Re: [RedHotJazz] Bunk
- Mike Hazeldine considers the evidence in detail in his New Grove entry on
Bunk. The official evidence, census ages, date of parents¹ marriage, points
to 1889. On the other hand dozens of musicians who had known him as a young
man had no problem with confirming the 1879 date.
Maybe more has been discovered by now but I suspect we will never know for
sure. There is unlikely to be a birth certificate but as in Kid Ory¹s case
there may be a christening record somewhere, which is the only thing that
would definitively settle it other than an unambiguous reference to him
before 1889 and as he would then, even if born in 1879, have been under 10
this is unlikely. Willie Johnson is unfortunately a pretty common name.
To my mind it is suspicious that exactly 10 years separates the two proposed
dates. It is common in show business to shave years off your age and 10
years is often adopted, probably because you then only have to alter one
figure on inconvenient documents. It is easier to represent as a typo too.
(It¹s also the maximum that is likely to be credible even to the credulous.)
Bunk was an opposite case. It was commercially useful to him to be older.
on 27/05/2008 23:43, Claes-Göran Axelsson at cgaxelsson@... wrote:
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> When he was born 1889 he died at the age of 60. I think he was older.
> Probably he was born 1879.
> 2008/5/26 Leif R. Blom <yarel41@... <mailto:yarel41%40yahoo.com> >:
>> > One of my old NO-jazz friends asked me today if there is a consensus
>> > about what year Willie Bunk Johnson was born. I couldn´t tell him,
>> > so I put the question forward to the group.
>> > Perhaps there has been a discussion earlier, I don´t remember, but then
>> > it´s easier to get an answer, I hope.
>> > yarel 41
>> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
> Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098