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Another obscure clarinetist

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  • Michael Rader
    In Lee Collins (auto)biography Didn t He Ramble which was mentioned as a source for the information that Arnett Nelson came from near NO and had his first
    Message 1 of 8 , May 5, 2008
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      In Lee Collins' (auto)biography "Didn't He Ramble" which was mentioned as a source for the information that Arnett Nelson came from near NO and had his first job there, there is a reference to another obscure clarinetist.

      Referring to his session with Jelly Roll Morton, Collins guesses that clarinetist "Balls Ball" must have been from New Orleans due to his familiarity with the High Society set piece. Is there any more information on this obscure (perhaps deservedly so) musician?

      Michael Rader
      Karlsruhe, Germany
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    • Howard Rye
      As far as I know Lee Collins is the only source for this personnel or for the existence of this musician. Does anyone know better? Lee says I never heard of
      Message 2 of 8 , May 5, 2008
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        As far as I know Lee Collins is the only source for this personnel or for
        the existence of this musician. Does anyone know better?

        Lee says "I never heard of Balls Ball before we made those recrods nd I
        never saw him again afterwards." Doesn't look as though anyone else did
        either.

        It bears all the hallmarks of being a joke name!

        I assume Morton was dead before Collins came up with this personnel and the
        records are so rare that they probably weren't even known to those who were
        able to interveiw Morton. The personnel does predate Collins's autobiography
        though. It's in Index To Jazz and New Hot Discography.


        > In Lee Collins' (auto)biography "Didn't He Ramble" which was mentioned as a
        > source for the information that Arnett Nelson came from near NO and had his
        > first job there, there is a reference to another obscure clarinetist.
        >
        > Referring to his session with Jelly Roll Morton, Collins guesses that
        > clarinetist "Balls Ball" must have been from New Orleans due to his
        > familiarity with the High Society set piece. Is there any more information on
        > this obscure (perhaps deservedly so) musician?
        >
        > Michael Rader
        > Karlsruhe, Germany



        Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
        howard@...
        Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
      • spacelights
        Preston Jackson refers to him simply as Balls ( Trombone Man p 193), at the start of a list of clarinettists specifically *not* from New Orleans. I seem to
        Message 3 of 8 , May 5, 2008
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          Preston Jackson refers to him simply as Balls ('Trombone Man' p 193),
          at the start of a list of clarinettists specifically *not* from New
          Orleans. I seem to recall another (unindexed) reference to him in the
          book, not certain though.

          I quite enjoy the Morton's King's Of Jazz sides, feel they've been
          unnecessarily lambasted in the past, perhaps by conservatory standards
          or because they're not "toe tappers." The "High Society" may be
          slightly closer to its French cotillion origins than hotter versions
          like Oliver's.

          In 'Mr. Jelly Lord', Laurie Wright mentions the notion that Balls was
          Horace George, who recorded in New York accompanied by Clarence
          Williams around this time. The result (OKeh 8164) has been split
          between two Document reissues: 'Vocal Duets' (DOCD-5526) and 'Too
          Late, Too Late Vol. 9' (DOCD-5590). I've heard the latter ("The Meal
          Is Low In The Barrel Blues"): its clarinet style doesn't particularly
          resemble that on the Kings Of Jazz. The other side--"Emancipation Day
          in Georgia"--might provide a better example. Horace George was
          mentioned in the Chicago Defender on September 27, 1924 ('Storyville
          2002-3' p 5).

          > As far as I know Lee Collins is the only source for this personnel
          or for
          > the existence of this musician. Does anyone know better?
          >
          >
          > >
          > > Referring to his session with Jelly Roll Morton, Collins guesses that
          > > clarinetist "Balls Ball" must have been from New Orleans due to his
          > > familiarity with the High Society set piece. Is there any more
          information on
          > > this obscure (perhaps deservedly so) musician?
        • Michael Rader
          It s interesting that Jackson should remember him at all, since the Kings of Jazz sides have Roy Palmer rather than Jackson on trombone. Apparently a musician
          Message 4 of 8 , May 5, 2008
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            It's interesting that Jackson should remember him at all, since the Kings of Jazz sides have Roy Palmer rather than Jackson on trombone. Apparently a musician known to his contemporaries as "Balls" was a member of the Morton-Handy Band. This is from a note on Mike Meddings' doctorjazz.co.uk site, which quotes an article by Paul Edouard Miller in the 1946 Esquire Jazz Book.

            Is anything known about Horace George? Was there clarinetist surnamed Ball?

            The Kings of Jazz are marred somewhat by the lack of balance, both between front line and rhythm (Morton alone) and recording set-up - the alto sax tends to be overbearing, and one wonders why Lee Collins didn't remember *him*. The solo on "High Society" is negotiated quite well with a rather "sweet" tone. The best reissue of these sides to date would be the French Média 7 "Kings of Jazz". These incidentally have a note that there might be a second cornetist on "Weary Blues". The version on the RedHotJazz site is very obviously from an original and has plenty of "noise".

