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Re: [RedHotJazz] Another obscure clarinetist

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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