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Re: West Coast Jazz

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  • silverleafjb
    snip ... way for the numerous bands and festivals that still dot the landscapes of the U.S., the U.K. and Europe. I m always surprised to read or hear
    Message 1 of 29 , Oct 5, 2006
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      snip
      > There is no doubt this band was at the vanguard of the revivalist
      > movement. By recreating (or imitating) Oliver's CJB, this group made
      way > for the numerous bands and festivals that still dot the
      landscapes of > the U.S., the U.K. and Europe.

      I'm always surprised to read or hear references that the Watters and
      Murphy bands "recreated" or "imitated" Oliver. Watters very
      emphatically stated in print (and to me personally) that was not the
      point of the band. There is an interview where he clearly states "How
      can you copy the King Oliver band?" Watters concept was to use two
      trumpets (or cornets) partly because he liked the sound, and he wanted
      to play the tunes from the 1920s, some of which had been recorded by
      Oliver. But the band played and recorded a lot of numbers that weren't
      recorded by Oliver. BTW, the Oliver tunes the band played were all
      originally available as stock arrangements from Melrose Publishing. In
      addition, not very many people at that time had copies of the original
      recordings. None had been reissued and the originals were not easy to
      come by.

      As was mentioned in another post, Watters and Turk came out of the
      dance band scene of the 1920s and 30s, as did most of their
      colleagues, playing with bands that often had tuba rather than string
      bass, or a bassist that doubled. I believe Watters was attempting to
      grab a slightly different audience than most swing bands of the time
      simply by playing two beat with a tuba in the rhythm section. There
      were lots of people around in the 1940s who would have preferred
      dancing to Watters' music rather than, for example, Benny Goodman's
      band blasting away on a fast-tempo killer-diller. By having two
      trumpets, Watters could attempt to get some of the volume of a big
      band with a smaller combination, making it more financially viable. As
      it was, he had played in a conventional big band at Sweets Ballroom in
      Oakland a couple of years prior to his forming the Yerba Buena group
      (in 1937, and those recordings are available from the San Francisco
      Trad Jazz Foundation). And that band played quite a few 1920s numbers,
      in addition to playing popular tunes.

      Regarding Strickler, he was a favorite of Watters, and he was one of
      Turk's favorite trumpet players. On the boxed GTJ set, there are
      versions of "Muskrat Ramble" and "Trombone Rag" with Strickler that
      were previously unissued (that I helped supply for that set), and I
      believe one of the San Francisco Trad Jazz Foundation CDs has a
      previously unreleased "Ace in the Hole."

      Regarding the Watters band being "at the vanguard," this is not
      strictly the case. They were part of an ongoing interest in early
      jazz. Just some of the media attention at that time were articles on
      record collecting in Esquire magazine; publication of the book
      Jazzmen; recordings by Bob Crosby's band (especially the Bobcats)and
      by Eddie Condon's groups on Commodore; and a number of reissues of
      1920s recordings. I belive the only reason Watters gets a good deal of
      attention is simply due to the fact he was able to make a number of
      recordings, first for the Jazz Man label (based in LA) before WWII,
      then after WWII on his own labels (first West Coast, then Down Home).
      Other groups didn't have this opportunity until after WWII (with the
      exception of the Castle Jazz Band in Portland, with two 78 issues from
      recording sessions in 1944).

      BTW, regarding the Castle Jazz Band, that band was originally oriented
      more towards the Chicago style until the band's session from December
      1947, when leader Monte Ballou switched to banjo and cornetist/valve
      trombonist Bob Short switched to tuba.

      Cheers,
      Chris Tyle
    • john schott
      Chris, Excellent contribution, thanks. ... From: silverleafjb To: Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2006
      Message 2 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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        Chris, Excellent contribution, thanks.


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "silverleafjb" <silverleafjb@...>
        To: <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2006 11:13 PM
        Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: West Coast Jazz
        [...]
        > I'm always surprised to read or hear references that the Watters and
        > Murphy bands "recreated" or "imitated" Oliver. Watters very
        > emphatically stated in print (and to me personally) that was not the
        > point of the band. There is an interview where he clearly states "How
        > can you copy the King Oliver band?" Watters concept was to use two
        > trumpets (or cornets) partly because he liked the sound, and he wanted
        >
        [...]
        >
        > Regarding the Watters band being "at the vanguard," this is not
        > strictly the case. They were part of an ongoing interest in early
        > jazz. Just some of the media attention at that time were articles on
        > record collecting in Esquire magazine; publication of the book

        [...]

