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6179Re: Jejo/Jari

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  • Michael Rader
    Aug 7, 2008
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      First off, thanks for reminding me that the Lew Leslie sides are on
      the Harrison LP. I was racking my brain to remember where I had them
      yesterday evening. The two sides with Adelaide Hall I have on a
      Conifer LP engineered by John RT Davies (but also available elsewhere)
      and these have no passages with clarinet worth mentioning - in fact
      the accompaniment is rather unexciting compared with the Ellingtons
      coming before the Leslies.

      Now that you mention it, I also remember the information about Jim
      Europe. A quick check of the notes coming with the Memphis Archives
      Europe CD revealed that almost all of his reed players, except for one
      saxophonist, and several of the brass players have Spanish names, but
      also that none of them are really familiar. The reed players I
      mentioned all seem to have been from a kind of "second generation" who
      came to New York, possibly after Europe had paved the way.

      Now back to Jari, who seems to have been known as "Jejo" (a nickname?)
      for his US career. Demas Dean also describes him as the "fastest
      clarinet player in New York". I first encountered his name in
      connection with Fletcher Henderson, since he is listed in the
      personnel for one session in the "Study in Frustration" set. This
      identification apparently stems from Delaunay's 1938 discography, the
      source of which is unknown. There is no clarinet work on any of the
      titles from this session and doubts have since been expressed about
      Jari's presence. What is certain from evidence provided by Henderson
      Band members of the time is that Jari sometimes substituted for Buster

      One of the references I found when Googling "Jejo" was a site on
      Rhumbas in Spanish where Jejo's name is mentioned next to Nilo
      Menendez' - there is a single side by him issued as a maverick New
      Orleans-sounding side on one of the early Jazum LPs.

      The voyage from New York to South America took twelve days which were
      used by Abbey to rehearse the band. Early May recordings would thus be

      The frustrating thing about Williams is that he is said to have kept a
      record of the musicians used in his recording sessions in his fabulous
      "little black books", which were either destroyed or stolen in the
      1950s. This means that virtually all identifications, apart from the
      obvious, come from collectors, sometimes with information from Eva
      Taylor and other musicians involved in the sessions. Virtually all of
      the clarinet playing in the 1926-1928 period is based on opinion
      rather than firm knowledge. This means that Williams could have used
      Jari after his return from South America.

      Given what Demas Dean says about Jari, he seems to have been a
      formidable talent - it would be interesting to see what others who
      heard him said about him. His comparative neglect in discussions on
      unidentified clarinet players could be due to the fact that only one
      side by the Savoy Bearcats was reissued in the 50s/60s. As far as I
      can tell, the first reissues were a Jazum LP and a comprehensive
      reissue in the French Black and White series by RCA.

      If Jari was regarded as a kind of star, it is quite possible that
      Tibbs would have added him for the session and I agree about the
      similarity of the solos on "One O'Clock Blues" and "Red Hot Flo". In
      light of what you say about the origins of Tibbs' Band it would be
      intersting to know the source of the personnel listing for the
      recording session - a newspaper, session log?

      Regarding the baritone sax, Jari is usually listed as playing this
      with the Bearcats, but Demas Dean says the baritone soli are by Gene
      Mikell, who moved over to Fess Williams when Abbey took his band to
      South America. The playing is certainly consistent with the playing
      for Williams, at least on some of the sides - I haven't checked the
      Bearcats baritone work to see if it is all the same man. It might also
      make sense to check photos - there is one of the Abbey band in
      Storyville, but this was too dark for me to examine last night.

      Moten I would have to check on the Joe Jordan, although this would be
      rather thin evidence, since the recording quality isn't nearly as good
      as Victor on the Bearcats. I guess it's back to the reference books to
      find confirmed, exposed Moten.

      Otherwise, I agree that Jari seems to have been a top-rank clarinet
      player, who virtually disappeared into oblivion following an early
      death. Others with a similar fate became legends...

      All the best

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