Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Clark, John L., Jr. “Archie Bleyer and the Lost Influence of Stock Arrangements in Jazz.” American Music 27 (Summer 2009): 138-79.

The production of printed stock arrangements of jazz music in the 1920s and 1930s has typically been downplayed in jazz history compared to improvisation, but it is no less important to the dissemination of jazz. Stock arranger Archie Bleyer is remembered by black and white musicians alike as producing some of the finest jazz stocks of the era. By the late 1920s, stock arrangements produced by large publishing houses had developed a consistent formula and allowed dance bands to quickly incorporate new popular tunes into their repertoire. Bleyer, who went on to have a long industry career as a bandleader and arranger, produced many influential stock arrangements and is credited with being one of the first arrangers to regularly add sixths to chord voicings. His stock arrangement of Business in F, an original composition, exemplifies his incorporation of stylistic elements from both black and white jazz bands. His stock for Maceo Pinkard and Mitchell Parrish’s Is That Religion was another popular selection recorded by several different bands. In his arrangement, Bleyer adapts the faux-gospel Tin Pan Alley song into a hot jazz orchestration, adding spaces for solos and syncopated riffs. The three recordings of Is That Religion by Billy Cotton, Duke Ellington, and Cab Calloway realize the same arrangement in radically different ways, again highlighting the dynamic relationship between arrangement and improvisation in early jazz music.

Works: Archie Bleyer (arranger): Is That Religion? (153-58)

Sources: Maceo Pinkard and Mitchell Parrish: Is That Religion (153-58)

Index Classifications: 1900s, Jazz

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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