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Re: Eddie Condon and Red Nichols

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  • Michael Rader
    Rob ... In the case of Russell, I would guess that it was deliberate (although I n not sure where he got his inspiration to do so), in the case of Patton, it s
    Message 1 of 18 , Jul 7, 2008
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      Rob

      > I may be splitting hairs, but do you think such musicians
      > deliberately divorced themselves from the European classical
      > tradition, or was it just the case that they came from a
      > social/cultural stratum where this tradition perhaps had no function
      > or was difficult (impossible, perhaps?) of access?
      > Robert Greenwood.

      In the case of Russell, I would guess that it was deliberate (although
      I'n not sure where he got his inspiration to do so), in the case of
      Patton, it's probably your second suggestion. As Dave hints, the
      Creole tradition in NO owes a lot to European traditions, but in NO
      there would also seem to be the counter-examples of self-taught
      musicians who owed a lot to (West?-) African vocal traditions. My
      point is that most of us have difficulty in really accessing and
      assessing these non-European elements, since they simply aren't
      usually taught to us as being culturally valuable.

      Best
      Michael
    • Albert Haim
      I am not sure whether Red Nichols or Paul Whiteman is the most vilified 1920s musician. Unlike some of their contemporary musicians and later jazz critics, I
      Message 2 of 18 , Jul 7, 2008
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        I am not sure whether Red Nichols or Paul Whiteman is the most
        vilified 1920s musician. Unlike some of their contemporary musicians
        and later jazz critics, I view both as giants in what they did.

        Specifically about Red Nichols, there is little doubt that he was
        influenced by Bix. After all, what white jazz musician in the second
        half of the 1920s was not influenced by Bix? Remember what drummer
        Chauncey Morehouse said, ""You couldn't go anywhere in New York without
        hearing some guy trying to play like Bix. They copied his tone, his
        attack, his figures. Some guys tried to take his stuff right off the
        records. Others just came and listened. It was amazing."

        But Red Nichols was not just an imitator, like for example Andy
        Secrest in his first couple of years with Whiteman. Secrest was hired
        by Whiteman for the specific purpose of emulating what Bix had been doing.

        Red Nichols with Miff Mole and other first class jazz musicians (Jimmy
        Dorsey, Eddie Lang, Vic Berton, Joe Venuti, Arthur Schutt, Adrian
        Rollini, etc) created between 1926 and 1928 a body of what Sudhalter
        calls hot chamber music. I think it is first class jazz, exploring
        different avenues than what Louis was doing with his Hot Five and Hot
        Seven, but jazz nonetheless: not based on the blues, but with a strong
        European sensibility; not as histrionic, but more reflective; not as
        hot, but more complex.

        Let me quote the magnificent book "1920-1950 Black Beauty, White Heat,
        A Pictorial History of Classic Jazz" by Frank Driggs and Harris
        Lewine. The caption to a photograph of a young Red Nichol reads, "The
        musicians raved about Bix, but the public preferred cornetist Red
        Nichols, whose recordings, many made in partnership with Miff Mole,
        dominated the industry, 1925-1931. Nichol's playing was clean and
        precise, and he had worked with everyone from Sam Lanin to Paul
        Whiteman by his twenty-second birthday. Hundreds of his records ...
        display Nichols' pure tone and concern for form. Once he stated,
        'Every man in the band had the opportunity for individual expression,
        but it's dicsiplined freedom, so the result has an overall pattern.'
        No Nichols recording is less than interesting, and some, like "Shimme
        Sha Wabble,' One Step to Heaven,' and 'Farewell Blues,' are
        extraordinary. Nichols was a role model for many black brass men in
        the twenties."

        In England in the second half ot the 1920s a common comparison
        involved Red and Bix and there was a question as to which was
        "better." Eventually, musicians like Philip Brun and Norman Payne
        opted for Bix. Here is from "Jazz Away From Home" by Chris Goddard, a
        quote from Hughes Panassie from the winter of 1928, (this is taking
        place in England) "The first time Philippe Brun and Maurice Chaillou
        sat down apart the rest of the group, I [Panassie] approached them and
        complimented them. Then I was unable to refrain from asking Philippe
        Brun the great question of the day: 'Whom do you prefer, Bix
        Beiderbecke or Red Nichols?' (For even though I preferred Bix, I still
        thought Red Nichols was a great musician.) The response was
        unequivocal: 'Bix, a thousand times! There is no comparison! Red
        Nichols is of no importance.'"