            Michael Rader



            > Preston Jackson refers to him simply as Balls ('Trombone Man' p 193),
            > at the start of a list of clarinettists specifically *not* from New
            > Orleans. I seem to recall another (unindexed) reference to him in the
            > book, not certain though.
            >
            > I quite enjoy the Morton's King's Of Jazz sides, feel they've been
            > unnecessarily lambasted in the past, perhaps by conservatory standards
            > or because they're not "toe tappers." The "High Society" may be
            > slightly closer to its French cotillion origins than hotter versions
            > like Oliver's.
            >
            > In 'Mr. Jelly Lord', Laurie Wright mentions the notion that Balls was
            > Horace George, who recorded in New York accompanied by Clarence
            > Williams around this time. The result (OKeh 8164) has been split
            > between two Document reissues: 'Vocal Duets' (DOCD-5526) and 'Too
            > Late, Too Late Vol. 9' (DOCD-5590). I've heard the latter ("The Meal
            > Is Low In The Barrel Blues"): its clarinet style doesn't particularly
            > resemble that on the Kings Of Jazz. The other side--"Emancipation Day
            > in Georgia"--might provide a better example. Horace George was
            > mentioned in the Chicago Defender on September 27, 1924 ('Storyville
            > 2002-3' p 5).
            >
            > > As far as I know Lee Collins is the only source for this personnel
            > or for
            > > the existence of this musician. Does anyone know better?
            > >
            > >
            > > >
            > > > Referring to his session with Jelly Roll Morton, Collins guesses
            > that
            > > > clarinetist "Balls Ball" must have been from New Orleans due to
            > his
            > > > familiarity with the High Society set piece. Is there any more
            > information on
            > > > this obscure (perhaps deservedly so) musician?
            >
            >


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          • Howard Rye
            ... Quite a lot, but it doesn t seem to add up to biography. Details of several associations are noted in the Document issues covering his work. On DOCD5590,
            Message 5 of 8 , May 6, 2008
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              > Is anything known about Horace George? asks Michael Rader.

              Quite a lot, but it doesn't seem to add up to biography. Details of several
              associations are noted in the Document issues covering his work.

              On DOCD5590, Guido van Rijn reports that he was another performer of the
              playing three clarinets at a time trick, had been orchestra leader for Mamie
              Smith, and had worked with Tyus and Tyus off record as well as on, which I
              also discovered when writing the notes for DOCD 5526. As already reported he
              plays clarinet only on OKeh 6134. Horace George's Jubilee Harmonizers on
              Paramount are just a vocal group. He played the concertina and therefore is
              probably his own accompanist on the unissued Vocalion coupling by Elder
              George. What all this adds up to is a picture of a vaudevillian rather than
              a committed jazz musician. The ultimate source of all this information is
              the African-American press.

              He doesn't seem to have been mentioned once in the entire existence of
              Storyville magazine. Not even in 'Pieces of the Jigsaw'.

              Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
              howard@...
              Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
            • Dan Van Landingham
              A quick note on Jelly Roll:some of the 78 albums I was given at a garage sale just down the road from where I live,were on Bluebird from the late 30s.I know
              Message 6 of 8 , May 6, 2008
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                A quick note on Jelly Roll:some of the 78 albums I was given at a garage sale just down the
                road from where I live,were on Bluebird from the late '30s.I know that around 1939,RCA rele-
                ased sides by Satchmo,The Mound City Blue Blowers and others on Bluebird.

                Michael Rader <Rader.Michael@...> wrote:
                It's interesting that Jackson should remember him at all, since the Kings of Jazz sides have Roy Palmer rather than Jackson on trombone. Apparently a musician known to his contemporaries as "Balls" was a member of the Morton-Handy Band. This is from a note on Mike Meddings' doctorjazz.co.uk site, which quotes an article by Paul Edouard Miller in the 1946 Esquire Jazz Book.

                Is anything known about Horace George? Was there clarinetist surnamed Ball?

                The Kings of Jazz are marred somewhat by the lack of balance, both between front line and rhythm (Morton alone) and recording set-up - the alto sax tends to be overbearing, and one wonders why Lee Collins didn't remember *him*. The solo on "High Society" is negotiated quite well with a rather "sweet" tone. The best reissue of these sides to date would be the French Média 7 "Kings of Jazz". These incidentally have a note that there might be a second cornetist on "Weary Blues". The version on the RedHotJazz site is very obviously from an original and has plenty of "noise".

