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Pick three of the pieces that are presented in the online lecture (or
through the links) or are located in the unit 4 course material folder.
Identify the artist they represent and the title of the work. Is the work
stride or boogie? Identify some of the musical aspects that support your
The first piece is a prime example of stride piano in Dean James P. Johnsons,
Jingles. Following an eight-bar pattern in AABA form, this immediately separates
itself from the 12-bar patterns used in Boogie-Woogie. Harmonically, Jingles echoes
the chord progressions found in the show tunes/vaudeville tunes of the day.
Rhythmically, the left hand pattern of four-to-the floor quarter notes help outline the beat
while simultaneously grounding the harmony. The next piece is Jimmy Yancys,
Jimmys Rockin Blues. From the get go this one has all the hallmarks of Boogie-
Woogie standards 12-bar, blues-based format with no harmonic deviation from the I,
IV or V chords and the rhythmic ostinato of the left-hand while the right-hand plays very
freely gives an impression of a piano four-hands piece yet it is only one person playing!
The last piece is Albert Ammons, Albert Ammons Blues. This piece follows in the
vein of Boogie-Woogie but Ammons takes a few liberties with the format. Though it is
grounded in the Boogie-Woogie tradition of the 12-bar blues, it seems in the first two
bars Ammons is alternating the I chord with the V chord to change things up, if you
will. Also the tempo is on the slow side taking the dance-y, rollicking edge that Boogie-
woogie was known for and giving it a more sophisticated vibe. But one listen to the left
hand rhythmic ostinato and those heavily swung eight notes screams barrelhouse Boogie-
Woogie not Harlem rent party.
4. Listen to Tiger Rag by Art Tatum (Disc 1, Track 8 on Jazz: The
Definitive Performances). Review the discussion about this track in
your textbook (2008 edition: page 136-7, 2001 edition: page 186).
Shipton comments that this was influenced by a Duke Ellington big
band performance. What qualities of the recording make it sound
One of the most noticeable calling cards of stride-piano is that it is primarily
a solo-style whereby the pianist is using both hands to imitate a larger ensemble.
No one was better at mimicking multiple instruments at once like Art Tatum was.
He was never known for his accompaniment abilities and one listen to Ellingtons,
Tiger Rag as filtered through his fingers, why would he need to play with anybody
else? The sheer speed at which Tatum decided to keep the tempo would cause
instant tongue fatigue on any reed-player, as Shipton notes many of the sweeping
runs were reminiscent of Bigards (Ellingtons clarinetist) phrases in the original.
Also interspersed with the left-hands walking bassline patterns, Tatum impossibly
throws in what seems to be the brass sections puncuations as a way to break the
monotony of the left hand pattern around the halfway mark. I couldnt agree more
with Shiptons quote of Howlett: he becomes the Ellington Band Tatum must
have really liked this piece and it shows in the exhilarating recording he laid down.