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Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: New book: In Search of the Blues by Marybeth Hamilton

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  • Hugh Crozier
    There may be a case for the popularity of Waller and Ellington as early as 1934 but at that time Louis Jordan was playing with Clarence Williams (I think). He
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
      There may be a case for the popularity of Waller and Ellington as early as 1934 but at that time Louis Jordan was playing with Clarence Williams (I think). He did not record his own band until 1938 (even then I don't think it was under his own name). His great success was in the late 40s and early 50s.

      The suspicion must be that the reviewer Robert refers to knows a few names from the jazz era and just lumped them together.

      Hugh


      ----- Original Message ----
      From: spacelights <spacelights@...>
      To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, 14 February, 2007 3:54:26 AM
      Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: New book: In Search of the Blues by Marybeth Hamilton

      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogro ups.com, "Robert Greenwood"
      <robertgreenwood_ 54uk@...> wrote:
      >
      > Miss Hamilton's assertion that, despite the high regard in which they
      > are held by the cognoscenti, the recordings of artists such as Charley
      > Patton and his contemporaries and successors did not "enjoy much of a
      > local audience. Even in and around Clarksdale, jukeboxes played the
      > hits, which meant acts such as Louis Jordan and Count Basie, Fats
      > Waller and Duke Ellington. Patton's recordings sold only moderately
      > in his lifetime and those of his followers barely at all." Charley
      > Patton died in 1934 and, although prepared to stand corrected, I
      > question how much popular currency any of the artists named had
      > acquired by that year. Jordan and Basie had no reputations at that
      > time, and Ellington and Waller were known mostly to jazz followers or
      > to those who had heard them in New York or (in the case of Ellington)
      > in Europe.

      I hadn't heard of the book until your post--I do think Ellington had
      achieved a good deal of currency due to CBS radio broadcasts from the
      Cotton Club in the late '20s and early '30s... In 1934, Duke and the
      band featured prominently in the Mae West picture 'Belle Of The
      Nineties' (1934), which would have been huge exposure at the time.
      Waller also broadcast frequently.. . In a sense it doesn't matter, as
      Patton was more of a folk musician, recording blues and spirituals
      (the latter comprising his finest work, I feel) more or less
      exclusively. Interesting controversy (let's hope) anyway, cheers.

      John






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      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Howard Rye
      on 14/2/07 8:57, Hugh Crozier at jellyrollstomp@yahoo.co.uk wrote: The suspicion must be that the reviewer Robert refers to knows a few names from the jazz era
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
        on 14/2/07 8:57, Hugh Crozier at jellyrollstomp@... wrote:



        The suspicion must be that the reviewer Robert refers to knows a few names
        from the jazz era and just lumped them together.

        The names almost certainly come from the book because they derive from a
        list of records on juke-boxes compiled by a Libary fo Congress researcher in
        1942. Years ago, there was a short piece about this in Jazz Monthly.

        This is getting to be rather an "old" debate. It was pointed out when this
        research was first reported that the fact that records are on a juke-box
        doesn't prove than anyone plays them. Almost always what is on the juke-box
        will be centrally controlled by the distributor and will include the pop
        hots of the day a a result of contractual arrangements with record
        distributors. On top of this a sane operator will make adjustments based on
        what he thinks the clientele at any particular location will pay for.

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




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David Brown
        Robert Many thanks for fascinating post but I won t be rushing out to buy. Bill Russell, although he did bring certain preconceptions to the music of N.O. in
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
          Robert

          Many thanks for fascinating post but I won't be rushing out to buy. Bill
          Russell, although he did bring certain preconceptions to the music of N.O.
          in the 40s, must be a figure revered by any serious lover of our music.

          The reference to juke box sounds supposedly contemporary with Patton
          displays the profound ignorance of today's 'experts'.

          Surely blues ,at that time, was totally a local folk music based on a local
          audience with style varying over even a few miles ?

          Waller only hit big after the first Rhythm sides of 1934 and I suspect that
          Ellington's constituency was primarily urban throughout his career. Basie
          and Jordan are obvious anomalies in this context. What evidence is produced
          to support this unlikely claim ? And, as Howard points out, what does it
          prove anyway ?

          I, for one, would be pleased to read your demolition of Marybeth and suggest
          a post is the way to maximum dissemination.

