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Bee Palmer / Marion Harris

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  • Lynn Bayley
    Hello List, Thank you for the information. I did go to the Red Hot Jazz site and listened to Bee Palmer performing Singing the Blues. It took me a while
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 30, 2006
      Hello List,

      Thank you for the information. I did go to the Red Hot Jazz site
      and listened to Bee Palmer performing "Singing' the Blues." It took
      me a while to adjust my ears to the sounds she made. I do not feel
      that she had much of a singing voice.

      It also took some aural adjustment for me to "hear" either
      Trumbauer's or Bix's solos in what she sang. Miss Palmer transposed
      notes, altered the rhythm either subtly or dramatically, and added
      scoops and sobs. Yes, I know that this was a perfectly
      acceptable "torch singer" style in her time, but it does not sound
      like jazz to my ears.

      Marion Harris, on the other hand, sings in a clean style with a nice
      voice. The little bit of transposition that she does is
      necessitated by her natural singing range, not by caprice or a
      desire to impress the listener with her "torchiness." she also
      sings Tram's and Bix's rhythms exactly as they played them.

      So, OK, Bee Palmer was first, Marion Harris second. But in my own
      personal view, what Miss Palmer does is popular entertainment. To
      my ears, what Miss Harris did in 1934 was art. I am sure that
      everyone will hear these two records differently - people seldom
      hear things alike - but I encourage those who have not heard Miss
      Harris' recording to give it a close listen. It is remarkable,
      almost modern-sounding in its musical approach. In short, I love it!!

      Cheers,
      Lynn
    • Howard Rye
      ... For my part, I remember being astounded when I first heard these, admittedly in a very poor dubbing circulating on tape, that a singer as technically
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 30, 2006
        on 30/7/06 15:52, Lynn Bayley at lynnrbayley@... wrote:

        > Thank you for the information. I did go to the Red Hot Jazz site
        > and listened to Bee Palmer performing "Singing' the Blues." It took
        > me a while to adjust my ears to the sounds she made. I do not feel
        > that she had much of a singing voice.

        For my part, I remember being astounded when I first heard these, admittedly
        in a very poor dubbing circulating on tape, that a singer as technically
        atrocious as Bee Palmer could possibly have had a professional career. I
        wouldn't care to argue about whether or not she was a jazz singer. On this
        evidence, she is so bad it is hard to assign her to any style at all.

        It is certainly no wonder Columbia rejected these, yet evidently Paul
        Whiteman thought she was worth promoting. We must be missing something. Do
        none of the Bixians have any comment on this denizen of their world?!

        Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
        howard@...
        Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
      • Patrice Champarou
        As soon as I had posted the link, I started thinking of a phrase Howard used on some other group about something completely different, a truly unpleasant
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 30, 2006
          As soon as I had posted the link, I started thinking of a phrase Howard used
          on some other group about something completely different, "a truly
          unpleasant unmusical experience".... ;-)
          I think the excuse is that it is at least, er... amazing, I remember first
          hearing *this* with my mouth wide open until the torture was over. I don't
          know how Jean-Pierre Lion's comment was translated, but he wrote something
          like "anyone listening to either song she recorded on that day, Don't Leave
          Me Daddy and Singing The Blues, has much trouble falling under the charm of
          a forced and pierced voice, moving in a range adapted to public stage
          performance and completely alien to the intimacy of a microphone."

          Patrice
        • Lynn Bayley
          Hello group, I must admit that I am very pleased that no one on the list was upset with my assessment of Bee Palmer. Critical as I was, I *did* try to be
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 30, 2006
            Hello group,

            I must admit that I am very pleased that no one on the list was
            upset with my assessment of Bee Palmer. Critical as I was, I *did*
            try to be somewhat kind to her.

            Despite the difference in quality between Misses Palmer and Harris,
            it seems that Harris' "Singin' the Blues" was at least the first
            ISSUED example of vocalese. I take comfort in that; it is a
            performance that can easily stand comparison with Annie Ross or
            Lorraine Feather.

