Chapter Overview

This chapter introduces two of the most influential bandleaders. Count Basie and Duke Ellington tower above their contemporaries. After his stint at the Cotton Club, Ellington toured the nation playing concerts, dances, and theaters. He became an important American composer even though his popularity waned. Ellington's career post-1927 receives full attention including his achievements as a jazz composer, as well as his complicated relationship with the musicians most associated with him (Johnny Hodges, Cootie Williams) and his co-composer, Billy Strayhorn. New styles from Kansas City and the "old Southwest," including the blues piano style known as boogie-woogie, are also addressed. A number of bands come from this part of the country, including the Andy Kirk band (with Mary Lou Williams) and "territory bands" like the Blue Devils. Still, discussion of "Kansas City swing" boils down to Count Basie and his orchestra, the best known and most influential exemplar of the style. Basie came out of the American Southwest, where blues and a four-beat relaxed drive reinvigorated swing. This chapter also demonstrates the ways in which Kansas City jazz is affected by the informal jam session and the head arrangement.

Chapter 8 Jukebox