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RE: [RedHotJazz] Lewis & Dodds was Bill Russell

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  • David Brown
    David Yes comparisons are invidious but necessary in any serious historical study of the music. Further listening to Sippie Wallace s I m A Mighty Tight
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 19, 2007
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      David

      Yes comparisons are invidious but necessary in any serious historical study
      of the music.

      Further listening to Sippie Wallace's 'I'm A Mighty Tight Woman' is
      enlightening. This is a rather subdued Dodds --- quieter, assuming the
      appropriate accompanying role ---- and the similarities to George here
      inescapable. This side also indicates the degree of 'interaction' to which
      he was capable.

      To me, Dodds was shoulders the greatest jazz clarinettist in N.O. context,
      for this and other reasons.

      I suggest that very few clarinettists ,with so many gaps to fill, are
      capable of continuously reacting creatively with the rest of the the band.
      Most must necessarily be falling back on set, hopefully appropriate, stock
      phrases. But Dodds was best of all for creative ensemble playing.

      Nobody would claim George as a great creative musician but he could stomp
      and produce beautiful flowing lines. He was a quiet unassuming man and
      could, at times , especially on yet another 'Burgundy', become over
      sentimental. And he was an original -- he created a unique and instantly
      recognisable and all too imitable style, a blending of various influences
      not excluding, I suggest, later models such as Goodman, Shaw & Herman.

      His obvious immediate contemporary, Burbank, was also a great player,
      combining diverse sources. He was known as 'The Clarinet Wizard' which is
      indicative of his prowess, whereas it was the 'singing clarinet of George
      Lewis'. Maybe this summarizes their distinct qualities.

      Sure many other great N.O. clarinettists and I would not attempt a
      hierarchy. Simeon, indeed a wonderful player maybe apotheosis of 'classic'
      Creole style, Nicholas, Bigard, Noone but none, for me, have the creatively
      nor originality of Dodds nor the emotional power. Bechet might be in the
      frame as contender but not near as creative as Dodds, if more bombastic, and
      no way, with a few possible exceptions, as good an 'interacter'.

      Dave


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David W. Littlefield
      Hi Dave. I meant that Dodds and Lewis were so different they couldn t really be compared. However, I m used to playing with many fine clarinetists who have
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 19, 2007
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        Hi Dave. I meant that Dodds and Lewis were so different they couldn't really be
        compared.

        However, I'm used to playing with many fine clarinetists who have very
        different styles. A constant in their band playing is major interaction with
        the other horns. To be sure they all have patterns/stock phrases they use
        repeatedly, and not all they do is "creative". but the fundamental *nature* of
        their playing is different from Lewis's. I'm not necessarily criticizing
        Lewis's style--it was just something I noticed; however, if he was in my
        portfolio of clarinetists I could use on multi-horn gigs, he'd be low on my
        priority list, perhaps higher for use in one horn trios...

        I used to play in a NO style band with a Dodds imitator, and not only did it
        give the band a truly authentic sound and feel, but it sensitized me to Dodds'
        qualities. I have no quarrel with your judgements of Dodds, I just prefer to
        listen to clarinetists with styles that are easier on the ears...

        --Sheik

        At 11:03 AM 02/19/07 +0100, you wrote:
        >
        > Yes comparisons are invidious but necessary in any serious historical study
        > of the music.
        >
        > Further listening to Sippie Wallace's 'I'm A Mighty Tight Woman' is
        > enlightening. This is a rather subdued Dodds --- quieter, assuming the
        > appropriate accompanying role ---- and the similarities to George here
        > inescapable. This side also indicates the degree of 'interaction' to which
        > he was capable.
        >
        > To me, Dodds was shoulders the greatest jazz clarinettist in N.O. context,
        > for this and other reasons.
        >
        > I suggest that very few clarinettists ,with so many gaps to fill, are
        > capable of continuously reacting creatively with the rest of the the band.
        > Most must necessarily be falling back on set, hopefully appropriate, stock
        > phrases. But Dodds was best of all for creative ensemble playing.
        >
        > Nobody would claim George as a great creative musician but he could stomp
        > and produce beautiful flowing lines. He was a quiet unassuming man and
        > could, at times , especially on yet another 'Burgundy', become over
        > sentimental. And he was an original -- he created a unique and instantly
        > recognisable and all too imitable style, a blending of various influences
        > not excluding, I suggest, later models such as Goodman, Shaw & Herman.
        >
        > His obvious immediate contemporary, Burbank, was also a great player,
        > combining diverse sources. He was known as 'The Clarinet Wizard' which is
        > indicative of his prowess, whereas it was the 'singing clarinet of George
        > Lewis'. Maybe this summarizes their distinct qualities.
        >
        > Sure many other great N.O. clarinettists and I would not attempt a
        > hierarchy. Simeon, indeed a wonderful player maybe apotheosis of 'classic'
        > Creole style, Nicholas, Bigard, Noone but none, for me, have the creatively
        > nor originality of Dodds nor the emotional power. Bechet might be in the
        > frame as contender but not near as creative as Dodds, if more bombastic, and
        > no way, with a few possible exceptions, as good an 'interacter'.
        >
        > Dave
      • tommersl
        ... Remember Bunk Johnson was close with Russell and that he used to play a lot with Lewis and how much Bunk was a central figure at that. A side note, I m not
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 19, 2007
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          --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "islay77" <fraser.mccombe@...> wrote:
          >
          > The recent correspondance,almost as an aside about Bill Russell,has
          > been fascinating.
          >
          > What has always interested me is that he acknowledged that he was
          > looking for a Dodds figure to play clarinet.Why therefore did he accept
          > George Lewis ?
          >
          > Although Lewis himself did state that he was reckoned to sound like
          > Dodds I don't think that many people would accept this.