          Dave




          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Robert Greenwood
          Thanks, Dave. I don t necessarily think that M. Hamilton s book displays the profound ignorance of today s experts. There are plenty of true experts around.
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
            Thanks, Dave. I don't necessarily think that M. Hamilton's book
            displays the profound ignorance of today's experts. There are plenty
            of true experts around. You could perhaps look on the Yahoo Pre-war
            Blues list; plenty of expert and erudite comment on there. Hamilton
            is an example, I would say, of the sort of academic who cobbles a
            book together without doing any first-hand research. It's on the
            blues, an "attractive" subject seen by people like the editor of the
            Observer Music Monthly as a precursor to rock music, so it gets well
            reviewed by journalists as inexpert and uninformed as the author, who
            blithely ignores contrary opinion and expert comment, adds the book
            to her CV, renews her teaching contract, and moves on to write
            further rubbish about some other "cultural studies" topic.
            Here is some more from Caspar Llewellyn Smith's review of her book in
            the Observer:
            "The author spent her teenage years in San Diego and was a fan of
            prototype punks the New York Dolls. She came to the blues through the
            writings of critic Greil Marcus, in whose seminal Mystery Train,
            Robert Johnson was fancifully identified as rock'n'roll's progenitor.
            It took Hamilton 15 years to get around to listening to Johnson's
            recordings - and he only ever did commit 29 songs to vinyl, before
            his death at the probable age of 27 in 1938…When the author did
            listen, she confesses: 'I heard very little, just a guitar, a keening
            vocal and a lot of surface noise' and certainly not the tale of
            existential anguish that others identified."
            There's that word "seminal" again. I trust that no-one else out there
            listening to Robert Johnson hears "just a guitar, a keening vocal and
            a lot of surface noise"?
            Robert.
          • Robert Greenwood
            ... N.O. ... What preconceptions were they? Robert
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
              --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Bill
              > Russell, although he did bring certain preconceptions to the music of
              N.O.
              > in the 40s...

              What preconceptions were they?

              Robert
            • tommersl
              That doesn t seem to be supported with facts. Patton s first record sold in 5 figures, and they kept invite him to record more and more though the Dow-Jones
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
                That doesn't seem to be supported with facts.
                Patton's first record sold in 5 figures, and they kept invite him to
                record more and more though the Dow-Jones was down. And he had more
                records out than anybody else in 1931 (and Howard can you correct me
                if I'm wrong?). In the 1960's Gayle Dean Wardlow saw that Patton was
                still popular in the Delta when he asked people about him.
                http://www.bluesworld.com/Gayle
                Today jukeboxes in the Delta has artists like Bobby Rush. But for the
                writer of a similar book in the future the claim will be that it was
                probably whoever else because whatever reason. They don't really know
                what really happened or what they are talking about.
                I wonder what Gayle Dean Wardlow would say about it if he read this.
                Tommersl


                --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Greenwood"
                <robertgreenwood_54uk@...> wrote:
                > Miss Hamilton's assertion that, despite the high regard in which they
                > are held by the cognoscenti, the recordings of artists such as Charley
                > Patton and his contemporaries and successors did not "enjoy much of a
                > local audience. Even in and around Clarksdale, jukeboxes played the
                > hits, which meant acts such as Louis Jordan and Count Basie, Fats
                > Waller and Duke Ellington. Patton's recordings sold only moderately
                > in his lifetime and those of his followers barely at all."
              • Robert Dewar
                One could scarcely write a more damning parody of a bio without maximum effort! Too funny. I am trying to keep an open mind on this book and author but its
                Message 7 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
                  One could scarcely write a more damning parody of a bio without
                  maximum effort! Too funny.

                  I am trying to keep an open mind on this book and author but its
                  starting to get hard to do so.

                  Robert JD
                  >
                  > Here is some more from Caspar Llewellyn Smith's review of her book in
                  > the Observer:
                  > "The author spent her teenage years in San Diego and was a fan of
                  > prototype punks the New York Dolls. She came to the blues through the
                  > writings of critic Greil Marcus, in whose seminal Mystery Train,
                  > Robert Johnson was fancifully identified as rock'n'roll's progenitor.
                  > It took Hamilton 15 years to get around to listening to Johnson's
                  > recordings - and he only ever did commit 29 songs to vinyl, before
                  > his death at the probable age of 27 in 1938…When the author did
                  > listen, she confesses: 'I heard very little, just a guitar, a keening
                  > vocal and a lot of surface noise' and certainly not the tale of
                  > existential anguish that others identified."

