Count Basie “Jumpin’ at the Woodside”
Count Basie was born in 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey, and grew up playing the piano. He was a leading figure of the swing era in jazz and formed the Count Basie Orchestra, which was one of the first big bands made. The band reached fame with hit songs such as “One o'clock Jump” (1937), “Jumpin' at the Woodside” (1938), and “Taxi War Dance” (1939). However, I will be focusing primarily on the song “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” and educate you with an in-depth description of the piece. It was recorded on August 22, 1938 by Decca Records, whom he had a record deal with. I would consider this piece’s genre to be Big Band Jazz/Swing with a medium/fast tempo. The detailed dynamics, syncopated rhythms, and up-tempo swing really add to the excitement of this tune, which is in the musical form AABA.
The song starts off with a 2 bar piano intro which gets the rhythm flowing and lets sections continuously join in, and is followed by four 32 bar AABA choruses. The soloing instruments seem to be the tenor saxophone, piano, trumpet (sometimes muted), and more saxophones. Some of the instruments used in this recording include trumpets, trombones, tenor/alto saxophones, clarinet, piano, and drums. A popular technique created that is still used today is to use a toilet plunger as a mute at the end of your brass horn which creates a unique and muffled jazzy tone.
The band plays a bunch of different riffs that function as themes or as accompaniment material for soloists. This leads to an extremely popular technique; the call and response. This technique is used throughout the song where an instrument will play a certain rhythm, and in response a different instrument basically repeats what the other one just played. A more natural technique that is used is improvisation; which is the adjustment of detail in an existing work or the creation of music as it is being performed. In this piece improvisation is mostly displayed in...