Introduced Version House Resolution 2 History

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hr2 intr

(By Delegates Schadler, Evans, Rowan and

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Thompson)

Memorializing the life of Don Redman, famous jazz musician and composer, and pioneering jazz arranger from Mineral County, West Virginia.

Whereas, Donald Matthew Redman was born on July 29, 1900, in Piedmont, West Virginia where his father was a music teacher and his mother was a singer. Don began playing the trumpet at the age of three, joined his first band at six and by age twelve was proficient on all wind instruments and the piano. He studied at Storer's College in Harper's Ferry and at the Boston Conservatory; and
Whereas, In 1922, Don Redman joined the Fletcher Henderson orchestra, mostly playing clarinet and saxophones. He soon began assisting in writing arrangements, and Redman did much to formulate the sound that was to become Big Band Swing; and
Whereas, Don Redman's importance in the formulation of arranged "hot jazz" can not be overstated; a chief trademark of Redman's arrangements was that he harmonized melody lines and pseudo-solos within separate sections; for example, clarinet, sax, or brass trios. He played these sections off each other, having one section punctuate the figures of another, or moving the melody around different orchestral sections and soloists. His use of this technique was sophisticated, highly innovative, and formed the basis of much big band jazz writing in the following decades; and
Whereas, In 1927, Don Redman joined the Michigan-based band McKinney's Cotton Pickers as their Musical Director and Leader, and then formed his own band, the Don Redman Orchestra in 1931, which became a fixture at the famous Manhattan Jazz Club, "Connie's Inn." Redman's band recorded for Brunswick Records and did a series of radio broadcasts. Redman and his orchestra also provided music for the animated short "I Heard," part of the Betty Boop series produced by Fleischer Studios and distributed by Paramount. Redman composed original music for the short, which was released on September 1, 1933; and
Whereas, The Brunswick records Redman made between 1931-1934 were some of the most complex preswing hot jazz arrangements. Not just relying on a driving rhythm or great soloists, but an overall level of arranging sophistication that was unlike anyone else of the period. Notable musicians in Redman's band included Sidney De Paris, trumpet, Edward Inge, clarinet, and singer Harlan Lattimore, who was known as "The Colored Bing Crosby". On the side Redman also did arrangements for other band leaders and musicians, including Paul Whiteman, Isham Jones, and Bing Crosby. In 1933, he made a Vitaphone short film for Warner Brothers. Redman recorded for Brunswick Records through 1934. He did a number of sides for ARC in 1936 and in 1937, he pioneered a series of swing rearrangements of old classic pop tunes for the Variety label. His use of a swinging vocal group (called "The Swing Choir") was very modern with Redman's sophisticated counter-point melodies. He signed with Bluebird in 1938 and recorded with them until 1940; and
Whereas, In 1940, Redman disbanded his orchestra, and concentrated on freelance work writing arrangements. Some of his arrangements became hits for Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, and Harry James. Redman had a musical television show on the CBS Television network for the 1949 season. In the 1950s he was music director for singer Pearl Bailey. In the early 1960s he played piano for the Georgia Minstrels Concert and soprano sax with Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle's band; and
Whereas, Don Redman died in New York City on November 30, 1964; and
Whereas, Don Redman was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame on November 21, 2009; therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Delegates:
That the House of Delegates hereby memorializes the life of Don Redman, famous jazz musician, composer and pioneering jazz arranger from Mineral County, West Virginia
; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the House of Delegates hereby acknowledges the important contributions to the field of music made by this Mineral County native; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward a copy of this resolution to the Mineral County Chamber of Commerce.
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