                  > There's that word "seminal" again. I trust that no-one else out there
                  > listening to Robert Johnson hears "just a guitar, a keening vocal and
                  > a lot of surface noise"?
                  > Robert.
                • David Brown
                  Robert I bow to no man, expect maybe your good self, in my admiration for Bill Russell but I suggest that what Bill expected to find in N.O. in the 40s was
                  Message 8 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
                    Robert

                    I bow to no man, expect maybe your good self, in my admiration for Bill
                    Russell but I suggest that what Bill expected to find in N.O. in the 40s was
                    music of the 'classic' era, or even earlier, somehow preserved. However, the
                    music of N.O. -- as everywhere -- had evolved and altered. I would argue
                    that, to some extent, by his choice of musicians and repertoire he imposed
                    his own vision and produced an artificial hybrid --- marvellous indeed --
                    which was not representative of N.O music of that time.

                    Dave





                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Robert Greenwood
                    I have never found any evidence to support this. The most reliable way to find out if Bill had any preconceptions that may have determined the music heard on
                    Message 9 of 18 , Feb 15, 2007
                      I have never found any evidence to support this. The most reliable
                      way to find out if Bill had any preconceptions that may have
                      determined the music heard on the AMs must be in Bill's journals kept
                      at the time of the AM recordings and published in 1993 by George Buck
                      as "Bill Russell's American Music." I don't think Bill set out to
                      create an accurate and complete documentary record of New Orleans
                      music of the mid-1940s (even supposing such a project were feasible,
                      or would in itself avoid charges of "preconceptions") so he can
                      hardly be criticised for failing to achieve something he never set
                      out to achieve in the first place.
                      I think he wanted to record Bunk in the best setting he could find
                      for him. Bunk had been off the scene for some years by then and so a
                      band had to be put together for him made up of musicians who may not
                      have been Bunk's first choice and with whom some compromises may have
                      had to be made.
                      Robert

                      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
                      wrote:
                      >
                      > Robert
                      >
                      > I bow to no man, expect maybe your good self, in my admiration for
                      Bill
                      > Russell but I suggest that what Bill expected to find in N.O. in
                      the 40s was
                      > music of the 'classic' era, or even earlier, somehow preserved.
                      However, the
                      > music of N.O. -- as everywhere -- had evolved and altered. I would
                      argue
                      > that, to some extent, by his choice of musicians and repertoire he
                      imposed
                      > his own vision and produced an artificial hybrid --- marvellous
                      indeed --
                      > which was not representative of N.O music of that time.
                      >
                      > Dave
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      >
                    • jonasfixe
                      Hello I m a musician from Portugal and recently got to know this group, which I find interesting. I recently have been to Guildford UK, and bought this
                      Message 10 of 18 , Feb 15, 2007
                        Hello

                        I'm a musician from Portugal and recently got to know this group,
                        which I find interesting.

                        I recently have been to Guildford UK, and bought this wonderful book
                        of John Chilton "JAZZ", and I think this quote confirms what you
                        say, Robert:

                        Page 89

                        "In 1940, Heywood Hale Broun, a jazz magazine editor, decided it was
                        time that he visited New Orleans to record other musicians, like
                        Bunk, who had played a part in early jazz history. Bunk Johnson was
                        offered the chance to play on the session, but he was busy
                        rehabilitating himself […].Instead, a younger man, Henry (Kid) Arena,
                        who had been in the Waif's Home Band with Louis Armstrong, played the
                        trumpet on the recordings […].

                        Bill Russell, one of the few writers who could then justifiably be
                        called an expert on New Orleans jazz, wrote in his initial review of
                        the records: `New Orleans music is played by groups of any size
                        specified by an employer, and ranges from the single piano player in
                        the tonks and whorehouses to the bands of twenty or more used for
                        funerals and Mardi Gras parades.' He went on to say: `although the
                        records featured a line-up similar to that used by Buddy Bolden's
                        band, they were not a deliberate attempt to recreate the traditional
                        jazz style of the 20's or even the 30's. They contained a variety of
                        New Orleans music: marches, folk-tunes, composed pieces and
                        improvised blues played by a group of outstanding musicians.' All
                        this made sense, as there never had been a de rigueur instrumentation
                        for New Orleans jazz."

