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Johnny Dodds and Creole style

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  • Bob Eagle
    I really enjoy Dodds work, but I confess I have not given much thought to the relationship between his style and that of other clarinetists. However, if his
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 24, 2008
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      I really enjoy Dodds' work, but I confess I have not given much thought to the relationship between his style and that of other clarinetists.

      However, if his family came from Marengo County, Alabama shortly before he was born, clearly he was not himself a creole. This must also be the case if he hailed from a place called Waverly (whether in LA or MS) or from, say, Waveland, MS.

      To end up with a creole style, he must have learned the style from creoles living in his neighborhood.

      In 1900 the family was family in Ward 10 (2123 Philp St).

      Apart from William, who had already married and was living at 3026 Franklin (Ward 11), the family seems to have avoided notice in 1910.

      By 1917, Johnny was at 2523 Philip (is this just coincidentally similar to the 1900 address?), in Ward 10.

      Also in 1917, Willie and Baby Dodds were both at 2034 Third Street (apparently just inside Ward 11, as First is the boundary between Wards 10 and 11). Wards 10 and 11 had comprised Lafayette City before it was absorbed into New Orleans in 1852.

      In 1920, William was in Ward 11, as was Baby Dodds, but at different addresses. However, Johnny had moved to 1518 S. Robertson (Ward 1). Ward 1 is immediately east of Ward 10, while Ward 11 is immediately to its west.

      Whoever influenced Johnny, it was probably players from Wards 1, 10 and/or 11, which are all adjacent to one another, because he was apparently in that general area until at least 1920, and he moved to Chicago soon afterwards.

      Are there recorded examples of creole players who likely influenced Dodds?

      Thanks
      Bob



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    • Robert Greenwood
      ... thought to the relationship between his style and that of other clarinetists. ... creoles living in his neighborhood. ... Dodds? ... I m not sure that
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 25, 2008
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        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Eagle <prof_hi_jinx@...> wrote:
        >
        > I really enjoy Dodds' work, but I confess I have not given much
        thought to the relationship between his style and that of other
        clarinetists.
        >
        > To end up with a creole style, he must have learned the style from
        creoles living in his neighborhood.
        >
        > Are there recorded examples of creole players who likely influenced
        Dodds?
        >
        > Thanks
        > Bob

        I'm not sure that Dodds has ever been described as a "creole" player.
        Clarinettists thought to exemplify the creole style include Big Eye
        Louis Nelson, Alphonse Picou, Louis Cottrell, Barney Bigard, &
        Lorenzo Tio Junior, all of whom recorded. Like Charlie Parker,
        virtually everything played by Dodds fairly dripped with the blues, a
        music largely acquired by creoles.
        Robert Greenwood.
      • David Brown
        In early histories Dodds is reported as having had lessons from Tio. This is apparently not so. In interview with Bill Russell for Jazzmen he stated he
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 25, 2008
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          In early histories Dodds is reported as having had lessons from Tio. This is apparently not so. In interview with Bill Russell for 'Jazzmen' he stated he received only five formal lessons from Charlie McCurdy, who played with John Robichaux, and 'learned to play by listening behind his favourite clarinettists, Louis Nelson, Picou, Baquet and Tio Jr.'

          As a young man Dodds ran with Emile Barnes, his exact contemporary, and Bechet, maybe also his exact contemporary or up to 5 years younger (?). Dodds claimed Bechet influenced him and this can possibly be heard in shared use of dynamics, vibrato and 'rough' tonal quality. The most influential Creole player of the previous generation was Louis Nelson Delisle, reportedly the first 'jazz' clarinettist.

          'He inspired many of the younger players Noone, Bechet and Dodds. He had a big tone and while he played in the fluid style characteristic of New Orleans, he brought broad inventiveness. As with Bechet, he had a vibrato that was in keeping with his sweeping crescendos and just a touch of blue quality.' -- 'Jazzmen'

          Note that Dodds listed Nelson first among influences. Emile Barnes plays in a style recognisably similar to that of Nelson but Bechet and, more so, Dodds have moved further away.

          Nelson was recorded only late in career when sick but I recommend the beautiful work with Charlie Love recorded live at Luthjens 1949 ( AMCD-7)

          Wonderful evocation of, and interview with, in 'Mister Jelly Roll'.

