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8546Re: R: [RedHotJazz] Sources on Pre War European Jazz

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  • Howard Rye
    Mar 17, 2011
      I would be content to say the jazz styles of these musicians were quite as
      derivative.

      What is interesting is what input there was from other musics of the African
      diaspora to whch they were inheritors and what effect this had on their
      ability to assimilate jazz and especially jazz rhythms. (I don¹t have an
      answer to this and there very likely is no single answer anyway).

      Bertie King had two styles, one essentially derivative of Benny Carter and a
      much rougher style which can be heard for instance in his work with Chris
      Barber. There are obvious links to the work of Pete Brown who had the same
      Caribbean heritage.

      In the 1920s and 1930s Caribbean musicians in Europe essentially had to play
      jazz (except for the Martinquans in France) because the audience for
      Caribbean music was insignificant. On the other hand the latest sounds from
      Harlem were in demand. This is not confined to Britain. Denmark¹s Harlem
      Kiddies (a bunch of Danes and Norwegians of Virgin Islands heritage) offer
      the same mix. There are Dutch parallels too, notably Lex van Spall. They
      were undoubtedly able to turn the theories of racists about the genetic
      inheritance of cultural characteristics to their advantage by claiming an
      ³authenticity¹ to which in truth they did not have much claim, though those
      who came up in the 20s were much more likely to have worked with visiting
      African-Americans and learned at first hand.

      It is I¹m sure significant that so many of these musicians switched to Latin
      music in the 40s when it became fashionable, following in the footsteps of
      ³Edmundo Ros², known to his compatriots as Eddie Ross of the Trinidad Police
      Band, and after 1950 to music from their own heritage. Trinidadian trumpeter
      Cyril Blake led some of the best jazz records made in Britain, but in the
      last years of his life recorded exclusively calypsos (though he had left
      Trinidad in the teens and never went back). Blake learned his jazz in groups
      dominated by African-Americans, whereas those who came up in the 1930s had
      no more or less opportunities for direct absorption than other Britons.
      Hence the suspicion that their frequent superiority connects to their
      Caribbean heritage in ways which might prove to be quite complex.


      on 17/03/2011 15:11, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

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      > 'All This And Many A Dog' is indeed essential for anyone interested in
      > British post-war jazz. Not just Trad. In fact, Godbolt worked tirelessly to
      > book the non-trad mainstream bands which less than flourished for a few
      > years in the 50s/60s. It was a struggle, as he describes, but it could
      > always be that he was ringing Vorzanger's number after he was dead.
      >
      > It is a very similar memoir to, and complements, often from the other side
      > of the fence, Melly's 'Owning Up'. Also often as funny.
      >
      > I'll check out the Cottons. If I can find them -- where ? -- and am
      > especially intrigued as they come with recommendation from this source.
      >
      > Dave Wilkins and Bertie King were among the finest, if not the finest,
      > musicians on their instruments working in pre-war UK. But, as West Indians,
      > like their British contemporaries, they would have had to learn jazz and
      > their styles are, at best, almost as derivative of American models.
      >
      > Dave
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
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      >
      >


      Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
      howard@...
      Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098




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