          Remember Bunk Johnson was close with Russell and that he used to play
          a lot with Lewis and how much Bunk was a central figure at that. A
          side note, I'm not sure there was a better candidate at the time.
          Tommersl
        • David Brown
          Just played through 9 Bergundys from 1944 - 1963. Indeed Robert the first is different -- but not by so much. But certainly fresher. Most noticeably
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 20, 2007
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            Just played through 9 'Bergundys' from 1944 - 1963.

            Indeed Robert the first is different -- but not by so much. But certainly
            fresher. Most noticeably different in the opening phrase which is from '
            Nobody Knows'. This may be indication of George's starting point. Otherwise
            all the other familiar gathered blues phrases are already in place including
            the one I know as from Hot 5 'I'm Not Rough'. The next I have is 1950 and
            here the standard version is complete. All other versions are almost note
            for note the same , even the mawkish Monette Moore talking version, although
            George seems somewhat subdued here so my guess is that the 'vocal' was
            recorded simultaneously and not overdubbed -- anybody know ?

            David, yes I believe that George might be low on a list of jobbing repertory
            jazzmen.


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David Brown
            Many thanks for corrections and before more. To be blamed on non-premature aging and too many years exposure to the German language. Dave [Non-text portions of
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 20, 2007
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              Many thanks for corrections and before more. To be blamed on non-premature
              aging and too many years exposure to the German language.

              Dave




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • David Brown
              Further listening reveals that San Jacinto Blues , recorded by George 12 days after the original Burgundy is very similar although necessarily amended by
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 20, 2007
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                Further listening reveals that 'San Jacinto Blues', recorded by George 12
                days after the original 'Burgundy' is very similar although necessarily
                amended by the presence of Jim in the frontline. The 'Nobody Knows' intro
                and 'I'm Not Rough' phrase also occur here.

                Robert would know but I guess names of both titles emanated from
                Bill.


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • islay77
                Have borrowed a copy of the Dodds/Sippie Walllace CD but am not sure I am any wiser. When listening to all the extant versions of Burgundy Street,we should
                Message 7 of 13 , Feb 22, 2007
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                  Have borrowed a copy of the Dodds/Sippie Walllace CD but am not sure I
                  am any wiser.
                  When listening to all the extant versions of Burgundy Street,we should
                  also remember the two? versions of Jerusalem Blues(AMCD-104 & Delmark
                  DD-201.
                  Robert - All your points are well taken.However it is also instructive
                  to read Bill Russell's own words as per page 17 of Bill Russell's
                  American Music book.

                  "I was hoping we might find someone like Johnny Dodds,but we never did".
                  I will ask Barry Martyn's opinion when i see him next week - he has the
                  misfortune to be playing here in Macclesfield for me
                  After some forty years I really can't remember what Bill's answer was
                  (re Kid Thomas),I think I probably was too awestruck at talking to
                  someone of his stature.I also asked him if I could buy some American
                  music 78's from him and was promptly invited to his apartment and left
                  to route through various boxes.I was looking for some of the stuff that
                  wasn't then available on LP's and remember buying some 'Wooden' Joe's
                  and Louis de Lisle's.

                  Fraser
                • Robert Greenwood
                  ... instructive ... did . Thank you, Fraser. I stand corrected, then. The main point I wanted to make was to defend Bill Russell from any charges of
                  Message 8 of 13 , Feb 23, 2007
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                    --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "islay77" <fraser.mccombe@...>
                    wrote:
                    > Robert - All your points are well taken.However it is also
                    instructive
                    > to read Bill Russell's own words as per page 17 of Bill Russell's
                    > American Music book.
                    >
                    > "I was hoping we might find someone like Johnny Dodds,but we never
                    did".

                    Thank you, Fraser. I stand corrected, then. The main point I wanted
                    to make was to defend Bill Russell from any charges of overbearing
                    interference in the music recorded, or that the AMs are more Bill
                    Russell than Bunk. I especially want to defend him from any
                    suggestion of "paternalism."
                    I met Bill once in London in 1978. He turned up at the Southampton
                    Arms opposite Mornington Crescent underground station one night when
                    Mike Casimir's New Iberia Stompers were playing there. I asked him
                    for an autograph and he asked for my name so that he could dedicate
                    the autograph to me personally. For some reason I spelled out my
                    surname to him and he painstakingly transcribed every letter. He then
                    looked at the paper and snorted: "Just the way we spell it in the
                    States." I later read that if he was unfailingly polite to you he
                    didn't really like you; if he was abrupt, then he thought you were OK.
                    Robert G
                  • Robert Greenwood
                    ... I ... The opening phrase of Dodds solo on Mighty Tight Woman is very similar indeed to what, after the first version made in 1944, became the opening
                    Message 9 of 13 , Feb 23, 2007
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                      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "islay77" <fraser.mccombe@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Have borrowed a copy of the Dodds/Sippie Walllace CD but am not sure
                      I
                      > am any wiser.

                      The opening phrase of Dodds' solo on Mighty Tight Woman is very similar
                      indeed to what, after the first version made in 1944, became the
                      opening phrase to George Lewis's Burgundy Street Blues. This, I
                      suppose, raises the question of influence. Did George hear this phrase
                      on the Dodds/Wallace record, or are we hearing the results of a
                      tradition common to both Dodds and Lewis, of which, reliant as we are
                      on records, we can only partially be aware? George Lewis's Burgundy
                      Street Blues also owes something (quite a bit, in fact) to Louis' 1927
                      Savoy Blues.
                      Robert G
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