          Dave


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        • Robert Greenwood
          ... beautiful work with Charlie Love recorded live at Luthjens 1949 ( AMCD- 7) ... …although one doesn t get the impression of a man faltering or struggling
          Message 4 of 12 , Jul 25, 2008
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            --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
            wrote:
            > Nelson was recorded only late in career when sick but I recommend the
            beautiful work with Charlie Love recorded live at Luthjens 1949 ( AMCD-
            7)
            >
            …although one doesn't get the impression of a man faltering or
            struggling with ill health. He can also be heard alongside Picou on the
            1940 Kid Rena sides (AMCD-41) and on a 1944 session made by John Reid
            (AMCD-44), again alongside Picou.
            Robert Greenwood.
          • David Brown
            Dodds fell short of the highest jazz achievements, though his passionately forged style was to be the inspiration of clarinettists who attained large and more
            Message 5 of 12 , Jul 28, 2008
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              'Dodds fell short of the highest jazz achievements, though his passionately
              forged style was to be the inspiration of clarinettists who attained large
              and more facile celebrity.'

              Eric Thacker in 'Essential Jazz Records' and, much as I appreciate the
              sermonic style, I demur. Dodds was one of the giants of the music but too
              often faint praised or even, as in Hodeir, belittled.

              His legacy is remarkable. Where is there bad Dodds ? -- except moments in
              Hot 5s where he appears intimidated by Louis' genius and by his stretching
              of received boundaries. I also accept that the quality of the late Deccas is
              arguable.

              Played through the Renas and Reids, the latter especially superb and
              fascinating because Bechet can be heard claiming Nelson as initial
              inspiration.

              Also fascinating to hear Nelson alongside Picou, the latter noticeably
              playing in a stiffer more ragtime style but still, I suggest, Nelson is
              nearer in style to Picou than he is to Dodds, or even Bechet, and it has
              been observed that there is nothing on record to support Nelson as
              progenitor, beautiful playing though it is.

              Bill Russell went to N.O. to record Nelson with Bunk but was disappointed by
              his playing and substituted George. There are certainly reports of Nelson's
              sickness at various times but I think this may have been down to Bill's
              Doddsian pre-conceptions of what Nelson SHOULD sound like.

              Dave







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            • Robert Greenwood
              ... disappointed by ... Nelson s ... Bill s ... That may well have been the case. The list of creole clarinettists in my initial e-mail was not intended to be
              Message 6 of 12 , Jul 28, 2008
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                --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
                wrote:
                > Bill Russell went to N.O. to record Nelson with Bunk but was
                disappointed by
                > his playing and substituted George. There are certainly reports of
                Nelson's
                > sickness at various times but I think this may have been down to
                Bill's
                > Doddsian pre-conceptions of what Nelson SHOULD sound like.
                >
                > Dave

                That may well have been the case. The list of creole clarinettists in
                my initial e-mail was not intended to be exhaustive, but I should, I
                suppose, have included Jimmie Noone, usually cited as the clarinettist
                exemplifying the "other" tradition in NO clarinet to that represented
                by Dodds. The possible origins of Noone's style may, I think, be heard
                in Big Eye Louis Nelson.
                Robert Greenwood.
              • David Brown
                I agree that the previous generation of Creole players, culminating in Nelson, was source for both supposedly antithetical Chicago clarinet styles of Noone and
                Message 7 of 12 , Jul 28, 2008
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                  I agree that the previous generation of Creole players, culminating in
                  Nelson, was source for both supposedly antithetical Chicago clarinet styles
                  of Noone and Dodds.

                  I mention here Wade Whaley (1895) who left N.O. for the West Coast in 1919
                  and is thus largely ignored. His beautiful work on the Bunk V-Disc Veterans
                  of 1944 places him somewhere between pure Creole and Dodds styles.

                  I think we should also regard the mature styles of both Dodds and Noone as
                  Chicagoan, not New Orleanian, Dodds amended by South Side milieu and Noone
                  by his formal study with Shoepp. The stylistic gap was probably not so wide
                  in N. O. with both ingesting shared influence from Nelson, Bechet and
                  others. The Dodds of 'Zulu's Ball' can be heard as evidence for this.

