It was a night off, when there was a sort of open-mike contest. Name two bands (and in what city) Armstrong served in between his time in Marable's band and the recording of his Hot Fives. Although Henderson had shown an interest in music from childhood, he knew little about jazz until he was in his 20s. His was one of the most prolific black orchestras and his influence was vast. In later years it was Henderson’s charts which established Benny Goodman’s Orchestra as a genuine jazz band. From there, he moved to Black Swan, one of the first black-owned record companies, as a session musician with singers such as Ethyl Waters. His influence upon Henderson's tenor sax soloist, Coleman Hawkins, can be judged by listening to the records made by the band during this period. Unfortunately, the laid-back Henderson was never a good businessman: His band lost a number of gigs and eventually disbanded. After his arrival in 1924, Henderson began incorporating some of that swinging rhythm into his band sound. It was she who talked him into quitting the Creole Jazz Band and moving to New York to join Fletcher Henderson’s big band.

During this time, Armstrong also made many recordings on the side, arranged by an old friend from New Orleans, pianist Clarence Williams; these included small jazz band sides with the Williams Blue Five (some of the best pairing Armstrong with one of Armstrong's few rivals in fiery technique and ideas, Sidney Bechet) and a series of accompaniments with Blues singers, including Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, and Alberta Hunter. There’s a back, middle, and front of a beat. In 1924, Fletcher Henderson hired a young trumpeter who reinvented his band's rhythmic concept. Henderson was born into a middle-class family; his father was a school principal and his mother a teacher, and he studied piano as a child. ), The History of Us® is a registered trademark.

By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. He nevertheless managed to keep his band going until the mid-1930s, at which time he sold many of his arrangements to Benny Goodman, who used them to define the sound of his new orchestra. “King Porter Stomp,” “Down South Camp Meetin’,” “Bugle Call Rag,” “Sometimes I’m Happy,” and “Wrappin’ It Up” are among the Henderson arrangements that became Goodman hits. Is there a musical instrument made from a sheep? After Redman left the band in 1927, Henderson used the same approach in his own arrangements. Armstrong switched to the trumpet to blend in better with the other musicians in his section. One of Armstrong's biggest complaints, later in life, was that Henderson refused to let him sing. famous dance band of Fletcher Henderson. Making music better was the heart of the problem between Armstrong and Henderson. Armstrong took the advice of his wife and left Oliver's band. For a year Armstrong played in Fletcher Henderson's band in New York on many recordings. “I wondered what he could possibly do with that big fish horn voice of his, but finally I told him to try it. Updates? But except for one recording of the same song with Henderson’s band, there’s no evidence that Armstrong did any other singing under the band leader. Metronome/Getty Images The band was famous in the world of jazz, and musicians flocked to hear Oliver’s and Armstrong’s duets on the cornet.
hide caption. "They could get away with calling it new because millions of squares hadn’t taken a trip to 131st Street. (Regular movie houses had a piano or organ for silent film soundtracks, but movie palaces had plush seats, baroque ornamentation, and a full orchestra.). Once in New York, Henderson abandoned school and took a job playing songs in a music store. Despite white bandleader Paul Whiteman’s claims to have put together the first "jazz orchestra" (he employed jazz musicians but did not play true jazz, playing dance music and more ambitious music – including Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue – instead) it was black bandleader Henderson who is credited with the first genuine "big band" jazz orchestra. His name was Louis Armstrong. He became one of the first jazz musicians to be featured on extended trumpet solos, injecting his own personality and style. That album is now worth from $50 to $125, depending on its condition. "Fletcher Henderson must have sold an awful lot of records," said Russell Procope, a clarinetist in the orchestra, "because everyone in the whole damn neighborhood was playing Fletcher Henderson's records.". Duke Ellington’s trumpet player, Bubber Miley, was preaching the gospel of swing in the late twenties - a sermon that Ellington wrote an anthem for in 1932: “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got That Swing”. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. He changed his name (James was his grandfather’s name, Fletcher Hamilton his father’s) in 1916 when he entered Atlanta University, from which he graduated as a chemistry and math major. [20] The Henderson Orchestra was playing in the best venues for white-only patrons, including the famed Roseland Ballroom, featuring the classy arrangements of Don Redman.

When Armstrong arrived in New York, he was met by some of the band members, resplendent in bespoke English suits at $110 (more than a month’s wages for most working-class earners), plus spats and expensive shoes. (In 1952 Decca issued the 10-inch LP, Fletcher Henderson Memorial Album, DL-6025, collecting some of his early recordings. Lil had ambitious plans for Louis. Armstrong enjoyed working with Oliver, but Louis's second wife, pianist Lil Hardin Armstrong, urged him to seek more prominent billing and develop his newer style away from the influence of Oliver. He was great.”. (Some white musicians played it, too.) With his arrangements, Fletcher Henderson helped give birth to the Swing Era, and his orchestra became a touchstone for all big bands to follow.

The band bothered Armstrong, too.

Fletcher Henderson kept beating out the rhythm on the piano...". His brother Horace, also a bandleader and arranger, described how his parents stressed practicing. In 1921 he took a position as musical factotum for Black Swan records, the first Black-owned recording company, for which he organized small bands to provide backing for such singers as Ethel Waters. Armstrong traveled to New York to join the famous dance band of Fletcher Henderson. Coleman Hawkins recalls a night at Roseland when the dancers wouldn’t let Armstrong stop soloing on Shanghai Shuffle.
Armstrong played the forward edge and let the rhythm loosen and bounce, moving away from syncopation and into the propulsion of swing.

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