The Music, Politics, and his Story Duke Longtime was a musical and political genius: he was “America’s only original musical mind. ” He was not only a performer, but a composer. He learned the craft of composing by observing others instead of disciplined study. One important factor of Elongation’s music was its relation to black heritage and African American history. His symphony “Black, Brown, and Beige” displayed the African American struggle in America.
Not only did Longtime use his music to portray the struggle, voice, and triumph of black Americans, he used his professionalism, originality, persuasiveness, ND political performances. Edward Kennedy Longtime was born in 1899 and composed, arranged, and performed music for the majority of his life. Longtime was born and raised in a middle-class family in Washington D. C. , and that is where he first acquired his racial beliefs. During his grade school years, an emphasis of identity, pride, and history was Instilled In the minds of him and his classmates.
He was taught to command respect, not demand it. This meant that he was to act and speak in a respectable manner if he expected to be respected. He first began taking piano lessons at the GE of seven but did not have particular interest in the trade at that time. In high school, he became interested in ragtime music. Also in his high school years, he acquired the nickname “Duke” because of his exotic choice of attire, and today, many believe that Is his actual name. At age sixteen, Longtime was Inspired by a “hot” pianist and decided that he wanted to be able to play like that.
HIS knowledge of music was predominantly learned by ear, although he eventually learned to read music and took harmony lessons. Although he did have some music lessons, most of his musical mastery was self-taught by experimentation. Longtime became a professional pianist by the remarkable age of seventeen. Music was not his only artistic interest; he also excelled at visual arts. He was awarded an art scholarship to the Pratt Institute, but he preferred to play gigs Instead. Duke eventually started a band of his own, originally containing only four players other than him.
As the band expanded, he used the new members as resources to create a better product. Longtime and his band began a six-month residency at the New York Hurricane restaurant. There, he accompanied floor shows until he became the featured artist ND broadcasted on the radio. In 1927 after the residency, he and his orchestra known as the Washington’s moved to the Cotton Club in Harlem. He and his band were said to have “put the Cotton Club on the map”. While at the Cotton Club, his music was often referred to as “jungle music” due to his band’s trademark use of plunger mutes to create growling sounds.
Often while his orchestra played, there would also be a skit being performed that was nearly primitive. At the Cotton Club, the families of African American performers had to sit in a separate section of the audience. Although Longtime was upset by this, he continued to perform at the Cotton Club because It was his opportunity to enhance his career and popularity. Gentleman in order to represent African American pride, beauty, and artistry. Unlike other African American artists of the time, Elongation’s compositions were used for the sake of listening purposes, in comparison to Just background music.
Silence was demanded. People who broke the silence were given a warning and then asked to leave if they disregarded that warning. This was the first time an African American band was regularly broadcasted nationally. As Duke’s music gained popularity, this became many white Americans’ first encounter with African American music. A radio popularity poll concurred: “They are heartily admired by the white as the colored people. ” One of Elongation’s most prominent composing techniques was that he composed parts for the particular individual in the band rather than the different instruments.
When he wrote a composition, he did so with the characteristic sound of the soloist in mind. An example off musician with a distinctive sound is Johnny Hodges. Johnny Hodges was a member of Duke’s orchestra who had “complete independence of expression”, Longtime said. Longtime also stated that Hodges was the only man he knew who could pick up a cold horn and still play in tune. The specific sound of the individual was so important to a piece that if a member was to leave, the composition would almost always be omitted. Solos were atypically transferred to another musician. When Longtime composed pieces, he only had his own band in mind.
This is why his orchestra’s sound cannot be imitated without sounding watered down. The unique style and tone qualities of the individuals made the orchestra nearly impossible to replicate. One thing that was often misunderstood about Elongation’s career was that he had two of them: bandleader and composer. He was famous for recording his own compositions as well as endorsements. He often composed music all through the night, and it has been said that he never went a day without composing something, whether it be a couple lines of a song or an entire piece. He would write music whenever and wherever he had the time to do it.
Once, he even had to write a piece by the light of his band manager consecutively lighting matches. Longtime believed that music allowed him to express himself without reservation. Music, unlike words, provided Longtime with a way to express himself in a less controversial manner. It was a non-confrontational approach to expressing his beliefs to the world. In his compositions, he rarely wrote articulations, dynamics, or tempos. He expected the section leaders to decide the style indications. It is commonly know that Duke had finesse for placing an emphasis on colors in his compositions.
