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Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: Blues Birdhead as jazz (was: Jug Bands)

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  • Prof_Hi_Jinx
    The 1930 Census lists James Simon (sic: 28, born North Carolina, wife Sophrenia) at Norfolk, although it doesn t indicate he is a musician (not that that
    Message 1 of 56 , Nov 1, 2005
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      The 1930 Census lists James Simon (sic: 28, born North Carolina, wife
      Sophrenia) at Norfolk, although it doesn't indicate he is a musician (not
      that that means much).

      Bob

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "ikey100" <wlmoorman3@...>
      To: <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, November 02, 2005 4:27 AM
      Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: Blues Birdhead as jazz (was: Jug Bands)


      > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Patrice Champarou"
      > <patrice.champarou@f...> wrote:
      >
      >> ...for more jazz-oriented harmonica pieces I should suggest
      > listening to James Simons aka "Blues Birdhead", whose only two
      > recordings sound to me as directly inspired by Louis Armstrong...
      >
      > There were actually four sides that include Simons, two with only
      > piano accompaniment and two with a small group. Indeed, Simons does
      > seem on these pieces to have a jazz type conception, particularly in
      > the tension and release structures of his solos, unlike some country
      > blues harpists. Despite his nickname, he certainly belongs in a jazz
      > discussion. The group that he made those sides as part of, the
      > Bubbling Over Five, included harmonica, violin, soprano sax, piano,
      > and banjo-guitar! Hardly a jug band lineup, or any other for that
      > matter. But it may be explained as either a subunit of a larger
      > band, or an impromptu studio group. The vocalist for the band sides
      > is listed as "Bob Brown", whose affiliation is unknown.
      >
      > The only known information about Simons is a short reference in the
      > Norfolk (Va.) Journal in 1931, in which he is described as playing
      > at a white social event, either with or alongside the Kid Mickey
      > Orchestra, and is noted as well known in the area for his harp
      > prowess. As far as I'm aware, nothing is known of this band either.
      >
      > I favor the "impromptu studio group" explanation for the Bubbling
      > Over Five, or at most a partial regular group. The pianist seems to
      > be taking cues while playing, in the manner of a jam session, and
      > there were several pianists at those Richmond recording sessions.
      > The Norfolk area had certainly seen many jazzy musicians and
      > influences, including it's black vocal group tradition, and by this
      > time was sending a number of players into the larger jazz world,
      > such as Prince Robinson, Graham Jackson, Joe Garland, etc.
      >
      > Warren
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >


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    • spacelights
      ... James ... It seems to have been a stunt they (Johnson and Waller) enjoyed--they used the same approach the previous year on another Johnson date (18 June
      Message 56 of 56 , Nov 4, 2005
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        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Howard Rye <howard@c...> wrote:
        >
        > >> --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Howard Rye <howard@c...>
        wrote:
        > >>>
        > >>> Most listeners think he was also one of The Keep Shufflin' Trio on
        James
        > > P.
        > >>> Johnson's You Don't Understand/You've Got To Be Modernistic (18
        > >> November
        > >>> 1929, Victor V38099), but we'll never know for sure.
        >
        > Why two pianists anyway?

        It seems to have been a stunt they (Johnson and Waller) enjoyed--they used
        the same approach the previous year on another Johnson date (18 June 1928),
        and also with Dunn's Original Jazz Hounds (26 March 1928)!

        Cheers,

        John
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