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2426Re: under intellectualising was over-intellectualizing

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  • David N. Lewis
    Apr 1, 2006
      I did my own reconstruction of Bolden's music with my rock band
      Cointelpro, and some horn players and a banjo, at a show at the Jockey
      Club in Newport Ky in late 1983. We jammed on "If You don't Shake You
      Don't Get No Cake" and in the middle I delivered a throrougly
      long-winded and pretentious monologue about the Bolden legend. No one
      "got" it, but I think I have a tape around around here of the
      performance. It was not a "serious" reconstruction, just me delving
      into what would have then been a hopelessly obscure topic for a
      captive audience. If you know anything about my work as an entertainer
      it makes total sense. Anyway...

      I can't find the reference, but here someone speculated about the
      Bolden cylinder as though it might have been made by a hobbyist. That
      isn't likely - at all. Private ownership of phonographs capable of
      recording is something that doesn't really get underway until about
      1900. Prior to that if you needed one (such as James Mooney's
      phonograph, purchase of which was underwritten by the Bureau of Indian
      affairs) you almost had to buy one from Thomas Edison himself. it was
      a problem of production - Edison products up to about 1908 (when the
      "Little Gem" was produced) were complex, heavy, had many moving parts
      and broke down a lot. That's why in the 90s the cylinder business was
      heavily invested in coin-operated machines placed in phonograph
      parlours or saloons, not to mention those used for business dictation.
      If they failed, which they did a lot, someone had to come out and fix
      it - if it was in a parlour then it could be fixed right away by the
      person on staff.

      The North American Phonograph Company, which was Edison's nationwide
      "trust" that controlled phonograph interests, divided the country into
      several regional districts. The New Orleans district was represented
      by the Louisiana Phonograph Company. The big studios in New York and
      Washington were equipped with enough phonographs to make 50 cylinders
      per performance - there was no mass duplication of cylinders in those
      days. The smaller, regional companies could only produce 5-6 cylinders
      per performance, and these locally made cylinders are rarer than hen's
      teeth - most went straight into a coin operated machine.

      I know of one surviving cylinder from the Louisiana Phonograph
      Company, and that is the Louis Vasnier performance used on the "Lost
      Sounds" compilation issued by Archeophone. So it is not altogether
      unrealistic that the Bolden cylinder, which may have been a march,
      could be found. But the climate in new Orleans is not kind to
      something like a wax cylinder - it is very moist and humid, conditions
      (along with mold) that are death to such fragile objects. North
      American went bankrupt in 1898, and while certain regional recrding
      companies re-organized and survived, most went under, some even before
      (Ohio Phonograph Company went into receivership before, in 1896.) Even
      by '96 it was getting to be impossible to get parts from Edison, and
      by that time you had to buy them outright.

      Gotta cut this short - wife is callin.

      Uncle Dave Lewis
      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, bongroika@... wrote:
      > aw there aint nothin intellectualizing
      > -------------- Original message --------------
      > From: "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
      > Pryor
      > The early histories of Jazz proposed -- and does anybody know the
      source of
      > this whimsy -- Howard ? --- the existence of an actual cylinder
      > of Buddy Bolden which achieved mythic status but which has never been
      > discovered.
      > I was implying that without such evidence nobody -- least of all the
      > ubiquitous and unctuous Marsalis -- can pontificate on his
      influence on
      > Louis or early jazz style. Speculation on his style is however
      possible and
      > valid and has been , over the years, attempted by various factions with
      > variable success.
      > Patrice
      > Smileys man ? Now why did Jane Austen never think of that ? But the
      best I
      > can do is parenthesis ( THIS IS IRONY ! ) -- no, no I don't mean
      > is irony --or do I ? ( THIS IS IRONY ! ) ( AND SO WAS THAT
      > ( AND SO WAS THAT ! ) (ETC) however once irony has to be signposted
      it is
      > worthless and so I assume to be banished from this forum ?
      > Jp
      > The only value of the Burns was the archive footage well
      counterbalanced by
      > the spurious and simplistic 'history'.
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > Visit your group "RedHotJazz" on the web.
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