The colors he used in the titles of his pieces often symbolized racial issues. He did a lot of experimenting with tone and color. Most of his music was instrumental and few incorporated lyrics. Some say his music is reminiscent of Bach. He mostly wrote short compositions with improvised solos, but when he did compose larger arrangements, they were often criticized for having a lack of inner coherence. He used the element of surprise instead of chorus succession to unify the arrangements. Longtime relied on sudden contrasts in theme, tempo, and key. He would also interchange swinging and non-swinging melodies.
Some critics argued that his music should be danceable all of the time. Longtime clearly Elongation’s compositions differed from other artists’ of his time because he employed a variety of instruments. Not only did he integrate a reed section, brass section, and rhythm section; he featured a valve trombone, a saxophone trio, and a baritone saxophonist who unusually played high notes. The reed section often provided the melody rather than the typical brass section. Longtime would apply asymmetrical themes such as parallel saxophone parts and improvised piano parts.
He eventually stopped referring to his music as Jazz. He called it “freedom of expression”. Longtime wanted to express the struggle of the Negro in his music, “We put the Negro feeling and spirit in our music. ” Although his message was very errors, his music generally uplifted and entertained audiences around the world. When Longtime wrote compositions, he allocated certain measures for improvised solos. While it may seem that all of the solos in Elongation’s pieces are improvised, he actually composed the solos to seem as if they were improvised.
This became known as “preconceived improvisation”. Only minor improvisations were allowed during the solos. In 1940, Longtime reached the peak of his compositional career. African American media deemed Duke Longtime the “race man” because he changed the image of African Americans in mass media. He was the first African American artist taken seriously without stereotypes. His music described the life of black Americans. He exuded his love of Harlem through is compositions. He used color in his music to radiate his appreciation and understanding of African Americans.
His early arrangements represented the struggle of blacks during the Great Depression. Longtime was a strong believer that music could undermine the labels associated with how African Americans dressed and acted. His concern with blacks being portrayed as primitive encouraged him to strive to create a new identity for blacks in America through music. Longtime learned at a young age that a positive demeanor was crucial in order to earn respect. Since he was taught this so early, he always tried to be professional and as efficient as possible.
He spoke of the significance of having a dignified stature and level of sophistication. Through radio, sound recordings, sheet music, advertising, and stagecraft; Longtime changed people’s conceptions of race and culture. In his advertising techniques, he focused on creating an image of desegregation. Black and white entertainers began to share advertising space, which was one step toward African American equality. His overall goal was to conquer racial and cultural stereotypes in and out of the media. He was forced to break through the barriers of the Resurrection idea that African American music was not a form of art.
He stopped using minstrel stereotypes that he had previously used at the Cotton Club. By the sass, he had differentiated many stereotypes from reality. It was important to Longtime that his marketing approach attracted all races and classes. He eliminated some prejudice by proving that music has no race. He always made sure to articulate the achievements, history, and value or African American culture. He trusted that the most efficient manner to protest was to “live and create in a way that undermined racial barriers and stereotypes”.
Longtime, contrasting from many other African American artists, succeeded without using the white-dominated recording style. He was actually playing African American traveling performers struggled while on the road. Hotels and restaurants would not allow them. They would be physically and verbally attacked which often led to alcoholism. When Duke traveled in the South, he also brought two Pullman cars, a baggage car, lighting equipment, a stage, and an electrician. These assets dad for a more secure trip. Longtime received the high honor of the Aspiring Medal which was the highest achievement for the American Negro.
During his acceptance speech, he stated that he makes music for freedom. He later Joined the Emergency Committee of the Entertainment Industry. This committee was opposed to race riots and poor treatment of minorities. This group advertised on stage, screen, and radio. In 1929, he played at a benefit performance. The proceeds when to the memorial fund for Home for Negro Performers. Another political act he did was assisting Dry. Martin Luther King Jar. By performing during the Montgomery Bus Boycott to raise funds for the Montgomery Improvement Association.
Duke was described as a “symbol of power of multiracial appeal, the artistry and respect that African Americans could achieve, the money that could be made from the neglected African American market, and the possibility of a comfortable and mutually profitable meeting point for African Americans and whites. ” This quote explains how the integration of blacks and whites could be beneficial to society as a whole. When Longtime traveled internationally, he came to realize that Jazz music was more popular outside of the United States of America than inside.
His overall goal of sporting African American stereotypes was a world project, not Just a national project. He and his orchestra became the first Jazz band to perform at Carnegie Hall when they premiered “Black, Brown, and Beige”. Elongation’s success created a new market for African American musicians. One of the first mixed race performances was “Cotton Club Medley’ by Longtime. At this point in time, African American music had become a popular music genre. Racial lines were crossed within music advertising. White and black performers were featured on entertainment ads.