                        Regards,

                        Joao Pedro



                        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Greenwood"
                        <robertgreenwood_54uk@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I have never found any evidence to support this. The most reliable
                        > way to find out if Bill had any preconceptions that may have
                        > determined the music heard on the AMs must be in Bill's journals
                        kept
                        > at the time of the AM recordings and published in 1993 by George
                        Buck
                        > as "Bill Russell's American Music." I don't think Bill set out to
                        > create an accurate and complete documentary record of New Orleans
                        > music of the mid-1940s (even supposing such a project were
                        feasible,
                        > or would in itself avoid charges of "preconceptions") so he can
                        > hardly be criticised for failing to achieve something he never set
                        > out to achieve in the first place.
                        > I think he wanted to record Bunk in the best setting he could find
                        > for him. Bunk had been off the scene for some years by then and so
                        a
                        > band had to be put together for him made up of musicians who may
                        not
                        > have been Bunk's first choice and with whom some compromises may
                        have
                        > had to be made.
                        > Robert
                        >
                        > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@>
                        > wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Robert
                        > >
                        > > I bow to no man, expect maybe your good self, in my admiration
                        for
                        > Bill
                        > > Russell but I suggest that what Bill expected to find in N.O. in
                        > the 40s was
                        > > music of the 'classic' era, or even earlier, somehow preserved.
                        > However, the
                        > > music of N.O. -- as everywhere -- had evolved and altered. I
                        would
                        > argue
                        > > that, to some extent, by his choice of musicians and repertoire
                        he
                        > imposed
                        > > his own vision and produced an artificial hybrid --- marvellous
                        > indeed --
                        > > which was not representative of N.O music of that time.
                        > >
                        > > Dave
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > >
                        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        > >
                        >
                      • David Brown
                        Robert I am open to correction from such a learned source. Do we now therefore reject the received opinion that Bill was attempting time travel in N.O. in 1943
                        Message 11 of 18 , Feb 17, 2007
                          Robert

                          I am open to correction from such a learned source. Do we now therefore
                          reject the received opinion that Bill was attempting time travel in N.O. in
                          1943 ? My reading was that Bill went to N.O. to record 'his' band of
                          names -- pre-eminently Bunk -- gleaned from his researches and, as you
                          state, not to record N.O. music in its 1943 incarnation. The quote from Joao
                          Pedro -- to whom many thanks -- which I have dated to October 1940, does,
                          however, suggest Bill's openness.

                          As to George, he was simply the best clarinettist in N.O. in 1943 and it was
                          Bunk who suggested him. Bill had gone intending to use Big Eye Louis -- more
                          contemporary to Bunk and perhaps indicative of an attempt to record an
                          earlier style -- but found him too ill to play.

                          Do we also remove from Bill suspicion as instigator of, or participator in,
                          anti-saxophone bias which pervaded much early N.O. revival recording ?

                          Surely though he must take prime seat as re-instigator of banjo over guitar,
                          by which it had surely been totally superseded in N.O. as elsewhere. He is
                          certainly on record as having this preference and there is somewhere a near
                          scoff of Marrero wanting to bring his electric guitar to a session. The
                          plankplunk of so many worldwide revivalist bands can maybe therefore be laid
                          at his door ?

                          And what about repertoire ? There is the story of George and musicians
                          learning the required classic repertoire round a gramophone. I suggest
                          that, pre-revival, all N.O. bands would have been expected to play
                          contemporary pop material such as ' Mairzy Doats' which Bunk wanted to
                          record. With the revival, repertoire was frozen to the classic jazz tunes
                          and popular material of a bygone era only. The repertoire and therefore, to
                          an extent, the music failed to grow. Was this Bill ?

                          Bill, above all, had wonderful ears and no criticism intended because
                          whoever else may have been available to record in N.O.in 1943 it is almost
                          certain that no better music could have been captured. There is, however,
                          the question as to why he was not interested in recording actual working
                          bands which he did not do till the 50s I think. Does this smack slightly of
                          paternalism ? There were working brass marching bands to be recorded, I
                          suggest, before the not exactly authentic Bunk derivative.

