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The Uncrowned King of SwingFletcher Henderson and Big Band Jazz$
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Jeffrey Magee

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195090222

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195090222.001.0001

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A New Orleans Trumpeter in a New York Band

A New Orleans Trumpeter in a New York Band

(p.72) 4. A New Orleans Trumpeter in a New York Band
The Uncrowned King of Swing

Jeffrey Magee

Oxford University Press

Louis Armstrong's brief tenure in Henderson's band forms a crucial moment in the history of jazz. Many jazz historians have argued that Armstrong's hot solos caused Henderson's band to sound passé, but his recordings with the band, on which they play Redman's arrangements, show the sophisticated versatility inherent in Redman's work and his consistent tendencies toward variety, contrast, novelty, and parody. With the addition of the adept jazz-oriented clarinetist “Buster” Bailey, Redman was able to exploit a three-part reed section, which led him to develop the clarinet trio, one of his trademark devices. Redman also began to figure Armstrong's story-like solos into the band's arrangements, demonstrated by their recordings during this time period, including “Copenhagen”, “Sugar Foot Stomp”, “TNT”, and others. Analysis of these recordings, in comparison with the songs' stock arrangements, shows the manner in which Redman deliberately molded each song to stress Armstrong's difference. Meanwhile, these recordings also chart a change in the band's playing, marked by a stronger inclination toward hot jazz.

Keywords:   Don Redman, Louis Armstrong, Buster Bailey, Copenhagen, Sugar Foot Stomp, TNT, hot jazz

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