Not only had Longtime become the most written about celebrity in this phase of time, his earnings were in the five figures. At the age of sixty, Longtime composed and recorded a song with John Coloration and Charles Minus for a motion picture. In the sass, he was considered the best known musician and composer in the world. In 1964, he composed a piece to defend the termination of segregation and discrimination entitled “Non-violent Integration”. Listening to the music of Duke Longtime began to symbolize looking at African Americans in a new light.
Elongation’s final works submitted his vision of music, peace, brotherhood, and love. Longtime said, “The Negro is not merely a singing and dancing wizard but a loyal American in pit of his social position. I want to tell America how the Negro feels about it. ” When he stated this, he denoted that black people were more than Just a device for entertainment purposes; they were American citizens. One of Duke Elongation’s longest and influential pieces was “Black, Brown and Beige”, which was composed and performed in 1943. Longtime described this work as “a tone parallel to the history of the American Negro. This composition was established to portray the history of the Negro from Africa to the present. The title “Black, Brown and Beige” symbolized the different skin tones of African Americans. When composing this work, Longtime incorporated music from the opera “Bola” and transformed it into a tone poem. He did not finish editing the arrangement until the day of his Carnegie Hall performance. This explains that Duke believed a piece could be altered numerous times in order to create a great product. Longtime and his orchestra premiered the full symphony, “Black, Brown and Beige” at Carnegie Hall in 1943.
Five days later, they performed once again, only this time at Boson’s Symphony Hall. These two performances became the only full performances of “Black, Brown and Beige” for many years to come. Duke decided to only play excerpts from the piece in the future. The six most popular excerpts were “Work Song”, “Come Sunday’, “The Blues”, “West Indian Dance”, “Emancipation Celebration”, and “Sugar Hill Penthouse”. The premiere of the piece was deemed confusing and disappointing by critics. People who were not accustomed to Elongation’s musical style were also perplexed by “Black, Brown and Beige”.
Longtime and his band began performing sections of “Black” and “Brown”, but rarely performed sections of “Beige” until 1965. He refused to play “Brown” in its entirety because he claimed that people did not understand the important story behind it. Longtime often spoke of his message prior to performing a piece, also called programming. His first biographer, Llanos, said that “Black, Brown and Beige” was “more successful without programming”. Llanos also stated that people “didn’t need to know about the American Negro to understand the music. The first movement of “Black, Brown and Beige”, “Black” was worked at the most thoroughly of the movements. The first movement interpreted the sorrows and Joys of the Negro when brought to America from Africa through work songs and spirituals. According the Longtime, the second movement, “Brown”, represented the recurring hopes and disappointments of blacks in America. It also symbolized the pain suffered through whippings, the bravery of the African Americans who attempted and/or succeeded at escaping, and the triumph of their emancipation. The last movement, “Beige”, was said to be a “vague and unfinished working of ideas”.
Originally, the finale of “Black, Brown and Beige” consisted of the lyrics, “We’re Black, Brown, and Beige, but we’re red, white, and blue. ” Although Longtime was advised to remove the line from the performance completely, he simply omitted it from the IANAL and instead, announced it in his programming prior to the final movement. This line was evidently very significant to Duke Longtime. It represented the point that although African Americans were different shades than white people, they were still Americans and deserved equal rights. “Black, Brown and Beige” was performed in segments for a few decades.
The version recorded in 1958 was criticized because it was believed to have expanded the flaws of the original premiere at Carnegie Hall. During the 1958 recording, there were only four other musicians, excluding Longtime, remaining from the original orchestra that performed in 1943. These musicians were Ray Nuance, Lawrence Brown, Johnny Hodges, and Harry Carney. Longtime took another large step toward presenting the African American struggle when he and his orchestra performed “Black” at the Festival of the American Arts in 1965. The audience included approximately four hundred members including President Lyndon B.
Johnson. Section of “Black” explains the hardships that Africans faced when they were brought to America and how it was necessary that they kept a positive attitude. The first forty-one seconds of “Work Song” includes various types of saxophones and horns laying the melody. There is a contrast among instrumentation, melody, harmony, and rhythm. The main motif uses stressed rhythms and uses mostly middle register notes as compared to high or low notes. The main motif is accompanied by tympani, bass, bass drum, and low piano notes. The focal theme is highly syncopated yet connected.
There is constant repetition of the main theme throughout this section. Roughly twenty-one seconds through the piece, there is a back and forth contrast of volume in the horn section. There is a call and response effect; the call is the loudness and the response is the quietness. There is also a feeling of tension and release. Considering that this section of “Black” is a work song, the repetitiveness represents early African Americans doing the same work daily. It provides a feel that initially, the lives of African Americans were simply used for labor purposes.