                          Dave




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Tony Standish
                          All sorts of people made the pilgrimage to New Orleans, from the Forties right thru to the present day - Williams, Edward Smith, Russell, Stuart, Ertegun,
                          Message 12 of 18 , Feb 18, 2007
                            All sorts of people made the pilgrimage to New Orleans, from the Forties
                            right thru to the present day - Williams, Edward Smith, Russell, Stuart,
                            Ertegun, Allen, Ramsay, Charters, Mills, and on and on.. They - we - all
                            went to hear the music that remained. They listened, they recorded, they
                            sometimes meddled a bit, but out of it all came came many sublime musical
                            experiences that gave much joy to people all around the world.
                            I don't really care much if Bill might have suggested to Bunk to play Closer
                            Walk, or if the Kid Thomas Band was called the Kid Thomas Band or the
                            Algiers Stompers. They played in Algiers. They stomped right along. What
                            does it really matter?
                            George was a good clarinet player. Like all great players, there were bits
                            and pieces he picked up from others along the way - not only from Dodds, but
                            from reed men we may have never heard, or from Woody Herman (listen to Woody
                            on Bing's "I Want me Mamma"),or from recordngs by Guy Lombardo! One could
                            write a thesis on the subject, and my mate Barry Wratten may well be
                            encouraged to do just that.
                            The musos played parades with theTuxedo during the day; at night they played
                            rock 'n' roll at bars or private functions. They were players, who provided
                            music for dancing, marching, cake-walking, smooching or whatever the Man
                            asked of them.
                            Gene Williams was gobsmacked when he heard the Ory band playing waltzes and
                            popular songs in the same style that they played Muskrat Ramble. No need to
                            be surprised.
                            Perhaps that is where the jazz pilgrims made their big mistake, by insisting
                            that the musicians play jazz "standards" rather than the songs they played
                            nightly at local gigs!
                            But that's hindsight. We weren't there to advise them, were we?
                            Tony Standish mojohand@....
                            From: "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
                            To: <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
                            Sent: Sunday, February 18, 2007 6:31 PM
                            Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Re: Bill Russell (Was: New book: In Search of the
                            Blues by Marybeth Hamilton)


