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Blue Rhythm FantasyBig Band Jazz Arranging in the Swing Era$
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John Wriggle

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040405

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040405.001.0001

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Jungle Madness

Jungle Madness

Jazz Dance and Exotic Numbers

(p.170) 9 Jungle Madness
Blue Rhythm Fantasy

John Wriggle

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers some of Chappie Willet's approaches to instrumental dance music; including the framing of solo or ensemble virtuosity, the setting of new melodies over familiar chord progressions, and the stylized representation of performer identity or “exotic” variety. Following historical narratives on big band jazz icons like Count Basie and Duke Ellington, instrumental dance numbers tend to be the swing genre most closely associated with jazz improvisation. But arrangements designed for dancing audiences at venues like the Roseland or Savoy Ballrooms still drew upon many of the same theatrical music signifiers and variety entertainment strategies that marked classics, concertos, or vocal features. And at the same time, in Swing Era variety entertainment, programmatic themes of geographic or cultural exoticism could be represented by individual arrangements or even entire orchestras.

Keywords:   Jungle Madness, Blue Rhythm Fantasy, instrumental dance music, Swing Era, variety entertainment, Duke Ellington, big band jazz, Count Basie

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