At the beginning of 30's the United States of America was in a state of economic crisis. Many jazz bands broke up, but the time of stagnation fortunately brings some good things. At the jazz circles it started the developing of such a notion as a "swing." Later the "swing era" has become the part of people's lives. Some of the most important persons, who laid the foundations of the swing, are well-known leaders of big bands - Duke Ellington and Count Basie. For over 25 years, these jazzmen were rivals and colleagues. In their music everyone can find a lot of similarities, but their styles are so different in manner and technique, in the methods of the play and approach to jazz in generally. This paper explores the styles of these two outstanding musicians, compares them with each other and finds any differences and similarities. Work also describes the different compositional and organizational methods, which were used by them as great leaders of big bands.
Many famous jazz musicians of the 30s have allocated no a notion "swing" in the context of jazz. For them, jazz was a swing and vice versa. Those who did not know how to swing could not play jazz. Swing big bands characterized by a massive and full sound, they often played in unison, and some orchestra groups echoed and created the so-called antiphon. Edward Kennedy Ellington and William James Basie created great swing songs and became iconic personas in the development of swing thus changed the Jazz. They are often were compared and they themselves are certainly competed, but at the same time were colleagues. In 1961 they jointly recorded the album "First Time! The Count Meets the Duke". Some similarities of style were the result of a similar environment in which have grown both musicians. From early childhood, both mothers gave them piano lessons. Ellington wanted to become an artist, and had good artistic abilities. He painted posters, and won several urban art competitions, but then devoted himself to music. Basie wanted to become drummer, but then more and more attention he was devoting to the playing on piano. They both were taking piano lessons from the famous stride-pianist James P. Johnson. Further their lives will also closely intertwine. As for style, here is not so simple.
The core of Count Basie's big band was formed in Kansas City. The basics of his orchestra were blues compositions. Basie always followed the jazz tradition, through which has reached a great swing and a powerful sound. He frequently was using stylistic techniques, such as the interaction of orchestra sections (question and answer). Basie liked to use orchestral riffs. During a long time some specific section of an orchestra or even the entire orchestra was repeating short, memorable and monotonous melody on which background was sounding the musician's solo . As such a section, which provides the backdrop for a solo, was rhythm group. It provided the necessary interaction between the ligulare and brass instruments. Due to rhythm section, the band had a beautiful "walking bass", which formed the basis of swing.
As for Duke Ellington, his big band has gone through several stages by changing the composition and methods of sound extraction. In the end, the orchestra had acquired their unique style. Ellington was not only an excellent pianist, but also a great composer. He was very attentive to his musicians and often wrote many of songs especially for some of them to more fully disclose and show to them their talent. Ellington successfully combined traditional jazz, academic music and some elements of impressionism. He often used the large form, which well combined improvisation, composition and arranging. He was known for his unusual technique of playing the piano, so-called "drum-piano" and he first started using the human voice as an instrument.
Comparing "It Don't Mean a Thing" by Duke Ellington and "One O'Clock Jump" Count Basie it is possible to find the different stylistic techniques and something in common between these two compositions. Duke Ellington uses vivid bass moves that from the first minutes accompanied by expressive solo of trombonist Joe Nanton, it is followed a few squares with clear bass sound and the phrases of wind instruments. Then these squares are complemented by solo of saxophonist Johnny Hodges.
In the composition of "One O'Clock Jump" Count Basie uses piano solo, which accompanies by clearly harmonious rhythm section. The composition contains a more diverse structure of the wind instruments solo than in the song "It Don't Mean a Thing". There solo has more smooth and monotonous character. However, we can say that "It Don't Mean a Thing" is characterized by a lively, moving sound, while "One O'Clock Jump" can be attributed to the more traditional forms of jazz.
Duke Ellington and Count Basie laid the foundation of swing music. They have created outstanding big bands, which included only the best musicians. Each of them had outstanding talents. This work had explored their creativity, found differences in styles. Essay also described some similarities in composition methods. Duke Ellington and Count Basie lived at the same time, but had created different music. They were excellent pianists, and each of them had its undeniable dignity which found expression in the music.