                            > Robert
                            >
                            > I am open to correction from such a learned source. Do we now therefore
                            > reject the received opinion that Bill was attempting time travel in N.O.
                            > in
                            > 1943 ? My reading was that Bill went to N.O. to record 'his' band of
                            > names -- pre-eminently Bunk -- gleaned from his researches and, as you
                            > state, not to record N.O. music in its 1943 incarnation. The quote from
                            > Joao
                            > Pedro -- to whom many thanks -- which I have dated to October 1940, does,
                            > however, suggest Bill's openness.
                            >
                            > As to George, he was simply the best clarinettist in N.O. in 1943 and it
                            > was
                            > Bunk who suggested him. Bill had gone intending to use Big Eye Louis --
                            > more
                            > contemporary to Bunk and perhaps indicative of an attempt to record an
                            > earlier style -- but found him too ill to play.
                            >
                            > Do we also remove from Bill suspicion as instigator of, or participator
                            > in,
                            > anti-saxophone bias which pervaded much early N.O. revival recording ?
                            >
                            > Surely though he must take prime seat as re-instigator of banjo over
                            > guitar,
                            > by which it had surely been totally superseded in N.O. as elsewhere. He
                            > is
                            > certainly on record as having this preference and there is somewhere a
                            > near
                            > scoff of Marrero wanting to bring his electric guitar to a session. The
                            > plankplunk of so many worldwide revivalist bands can maybe therefore be
                            > laid
                            > at his door ?
                            >
                            > And what about repertoire ? There is the story of George and musicians
                            > learning the required classic repertoire round a gramophone. I suggest
                            > that, pre-revival, all N.O. bands would have been expected to play
                            > contemporary pop material such as ' Mairzy Doats' which Bunk wanted to
                            > record. With the revival, repertoire was frozen to the classic jazz tunes
                            > and popular material of a bygone era only. The repertoire and therefore,
                            > to
                            > an extent, the music failed to grow. Was this Bill ?
                            >
                            > Bill, above all, had wonderful ears and no criticism intended because
                            > whoever else may have been available to record in N.O.in 1943 it is almost
                            > certain that no better music could have been captured. There is, however,
                            > the question as to why he was not interested in recording actual working
                            > bands which he did not do till the 50s I think. Does this smack slightly
                            > of
                            > paternalism ? There were working brass marching bands to be recorded, I
                            > suggest, before the not exactly authentic Bunk derivative.
                            >
                            > Dave
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                          • Robert Greenwood
                            It s always important, I think, to go back to the source, or, at least, as close to the source as we can get. If we don t do this all sorts of half-truths,
                            Message 13 of 18 , Feb 20, 2007
                              It's always important, I think, to go back to the source, or, at
                              least, as close to the source as we can get. If we don't do this all
                              sorts of half-truths, untruths, and slanders go into circulation. I
                              have looked into Dave's suggestion that Bill Russell "went to New
                              Orleans to record `his' band of names – pre-eminently Bunk – gleaned
                              from his researches."
                              My main source of information here is the chapter in Tom Bethell's
                              biography of George Lewis, published in 1978, concerning the first
                              recordings made of Bunk. Bethell had access to the diaries Bill
                              Russell kept at the time that these recordings were made in 1942. It
                              seems that the project entailed some compromise between Bill Russell
                              and Gene Williams on the one hand, and, on the other, a contingent of
                              enthusiasts from Los Angeles consisting of Dave Stuart, proprietor of
                              the Jazz Man Record Shop, Hal McIntyre, and Bill Colburn who had
                              decided, independently, to travel to New Orleans that year to record
                              Bunk for Stuart's Jazz Man label. It was Stuart who suggested that
                              what they really wanted for the records was "another Dodds", and it
                              was Colburn who mentioned to George Lewis that they were looking for
                              someone who played like Johnny Dodds. George's tactful reply was that
                              he used to play something like him. It's interesting, I think, that
                              Bill's diary, quoted by Bethell, concerning their search for a
                              suitable clarinettist to record with Bunk, reads: "Then we tried
                              uptown, looking for `another Dodds'…" Notice that the phrase "another
                              Dodds" is in inverted commas, suggesting that Bill was somewhat
                              exasperated at this stipulation on the part of the Californians and
                              wanted to disassociate himself from it.
                              According to Mike Hazeldine in Song of the Wanderer, the biography of
                              Bunk which he co-authored with Barry Martyn, the Dawn Club in San
                              Francisco, where Lu Watters' Yerba Buena Jazz Band held sway, had a
                              musical policy of "No tune written after 1929", a scary and, frankly,
                              cretinous motto printed on the club's matchbooks. Hazeldine
                              writes: "In order to familiarize their patrons with the vintage
                              repertoire, the band had a selection of numbers printed on a card
                              that was given out at the Dawn Club. The tunes were later painted on
                              to a large display board positioned behind the bar." I would say that
                              going to New Orleans in search of another Johnny Dodds, and that
                              trying to tell a working musician like George Lewis, who had lived in
                              New Orleans all his life, how to play is all part and parcel of this
                              idiocy. Incidentally, Hazeldine attributes to Turk Murphy, Watters'
                              trombonist, the "honour" of having first coined the term "traditional
                              jazz." The ever-percipient critic Max Harrison wrote in 1964: "…the
                              white revivalist bands…might be described as the creation of
                              malcontent record collectors whose knowledge of the `twenties led to
                              their reaction against swing music. While the `survivalists' were
                              sometimes treated with extraordinary patronisation – `What's that old
                              man doing, trying to tell us about New Orleans jazz? We've made a
                              study of New Orleans jazz', observed someone as Bunk Johnson tried to
                              knock sense into the Lu Watters band – the efforts of the white
                              revivalist groups were taken very seriously indeed. They were seen
                              not only as a revolt against professionals, but as an attempt to lead
                              jazz back to the manly virtues of an older and supposedly simpler
                              time. This is not the place to discuss the essential falseness – not
                              to say arrogance – of such ideals, and it is easy enough to observe
                              that the movement finally ran aground with the aridly stylised
                              conventions of trad."
                              Harrison acknowledges that the "asinine comment" on Bunk is taken
                              from Charters. I'm not sure where the Mairzy Dotes story, mentioned
                              by Dave, comes from, but I think that may also be in Charters. I'll
                              check; unless someone else wants to?
                              So really I think that if there was ever any sinister agenda
                              surrounding the recording of Bunk it came not from Bill Russell or
                              Gene Williams, but from the Dawn Club bigots with their central
                              committee list of approved tunes, their invention of "Traditional
                              jazz" (never a term ever, I think, used by Bill Russell), and
                              their "study of New Orleans jazz."
                              In another posting to this list will describe how Bunk's first
                              recording band came about.
                              Robert Greenwood
                            • David Brown
                              Robert A privilege to read your definitive researches. Many thanks and I look forward to further enlightenment. While it is possible to well understand a
                              Message 14 of 18 , Feb 20, 2007
                                Robert

                                A privilege to read your definitive researches. Many thanks and I look
                                forward to further enlightenment.