        > Cheers,
        > Chris Tyle
      • Howard Rye
        ... Hear, hear. I can t think of any way of not making this sound a bit pompous but it is an enormous relief to learn that what my ears tell me Watters was
        Message 3 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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          on 6/10/06 8:41, john schott at john@... wrote:

          > Chris, Excellent contribution, thanks.
          >
          >
          Hear, hear.

          I can't think of any way of not making this sound a bit pompous but it is an
          enormous relief to learn that what my ears tell me Watters was doing is what
          Watters thought he was doing.

          By contrast I think the early European revivalists were consciously engaged
          in "re-creating" what they heard on their records, and of course the Oliver
          Creole Band Gennetts were freely available in Britain (and pre-Nazi Europe),
          albeit in diabolical dubs whose deficiencies sometimes seem to be reflected
          in the music of the revivalist bands. Everyone remotely interested in jazz
          had heard them.

          The Graeme Bell band down under were engaged in an enterprise much more
          analagous to what Watters was doing, and there is a lot of testimony to how
          startled homegrown revivalists were when this freewheeling ensemble playing
          for dancers fetched up in London. Inadvertently, the Bells are the true
          fathers of British Trad are they not? Their records are also some of the
          most rewarding and enduring of the revivalist output.

          Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
          howard@...
          Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
        • Robert Greenwood
          David Littlefield has admirably articulated what I cannot get along with in the Lu Watters YBJB (described once by Max Harrison as the Yerba Buena Yobs).
          Message 4 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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            David Littlefield has admirably articulated what I cannot get along
            with in the Lu Watters' YBJB (described once by Max Harrison as the
            Yerba Buena Yobs). Thanks, David. It's good to see mention on here of
            Doc Evans – a fine player. And the Bell Band were excellent. Lazy Ade
            Monsbourgh died very recently; a fact which went unreported (as far as
            I know) anywhere in the UK press who eagerly report in their obituary
            pages the demise of any jazz musician. The boxed set of LW I saw in
            Fopp consists, I think, of the various Yerba Buena JB GTJ albums/CDs.
            Fopp is a vaguely trendy-looking outlet selling mostly bargain priced
            CDs, DVDs, and paperback books for those who seek constantly to be
            entertained somewhere down the shallow end; although they do sell a
            fair number of jazz, blues, and classical music CDs.
            Robert Greenwood.
          • Michael Rader
            I sometimes read the archive of the dixieland jazz mailing list. Bill Haesler (it s a pity he doesn t post here as well) recently pointed out an article by
            Message 5 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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              I sometimes read the archive of the dixieland jazz mailing list. Bill Haesler (it's a pity he doesn't post here as well) recently pointed out an article by Eddie Condon, of all people, on San Francisco trad , mainly Turk Murphy. It's on Jim Cullum's Riverwalk website: www.riverwalkjazz.org/site/News2?JServSessionIdr006=18wmbbgcn4.app14a&page=NewsArticle&id=5434&am
              Incidentally, Condon put together a tune called "Duff Campbell's Revenge", named after one of the SF scenes's characters. It was recorded both by Condon and Murphy.

              Wouldn't the earliest influence on British trad be George Webb? The earliest recordings, which I have on a George Buck issued LP predate the Bells' visits to the UK and were probably not influenced by Watters, due to lack of awareness of their existence. The tuba's also not exactly flexible - a legacy of the British brass band tradition, at a guess.

              At this distance, it's difficult to do any of these early revivalist bands justice, since we tend to hear their flaws more than any of the contemporary listeners. But hidden in the recordings are redeeming features, such as Bob Helm's solos - the late Frank Powers really opened my ears to Helm, who sounds off-tune to many critics, like Pee Wee Russell - an acquired taste.

              Cheers,
              Michael Rader
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            • Howard Rye
              ... What I had in mind was that it was the Bells who introduced music for dancing. See p.150 of Humphrey Lyttelton s I Play As I Please. Lyttelton agrees that
              Message 6 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                on 6/10/06 17:23, Michael Rader at Rader.Michael@... wrote:

                > Wouldn't the earliest influence on British trad be George Webb? The earliest
                > recordings, which I have on a George Buck issued LP predate the Bells' visits
                > to the UK and were probably not influenced by Watters, due to lack of
                > awareness of their existence. The tuba's also not exactly flexible - a legacy
                > of the British brass band tradition, at a guess.

