8639Re: [RedHotJazz] What the Papers Say...
- May 24, 2011Of course British jazz didn't start with Elizalde � it started with the
In the 1920s and onwards, the British dance band/jazz scene tended to follow
the general developments within "popular" jazz (i.e. syncopated dance
music), which sought to satisfy the demands of white Tin Pan Alley in the
USA (and via New York obviously, not New Orleans).
After the ODJB sensation, there was a backlash against Dixieland music in
the popular press and wider society (starting around 1920). As a result, the
likes of Paul Whiteman (in the US) and Bert Ralton of the Savoy Havana Band
(in the UK) filled the vacuum and took up the mantle, promoting themselves
as legitimate purveyors of a more refined popular music as well as, by
implication, a more morally virtuous and safer conveyance for dance music,
demand for which was growing exponentially at the time.
Though Hylton, Vorzanger and other bands employed black musicians during the
early 1920s, their influence was, I would suggest, very limited in the
general scheme of things. One of the few black musicians who did leave his
mark in the early 1920s in the UK was Sidney Bechet.
Incidentally, with regard to Ralton, there is just one break he plays out of
a huge volume of Savoy Havana Band sides he recorded, before departing to
Australia in October 1923, that makes one's ears stand up. It is on Pyjama
Blues, recorded on February 2, 1923. His soprano sax break shows that he'd
obviously been listening to Bechet.
With regard to influences in the 1930s, with the Melody Maker's shift in the
early 1930s from promulgating the Nichols school to castigating it with
equal enthusiasm, Armstrong, Ellington and Hawkins, amongst others, were
recognised and promoted as the epitome of all that jazz stood for. However,
though these black artists did indeed become models for British players, the
influence of white American jazz musicians such as Berigan, Teagarden,
Goodman and Shaw shouldn't be dismissed. As always, the mix was rather
eclectic, but with a leaning towards white influences, which the following
list illustrates. Max Goldberg told me he was influenced by Louis Armstrong,
Bix Beiderbecke and Manny Klein (quite a mix there!), while Norman Payne
said his influences were Bix (of course) and later on Bunny Berigan and
Charlie Teagarden. Billy Amstell's were Jimmy Dorsey then Bud Freeman and
Eddie Miller (after Amstell transferred to tenor). Buddy Featherstonehaugh's
main influence was of course Coleman Hawkins. Joe Crossman's was Frankie
Trumbauer. But what about Freddy Gardner � any guesses?
On 24 May 2011 12:26, Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:
> No idea what the regulations for record production in the U.K. in wartime
> were. I am sure the output was restricted. Did you perhaps have to hand in
> record for recycling to buy a new one? Did I make that up? Is that some
> other country? Try Benny Green, �Swingtime In Tottenham�, which I vaguely
> recall having something to say about it. Hilarious read anyway.
> No access to Larkin�s books, but I recall some widely quoted remark about
> how jazz went downhill when it ceased to be about black people trying to
> please white folks. May be traducing him. Don�t really care. His private
> diaries are said to reveal him as a pretty vicious racist whose love for
> jazz was not matched by the most minimal respect for its creators, common
> enough in his generation. But I haven�t read them and do not intend to.
> is too short.
> Minstrelism is the kind of grovelling Uncle Tom attitude to music
> (allegedly) embraced by Larkin. Minstrelsy is a musical and associated
> entertainment style current in the nineteenth century at root of which is a
> body of genuinely African-American (and Irish) creative performance, which
> is now being painstakingly disinterred from its white imitators and racist
> patina both by historians (some very good stuff in Constance Valis Hill.
> Dancing America. A Cultural History. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
> and by some contemporary African-American performers like the Carolina
> Chocolate Drops. At the Union Chapel in London in November last year
> Rhiannon Giddens delivered a stern lecture about the importance of
> minstrelsy as a record of nineteenth century African-American music to an
> audience of staunch white liberals which was showing signs of discomfort at
> some of the material presented. I have heard similar lectures from Wycliffe
> Gordon at a Wynton Marsalis concert and from Guy Davis in the context of
> Otis Taylor�s Recapturing The Banjo project.
> John Harris is not cool or even kool, just an old-fashioned liberal who
> isn�t keeping up! And believes what other journalists tell him.
> African-American models predominated in Britain in the early 20s. The
> recorded evidence is on the records of Vorzanger�s band and the Queen�s
> Dance Orchestra. That was the music being played in the clubs, but for
> reasons that require a book (and to some extent Catherine Parsonage�s �The
> Evolution of Jazz in Britain� is that book), the �British jazz started with
> Fred Elizalde� myth has become the received wisdom. This is getting to be
> slightly tired ground. We�ve been here before. Unfortunately the myth will
> shortly be given a new lease on life with the republication of its most
> visible embodiment.
> Mindful of the libel laws, I decline to comment on certain trends at
> Preservation Hall, but Mark Braud is the best thing to happen to the band
> years. And he has the ability of his forbears to switch from serious music
> making to crowd pleasing nonsence and back again in the blink of an eye.
> win some, you lose some. Tra la la.
> No one interested in the continuing health of the tradition should miss any
> Dr. Michael White, Adventures in New Orleans Jazz (Basin Street BSR0505-2)
> Cynthia Girtley, A New Orleans Tribute to Mahalia Jackson (Cynthia Girtley
> Treme Brass Band, Treme Traditions (Mardi Gras MG1126)
> Mission accomplished perhaps.
> Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
> Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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