3838Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: Bill Russell (Was: New book: In Search of the Blues by Marybeth Hamilton)
- Feb 18, 2007All sorts of people made the pilgrimage to New Orleans, from the Forties
right thru to the present day - Williams, Edward Smith, Russell, Stuart,
Ertegun, Allen, Ramsay, Charters, Mills, and on and on.. They - we - all
went to hear the music that remained. They listened, they recorded, they
sometimes meddled a bit, but out of it all came came many sublime musical
experiences that gave much joy to people all around the world.
I don't really care much if Bill might have suggested to Bunk to play Closer
Walk, or if the Kid Thomas Band was called the Kid Thomas Band or the
Algiers Stompers. They played in Algiers. They stomped right along. What
does it really matter?
George was a good clarinet player. Like all great players, there were bits
and pieces he picked up from others along the way - not only from Dodds, but
from reed men we may have never heard, or from Woody Herman (listen to Woody
on Bing's "I Want me Mamma"),or from recordngs by Guy Lombardo! One could
write a thesis on the subject, and my mate Barry Wratten may well be
encouraged to do just that.
The musos played parades with theTuxedo during the day; at night they played
rock 'n' roll at bars or private functions. They were players, who provided
music for dancing, marching, cake-walking, smooching or whatever the Man
asked of them.
Gene Williams was gobsmacked when he heard the Ory band playing waltzes and
popular songs in the same style that they played Muskrat Ramble. No need to
Perhaps that is where the jazz pilgrims made their big mistake, by insisting
that the musicians play jazz "standards" rather than the songs they played
nightly at local gigs!
But that's hindsight. We weren't there to advise them, were we?
Tony Standish mojohand@....
From: "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2007 6:31 PM
Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Re: Bill Russell (Was: New book: In Search of the
Blues by Marybeth Hamilton)
> I am open to correction from such a learned source. Do we now therefore
> reject the received opinion that Bill was attempting time travel in N.O.
> 1943 ? My reading was that Bill went to N.O. to record 'his' band of
> names -- pre-eminently Bunk -- gleaned from his researches and, as you
> state, not to record N.O. music in its 1943 incarnation. The quote from
> Pedro -- to whom many thanks -- which I have dated to October 1940, does,
> however, suggest Bill's openness.
> As to George, he was simply the best clarinettist in N.O. in 1943 and it
> Bunk who suggested him. Bill had gone intending to use Big Eye Louis --
> contemporary to Bunk and perhaps indicative of an attempt to record an
> earlier style -- but found him too ill to play.
> Do we also remove from Bill suspicion as instigator of, or participator
> anti-saxophone bias which pervaded much early N.O. revival recording ?
> Surely though he must take prime seat as re-instigator of banjo over
> by which it had surely been totally superseded in N.O. as elsewhere. He
> certainly on record as having this preference and there is somewhere a
> scoff of Marrero wanting to bring his electric guitar to a session. The
> plankplunk of so many worldwide revivalist bands can maybe therefore be
> at his door ?
> And what about repertoire ? There is the story of George and musicians
> learning the required classic repertoire round a gramophone. I suggest
> that, pre-revival, all N.O. bands would have been expected to play
> contemporary pop material such as ' Mairzy Doats' which Bunk wanted to
> record. With the revival, repertoire was frozen to the classic jazz tunes
> and popular material of a bygone era only. The repertoire and therefore,
> an extent, the music failed to grow. Was this Bill ?
> Bill, above all, had wonderful ears and no criticism intended because
> whoever else may have been available to record in N.O.in 1943 it is almost
> certain that no better music could have been captured. There is, however,
> the question as to why he was not interested in recording actual working
> bands which he did not do till the 50s I think. Does this smack slightly
> paternalism ? There were working brass marching bands to be recorded, I
> suggest, before the not exactly authentic Bunk derivative.
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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