            On a different note, for those here who are not altogether averse to
            hearing old chestnuts in a much more modern garb, I strongly
            recommend the performance of "Tiger Rag" as played by - believe it
            or not - Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, John LaPorta, Lennie
            Tristano, Billy Bauer, Ray Brown and Max Roach. Perhaps shocking to
            ears more used to conventionally tonal versions, but I think that,
            if you listen with open ears, you will be astonished by the sheer
            invention they find in this old piece. You can find it at
            http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EQHINW/sr=1-
            1/qid=1154284185/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-9290756-7696710?ie=UTF8&s=music

            Happy listening, whatever your tastes!

            Lynn
          • loerchen2@aol.com
            Patrice and all -- You re not the only one to wonder about Bee s professional career. In a review of one of her performances, a New Orleans newspaper wrote
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 30, 2006
              Patrice and all --

              You're not the only one to wonder about Bee's professional career. In a review of one of her performances, a New Orleans newspaper wrote (in 1920) that she had better find something else to do for a living once the shimmy has run its course, because her singing sounds "like a carpenter practicing optometry."

              (I have several other reviews that pan her singing, but this was my favorite.)

              Sue Fischer


              -----Original Message-----
              From: patrice.champarou@...
              To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Sun, 30 Jul 2006 12:16 PM
              Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: Bee Palmer / Marion Harris


              As soon as I had posted the link, I started thinking of a phrase Howard used
              on some other group about something completely different, "a truly
              unpleasant unmusical experience".... ;-)
              I think the excuse is that it is at least, er... amazing, I remember first
              hearing *this* with my mouth wide open until the torture was over. I don't
              know how Jean-Pierre Lion's comment was translated, but he wrote something
              like "anyone listening to either song she recorded on that day, Don't Leave
              Me Daddy and Singing The Blues, has much trouble falling under the charm of
              a forced and pierced voice, moving in a range adapted to public stage
              performance and completely alien to the intimacy of a microphone."

              Patrice



              ________________________________________________________________________
              Check out AOL.com today. Breaking news, video search, pictures, email and IM. All on demand. Always Free.


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Howard Rye
              ... This list has discussed Ralph Berton s book Remembering Bix before, and I hesitate to suggest that anything in it should be taken seriously, but he gives
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 31, 2006
                on 30/7/06 23:15, loerchen2@... at loerchen2@... wrote:

                > Patrice and all --
                >
                > You're not the only one to wonder about Bee's professional career. In a
                > review of one of her performances, a New Orleans newspaper wrote (in 1920)
                > that she had better find something else to do for a living once the shimmy has
                > run its course, because her singing sounds "like a carpenter practicing
                > optometry."
                >
                > (I have several other reviews that pan her singing, but this was my favorite.)
                >
                > Sue Fischer
                >
                This list has discussed Ralph Berton's book "Remembering Bix" before, and I
                hesitate to suggest that anything in it should be taken seriously, but he
                gives an account of Bee Palmer's act which perhaps provides further clues to
                how she was able to make a living! This includes Vic Berton's explanation
                (it was obviously felt to need explaining even then), which I hesitate to
                repeat in polite company.

                Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                howard@...
                Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
              • Lynn Bayley
                I feel it incumbent upon me to defend Ralph Berton s book because he was one of my closest friends for the last 22 years of his life. Ralph tended towards
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 31, 2006
                  I feel it incumbent upon me to defend Ralph Berton's book because he
                  was one of my closest friends for the last 22 years of his life.

                  Ralph tended towards exaggeration but not fabrication. I know this
                  well: other stories he told me, not only about jazz musicians but
                  classical musicians (he had a good knowledge of both kinds of music),
                  were proved true in independent research which I did. Sometimes his
                  memory tended to combine events or slightly misplace the dates, but
                  this was also true of the late Max Kaminsky who was also very
                  forthright in his rememberances of things past with me.

