Saturday, July 06, 2013

Kenny Clarke plays an intro

Putting together a bebop podcast (which we'll see here whenever I get it finished), this intro from 1941 by Kenny Clarke jumped out at me— the tune is Hot House, and the playing feels more like the end of the swing era than the beginning of bebop:

I have it on a record called The Immortal Charlie Christian, but it has apparently been released under Dizzy Gillespie's name, too:

There's also a little history lesson here. This is very early in the bebop era, and throughout the tune Clarke plays the time on the hihat— Papa Jo Jones's thing, and immediately before bebop, the hip way of playing. He only uses the cymbal as punctuation, like on the little choke he does in the third measure of that intro; he wasn't actually riding on it yet, as was the standard thing a few years later. Thanks to Clarke himself, to be clear.

Examples after the break:

On this tune he plays brushes in a way that seems very reminiscent of the pre-Papa Jo way of playing time: with both hands on the snare drum, with sticks. The “time with punctuations” thing you hear, is to me very swing-era:

Here Clarke does actually play time on the cymbal (probably no larger than 16") part of the time, almost as an arrangement element, for effect, rather than as the default thing it was soon to become:


Julius Yang said...

Seems like Kenny's feet were more bop on Swing To Bop than his hands.

I really like hearing examples of the transition from swing to bop because it seemed to happen so fast and there was an entire year of no recording during the war if I recall correctly.

Crespo said...

I don't think that's played by Kenny Clarke. I think it was played by Big Sid.

Todd Bishop said...

I actually wouldn't be surprised if it did turn out to be Catlett, but I can't find a source that credits him on it— only KC.