Topic: Swing Big Band Music Discussion
Track -Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra - Moten's Swing
Reason for selecting this track:
Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra was one of the most prominent Jazz groups dueing the 1930’s with the band leader Bennie Moten, the famous Jazz pianist creating a unique jazz sound that came to represent the sound of Kansas. Moten Swing was composed in 1932 setting up a landmark Jazz standard that moved towards a free form of Jazz Orchestra. The orchestra also included Count Basie on piano who was also a very successful musician which further helped the song to become the Kansas City anthem.
The reason this song was selected because of its influence on Jazz music, making it the early progenitors of Swing Jazz, incorporating four beat bars in an AABA format, 32 measures in length. The track uses the chord progression of the 1930 song by The Temperance Seven ‘youre driving me crazy’. In addition the track shows the early hallmarks of Swing Jazz music such as the usage of 12 bar chords, a call-response riff pattern, the walking bass lines, comping drum style highlighting the hi-hat sound and an influence of boogie-woogie style. Moreover, the minimalistic playing style of Count Basie and the ‘laid back’ feel of the song and sudden changes in the keys made the track an important influence on several Jazz musicians, setting up a new standard for music and stepping away from the contemporary Jazz styles. These aspects make the song Moten’s Swing a landmark in American Jazz history and thus the reason for its selection for this musical analysis.
Link for the song:
Driggs, F., & Haddix, C. (2005). Kansas City Jazz: From Ragtime to Bebop--A History. Oxford University Press.
Russell, R. (1983). Jazz style in Kansas City and the southwest. Univ of California Press.
youtube.com. (2018). Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra - Moten's Swing (Moten Swing) Victor 23384 1933. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hr42hm6GvkQ&list=RDhr42hm6GvkQ&start_radio=1&t=48