                What I had in mind was that it was the Bells who introduced music for
                dancing. See p.150 of Humphrey Lyttelton's I Play As I Please. Lyttelton
                agrees that the Bell band was in the Yerba Buena mould though he
                characterizes the results rather differently from the way anyone has done
                here. Which brings us round in a circle.

                If I express the view that the commercial phenomenon that became British
                Trad (and the tired mainstream in which its practitioners took refuge when
                the bubble burst) owes much more to Joe Daniels and Freddie Randall than to
                George Webb, I will need a triple thickness tin hat, so forget I said it.

                Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                howard@...
                Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
              • Bob Eagle
                I ll be at the risk of causing great offence to some here. I came up during the Oz version of Britain s Trad Jazz craze, and I heard the Bell band
                Message 7 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                  I'll be at the risk of causing great offence to some here. I came up during the Oz version of Britain's Trad Jazz craze, and I heard the Bell band (particularly on record but occasionally live when they visited Melbourne), and a number of worthwhile Melbourne bands.

                  It has struck me forcibly in later years how much the approach and "feel" of the Aussie bands resembled that of the best Western Swing bands, despite the obvious differences in instrumentation. Australian popular music has had the pervasive influence of hillbilly music, from Jimmie Rodgers through Hank Snow and beyond. Of course both sets (Bell etc and Light Crust Doughboys et al) were geared towards dancers, but I think it again demonstrates the interconnectedness of all good American music, even when filtered through players from Down Under.

                  Bob

                  Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:
                  on 6/10/06 8:41, john schott at john@... wrote:

                  > Chris, Excellent contribution, thanks.
                  >
                  >
                  Hear, hear.

                  I can't think of any way of not making this sound a bit pompous but it is an
                  enormous relief to learn that what my ears tell me Watters was doing is what
                  Watters thought he was doing.

                  By contrast I think the early European revivalists were consciously engaged
                  in "re-creating" what they heard on their records, and of course the Oliver
                  Creole Band Gennetts were freely available in Britain (and pre-Nazi Europe),
                  albeit in diabolical dubs whose deficiencies sometimes seem to be reflected
                  in the music of the revivalist bands. Everyone remotely interested in jazz
                  had heard them.

                  The Graeme Bell band down under were engaged in an enterprise much more
                  analagous to what Watters was doing, and there is a lot of testimony to how
                  startled homegrown revivalists were when this freewheeling ensemble playing
                  for dancers fetched up in London. Inadvertently, the Bells are the true
                  fathers of British Trad are they not? Their records are also some of the
                  most rewarding and enduring of the revivalist output.

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





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                • David Richoux
                  Going the same way in a slightly different direction - when a major FM Rock station in San Francisco presented a 3 day History of Rock in SF show - the very
                  Message 8 of 29 , Oct 6, 2006
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                    Going the same way in a slightly different direction - when a major
                    FM Rock station in San Francisco presented a 3 day "History of Rock
                    in SF" show - the very first song they played was YBJB's "Annie
                    Street Rock" - to my ears it fit right in with the late 1940's R&B
                    and other "pre-rock." Again, YBJB was geared to teen age and young
                    adult dancers as much as the slightly older "listeners" of the
                    previous generation.

                    Dave Richoux


                    On Oct 6, 2006, at 5:09 PM, Bob Eagle wrote:

                    > I'll be at the risk of causing great offence to some here. I came
                    > up during the Oz version of Britain's Trad Jazz craze, and I heard
                    > the Bell band (particularly on record but occasionally live when
                    > they visited Melbourne), and a number of worthwhile Melbourne bands.
                    >
                    > It has struck me forcibly in later years how much the approach
                    > and "feel" of the Aussie bands resembled that of the best Western
                    > Swing bands, despite the obvious differences in instrumentation.
                    > Australian popular music has had the pervasive influence of
                    > hillbilly music, from Jimmie Rodgers through Hank Snow and beyond.
                    > Of course both sets (Bell etc and Light Crust Doughboys et al) were
                    > geared towards dancers, but I think it again demonstrates the
                    > interconnectedness of all good American music, even when filtered
                    > through players from Down Under.
                    >
                    > Bob
                    >
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