"One O'Clock Jump," Count Basie
This is a head arrangement: a flexible version of the blues that could be expanded by the band as a whole on cue. It begins with several choruses by Count Basie, in the key of F, before modulating suddenly to the key of D-flat major--the key the rest of the band prefers. The tune was originally known to band members by the slightly indecent title "Blue Balls," until the contingency of a radio broadcast prompted the change to the innocuous "One O'Clock Jump" (presumably, the time of night when the tune was performed).
0:04: Basie begins with a vamp--a short, repeated figure in the left-hand, similar to the kinds of patterns used in boogie-woogie piano. The other members of the rhythm section enter gingerly, trying to feel their place in Basie's tempo and groove.
0:11: Basie's blues chorus now begins, with the right hand now taking the melodic leadership role. The rhythm section now firmly in place behind Basie's solo piano. Basie's left hand, firm but sporadic, is backed up by the steady chords of the acoustic guitar, played by Freddie Green.
0:28: The second piano chorus begins with an emphatic two-note riff. Note how
Basie's right hand simulates a melodic feeling by tremolo--a rapid shaking
of the notes in the chord that keeps the melodic feeling alive.
At the very end of his chorus (0:44), Basie modulates to another key--D-flat major, which the musicians in the band had used as the basis for their riff-making.
0:45: The rest of the band enters. Herschel Evans plays a stately chorus on
tenor saxophone. Behind him, the trumpet section plays a riff: a simple
figure repeated underneath.
Just exactly how many choruses Evans, or any of the soloists, plays is flexible. In some more extended versions (such as can be heard in some recordings of live performances), the soloist could go on for two or even more choruses. For the commercial recording, with its time limits of approximately three minutes, one chorus is plenty.
1:03: George Hunt, on trombone, takes over smoothly at the beginning of the next chorus. Notice that the background riffs behind him have switched to the saxophone. This timbral contrast was a common procedure in Kansas City head arrangements: saxophones behind a brass soloist, brass behind a saxophone soloist.
1:20: Lester Young takes a solo chorus, beginning on a somewhat dissonant note (the sixth degree of the scale) and false fingerings--ways of playing the same note with unusual combinations of fingers, thus producing a sense of timbral variation in a repeated-note performance. The drummer, Jo Jones, plays an off-beat bass drum accent after the third beat of every other measure.
1:36: Buck Clayton is the last of the series of soloists to appear . He opens with a simple riff figure, repeated exactly, then varied the third time through.
1:53: The rhythm section returns. Notice how sparsely Basie plays: just a few chords over the twelve measures of the chorus. The chords have a distinctive Basie sound: high-pitched, voiced slightly over an octave. Listen for the pleasures of the Basie rhythm section: simplicity--the way the bass, guitar, and drum cymbals blend together to create an unflagging pulsation, over which Basie's chords dance. (Those sensitive to such details may note that the bass is playing slightly sharp after about 2:02.)
2:10 The band as a whole re-enters, playing overlapping riffs. If you listen closely, you should be able to hear three riffs: the main melody, played by the saxophones; a responding series of three chords, played by the trumpets; and finally, a single chord, just before the downbeat of a two-measure cycle, played by the trombones. All the parts interact in call and response.
2:27: The saxophones change riffs here . This tune is what is generally identified as the melody of "One O'Clock Jump." Note that the other parts (trumpets and trombones) remain the same.
2:44. The saxophones shift again--a shorter, more intensely repetitive riff. Note that the trombone chord, just before the downbeat, is accented by drummer Jo Jones (e.g., 2:47, 2:49, 2:52).
The piece ends at the conclusion of this chorus--just at the three-minute mark. This performance features only three choruses after the rhythm-section solo; in live performance, the piece could be extended indefinitely, with new riffs for the band as a whole, or more solo choruses.