So, what exactly is a 'Stomp' in this Jazz genre?
🤔... I don't think I've heard one I didn't like, but I could never figure out why they were called a 'stomp'.
"King Porter Stomp and The Jazz Tradition" (PDF) - birth of the 'Swing Era'?
In music and jazz harmony, the "Stomp Progression" is an eight-bar chord progression named for its use in the "stomp" section of the composition "King Porter Stomp" (1923) by Jelly Roll Morton... Following the success of "King Porter Stomp", many other compositions were named after the tune, although many of these "stomps" did not necessarily employ the stomp progression. (Wikipedia)
Personally, I think the "Stomp" has possibly more to do with "Stop-time" - stemming from places, like the rests in syncopation, where you can stomp your feet.
The sheet music for Joplin's "Ragtime Dance" contains the direction, "Notice: to get the desired effect of 'stop time', that the pianist will please stamp the heel of one foot heavily upon the floor at the word 'stamp'. Do not raise the toe from the floor while stamping."
The Story of Jazz: New Orleans Stomp #7 - Louis Armstrong
I mostly see Fiddle 'Stomps' in Canada, Western & West Coast Swing, and Creole/Cajun, but I've been wondering about the influence or relationship to "Honky-Tonk".
The first music genre to be commonly known as honky-tonk music was a style of piano playing related to ragtime but emphasizing rhythm more than melody or harmony; the style evolved in response to an environment in which the pianos were often poorly cared for, tending to be out of tune and having some nonfunctioning keys.
Honky-tonk music influenced the boogie-woogie piano style, as indicated by Jelly Roll Morton's 1938 record "Honky Tonk Music" and Meade Lux Lewis's hit "Honky Tonk Train Blues."
Patti says this Don Messer tune is a 'Foxtrot'! The Trad Tune Archive calls "White River Stomp" an 'Old Time Country Rag' - aka "Beaumont Rag"!
Foxtrot? ...feels like I entered a deep rabbit hole. 😳
I thought the Foxtrot was supposed to be a 'refined animal' dance back in the 1920's - what a surprise!
1920's Jazzy Foxtrot - "...the ubiquitous use of the name 'Foxtrot'..." 🤣 I had NO idea tunes like "Minnie The Moocher" (Cab Calloway) was billed as a 'Slow Foxtrot'!
Wow, my Grandmother told me she was teaching dance lessons & it was the Foxtrot - Boop-oop-a-doop!
So, I've got a couple sources saying the Foxtrot was danced to ragtime! No doubt, a lot of SYNCOPATION (loving this even more now) in the early 20th Century music! Stumbled on a Music History Course from Wayne State University (Detroit)!!!
A few tidbits:
Foxtrot: 2 beats to the bar, each one divided into 2 equal parts, with the accent (backbeat) on the “and”: 1 and 2 and.
Honky-tonk two-beat (a. k. a. country rock beat): 2-beat rhythm with a heavy backbeat.
[James Reese Europe] popularized the foxtrot, a dance with two beats and a strong backbeat. Some of these are called rags, such as the “Castle House Rag” of 1914, but there are differences between Europe’s orchestral rags and Joplin’s piano rags: 1.) Faster tempo. 2.) Less syncopation (less rhythmic conflict between parts). 3.) Chances for instrumentalists to improvise, as the drummer does near the end of “Castle House Rag.”
Soon white bands played syncopated dances, and the foxtrot became the most important social dance of the 1920s and 30s. Now dancing to a syncopated (“black”) beat had become acceptable.
Back to Jelly Roll Morton (for a minute), I know there was a lot of competition between musicians - fostered some fabulous music! Most of you won't be interested, but I'm getting more & more intrigued by Jelly - VERY COOL comparing Jelly's "Maple Leaf Stomp" to Scott Joplin's earlier "Maple Leaf Rag"!
Jelly lit it on fire!
These 2 'Stomps' are BROKEN DOWN like a Bluegrass tune - each musician taking a turn:
"Billy Goat Stomp" (Jelly Roll Morton), Eddy Davis (Tenor banjo) along with - not quite the same impact of Jelly's original, but they are cookin' HOT!
Here's another one of MANY Jelly Morton Stomps!
Tuba Skinny band plays "Kansas City Stomp" in New Orleans.
VIOLIN SHEET MUSIC! ...well, suppose it's a start, anyway. 😳 I think EasyViolinLesson might've met it's match with this tune!
...came to the conclusion that if I want to try this type of 'STOMP', I'll listen to more originals to get the rhythm down really well (I'm feelin' it!) & then just pull out what I hear as the basic melody & interpret it myself for the fiddle - think this is just gonna be another one of those personal things. 🙄
I have read in different places that 'Stomps' today are all Old Time & Bluegrass music! I'm not so sure that some of the Canadian ones sound like that, but then again - what they call "Old Time" up there, doesn't sound like "Old Time" down here in the USA (to me anyway)... so maybe it's true(?)
