Early Jazz Piano Styles Introduction Jazz was introduced in 1932, or was at its hype and popularity since Europe transformed the period of Depression into a day of rebirth, celebration, and vigor in most fields of art, an era called the Renaissance. Although Europe was quite popular in its musical invention and innovation before World War I took place, jazz music had its popularity in the United States (Schuller 3)…
With Bennie Moten’s innovation, jazz piano incorporated some blues in it which accounted for the “blues-rooted modern jazz” (Schuller 4). Gioia’s account brought up the influence of Mexican band performers to the birth of jazz in Kansas City, New Orleans (7). It was during the time when the Louisiana Purchase only resulted to a one-eighth Anglo-Saxon population and the Latin Americans dominated in numbers in the said area (Gioia 6). Decades passed, and the influence of African-Americans grew to be more noticeable with the introduction of rhythm and blues. In fact, modern jazz is described as a hybrid of various Latin and African-American music genres, such as Broadway music, pop, blues, samba, reggae, funk, and other symphony music (Gioia 8). This essay follows the discussion of various musical works in jazz piano and descriptions of each popular jazz work in history. In particular, it discusses the popular Stride Ragtime, specifically the Harlem stride piano, Boogie Woogie, Earl Hines’ jazz piano pieces, and G. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Descriptions of these masterpieces will also be supported by some music authors’ perception of their music for validation and complementary interpretation. Stride Ragtime: Harlem Stride Piano Among the best pianists in New York, four of them were experts in stride playing. James P. Johnson, Luckey Roberts, Willie “The Lion” Smith and Richard “Labba Labba” Maclean were among the victors in stride ragtime battle known as “cutting contests” in which they were known as ticklers (Martin and Waters 108). Stride ragtime is played fundamentally by the left hand which strides “up and down the keyboard” using a “base note or an octave played on the first and third beats of the 4/4 measure” while goes on to alternate with a midrange note “on the second and fourth beats” (Martin and Waters 108). Stride ragtime originated from ragtime itself but was developed into stride piano using some techniques such as speed, variations, incorporation of blues, and other improvisations that were “sometimes planned” (Martin and Waters 108). Harlem Stride Piano incorporates speed and flash. The effect appears to be vigorous and full of energy, a mimicry of American society shortly after World War I in which American lifestyle was fast-paced, hectic, and seemingly always in a rush. It also depicts sounds heard in cars and other automobiles, telephones, and airplanes (Martin and Waters 108). It also suggests a pleasing and lively mood because of the seemingly ‘caricature’ accompaniment which is a perfect background to slapsticks and pathos visual shows. Eubie Blake was particularly famous for being a pianist and composer during early, middle, and late 1900s and took the stride ragtime to a new level (Martin and Waters 109). Most importantly, James P. Johnson fathered stride piano by being so absorbed in his craft through composing jazz pieces for Broadway musicals and concerts and keeping on learning and experimenting for the said genre (Martin and Waters 109). Boogie-woogie “Noisy offspring” was labeled to another genre of jazz piano, which became an instant hit in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (Silvester 3). Boogie-woogie came to the existence in 1940s following combination of ragtime and rhythm of African music as evident by the qualities ...
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