Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 10. August, 7, 1946
Jit and Jive
Jit and Jive
The evening's programme was centred around Duke Ellington—his more frenetic and hectic style, his vocalists, his more sweet and pretty style, and his early, rougher style, in four appropriately chosen sections; incidental music was interspersed in the form of a few records from like-minded artists such as Coleman Hawkins and Lionel Hampton.
Ellington's music cannot really be classed with any of the other many jazz and swing styles. To some, the first, section that was played, for instance, might sound nearer to the more frenzied efforts of a Tommy Dorsey than to jazz proper; yet when the records are closely listened to the reed section becomes as neat and well-ordered as Count Basle's, the brass section is less strident, less sheerly noisy, the rhythm is more purposeful and less crude and forced.
The records with vocals—the second section—are distinguished mainly by the care with which everything is worked out. All does not depend on the vocalist, as in the current "popular" records, with the band only there to "play the tune through" at the beginning and the end. In other words, the vocal is treated as merely a part, albeit an important one, of the total structure.
But the main thing about Ellington will always be the uniqueness of his harmonies—very widely spaced and eloquent, as opposed to the close and "slick" modern swing style, or the free, improvised "allins" of, e.g.. Chleagoan jazz, and the individuality and the consistently high jazz level of his soloists, who have, for the most part, been working with him sufficiently long to make true combination with and consideration for each other possible. The soloists are jazz soloists, but they are also Ellington soloists—they are playing an Ellington composition, and although they create their own solos, they do so within very definite limits.
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Member of "Salient" staff: "I wouldn't mind being a wild oat for a fur coat" Enquirers will form a queue outside "Salient" room with coats draped over the right arm.