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THE ARTSEMERSON BLOG

Big Band Boston

 

With Maurice Hines reminiscing about those who influenced him, we thought we’d stop and do our own reminiscing…on Boston. The Hub has quite the vibrant history when it comes to its legacy of jazz, big band and tap dance. Read on to learn more about Boston’s own tap and jazz greats.

JAZZ

1940s

Perhaps one of the most influential leaders of modern jazz in Boston was Charlie Mariano, famous for his explorative and innovative alto saxophone techniques between 1945 and 1953. He was featured as a soloist in the Nat Piece Orchestra in the late 1940s. In addition to influencing the sound of Boston jazz—single-handedly bringing Charlie Parker’s style of bebop from California—he acted as a bandleader, introducing jazz records of Boston’s greatest talents to the rest of the world.

Varty Haroutunian

Varty Haroutunian

During this time, many men were returning from serving overseas in World War II. Varty Haroutunian served in the Army Air Force and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Jaki Byard, who had begun his music career at age 15, joined the army before returning to the Boston music scene.

When Byard finished his service in late 1940s, he began touring with Earl Bostic, the jazz saxophonist who majorly influenced John Coltrane. Bostic had been based in Boston. As a jazz pianist and composer (as well as trumpet and saxophone player) Byard gained recognition for his eclectic style which merged everything from ragtime to free jazz.

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