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3828Re: Bill Russell (Was: New book: In Search of the Blues by Marybeth Hamilton)

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  • jonasfixe
    Feb 15, 2007
      Hello

      I'm a musician from Portugal and recently got to know this group,
      which I find interesting.

      I recently have been to Guildford UK, and bought this wonderful book
      of John Chilton "JAZZ", and I think this quote confirms what you
      say, Robert:

      Page 89

      "In 1940, Heywood Hale Broun, a jazz magazine editor, decided it was
      time that he visited New Orleans to record other musicians, like
      Bunk, who had played a part in early jazz history. Bunk Johnson was
      offered the chance to play on the session, but he was busy
      rehabilitating himself […].Instead, a younger man, Henry (Kid) Arena,
      who had been in the Waif's Home Band with Louis Armstrong, played the
      trumpet on the recordings […].

      Bill Russell, one of the few writers who could then justifiably be
      called an expert on New Orleans jazz, wrote in his initial review of
      the records: `New Orleans music is played by groups of any size
      specified by an employer, and ranges from the single piano player in
      the tonks and whorehouses to the bands of twenty or more used for
      funerals and Mardi Gras parades.' He went on to say: `although the
      records featured a line-up similar to that used by Buddy Bolden's
      band, they were not a deliberate attempt to recreate the traditional
      jazz style of the 20's or even the 30's. They contained a variety of
      New Orleans music: marches, folk-tunes, composed pieces and
      improvised blues played by a group of outstanding musicians.' All
      this made sense, as there never had been a de rigueur instrumentation
      for New Orleans jazz."

      Regards,

      Joao Pedro



      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Greenwood"
      <robertgreenwood_54uk@...> wrote:
      >
      > I have never found any evidence to support this. The most reliable
      > way to find out if Bill had any preconceptions that may have
      > determined the music heard on the AMs must be in Bill's journals
      kept
      > at the time of the AM recordings and published in 1993 by George
      Buck
      > as "Bill Russell's American Music." I don't think Bill set out to
      > create an accurate and complete documentary record of New Orleans
      > music of the mid-1940s (even supposing such a project were
      feasible,
      > or would in itself avoid charges of "preconceptions") so he can
      > hardly be criticised for failing to achieve something he never set
      > out to achieve in the first place.
      > I think he wanted to record Bunk in the best setting he could find
      > for him. Bunk had been off the scene for some years by then and so
      a
      > band had to be put together for him made up of musicians who may
      not
      > have been Bunk's first choice and with whom some compromises may
      have
      > had to be made.
      > Robert
      >
      > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > Robert
      > >
      > > I bow to no man, expect maybe your good self, in my admiration
      for
      > Bill
      > > Russell but I suggest that what Bill expected to find in N.O. in
      > the 40s was
      > > music of the 'classic' era, or even earlier, somehow preserved.
      > However, the
      > > music of N.O. -- as everywhere -- had evolved and altered. I
      would
      > argue
      > > that, to some extent, by his choice of musicians and repertoire
      he
      > imposed
      > > his own vision and produced an artificial hybrid --- marvellous
      > indeed --
      > > which was not representative of N.O music of that time.
      > >
      > > Dave
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      >
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