONG.

AND IT’S USUALLY BRASS-BAND MUSIC. AND IN THE BRASS BAND, YOU HAD A BIG BASS DRUM AND SNARE DRUMS. AND THE BASS DRUM WOULD OFTEN PLAY … BOOM-CH-APA, BOOM-CH-APA, BOOM-CH-APA, BOOM-CH-APA BOOM-BOOM, BA, BOOM-BOOM B-AD-AB-AD-ABOOM. BOM– THAT’S CALLED “FOUR AND.” ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR AND ONE, TWO– ANTICIPATING THE NEXT BAR. AND SYNCOPATION OF FUNK IS ALL ABOUT THE WAY YOU BREAK UP THE FOUR BEATS OF A BAR AND PLACE THE EMPHASIS ON ODD FRACTIONS. AND IT KIND OF MAKES YOU WANT TO DANCE, AND THAT’S THE WHOLE IDEA WITH BRASS-BAND MUSIC– YOU DANCE AS YOU PARADE, AS YOU MARCH DOWN THE STREET. AND SO PIANO– WITH A PIANO YOU CAN KIND OF REPLICATE THAT TOO. YOU HAVE A SORT OF … AND IT GOES ON AND ON AND ON. YOU HAVE ALL– THROUGH THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS, THERE ARE MANY MANY DIFFERENT ASPECTS TO THE MUSIC THAT’S BEEN PLAYED HERE. BUT THERE’S A COMMON DENOMINATOR, THERE’S A THREAD THAT Guides THROUGH IT AND YOU CAN SPOT NEW ORLEANS MUSIC A MILE OFF. YOU CAN TELL WHEN SOMETHING COMES FROM NEW ORLEANS ..

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