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Songs Review

“Round Midnight”

“Round Midnight” is a jazz composition played on piano which is the only instrument played in the piece. It is performed in the form of improvisation by one of the most famous jazz musicians of the time, Thelonious Monk. To be more exact, the genre is considered to be a bebop jazz standard. The melody of the composition is a bit fractured; sometimes it changes from slow to faster tempo. The timbre is ringing and at the same time deep. The piece starts with minor chords, and the sad atmosphere continues while the composition progresses. In general, the song is monotonous, and it is difficult to point out any outstanding parts. The song might be recorded in a music recording studio. Probably, it is one of the first songs recorded by the musician as it appeared at the beginning of Monk’s career in 1944. Taking into consideration sad mood and minor tonality of the composition, one can assume that the song was created by the musician when something bad happened in his life or maybe its creation was influenced by sad memories of Thelonious Monk.

“Bloomdido”

“Bloomdido” by Charlie Parker is a composition that includes different instruments such as piano, drums, and saxophone. It belongs to the genre of bebop. Concerning melody, the music piece resembles improvisation. However, if to speak about the form, it is a well-composed song. The piece starts with the rhythm section and then saxophone is added to the composition. During some time, all the instruments are played together. However, then one can hear long saxophone solo. Its timbre is soft, sometimes with high notes insertions. After this, short piano solo starts. Its timbre is more ringing. The song continues with short drum solo which differs from the previous ones in its bright hissing timbre. The composition ends with all instruments played together again. It is likely that the song was recorded in the studio in 1953 at the summit of Parker’s career that could have continued success if he had not used drugs. Obviously, the saxophone section was played by Charlie Parker. The other instruments were played by the musicians Parker cooperated with. Taking into account a merry mood of this bebop composition, the musicians wanted to transfer positive emotions with the help of the song.

“Lonely Woman”

“Lonely Woman” by Ornette Coleman is a jazz composition; to be more exact, it is a free-jazz piece. One can hear saxophone, cornet, double bass, and drums played during the song. The form of the composition is interesting and unusual. It consists of two parts – saxophone solo and background melody which is played with the other instruments. These two musical parts are absolutely different. The background melody is performed quietly but in a fast tempo. Solo is played loudly but slowly. The timbre of the background sounds resembles trance music that makes listeners calm down while the saxophone solo is creaking and sad and does not allow relaxing. In spite of such great difference, the composition sounds harmonious and transfers the idea Ornette Coleman wanted to share. The song was recorded in1959 and it even has its story. It turns out that the appearance of this song was influenced by the painting Coleman had once seen. It impressed him so much that he decided to transfer emotions it evoked in the form of a song which is now known as “Lonely Woman” and is one of the most famous jazz compositions of the 20th century.

“Tell It Like It Is”

“Tell It Like It Is” is a 1961 composition of Art Blakey’s band The Jazz Messengers. It is considered to belong to hard bop as the piece includes characteristics of both jazz and bebop styles. Such instruments as drums, piano, and trumpet can be heard in the composition. The form consists of an introduction, main musical part, solo, and ending. The melody of the song is merry and full of musical modulations. The timbre is soft and swinging. In general, the song is performed with all the instruments played together. However, one can hear trumpet solo somewhere in the middle of the song. It differs from the rest of the song very much. If the first and the last minutes are performed not very loud and one can distinguish all the instruments with the same volume, the solo is played differently. One can notice it by the loud sound it starts with and the background rhythm section becomes quieter than before. The melody remains merry, but the timbre of the solo is creaky because the sound is not defused by the other instruments. The composition might be recorded in a rehearsal room. It can be understood from the other sounds that can be heard except for the melody of the composition. As for social significance, it is an important piece as it was created under the influence of Blakey’s colleagues, especially Wayne Shorter.

“Boplicity”

“Boplicity” by Miles Davis is an example of a cool jazz style. Trumpet and drums are the instruments that can be heard in the composition. Both instruments start to play together from the very beginning of the song. The sounds of trumpets and drums accompany each other during the whole song. Almost at the end of the song one can hear a small piano section that shows that the piece will end soon. The melody of the song is energetic. The timbre is bright and deep. The composition is performed in the form of improvisation. The song might be played in a recording studio. It was created and recorded in the middle of Davis’ career, in 1957. As the composition is rather energetic, one can suppose that the musicians who played it were filled with positive emotions and wanted to transfer them to the listeners. At the same time, the piece is calm and improvised in an interesting way, so one can say that it is possible to experience inspiration for new projects.

“Blue Rondo a la Turk”

“Blue Rondo a la Turk” by Dave Brubeck is an example of cool jazz. It is performed with such instruments as piano, drums, saxophone, and bass. The composition starts with a piano intro, then drums; later saxophone and bass are added to the piece. About two minutes the musicians repeat the same melody playing it with different instruments and applying a method of sequence, which means that they play the same sounds starting with different notes. Then one can hear saxophone solo which has swinging melody and soft timber. After that, a short piano solo starts. Its melody is energetic and the timbre is ringing. Gradually, all the other instruments start to play together and one can recognize the melody which was played at the beginning of the piece. Thus, the form can be described as the following sequence: the main theme – solo – solo – main theme. The composition might be recorded in 1959 in a recording studio as the song was included in the album and its sound had to be qualitative. The piece also has its story. For its composer, Dave Brubeck, it became a product of inspiration he received while listening to Turkish music once on the street.

“Driva’ Man”

“Driva’ Man” by Max Roach is a 1964 jazz composition, and unlike the other analyzed songs it has lyrics. Such instruments as percussion and trumpet appear in the piece. The song starts with a shift of percussion sections and lines of verses. At first, one can think that the song will continue in the same calm and steady way until the end. However, in a minute, one can hear trumpet added to the composition, and its solo starts. It has a disturbing melody and a bit hissing timbre, which is mixed with ringing notes. Then, the listeners hear verses that are performed in the same manner as the previous ones before the solo. Thus, the form is verses, solo, and again verses. The way of performing lyrics in the song is very interesting. It seems like the singer does not sing, but speaks by making accents on the last words of each line. As the majority of the analyzed songs, this one might also be recorded in a music studio. The song takes an important place in the career of Max Roach, because with the help of this song he wanted to point out the essence of slavery.

“Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro”

“Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro” by Don Cherry does not resemble jazz style a representative of which the musician was. When listening to the composition, one can think that it is a traditional song of African people. One can hear piano, percussion, drums, and flute played in the song. On the background, one can also distinguish the sounds of a human voice that sings long vowels. One cannot point out any improvisation parts in the composition, because all the instruments accompany each other during the whole song. The song is performed in the form of improvisation. It is calm and relaxing and is played in a steady manner almost until the end. However, in the end, the tempo becomes faster and the volume becomes louder. Thus, the end of the composition is brighter than the whole piece. The timbre of the composition is soft and the melody is pleasant and magic. These features make listeners understand a small part of African culture. “Bra Joe From Kilimanjaro” might be recorded somewhere in a concert or at an outdoor festival at the beginning of the seventies. As for social significance, perhaps the song was important for the musicians because they wanted to attract people’s attention to different cultures in order to make people more united with the rest of the world.