RE: [RedHotJazz] Re: Pee Wee Russell, Jimmie Noone, Mezz Mezzrow (re HP)
Mr Hughes Panassie varied his point of view a lot during the 30's and 40's, after all the data was right in front of him, and, unlike us, he did not have the luxury of historical context. He considered Frankie Newton and Lester Young as being "too modern" in the 1940's version of "The Real Jazz" but not so in later version of the book (I would think Lester's sound would have been a problem to his ears at first, but even Hughes eventually saw Mr. Young's sense of timing and rather sober melodic content,in his solo work, even if he preferred a larger sound on the tenor sax). He was also critical of MOST (but not all, ex: Mezzrow) inconsistent players be it technical abilities ,for instance HP never seem to forgave Harry Cooper for his poor lip (Cooper's lip did not do a lot of harm IMHO, I am a big fan of both the Okeh's and the Swing's, after all he seem to be more lenient on Mezzrow for greater sins re the 1930's recordings) as well as people who
did not stick to the hot NO based hot jazz tenants he loved so (Red Allen,
Frankie Newton, Pee Wee Russell are just 3 examples, see below).
Hughes also noted later,that in 1934 he was mostly aware of a few records, and that a lot of the great black musicians who did not visit France (as of 1934) were still obscure or unknown to him (heck most of them would have been obscure to the average white American jazz fan as well), remember 1934 is before the swing era, whereupon jazz soloists became more familiar to the record collecting public.
* RE: Pee Wee , I believe he became more idiosyncratic of a player as his style evolved in the 1930's, and it seems that Hughes never cared for musicians with that sort of melodic lines (refer to Allen ,and to a lesser extent Newton, Hughes considers such musicians as erratic because I believe it deviates form the concept of jazz he continued to formulate in the 30's as he got to know jazz first hand). I believe that HP looked for the "idea" jazz formulated in the world of Oliver, early Armstrong, Ladiner etc, and found a soul mate in Mezzrow regarding this (this may be why he could forgive Mezzrow for his inconsistencies, for Mezzrow had an acute understanding of how middle 20's black NO based traditional jazz be played of that south side 20's mode, and like Hughes, he saw more modern variants to it in Harlem), and is it not curious that both HP and Mezzrow had little time for the wonders of Bill Russell AM recordings, because they were not
interested in any of the other developments NO jazz went through after the Oliver/ Ory/ Morton/ Noone's went away from home to find fame (there is a popular notion that the players of less technical skill stayed home, how does that explain Kid Howard, whose 30's private recordings negate this, as well as the one paper based acetate of Santiago, and the wonderful jump band led by Joe Robichaux, that recorded for both Vocalion in 1933 and Decca in the later 30's - one blues has been issued from the only title that survived from Decca's archives, thanks to Jazzology records - some people prefer to stay home), besides one can hear the Morgan's and hear the roots of the Lewis/ Johnson band style (the trumpet dropping off for the reedman to take the lead is NOT Bunk Johnson's disdain or tired lip, it was common practice in the later 20's Morgan and Louis Dumaine recordings, so I would presume it to be of artistic context as well as practical reasons to last a
--- On Mon, 6/23/08, David Brown <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:
From: David Brown <johnhaleysims@...>
Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Re: Pee Wee Russell, Jimmie Noone, Mezz Mezzrow
Date: Monday, June 23, 2008, 3:53 AM
I hope I made my admiration for Pee Wee clear. Reverence even as a creative
By any standard, Bunk was one of the greatest jazz musicians.
A good point. Only the most creative musicians vary substantially from take
to take but this is not necessarily an insignia of quality.
Sure Louis worked out his solos over years and stuck to them but, in a way,
that makes them structurally more perfect. Works honed and polished.
This raises again the age old argument about how far, if at all,
improvisation is an imperative for good jazz.
We are privileged in having on list a true Panassie scholar who might know
the forces active upon H.P.