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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.
Shout Music is a type of gospel music characterized by very fast tempo, chromatic basslines, snare hits and hand claps on the upbeat of each beat. The organ typically plays dominant 7 chords while improvising over blues riffs. The pianist typically plays counter rhythms to the established rhythmic structure. There are many variations of this particular style of music. Often gospel artists will break into Shout Music at the end of a song or as a finale. Shout Music is used as a bed for vocal riffing and calling out of catch phrases, or "shouting."
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.
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.
The actual sound that is produced by playing is different from the strict and predesignated sound of most music. Shout band music is made to closely emulate the exact sound and techniques used by the voices of singers and choirs, including but not limited to vibratos, slurs, and glissandi. 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. Though they are not usually seen, other instruments are also utilized in shout bands such as trumpets, flugelhorns, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, washboards and more.
Shout bands vs. Jazz bands
Shout bands are often mistaken for trad jazz bands due to similarities in instrumentation and style, but the differences in them are just as great. The first and most noticeable difference is the lack of sheet music. A shout band's musical selection can vary from 30 seconds to as much as over 1 hour and may span many different songs. In contrast, a jazz band plays melodies and choruses from pop music and features individual solos.
The second noticeable difference lies within the leaders. In a jazz band, there is usually one leader, known as the conductor who directs the band. 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.
- 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
- Shout Music on organ with bass and drums
- Chris Edwards playing Shout Music on organ with a full band and choir
- Sweet Heaven Kings Brass Band, made up of members of the United House of Prayer for All People in the Anacostia community of Washington, DC, performing at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival
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