                                While it is possible to well understand a critic of Harrison's generation
                                dismissing en masse 'traditional' jazz, and while his reading of its origins
                                is accurate, it is simplistic to view the various diverse 'revivals' as
                                one. The initial revival was definitely West Coast /Watters. I have this
                                dated to 1938/9. The musicians were mainly ex-dance band professionals and
                                so I suggest a degree of deliberate 'posing' was necessary. The revival in
                                UK dates from about 1942 and its instigators were defiantly amateur. Chilton
                                in his book 'Jazz' --quoted recently on the Forum and much recommended as
                                primer -- sees the revival as simultaneous in California, England &
                                Australia. I think all European Continental revivalism was necessarily a
                                post-war phenomena, the earliest supposed Euro revival band, the Dutch Swing
                                College, was indeed formed earlier but, as the name implies, was not then a
                                revivalist band.

                                The movement was indeed record driven, especially the 1939 issues from
                                Morton, Bechet and Spanier. However, the model taken in all three countries
                                were the 'classic' sides of Oliver C.B. including the unnecessary two
                                trumpet frontline. Also, all three imposed upon the music the inauthentic
                                brass bass, which never was a N.O. instrument. Why ? I am always wary of
                                coincidental theories of art history and this spontaneous simultaneity seems
                                unlikely. Watters got there first and although did not record till 1941 must
                                be seen as prime mover for all 'Traditional' jazz. Ory, long in retirement
                                on the W.Coast, did not reform a band till 1942.

                                Paradoxically, the records of actual N.O. starting from 1942 undermined the
                                'classic' revival. This was a different music to emulate. Thus we had the
                                'second 'or 'N.O. revival' of Ken Colyer which used contemporary N.O. music
                                as model. To me, this movement had far more value as its models were alive.
                                It was this wing of revivalism from which grew the mass popular movement
                                'Trad' which swept Europe at the end of the 50s into the 60s.

                                ' Arid stylised conventions ' eventually indeed but 'trad' was the only
                                revivalist movement to actually use contemporary Pop and other non-received
                                material --classical, and folk themes. Maybe this can in some way account
                                for its crazy popularity ?

                                ' If we had a new popular number worked up real good, this made for more
                                jobs. They would hire the band that had the new stuff '-- Johnny St
                                yr --Jazz Journal Sept 1966 of pre-1920 N.O.

                                Is this enough to account for the movement which although maybe started by
                                'malcontent record collectors' was picked up by a whole generation of
                                post-war European youth as a kind of displaced folk music ? It carried also
                                political and social ideologies. It is still there --worldwide must be
                                thousands of bands essaying all colours of traditional jazz.

                                Dave



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                              • Robert Greenwood
                                As promised, here is an account of how the band for Bunk s first recording session in 1942 was formed. My main sources of information are Tom Bethell s
                                Message 15 of 18 , Feb 21, 2007
                                  As promised, here is an account of how the band for Bunk's first
                                  recording session in 1942 was formed. My main sources of information
                                  are Tom Bethell's biography of George Lewis, and Mike Hazeldine &
                                  Barry Martyn's biography of Bunk, both of which draw on the diary
                                  kept by Bill Russell at the time of the recording session.

                                  According to Bethell "Russell was hoping they could find a hotter
                                  clarinettist than Big Eye (Louis Nelson)." Nelson was nevertheless
                                  approached by Russell and the others and was considered as a
                                  possibility, but he felt too ill to make the recording. Mike
                                  Hazeldine appears to interpret Bill Russell's diary to mean that Bill
                                  was intent on finding another Dodds for the session, but I disagree
                                  with this reading and maintain that this was more the intention of
                                  Stuart, Colburn, and McIntyre, and that the inverted commas
                                  round "another Dodds" are significant.

                                  Bunk's first named choices of sidemen were trombonist Vic Gaspard,
                                  and clarinettist Alphonse Picou. It turned out that Gaspard no longer
                                  played, and Picou was away visiting his daughter in California. Bunk
                                  was keen to have Picou on board for his ability to play items from
                                  the classic ragtime repertoire which Bunk was not to record until his
                                  last session in 1947.

