8010Introduction and question
- Mar 26, 2010My first post. My first encounter with jazz was as a listener. Big band swing was
the fashion---lots of it on the radio in the 40's when I was young---I lived in LA then
and would travel on streetcars and buses to the Orpheum theater to hear the big
name bands as they alternated with a B movie. I discovered Bunk Johnson and George
Lewis by 1946 and became a dedicated mouldy figge for several years. Later I became
less restricted and now am a fan of just about any version of pre-bop jazz. I've tried to
"dig" the "modern" forms but so far it hasn't rung my chimes. At age 70 I took up the
clarinet and I play just well enough to sit in on jam sessions at a level where I can make
a contribution without causing embarrassment.
So much for that for now. I'm trying to track down when and where "Sweet Fields" was
introduced into the trad jazz songlist. I assume it is a hymn. It shows up on an Eagle Brass
Band recording I have of about 197x (I think). I've heard current bands such as Grand
Dominion and New Black Eagle JB do it at festivals. A search of hymns on the internet
shows one composed by Isaac Watts (1674-1748) that possibly is it. The lyrics seem
to fit melody I've heard---but that seems like a long shot. My questions are--
...Is it a song from the church?
...Was it played by the very early brass bands of New Orleans?
...Who made the first jazz recording of it--and when?
Thanks in advance for any information---
Ken Gates Ventura, California
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