- Aug 7, 2008Yves,
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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