I really like Jon's fiddling, & appreciate he's made videos of so many tunes familiar AND unfamiliar to me - I'm just not quite sure what to make of a 'breakdown Stomp'.
...jeez - I still don't have a great understanding of what a 'breakdown' is... feel myself falling farther down the rabbit hole. All I can ever find about breakdowns: they are lively, fast & in 2/4 or 4/4 time... could be just about anything!
you've probably read this
Yep, and I understand when people talk about a 'breakdown' within a tune, but I'm having a hard time relating this type of 'breakdown' to some tunes called 'breakdowns' (even though Wikipedia mentions them briefly).
...might be because I'm hearing them played on the fiddle - as a complete fiddle tune, not like something played as the fiddler's turn during a bluegrass jam, if that makes any sense.
I'm using Jon Harkness as an example (Breakdown Playlist) - because he's got many really nice fiddle 'Breakdowns' that I haven't heard elsewhere (which doesn't mean much) that just don't sound like anything Wikipedia is referring to.
Might just be his style, but he's been true to trad (on the one's he plays I recognize) - and all I know about area is if he's in the USA, he's in the snow belt.
Don't know why I'm so amazed that some of the 'Jazzy Foxtrots' (of the 1920's-30's) sound related to 'Stomps'... Stomps, Foxtrots & Ragtime - are ALL 4/4, common time. I'd swear some Foxtrots I've heard on piano rolls (like "Sweet Marie") were Rags - possibly a little less syncopated, but after
I've been trying to listen to more of Joe Venuti play (with Eddie Lang). Surprised me with the fluctuation in tempo & the amount of swing, plus more syncopation than I expected for a Foxtrot - certainly NOT boring!
"Running Ragged" (1929) - FOXTROT! Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Lennie Hayton & Frank Trumbauer.
"The Wild Dog" (1928) - FOXTROT! Joe Venuti, Eddie Lang, Lennie Hayton & Frank Trumbauer.
"Black and Blue Bottom" (1926) - 'NOVELTY' (?) Foxtrot! Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang.
🤔... snuggle one of these up to a reel or hornpipe & I think I start to see Dezi Donnally!
Joe Venuti did record a 'Stomp' - the "Stockholm Stomp". There's 2 versions here (Venuti played violin for the 1st band). Really cool to compare - one's a little 'hotter' than the other!
I have a bit of a new outlook - especially toward playing tunes in 4/4 time. Think I might be able to have some fun, without completely losing the feel of a genre... maybe I only need to use the prefix, "Novelty". (lol)
Thanks for making that connection!
I do know Don Messer played the "White River Stomp", "Sugar Tree Stomp" & quite a few 'breakdowns'. Messer was an influential Fiddler in New Brunswick & PEI, as well as places in the US!
I found that 'Breakdowns' are mostly classified as reels - but some are NOT (Bowing Down Home site). I saw they were notated in 'Cut Time' (Alla Breve) in "The Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island" book by Ken Perlman, but didn't see any other defining factor. ...idk, I believe there's plenty of good argument for notating IT Reels in 'Cut Time' anyway - if 'Cut Time' is supposed to be the defining feature of a 'Breakdown', it's not helping me.
I might've happened upon some useful info at the Traditional Tune Archive, when I looked at "Saturday Night Breakdown".
This rag-time influenced reel was originally recorded in 1929 by fiddler Wil Gilmer with his group The Leake County Revelers, all of whom resided in and around Sebastopol, Mississippi.
"Saturday Night Breakdown" was equally popular in Canada, where it was given a "down east"-style treatment in the mid-20th century by radio and TV fiddlers Don Messer and Ned Landry. Don Messer recorded the tune in the early 1950's followed, in 1956, by New Brunswick fiddler Ned Landry (1921-2018), a three-time Canadian Open Fiddle Champion who received the Order of Canada and who was inducted into the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia halls of fame. A CBC program schedule for Friday, December 21st, 1945, records that it was played by Messer and his band The Islanders on his 5 P.M. broadcast (along with "Honeysuckle Schottische," "Haste to the Wedding" and "Cuckoo's Nest").
So, a 'Breakdown' is just a "rag-time influenced reel"? ...may be the best description I'll ever get, but I've heard plenty of syncopated reels that are NOT called 'Breakdowns'! 😔 That description seems to fit 'Stomps' & the jazzy 'Foxtrots', too!
How's THIS for a comparison: "Sugarfoot Stomp" - basically tells me just about anything goes!
I thought if I listened to more examples it would help me see/hear more defining features, but I can listen to several 'Stomps' in a row, then several 'Breakdowns' in a row - it's as bad as listening to how varied the Jazzy Foxtrots can sound to me!
...I like all this music, but I can't spend anymore time trying to figure out if there is something specific in one type vs another that I'm supposed to capture in my playing.
Btw, the Bowing Down Home site has some sheet music notation & audio recordings of 'Breakdowns' and other PEI tunes!