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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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Futuristic Ragtime

Futuristic Ragtime

Style and Identity

(p.104) 6 Futuristic Ragtime
Blue Rhythm Fantasy

John Wriggle

University of Illinois Press

This chapter raises the issue of how an orchestra achieves its “identity” and how this can be measured. Although the development of a unique repertoire might appear to be an obvious strategy, few bands were willing to risk the abandonment of popular contemporary hits and familiar standards. And although arrangers like Chappie Willet might tailor their music to meet the needs of a specific client, arrangements could also be recycled or adapted. This chapter considers the issue further by exploring some of the specific musical gestures and devices that Chappie Willet drew upon in the construction of his own competitive, identifiable style. It examines some instances where these different tools were effectively applied. Willet's strategy is especially pertinent to the consideration of freelancers' varied work for multiple clients, as arrangers negotiated conceptions of performer identity alongside their own artistic voice.

Keywords:   performer style, orchestra identity, performer identity, artistic identity, artistic originality, commercial competition, Chappie Willet

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