Discussion & Respond

I’m trying to study for my Music course and I need some help to understand this question.

Early Jazz

Among the great New Orleans jazz musicians who recorded in the 1920s were Joe “King” Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, and Louis Armstrong. King Oliver’s piece Dippermouth Blues, in particular, exhibits the characteristic collective improvisation that defines the New Orleans style.


Louis Armstrong was the first great jazz solo improviser, and he has one of the most distinctive solo styles. West End Blues provides an opportunity to get better acquainted with Armstrong’s solo style.


Listen to West End Blues by Louis Armstrong and Hit Hot Five, another example of the New Orleans polyphony. The melody of this piece is played collectively by the three horns at 00:15 to 00:50 after an amazing trumpet introduction of Louis Armstrong (00:00 to 00:13).

Consider the following Questions:

  1. Who has the lead voice during the melody? How many soloists are there after the melody? Briefly describe the soloists and their style of play.
  2. What makes this piece different from the other New Orleans style groups, for example, Dippermouth Blues by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band?
  3. What is more predominant in this piece, the collective improvising or the featured soloist?
  4. Describe Armstrong’s singing from 01:26 to 01:58. Does it sound improvised or written?
  5. Now describe the piano solo that follows from 02:00 to 02:33. Does it sound improvised or written?
  6. Describe the rhythm section in this piece. How do they support the soloists?
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