                  Ralph had his flaws. He always raved about his sons but never even
                  mentioned his daughter, and was not always there to support any of his
                  children. He floated from odd job to odd job all of his life. But he
                  was scrupulously honest, of that I am sure.

                  His personal speculations about Beiderbecke were just that, personal
                  speculations. But you can take it to the bank that what he said
                  happened, happened. In his later years, he was ostracized by the jazz
                  community because he told too many tales out of school, true though
                  they were, and turned a deaf ear to a lot of modern jazz. (I agreed
                  with him about Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp and Albert Ayler, who I
                  consider musical charlatans.)

                  Lynn

                  --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:

                  > This list has discussed Ralph Berton's book "Remembering Bix" before,
                  and I hesitate to suggest that anything in it should be taken
                  seriously, but he gives an account of Bee Palmer's act which perhaps
                  provides further clues to how she was able to make a living! This
                  includes Vic Berton's explanation
                  > (it was obviously felt to need explaining even then), which I
                  hesitate to repeat in polite company.
                • Howard Rye
                  ... Since the Bixians are continuing to maintain a doubtless heartfelt silence on this subject, I will quote Frank Trumbauer on the lady, courtesy of Jean
                  Message 8 of 9 , Aug 1, 2006
                    on 30/7/06 18:16, Patrice Champarou at patrice.champarou@... wrote:

                    > As soon as I had posted the link, I started thinking of a phrase Howard used
                    > on some other group about something completely different, "a truly
                    > unpleasant unmusical experience".... ;-)
                    > I think the excuse is that it is at least, er... amazing, I remember first
                    > hearing *this* with my mouth wide open until the torture was over. I don't
                    > know how Jean-Pierre Lion's comment was translated, but he wrote something
                    > like "anyone listening to either song she recorded on that day, Don't Leave
                    > Me Daddy and Singing The Blues, has much trouble falling under the charm of
                    > a forced and pierced voice, moving in a range adapted to public stage
                    > performance and completely alien to the intimacy of a microphone."
                    >
                    Since the Bixians are continuing to maintain a doubtless heartfelt silence
                    on this subject, I will quote Frank Trumbauer on the lady, courtesy of Jean
                    Pierre Lion:

                    "Bee Palmer, one of the Ziegfeld Girls, was a beautiful blonde who possessed
                    a most unusual voice. Her phrasing and interpretation of a song was just
                    about fifteen years ahead of the times....Ted Koehler wrote two choruses of
                    special lyrics to 'Singin' The Blues' for Bee. Lyrics for Bix's chorus and
                    my chorus."

                    It is rather difficult, says Jean Pierre, to understand what Tram heard in
                    her. The point, however, is clearly that this performance was vocalese in
                    intention as well as execution.

                    Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                    howard@...
                    Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
                  • heckman_michael
                    The Bixians are all recovering from their weekend in Davenport. ... silence ... courtesy of Jean ... possessed ... was just ... choruses of ... chorus and ...
                    Message 9 of 9 , Aug 1, 2006
                      The Bixians are all recovering from their weekend in Davenport.


                      > Since the Bixians are continuing to maintain a doubtless heartfelt
                      silence
                      > on this subject, I will quote Frank Trumbauer on the lady,
                      courtesy of Jean
                      > Pierre Lion:
                      >
                      > "Bee Palmer, one of the Ziegfeld Girls, was a beautiful blonde who
                      possessed
                      > a most unusual voice. Her phrasing and interpretation of a song
                      was just
                      > about fifteen years ahead of the times....Ted Koehler wrote two
                      choruses of
                      > special lyrics to 'Singin' The Blues' for Bee. Lyrics for Bix's
                      chorus and
                      > my chorus."
                      >
                      > It is rather difficult, says Jean Pierre, to understand what Tram
                      heard in
                      > her. The point, however, is clearly that this performance was
                      vocalese in
                      > intention as well as execution.
                      >
                      > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                      > howard@...
                      > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
                      >
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