The style of Roy Eldridge in 1938
Analytical study through two improvisations on ‘Body and Soul’
Keywords:jazz, improvisation, swing, bebop, Roy Eldridge
Improvisation is one of the most defining characteristics of jazz music. In the early 1940s, the emergence of bebop led to the birth of the modern vocabulary of jazz improvisation, despite the fact other musicians contributed in the past to create and develop the aforementioned vocabulary. Roy Eldridge was one of those musicians, originally attached to the swing era but with an advanced style of playing on which contribution to the modern jazz improvisation was determinant. In this article two versions of the tune ‘Body and Soul’ performed and recorded by Roy Eldridge in 1938 have been transcribed and analysed, in order to observe the way he was playing through the changes and the decisions he made in certain situations. Eldridge’s intellectual approach to improvisation represents one of the most advanced visions of the jazz improvisatory art prior to the birth of bebop.
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