History of Jazz Timeline: 1940
Charlie Parker goes on the road with Jay McShann to Wichita, Kansas. He is recorded by the local radio. His sound is thin and light and he is still basically a Swing player. On the other hand, the jagged phrasing, fast triplets and sixteenth are there.
Charlie Christian is edging into something new both rhythmically and harmonically. He is presaging Bop. Parker usually gets most of the credit and Gillespie the rest. The Christian solo on a recording of Stardust also is showing influence of Django.
Dizzy deliberately uses major thirds over minor changes in the song Pickin' the Cabbage recorded in May. In June, he uses a diminished 9th on Bye, Bye Blues. These things are new.
Kenny Clarke is fired from the Teddy Hill band for his "odd" drumming.
Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Christian are occasionally beginning or ending phrases on 2nd and 4th beats. This is called "offbeat". The usual practice is to use the 1st or 3rd.
Henry Minton asks Teddy Hill to take over the management of his place on 118th Street. Strangely enough, Hill asks the recently fired Kenny Clarke to organize and front the band. The band is Clarke on drums, Thelonious Monk on piano, Nick Fenton bass and Joe Guy on trumpet. Dizzy Gillespie begins showing up regularly. The music is mainstream except for Clarke's "odd" drumming and Monk's unusual piano playing.
Bud Powell begins showing up at Minton's. He is not readily accepted, but Monk realizes that he has potential and supports him. Ironically, Bud will become a much more sought after Bop pianist than Monk. The genius Monk nevertheless will write the 1947 song In Walked Bud in his honor. See Blue Note CD Genius of Modern Music - Vol 1, a compilation of Monk's music. Powell's influence is not Monk, but Charlie Parker.
Swing is at its peak, but the seeds of Bebop have been sown and the Dixielanders are digging up the old music. Swing is doomed to fall.
Big band Swing is about to be done in by the war and economics. Small band Jazz is evolving along two distinct and opposing movements. The first is the New Orleans Revival or Dixieland. This produced little that was new musically. It was a white movement to revive and exploit the black New Orleans music of the 1920's. Some notable legends resurface including Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Kid Ory and Bunk Johnson. Some memorable records result. The other movement is distinctly new musically and sociologically. This movement is called Bebop, Rebop or simply Bop.
In addition, the small band Swing is still there and a new big band trend is afoot. This trend is called Progressive. Its proponents are Stan Kenton, Boyd Raeburn and Earle Spencer. This will eventually influence what will become Cool Jazz.
Claude Thornhill organizes a Swing band that, while not successful, presages Cool Jazz.
Trumpeter Oran "Hot Lips" Page becomes the first black musician who is a regular member and a featured artist in a white big band when he is hired by Artie Shaw.
Meanwhile, the most successful of the early Cuban bands is formed by a man named Machito. They are called Machito and his Afro-Cubans. They start as a completely Cuban band and slowly assimilate Jazz into their repertoire. They introduce more complex rhythms to the world of Jazz, however, they are primarily successful due to their trumpet player/arranger Mario Banza (Machito's brother-in-law and former Cab Calloway trumpet player).
Saxophones have all but taken over, but trumpeters such as Frankie Newton with the Teddy Hill band, Oran "Hot Lips" Page with Basie, Bill Coleman with Benny Carter and Teddy Hill and Charlie Shavers with Tommy Dorsey begin to strike back. Joe Thomas is excellent but will soon be forgotten.
There is a Trad Jazz revival in Europe. The Europeans discover Joe Oliver and Jelly Roll Morton.
All of Europe except England is under Hitler's control and thus Europe will remain in the Dixieland revival and Trad Jazz phase.
Ben Webster has broken free of the Coleman Hawkins imitator image and has developed a style of his own. After the Teddy Wilson band breaks up, he is hired by Ellington. He benefits and he brings a strong tenor influence to Ellington for the first time.
Ellington records Cottontail, a good swinger. It is actually a rearrangement of George Gerschwin's I've Got Rhythm. The feature player is tenor saxophonist Ben Webster who had recently come to the Ellington band. Cottontail anticipates Parker-style Bop.
Ellington records Ko-Ko which contains elements of modality, Jack the Bear, Morning Glory, Across the Track Blues and others.
According to Bluebird records and others, Ellington is beginning a peak era in his band's career. See the three CD set Duke Ellington - The Blanton-Webster Years on, you guessed it, Bluebird.
Trumpeter Cootie Williams leaves Duke Ellington and joins Benny Goodman's band. Duke Ellington replaces him with Ray Nance who plays trumpet, violin and sings.
Coleman Hawkins faces the challenge of Bop and encourages the young players.
Lester Young records with the Benny Goodman Sextet. These recordings for some reason are not released until the 1970's. The band includes Goodman on clarinet, Artie Bernstein on bass, Charlie Christian on electric guitar, Lester on tenor sax, Buck Clayton on trumpet , Jo Jones on drums and Count Basie on piano -- that's seven? Young is the dominant force and stands out on I Never Knew.
Trumpeter Roy Eldridge can now be heard at his best on I Can't Believe that You're in Love with Me with Coleman Hawkins on tenor, Benny Carter on alto and Sid Catlett on drums.
Trumpeter Bunny Berigan returns to the Dorsey Band after his own attempts at leading fail. He will later attempt to lead another band and then die of pneumonia is 1942.
The Yerba-Beuna Jazz Band featuring Lu Watters begins to play at the Dawn Club in San Francisco. It played the music of Oliver and Armstrong.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe is the leading gospel singer and is popular in Jazz as well.
Swedish trumpeter Gosta Turner is playing Dixieland.
Herbie Hancock is born in Chicago on April 12.
Al Jarreau is born.
Smokey Robinson is born.
Disclaimer: Though we have checked our facts, this timeline may contain erroneous information. If you discover errors or omissions, please bring them to our attention.