        I agree that Bix individually was enormously more creative than Red.
        Bix produced more complex and emotionally layered music, (Sudhalter's
        expression); Bix was more inventive. However, I don't agree that Red
        was of "no impotance." The Five Pennies output in 1926-1928
        represented a highly sophisticated and important body of work, a new
        direction. Red, like Bix, was very generous and allowed the other
        musicians in the recording to display their individual as well as
        their collective talents. Listen to "Hurricane," "Feelin' No Pain,"
        "Delirium," etc. First class 1920s jazz.

        Albert

        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > I think a problem we have with Nichols is that, although he acknowledged
        > admiration for Bix, he did not acknowledge influence.
        >
        > 'It is hard to decide how justified Nichols was in saying that
        rather than
        > copying Bix, they both derived inspiration from the same source.' Max
        > Harrison 'A Jazz Retrospect'.
        >
        > However, listening to pre and post-Bix Nichols suggests he was heavily
        > indebted.
        >
        > I know we have experts present. How much was Nichol's mature style
        based on
        > Bix ?
        >
        >
        > Dave
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • yves francois
           Albert (and everyone else) Bix (and Red) are really out of my expertise (the other thread today re: plunger s is mine as you well know) , but from what I
        Message 3 of 18 , Jul 7, 2008
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             Albert (and everyone else)
          Bix (and Red) are really out of my expertise (the other thread today re: plunger's is mine as you well know) , but from what I can tell Bix (as we all know) is a one of a kind player who was a major force in jazz , a creative innovator who heard music differently than others, and made others listen to him. One who I think did (and changed his style, but not the manner he played his horn) was Nichols, a more studied player (Red is a more technically "by the book" sort of player) and whose temperament was radically different to Bix, shall we say Nichols was an Apollonian spirit to Bix's  Dionysian artistic temperament. Red had similar influences to Bix in Nick LaRocca and  like Bix heard other musics as well, but from what I can tell, with Red Nichols' is was the military brass band tradition was an important background, with Bix it was the later 19th and early 20th classical piano repertoire , and this does makes a big difference on how each approached
          music and their instrument*. Also, Red was doing a capable plunger sort of thing on some 1924/5 records with dance bands (showing the influence of Dunn and Morris), beyond the typical NYC studio dance band  "do wakka do" sort of thing prevalent at that time. Red did very little of this sort of playing after he spent time with Bix (around 1925, please correct me if I am wrong, though by 1934 he was using the wa wa mutes again, eg "Rockin' In Rhythm" on Bluebird), so recorded evidence points to an influence from Bix. Red was a talented player (and excellent organizer of recording sessions, and a fine band leader as well, who knew what the public wanted), Bix is a one of a kind musician, who was a major influence on jazz history, now , back to mutes and Oliver I must go, Yves Francois


          * really the Ravel's and Debussy's are very far from Sousa  in the spectrum of music, think about that then play a record by each


          --- On Mon, 7/7/08, Albert Haim <alberthaim@...> wrote:
          From: Albert Haim <alberthaim@...>
          Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: Red Nichols And Bix
          To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Monday, July 7, 2008, 2:27 PM











          I am not sure whether Red Nichols or Paul Whiteman is the most

          vilified 1920s musician. Unlike some of their contemporary musicians

          and later jazz critics, I view both as giants in what they did.



          Specifically about Red Nichols, there is little doubt that he was

          influenced by Bix. After all, what white jazz musician in the second

          half of the 1920s was not influenced by Bix? Remember what drummer

          Chauncey Morehouse said, ""You couldn't go anywhere in New York without

          hearing some guy trying to play like Bix. They copied his tone, his

          attack, his figures. Some guys tried to take his stuff right off the

          records. Others just came and listened. It was amazing."



          But Red Nichols was not just an imitator, like for example Andy

          Secrest in his first couple of years with Whiteman. Secrest was hired

          by Whiteman for the specific purpose of emulating what Bix had been doing.