                Michael Rader



                > Preston Jackson refers to him simply as Balls ('Trombone Man' p 193),
                > at the start of a list of clarinettists specifically *not* from New
                > Orleans. I seem to recall another (unindexed) reference to him in the
                > book, not certain though.
                >
                > I quite enjoy the Morton's King's Of Jazz sides, feel they've been
                > unnecessarily lambasted in the past, perhaps by conservatory standards
                > or because they're not "toe tappers." The "High Society" may be
                > slightly closer to its French cotillion origins than hotter versions
                > like Oliver's.
                >
                > In 'Mr. Jelly Lord', Laurie Wright mentions the notion that Balls was
                > Horace George, who recorded in New York accompanied by Clarence
                > Williams around this time. The result (OKeh 8164) has been split
                > between two Document reissues: 'Vocal Duets' (DOCD-5526) and 'Too
                > Late, Too Late Vol. 9' (DOCD-5590). I've heard the latter ("The Meal
                > Is Low In The Barrel Blues"): its clarinet style doesn't particularly
                > resemble that on the Kings Of Jazz. The other side--"Emancipation Day
                > in Georgia"--might provide a better example. Horace George was
                > mentioned in the Chicago Defender on September 27, 1924 ('Storyville
                > 2002-3' p 5).
                >
                > > As far as I know Lee Collins is the only source for this personnel
                > or for
                > > the existence of this musician. Does anyone know better?
                > >
                > >
                > > >
                > > > Referring to his session with Jelly Roll Morton, Collins guesses
                > that
                > > > clarinetist "Balls Ball" must have been from New Orleans due to
                > his
                > > > familiarity with the High Society set piece. Is there any more
                > information on
                > > > this obscure (perhaps deservedly so) musician?
                >
                >


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              • spacelights
                Here s a bit more about Horace George, from Tom Lord s Clarence Williams : With his Jazz Band at the Grand Theatre, May 7, 1921 (Chicago Defender) An advert
                Message 7 of 8 , May 10, 2008
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                  Here's a bit more about Horace George, from Tom Lord's 'Clarence
                  Williams':

                  With his Jazz Band at the Grand Theatre, May 7, 1921 (Chicago Defender)

                  An advert for musical instruments mentions a "Mr. Horace George" as a
                  representative for the company [not named] (CD, May 26, 1923)

                  Late announcement: "Horace George has written 'Meal's Low in the
                  Barrell' and 'If I Live And Nothin' Happens' --- which are to be
                  published by Clarence Williams' Company in New York" (CD, December 14,
                  1929)

                  Credited as composer on:

                  Emancipation Day In Dixie*
                  Hard Trials
                  If I Live And Nothin' Don't Happen
                  Meal's Low in the Barrel* (with E. Stevens)
                  What A Time

                  *recorded with Clarence Williams [the former as "Emancipation Day In
                  Georgia"]


                  --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > > Is anything known about Horace George? asks Michael Rader.
                  >
                  > Quite a lot, but it doesn't seem to add up to biography. Details of
                  several
                  > associations are noted in the Document issues covering his work.
                  >
                  > On DOCD5590, Guido van Rijn reports that he was another performer of the
                  > playing three clarinets at a time trick, had been orchestra leader
                  for Mamie
                  > Smith, and had worked with Tyus and Tyus off record as well as on,
                  which I
                  > also discovered when writing the notes for DOCD 5526. As already
                  reported he
                  > plays clarinet only on OKeh 6134. Horace George's Jubilee Harmonizers on
                  > Paramount are just a vocal group. He played the concertina and
                  therefore is
                  > probably his own accompanist on the unissued Vocalion coupling by Elder
                  > George. What all this adds up to is a picture of a vaudevillian
                  rather than
                  > a committed jazz musician. The ultimate source of all this
                  information is
                  > the African-American press.
                  >
                  > He doesn't seem to have been mentioned once in the entire existence of
                  > Storyville magazine. Not even in 'Pieces of the Jigsaw'.
                  >
                  > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
                  > howard@...
                  > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
                  >
                • John O
                  ... member of the Morton-Handy Band. This is from a note on Mike Meddings doctorjazz.co.uk site, which quotes an article by Paul Edouard Miller in the 1946
                  Message 8 of 8 , May 19, 2008
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                    --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Michael Rader <Rader.Michael@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Apparently a musician known to his contemporaries as "Balls" was a
                    member of the Morton-Handy Band. This is from a note on Mike Meddings'
                    doctorjazz.co.uk site, which quotes an article by Paul Edouard Miller
                    in the 1946 Esquire Jazz Book.
                    >
                    > Is anything known about Horace George?

                    In his 'Father Of The Blues' autobiography, Handy recalls "Horace
                    George, clarinetist with our outfit," more support for (or perhaps the
                    source of) speculation that Balls was George.

                    It seems many of Morton's Kings of Jazz--Roy Palmer, Balls Ball, Alex
                    Poole--were sometime members of W. C. Handy's Orchestra or the
                    Morton-Handy band... also Wilson Townes, Charles Harris and Jasper
                    Taylor, listed as probable on Jelly's 1923 "Orchestra" sides for
                    Paramount.
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