                                  Bunk recalled a clarinettist named George Strode or possibly George
                                  Stewart with whom he had worked in the Evan Thomas band on the
                                  unfortunate night in 1932 when, at a dance gig in Rayne, Louisiana,
                                  Thomas was knifed to death by a jealous husband. Eventually Bunk
                                  remembered that the clarinettist's name was George Lewis. So the use
                                  of George Lewis, a musician until then unknown to Bill Russell, Gene
                                  Williams, or the others, was at Bunk's suggestion. Colburn,
                                  nevertheless, felt compelled to make his tactless suggestion to
                                  George regarding their wanting a clarinettist who sounded something
                                  like Dodds.

                                  Williams and Russell wanted Jim Robinson on trombone, having heard
                                  his playing on the 1940 Kid Rena sides. When they eventually caught
                                  up with him, Jim agreed to do the session and gave them George
                                  Lewis's address. He also suggested Kid Howard as a possible drummer,
                                  but Bunk vetoed that idea and Ernest Rodgers was used instead.
                                  Paul Barbarin, Walter Pichon (Bunk's suggestion for pianist), and
                                  Johnny St Cyr were all approached and asked if they were interested
                                  in recording with Bunk, but they all turned down the offer, not
                                  wanting to risk the wrath of the union by recording with non-union
                                  Bunk. Austin Young (Lester's cousin, according to Lester Young's
                                  biographer Frank Buchman-Moller, rather than his uncle, as stated by
                                  Bethell), heard playing at The Fern, a taxi-dance hall on Iberville
                                  Street, was recruited as bassist. Word had obviously got round about
                                  the proposed recording session because Albert Glenny, who had once
                                  worked as Buddy Bolden's bassist, called on Bunk offering his
                                  services but Bunk reckoned that Young was the better choice. This is
                                  perhaps interesting because, if the point of the exercise was to
                                  reproduce the music of some imagined golden age, who better to join
                                  the band than a man who really had worked with Bolden? It seems that
                                  questions of musical know-how and reliability won the day. Bunk
                                  failed to contact the guitarist Willie Santiago in time for him to
                                  make the session, so Jim Robinson suggested banjoist Lawrence
                                  Marrero. Walter Decou played piano on the session. All in all, the
                                  final choice of line-up was down to recommendations by the musicians
                                  and to who was available on the day.

                                  The only instance of any direct musical interference comes from one
                                  of the Californians. George was given a new clarinet by McIntyre to
                                  use on the session. Bethell writes that the "clarinet George had used
                                  for the first rehearsal perhaps didn't look to be in very good shape,
                                  but it had sounded excellent, and Russell had commented that George
                                  didn't sound as good at the recording session as he had the day
                                  before…All this can no doubt be attributed to the unfamiliar (and
                                  possibly, not very good) instrument which George Lewis deferentially
                                  used rather than seem ungrateful by bringing along his own
                                  instrument. Russell subsequently regretted that this was done, and in
                                  later years when he recorded George he never suggested that George
                                  use a different clarinet, no matter how many rubber bands his regular
                                  instrument might have on it."

                                  Hazeldine writes that the records, eventually released on Dave
                                  Stuart's Jazz Man label, sold almost 1,000 copies across the USA,
                                  with "Bunk's Blues" selling only a few hundred. Contrast this, if you
                                  will, with the 10,000-plus Lu Watters records sold in San Francisco
                                  alone.
                                  Robert Greenwood
                                • David Brown
                                  Robert. Many thanks again for sharing your wisdom with us --er --us ? Me ? We have previously discussed here the McIntyre clarinet. The sleeve of the Good
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Feb 21, 2007
                                    Robert.

                                    Many thanks again for sharing your wisdom with us --er --us ? Me ?

                                    We have previously discussed here the McIntyre clarinet. The sleeve of the
                                    Good Time reissue of the Jazz Mans, written by Stuart, informs that McIntyre
                                    bought two second-hand clarinets and offered them to George who chose one.
                                    But the note says specifically that they were both Boehms. No wonder George
                                    did not sound as good as on his old accustomed Albert. This also illustrates
                                    the supreme ignorance of the West Coast mafia and the degree of subservience
                                    to which a great musician like George felt obliged.

                                    Dave


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