          Red Nichols with Miff Mole and other first class jazz musicians (Jimmy

          Dorsey, Eddie Lang, Vic Berton, Joe Venuti, Arthur Schutt, Adrian

          Rollini, etc) created between 1926 and 1928 a body of what Sudhalter

          calls hot chamber music. I think it is first class jazz, exploring

          different avenues than what Louis was doing with his Hot Five and Hot

          Seven, but jazz nonetheless: not based on the blues, but with a strong

          European sensibility; not as histrionic, but more reflective; not as

          hot, but more complex.



          Let me quote the magnificent book "1920-1950 Black Beauty, White Heat,

          A Pictorial History of Classic Jazz" by Frank Driggs and Harris

          Lewine. The caption to a photograph of a young Red Nichol reads, "The

          musicians raved about Bix, but the public preferred cornetist Red

          Nichols, whose recordings, many made in partnership with Miff Mole,

          dominated the industry, 1925-1931. Nichol's playing was clean and

          precise, and he had worked with everyone from Sam Lanin to Paul

          Whiteman by his twenty-second birthday. Hundreds of his records ...

          display Nichols' pure tone and concern for form. Once he stated,

          'Every man in the band had the opportunity for individual expression,

          but it's dicsiplined freedom, so the result has an overall pattern.'

          No Nichols recording is less than interesting, and some, like "Shimme

          Sha Wabble,' One Step to Heaven,' and 'Farewell Blues,' are

          extraordinary. Nichols was a role model for many black brass men in

          the twenties."



          In England in the second half ot the 1920s a common comparison

          involved Red and Bix and there was a question as to which was

          "better." Eventually, musicians like Philip Brun and Norman Payne

          opted for Bix. Here is from "Jazz Away From Home" by Chris Goddard, a

          quote from Hughes Panassie from the winter of 1928, (this is taking

          place in England) "The first time Philippe Brun and Maurice Chaillou

          sat down apart the rest of the group, I [Panassie] approached them and

          complimented them. Then I was unable to refrain from asking Philippe

          Brun the great question of the day: 'Whom do you prefer, Bix

          Beiderbecke or Red Nichols?' (For even though I preferred Bix, I still

          thought Red Nichols was a great musician.) The response was

          unequivocal: 'Bix, a thousand times! There is no comparison! Red

          Nichols is of no importance.' "



          I agree that Bix individually was enormously more creative than Red.

          Bix produced more complex and emotionally layered music, (Sudhalter's

          expression); Bix was more inventive. However, I don't agree that Red

          was of "no impotance." The Five Pennies output in 1926-1928

          represented a highly sophisticated and important body of work, a new

          direction. Red, like Bix, was very generous and allowed the other

          musicians in the recording to display their individual as well as

          their collective talents. Listen to "Hurricane," "Feelin' No Pain,"

          "Delirium," etc. First class 1920s jazz.



          Albert



          --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogro ups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@ ...>

          wrote:

          >

          > I think a problem we have with Nichols is that, although he acknowledged

          > admiration for Bix, he did not acknowledge influence.

          >

          > 'It is hard to decide how justified Nichols was in saying that

          rather than

          > copying Bix, they both derived inspiration from the same source.' Max

          > Harrison 'A Jazz Retrospect'.

          >

          > However, listening to pre and post-Bix Nichols suggests he was heavily

          > indebted.

          >

          > I know we have experts present. How much was Nichol's mature style

          based on

          > Bix ?

          >

          >

          > Dave

          >

          >

          >

          >

          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

          >





























          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • David Brown
          Many thanks to both Albert and Yves. Thankfully, I feel that Nichols has been reassessed -- from the bad old days of his total ignoral by such as Schuller --
          Message 4 of 18 , Jul 8, 2008
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            Many thanks to both Albert and Yves.

            Thankfully, I feel that Nichols has been reassessed -- from the bad old
            days of his total ignoral by such as Schuller -- and his music given its
            full recognition.

            We are still left with his, at best slightly ingenuous, claim to have
            developed his style independently of Bix, as quoted by Harrison.

            Encroaching on another thread but in 'Hear Me Talkin'--' we have Nichols
            remembering his time with Whiteman when he had to :-

            'sit there while Busse played his muted solos. Since that time I have hated
            the thought of a mute in a trumpet and have never used one since, except
            when called for on commercial radio or studio engagements.'

            That is rather a large get-out clause and 'YouTube' Red Nichols 1935 Part 1
            'St Louis Blues' provides a visual sample of Red's seemingly avid wa-wa.

