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

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  • 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 1 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
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      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 2 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
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        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 3 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
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          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 4 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
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            --- 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 5 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
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              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 6 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
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                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 7 of 18 , Feb 14, 2007
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                  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 8 of 18 , Feb 15, 2007
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                    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 9 of 18 , Feb 15, 2007
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                      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 10 of 18 , Feb 17, 2007
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                        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 11 of 18 , Feb 18, 2007
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                          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 12 of 18 , Feb 20, 2007
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                            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 13 of 18 , Feb 20, 2007
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                              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 14 of 18 , Feb 21, 2007
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                                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 15 of 18 , Feb 21, 2007
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                                  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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