The section also becomes more upbeat, giving it a happy feeling. This symbolizes the positive outlook on life that was necessary of blacks in order to maintain their hope. The loudness corresponded to black Americans working hard in the field and that they were proud to make their living. The quietness represented a softer, more mumble side to their pride. The contrast between loud and quiet dynamics created a well-rounded form of expression. In the following twenty seconds of “Work Song”, the most significant instruments are the tympani and horns.
The countermanded consists of drums, cymbals, low horns, and low saxophones. The horns play the melody in the middle and high register of notes while the low brass instruments play long notes to counteract the effect of the melody. The sound emanates the thought of mystery by building the audience’s anticipation. This particular section resembles a call for the attention of The next section of “Work Song” is displaying the African American struggle. This section is between one minute and three seconds through, and two minutes and twenty-five seconds through. The saxophones have the melody in this section.
The melody incorporates the use of triplets multiple times. The style that the saxophones use sounds reminiscent of a string instrument rather than a saxophone. Initially, there is no rhythmic line or accompaniment following the saxophones. Later, the countermanded begins, consisting of low brass instruments, tympani, drums, and an instrument that resembles a ringing sound. The low brass section is keeping the rhythm at this point in the piece. The saxophone section uses many slurs and vibrato. Next, there is a call and response theme in which the saxophones call and the trumpets respond.
During the call and response theme, the bass drum and low brass instruments have the countermanded. As the section nears its end, the high brass section Joins in playing high notes and using vibrato. This combination of harmonies and vibrato creates a very warm sound. The whole orchestra begins to play in a style that seems to be a mixture of blues and a march style. This section mutinous to build mystery. As it progresses, it sounds as if Longtime is presenting the African American struggle loudly and then complaining about the hardships. The feeling that African Americans were making a breakthrough.
It begins with dramatic descending notes by the horn section, accompanied by the tympani and cymbals. The upper horn section introduces a new theme and gives the illusion that the tempo is slowing. The low horns play a narrow range of slow notes in the background. This section sounds like the stomping of feet. It represents a breakthrough to change. This section fades out quietly into the next. The next section resembles a utopian society in which black Americans would have equal rights and opportunities. This thirty second section is the first introduction to the famous whining sound on the trombone.
This sound is created by putting a plunger mute in the bell of the horn. The sound created by the muted trombone exudes a human-like sound. The trombone participates in a call and response with the low brass and saxophone accompaniment. Throughout this section, the piano is played faintly with predominantly the left hand due the low notes. This piece of “Work Song” sounds lighthearted as if on is in a daydream, a daydream that includes hope of African American success. The following section establishes pride by using a march style and utilizing a multitude of staccato notes.
The trumpet and trombone lead and the high brass instruments follow. There becomes a pattern of doing decrescendos and crescendos. This chiefly upbeat section confidence and happiness in a manner that cannot be confused with arrogance. The trombone’s plunger effect is back in the next few seconds of the piece. It resembles moaning and wailing but does not incorporate vibrato. There is no accompaniment behind the trombone, but the low urns respond to its calls with one note. This call and response technique is repeated twice and then the low horns and saxophones begin to accompany the trombone with a warm, fuzzy sound.
There few seconds of “Work Song” is Elongation’s way of telling the world that there is a message to be heard. As “Work Song” nears its fourth minute, the African American struggle is portrayed by the full band playing a loud and full sound. The brass particularly stands out during this section as a steady drum beats in the background. The instruments mostly play in a high register. The band begins to play elongated notes to give the illusion that the song is slowing in tempo. This section expresses that Negro equality is worth the fight although it will not be easy.
The last thirty-two seconds of the piece features a few seconds of the wailing sound by the muted trombone. The low horns and saxophones create a warm sensation using vibrato. The piece ends softly with a harmony among a variety of saxophones and horns. This ends the piece and Journey with a feeling of serenity. Duke Longtime wanted to portray the life of African Americans from the plantation to the present, how they overcame their hardships, and how they preserved their pride. Longtime encouraged respectfulness and professionalism in the black community and believed that respect should be commanded.
He played the “Jungle music” that whites wanted to hear from him at the Cotton Club until his fame grew and he was able to perform music of his choice. Longtime referred to his music not as Jazz, but as freedom of expression. He refuted the African American stereotype and was taken seriously as a respected musician. He Joined committees and music and the advancement of black people in America. In speaking about the opinion and status of African Americans, Longtime said, “The Negro is not merely a inning and dancing wizard but a loyal American in spite of his social position.