            Dave




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Albert Haim
            Hello Yves, I am so used to talk to Bixophiles that I got bogged down with the details in my post about Bix and Red. I am glad you chimed in. Indeed, Bix was a
            Message 5 of 18 , Jul 8, 2008
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              Hello Yves,

              I am so used to talk to Bixophiles that I got bogged down with the
              details in my post about Bix and Red. I am glad you chimed in. Indeed,
              Bix was a unique musician, a genius who comes once, if that often,
              every generation.

              Albert

              --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, yves francois <aprestitine@...> wrote:
              >
              > Albert (and everyone else)
              > Bix (and Red) are really out of my expertise (the other thread today
              re: plunger's is mine as you well know) , but from what I can tell Bix
              (as we all know) is a one of a kind player who was a major force in
              jazz , a creative innovator who heard music differently than others,
              and made others listen to him. One who I think did (and changed his
              style, but not the manner he played his horn) was Nichols, a more
              studied player (Red is a more technically "by the book" sort of
              player) and whose temperament was radically different to Bix, shall we
              say Nichols was an Apollonian spirit to Bix's Dionysian artistic
              temperament. Red had similar influences to Bix in Nick LaRocca and
              like Bix heard other musics as well, but from what I can tell, with
              Red Nichols' is was the military brass band tradition was an important
              background, with Bix it was the later 19th and early 20th classical
              piano repertoire , and this does makes a big difference on how each
              approached
              > music and their instrument*. Also, Red was doing a capable plunger
              sort of thing on some 1924/5 records with dance bands (showing the
              influence of Dunn and Morris), beyond the typical NYC studio dance
              band "do wakka do" sort of thing prevalent at that time. Red did very
              little of this sort of playing after he spent time with Bix (around
              1925, please correct me if I am wrong, though by 1934 he was using the
              wa wa mutes again, eg "Rockin' In Rhythm" on Bluebird), so recorded
              evidence points to an influence from Bix. Red was a talented player
              (and excellent organizer of recording sessions, and a fine band leader
              as well, who knew what the public wanted), Bix is a one of a kind
              musician, who was a major influence on jazz history, now , back to
              mutes and Oliver I must go, Yves Francois
              >
              >
              > * really the Ravel's and Debussy's are very far from Sousa in the
              spectrum of music, think about that then play a record by each
              >
              >
              > --- On Mon, 7/7/08, Albert Haim <alberthaim@...> wrote:
              > From: Albert Haim <alberthaim@...>
              > Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: Red Nichols And Bix
              > To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
              > Date: Monday, July 7, 2008, 2:27 PM
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Albert Haim
              The September 1931 issue of Melody Maker had an obituary about Bix. Here is a passage relevant to Bix and Red. His style of trumpet playing has impressed
              Message 6 of 18 , Jul 10, 2008
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                The September 1931 issue of Melody Maker had an obituary about Bix.
                Here is a passage relevant to Bix and Red.

                "His style of trumpet playing has impressed itself in bands all over
                the world and fierce has raged the controversy as to whether he was
                the superior of Red Nichols as a trumpet player."

                Albert

                --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Albert Haim" <alberthaim@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hello Yves,
                >
                > I am so used to talk to Bixophiles that I got bogged down with the
                > details in my post about Bix and Red. I am glad you chimed in. Indeed,
                > Bix was a unique musician, a genius who comes once, if that often,
                > every generation.
                >
                > Albert
                >
              • Fredrik Tersmeden
                In 1926 a bunch of early Swedish jazz musicians who had played on a ship sailing to New York visited the Roseland Ballroom and got to hear the Goldkette band
                Message 7 of 18 , Jul 11, 2008
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                  In 1926 a bunch of early Swedish jazz musicians who had played on a
                  ship sailing to New York visited the Roseland Ballroom and got to hear
                  the Goldkette band live. Afterwards the drummer, Anders Soldén, wrote
                  in a sort of diary that "On trumpet was Bix Beiderbecke, of whom one
                  later has read that he is second only to Red Nichols" (my
                  translation). Aparently Soldén was at the time more impressedd by
                  Trumbauer and by Steve Brown's slapped string bass.

                  Nichols was very famous among musisicians in Sweden at the time (as I
                  imagine he was in the rest of Europe) and they even coined the
                  expression "att nickla" [= to nickle] as an expression for doing hot
                  improvisations.

                  Fredrik
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