A shout band is a traditional, soul based musical style that arose in some predominantly African American Protestant churches in the 1920s.
The shout band tradition of the southeastern United States originated from the exuberant church music of North Carolina. African American brass players formed bands, predominantly trombone-based, inspired by jazz, blues and Dixieland, gospel and old-time spirituals: a more soulful version of a New Orleans Brass Band. The United House of Prayer For All People, an Apostolic denomination founded in 1919 in Massachusetts, is particularly known for its shout bands.
Upbeat and engaging, shout band music consists of three sections: the recitive and call, which involves a musical statement from the trombones; the aria, which develops the melody and tempo; and the shout, the ending call-and-response. As the song progresses, the sound intensifies from a whisper at the beginning to an exuberant crescendo during the shout.
While shout bands became prevalent during the 1920s and 1930s, by the 1960s the trombone, which allows for a wide range of emotive expression, emerged as the lead instrument within the shout band. Large groups of trombones are treated almost as a vocal choir, each with its own part.
The technique of playing the shout band style of music is much different than that of its original musical roots being that there is no uniformed method of playing an instrument, predominantly at the mouthpiece. However, the actual sound that is produced by playing is much different whereas in most music the sound is more strict and predesignated. In contrast, shout band music is made to closely emulate the exact sound and techniques utilized by the voices of singers and choirs, including but not limited to, vibratos, slurs, and glissandos. This is the primary reason that a trombone is typically found as the lead instrument.
The structure of shout bands varies greatly, but all typically have a few basic instruments in common: trombones, baritone(s), a snare drum and bass drum combination (or a basic drum kit), cymbals, and a sousaphone. Just like any band, all instruments are used in their specific range to keep harmony amongst the melody. Unlike most bands, all instruments are commonly pushed beyond the limits for which they were originally created i.e. pushing notes into the 5th octave.
Shout bands vs. Jazz bands
Shout bands and jazz bands are normally confused with one another due to similarities in style. But the differences in them are just as great. The first and most noticeable difference is the lack of sheet music. Jazz bands have a structured style of music where a single selection varies in length and time only slightly and is also limited to the one song. Shout band have little confinement with music as sheet music is not used. A selection in shout bands can vary anywhere in time from 30 seconds to as much as over 1 hour and span many different songs.
The second noticeable difference lies within the leaders. In a jazz band, there is usually one leader, known as the conductor who controls every "move" (for lack of better terminology) that the band will make. In a shout band, there are as many as eight different leaders controlling different aspects of the band during a performance. There is, however, a conductor that does control everything that happens but he or she is normally listening to the band as a whole where the other leaders are listening to specific parts that they are assigned to.
The third noticeable difference lies within the sound of the band and predominately in the chord structure. The chord structure in shout bands, in major keys, are typically the major triad with the diminished 7th i.e. F7. However, in larger shout bands that have more members, chords have been know to go as far as to the major or minor 11 dimor 6th +2 and +8.
- Shout band to raise roof at Celebration of Teachers
- 76 Trombones in the Big Paradise
- Sweet Heaven Kings Brass Band - United House of Prayer for All People - Anacostia, DC (The Kennedy Center)
- United House of Prayer Trombone Shout Bands - Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
- Madison Clouds of Heaven a trombone Shout Band - June 7, 2006 (IndyWeek)
- Saints Paradise Trombone Shouts Bands from the United House Of Prayer Liner Notes