A jazz musician playing spirituals? In a sense that Louis Armstrong has been doing all along.
A few other features need to be painting out. The second chorus in Down By the Riverside starts with a break (the steady rhythm being interrupted for an instant) just the way it is in dozen of work songs.
In This Train there is so-called stop-time interlude, which Louis Armstrong used so successfully in several of his instrumental renderings during the 20s. The “call and response” formula can be heard in This Train, Didnt it Rain, and Go Down Moses.
But for me Louis Armstrongs greatest talent is the way he handles the exposition of a melody. The trumpet solo in Swing low, Sweet Chariot and down By the Riverside sow what I mean. Of course his play is forceful and convincing. But there are suspensions; almost imperceptible melodic changes showing his offbeat rhythm. All this will immediately and most directly bring out the melody, enhancing it to a point of opening up new vistas that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.
The arrangements are by Sy Oliver who was also the musical director. Olivers career as trumpeter composer arranger goes back to the time of Zack Whytes orchestra in the early 30s and he, more than anyone else, created the style of Jimmy Luncefords powerful orchestra between 1933 and 1939. After that, he was Tommy Dorseys arranger and has since become one of the principal arranger directors for MCA.
As for pop American music I believe that since death of Frank Sinatra in the U.S have not anyone real pop-singer. By my opinion “Sinatra was America and America was Sinatra”.
Frank Sinatra has been called the greatest popular singer of the century. Whether that is true, in a century that also offers us Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and many others is, of course, a matter of personal emotional choice and, therefore, unknowable. What can be said is that under the intense and fickle scrutiny of the pop marketplace for nearly two-thirds of a century, Sinatra's music was in the air the world breathed and fell out of fashion only long enough for the deserters either to grow up or recognize that what was offered in its place was almost always trash by comparison.
Sinatra was born December 15, 1915, in Hoboken, N.J., and as a schoolboy nursed ambitions to be a journalist. The earliest known example of Sinatra on record come from his 1935 performance on the Major Bowes Amateur Hour, in which he was matched with three other aspirants to sing "Shine." After the program they were sent out as a group, the Hoboken Four, on a Major Bowes road show.
Sinatra touched the big time in 1939 when Harry James, fresh out of the Benny Goodman band and not yet a major star in him own right, hired him to be vocalists in his new band. In August he recorded "All Or Nothing At All" with James, but the record would not become a major hit until Columbia reissued it during the recording ban in 1943. Sinatra was on a fast trajectory to the top himself. He left James to take an offer from Tommy Dorsey, with whom he recorded more than 90 songs before he left. The Dorsey years connected him to Axel Stordahl, who would arrange and conduct the first four Sinatra records under his own name in 1942 and become his chief musical architect for the next decade. He also made two movies with Dorsey, Las Vagas Night at Paramount and Ship Ahoy at MGM. But aside from two pictures with Gene Kelly, Sinatra's film career would be of passing interest until the 1950s.
The band singer period ended in September 1942. When Sinatra went out on as a soloist, it was to join the stock company of vocalists on the weekly "Lucky Strike Hit Parade." But there was buzz in the air about Sinatra, and it burst wide open when in 1943 when he was booked as a supporting act to Goodman at the Paramount Theater. Goodman introduced him, turned to kick off his band, and before he could lower his arm heard an ear-shattering scream of 3,000 mostly female fans explode behind him. "What they hell is that?" Goodman muttered.
During the bobby-sox years, Sinatra recorded for Columbia and turned out a steady flow of romantic ballads backed by Stordahl's tasteful orchestrations. But nothing as intense as the Sinatra phenomenon of the '40s could sustain indefinitely. The energy ran out of the Sinatra boom and by the 1952, it is said, he was washed up.
With the '40s behind him, however, the stage was set for his golden age. Capitol Records signed him up and concentrated on marketing him to young adults through carefully planned long playing albums organized around a mood, an idea, a feeling, a concept. In the Wee Small Hours, crafted by Nelson Riddle, became the matrix for his recording career from then on. Among the ballad albums, All Alone, arranged by Gordon Jenkins in 1962, stands in a class by itself for its stark sense of melancholy.
After Wee Small Hours, Sinatra turned to develop a side of his musical personality that had never been exploited -- the swinging Sinatra doing upbeat tempos against jazz-styled big band charts that caught some of the feeling that the new Count Basie band was generating on the instrumental side.
The albums and a string of successful films took Sinatra into the '60s at the top of his fame and form. He played the Newport Jazz Festival in the '60s, recorded with the Basie and Ellington, and played the Chairman to a colorful Clan that included Dean Martin, Sammy Davis and other chums. Talent was the admission ticket.
Yet, the force of youth movement and rock music in the late '60s and early '70s seemed to shake his own confidence in his own hipness, and he tried to embrace some of the new material. But after a period of retirement and a few false starts in the recording studio, he returned to form doing the kind of music that told stories worth telling. In the '90s his stubbornness paid off. The youth icons of the '60s and '70s finally came to him to sing his song on his terms. Duets may have received mixed critical reaction, but once again Sinatra was king of the hill, scoring the largest album sales of his career.
Sinatra received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983. He died May 14, 1998, at the age of 82.
In 1998, Sinatra was elected by the Readers into the Down Beat Hall of Fame.
From the times of the Pilgrims American people have liked music and made it a part of their lives. They have played and sung and fashioned their own songs for all occasions.
There were, however, no European courts for the cultivation of art music and opportunities were rare for the training and development of individual talents. When sufficient number of professional musicians had arrived to establish centers of serious musical culture American role as a backward province of European music was firmly established. I was only natural that the foreign arbiters of taste would regard any deviations from European musical thinking as deplorable savagery to be resolutely put down.
Small wonder, then, that a serious dichotomy developed in the field of American composition. American educated young people, fresh from French or German influences, did their loyal best to write good German or French music. For subject matter they turned to “remote legends and misty myths” guaranteed to keep them from thinking about the crudities of the land, which they found so excruciating upon their return from abroad. They did, however, bring back with them a professional competence, which was to be their significant contribution to the American scene.
Meanwhile the uneducated creator, finding good stuff about him, carried on a rapidly developing music speech, which was a blend of European folk music, African rhythm, and regional color, and discovered that the public the public liked his music and was ready to pay for it handsomely. As a result via the minstrel ballad, through ragtime into jazz, a genuine popular American music made its appearance and was given every encouragement by the entertainment industry. European musicians were quick to recognize the originality and value of this music and, beginning with Debussy, accepted it as a new resource.
The American serious group, however, anxious to preserve their new-found dignity, nervously dismissed this music as purely commercial (a lot of it was and is), and until it was made respectable by the attention paid to it by Ravel and Stravinsky there were only occasional attempts to borrow from its rhythms and melodies. The highly successful popular group, on the other hand, has developed the notion that the technique of composition is not only unnecessary but an affectation. Such needs as may arise for their concerted numbers, ballets, and orchestrations they can well afford to pay for from the hacks (the underprivileged literate musicians). Gershwins contribution to the American scene is significant beyond his music itself in that he was able to reconcile the two points of view and achieve popular musi