                  Dave




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                • Bob Eagle
                  Whaley cannot be representative of Creole style, however, because he was born at Jefferson, Marion County, Texas (some way west of Shreveport) during April
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jul 28, 2008
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                    Whaley cannot be representative of Creole style, however, because he was born at Jefferson, Marion County, Texas (some way west of Shreveport) during April 1891, and was still living there as late as 1910.
                     
                    He was living in NOLA by 1917 but was already in Los Angeles in 1920.  He was a band leader there in 1930.  He died in New York in 1968.
                     
                    One can only wonder how he came to play in anything resembling New Orleans style, unless he was a novice when he moved there, but by that time he would have been in his twenties.
                     
                    Bob

                    --- On Tue, 29/7/08, David Brown <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:

                    From: David Brown <johnhaleysims@...>
                    Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Re: Johnny Dodds and Creole style
                    To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                    Received: Tuesday, 29 July, 2008, 12:24 AM






                    I agree that the previous generation of Creole players, culminating in
                    Nelson, was source for both supposedly antithetical Chicago clarinet styles
                    of Noone and Dodds.

                    I mention here Wade Whaley (1895) who left N.O. for the West Coast in 1919
                    and is thus largely ignored. His beautiful work on the Bunk V-Disc Veterans
                    of 1944 places him somewhere between pure Creole and Dodds styles.

                    I think we should also regard the mature styles of both Dodds and Noone as
                    Chicagoan, not New Orleanian, Dodds amended by South Side milieu and Noone
                    by his formal study with Shoepp. The stylistic gap was probably not so wide
                    in N. O. with both ingesting shared influence from Nelson, Bechet and
                    others. The Dodds of 'Zulu's Ball' can be heard as evidence for this.

                    Dave

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
















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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • David Brown
                    Hello Bob All my sources have Whaley born N.O. 1895. Chilton reports lessons with Tio Jr. and subsequent work with Piron, Petit, Ory and John Robichaux. Own
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jul 29, 2008
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                      Hello Bob

                      All my sources have Whaley born N.O. 1895. Chilton reports lessons with Tio Jr. and subsequent work with Piron, Petit, Ory and John Robichaux. Own band N.O.1916. Left to join Morton in L.A. in 1917. Returned N.O. before moving permanently to the Coast in 1919.

                      Formidable N.O. credentials there and he must be viewed a major N.O. clarinettist in this period.

                      He was Ory's regular clarinettist at the time of the Sunshine recordings and would be there, ever enshrined in jazz history, but could not make the recording session in Santa Monica and was substituted by Dink Johnson.

                      Dave





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Tommer
                      ... thought to the relationship between his style and that of other clarinetists. ... before he was born, clearly he was not himself a creole. This must also
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jul 31, 2008
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                        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Eagle <prof_hi_jinx@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I really enjoy Dodds' work, but I confess I have not given much
                        thought to the relationship between his style and that of other
                        clarinetists.
                        >
                        > However, if his family came from Marengo County, Alabama shortly
                        before he was born, clearly he was not himself a creole. This must
                        also be the case if he hailed from a place called Waverly (whether in
                        LA or MS) or from, say, Waveland, MS.
                        >
                        > To end up with a creole style, he must have learned the style from
                        creoles living in his neighborhood.
                        >
                        > In 1900 the family was family in Ward 10 (2123 Philp St).
                        >
                        > Apart from William, who had already married and was living at 3026
                        Franklin (Ward 11), the family seems to have avoided notice in 1910.
                        >
                        > By 1917, Johnny was at 2523 Philip (is this just coincidentally
                        similar to the 1900 address?), in Ward 10.
                        >
                        > Also in 1917, Willie and Baby Dodds were both at 2034 Third Street
                        (apparently just inside Ward 11, as First is the boundary between
                        Wards 10 and 11). Wards 10 and 11 had comprised Lafayette City
                        before it was absorbed into New Orleans in 1852.
                        >
                        > In 1920, William was in Ward 11, as was Baby Dodds, but at
                        different addresses. However, Johnny had moved to 1518 S. Robertson
                        (Ward 1). Ward 1 is immediately east of Ward 10, while Ward 11 is
                        immediately to its west.
                        >
                        > Whoever influenced Johnny, it was probably players from Wards 1, 10
                        and/or 11, which are all adjacent to one another, because he was
                        apparently in that general area until at least 1920, and he moved to
                        Chicago soon afterwards.
                        >
                        > Are there recorded examples of creole players who likely influenced
                        Dodds?
                        >
                        > Thanks
                        > Bob
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > Start at the new Yahoo!7 for a better online experience.
                        www.yahoo7.com.au
                        >

                        Baby Dodds talked about it on track titled "Talking: Uptown Blues".
                        This quite exaplains about the cultural state of the Dodds in New
                        Orleans.
                        Tommer
                      • David Brown
                        Many thanks to Bob who offlist has provided cast iron evidence of his Whaley biography with birthplace as Jefferson, Texas in 1891 or 1892. As Bob reports, he
                        Message 11 of 12 , Aug 25 1:12 AM
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                          Many thanks to Bob who offlist has provided cast iron evidence of his Whaley
                          biography with birthplace as Jefferson, Texas in 1891 or 1892.

                          As Bob reports, he is still shown as living there in census of 1920.

                          It is therefore remarkable that he was so well able to absorb N.O. style
                          when past his formative musical years.

                          Interestingly, his mother lists Louisiana as birthplace in the 1920 census
                          and it is tenuously possible to read this as N.O. and maybe Whaley had
                          family connections in N.O. and was earlier exposed to the music.

                          Dave




                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • David N. Lewis
                          There are several answers to this question, and I am too tired to read the whole thread to see if this this name was broached anon, but I would suggest Louis
                          Message 12 of 12 , Sep 1, 2008
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                            There are several answers to this question, and I am too tired to
                            read the whole thread to see if this this name was broached anon, but
                            I would suggest Louis "Big Eye" Nelson (nee deLisle). He recorded
                            only in the 1940s with Kid Rena and Wooden Joe Nicholas; the sessions
                            with Nicholas were collected on an AM CD under Big Eye's name. 55
                            years of age when he made his first record (the very year Dodds died,
                            incidentally), Big Eye does not have the dexterity of Dodds, but the
                            fluid tone and building long-breathed phrases in high registers, he's
                            got. I really like his playing with Rena -- there is a fair amount of
                            division of opinion about those sessions, but I find them of great
                            value; "Gettysburg Blues" actually hearkens back to the pre-
                            syncopated, pre-Jazz state of Jazz.

                            Uncle Dave Lewis
                            Ann Arbor, MI

                            --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Eagle <prof_hi_jinx@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I really enjoy Dodds' work, but I confess I have not given much
                            thought to the relationship between his style and that of other
                            clarinetists.
                            >
                            > However, if his family came from Marengo County, Alabama shortly
                            before he was born, clearly he was not himself a creole. This must
                            also be the case if he hailed from a place called Waverly (whether in
                            LA or MS) or from, say, Waveland, MS.
                            >
                            > To end up with a creole style, he must have learned the style from
                            creoles living in his neighborhood.
                            >
                            > In 1900 the family was family in Ward 10 (2123 Philp St).
                            >
                            > Apart from William, who had already married and was living at 3026
                            Franklin (Ward 11), the family seems to have avoided notice in 1910.
                            >
                            > By 1917, Johnny was at 2523 Philip (is this just coincidentally
                            similar to the 1900 address?), in Ward 10.
                            >
                            > Also in 1917, Willie and Baby Dodds were both at 2034 Third Street
                            (apparently just inside Ward 11, as First is the boundary between
                            Wards 10 and 11). Wards 10 and 11 had comprised Lafayette City
                            before it was absorbed into New Orleans in 1852.
                            >
                            > In 1920, William was in Ward 11, as was Baby Dodds, but at
                            different addresses. However, Johnny had moved to 1518 S. Robertson
                            (Ward 1). Ward 1 is immediately east of Ward 10, while Ward 11 is
                            immediately to its west.
                            >
                            > Whoever influenced Johnny, it was probably players from Wards 1, 10
                            and/or 11, which are all adjacent to one another, because he was
                            apparently in that general area until at least 1920, and he moved to
                            Chicago soon afterwards.
                            >
                            > Are there recorded examples of creole players who likely influenced
                            Dodds?
                            >
                            > Thanks
                            > Bob
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > Start at the new Yahoo!7 for a better online experience.
                            www.yahoo7.com.au
                            >
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