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Re: [RedHotJazz] shopworn sentimentalism (was Bob Fuller musicians and recording)

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  • Howard Rye
    Unfortunately I don¹t have Le Vrai Jazz in French so I can¹t tell you, but he approved this translation and his English was quite good enough to know what he
    Message 1 of 23 , Sep 2, 2008
      Unfortunately I don¹t have Le Vrai Jazz in French so I can¹t tell you, but
      he approved this translation and his English was quite good enough to know
      what he was saying.

      But actually this is presented as a quotation from a Madeleine Gautier
      article on Fats Waller in Jazz Hot for July/ August 1939, and it is a new
      translation and not that by Walter Schaap published by Jazz Hot, which was
      bi-lingual up to 1939.

      The original French is: Sa façon de chanter les mélodies les plus tendres
      d¹un air goguenard qui ridiculise le sentimentalisme de bazar sous lequel
      s¹étiole le vrai coeur de monde. (His [Fats¹s] way of singing the tenderest
      melodies in a jeering tone which ridicules the dime store sentimentalism
      with which the true heart of the world is being weakened.....) This is my
      translation not Schaap¹s. Whatever its defects, mine at least makes sense in
      English, whereas I have no idea what Schaap thought he meant by ³the sort of
      showy sentimentality that ridicules withering². I suspect that Œtawdry¹
      would really be the best English translation of Œbazar¹ if I have understood
      the French idiom correctly.

      All of which confirms my original instinct that ³shop-worn sentimentalism²
      is new-minted and pure Panassié!

      I don¹t think it¹s anything more sinister than a rather felicitous
      description of pre-rock pop music (i.e. crooners) in contrast to the way
      Fats Waller and his disciples handled the same songs. That¹s the context
      anyway.

      on 02/09/2008 08:24, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

      >
      >
      >
      > ' shop-worn sentimentalism -- ' is indeed a wonderful phrase even if
      > probably translator enhanced.
      >
      > Now what was he referring to ?
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


      Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
      howard@...
      Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Patrice Champarou
      ... From: Howard Rye The original French is: Sa façon de chanter les mélodies les plus tendres d¹un air goguenard qui ridiculise le sentimentalisme de
      Message 2 of 23 , Sep 2, 2008
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Howard Rye"

        The original French is: Sa façon de chanter les mélodies les plus tendres
        d¹un air goguenard qui ridiculise le sentimentalisme de bazar sous lequel
        s¹étiole le vrai coeur de monde. (His [Fats¹s] way of singing the tenderest
        melodies in a jeering tone which ridicules the dime store sentimentalism
        with which the true heart of the world is being weakened.....) This is my
        translation not Schaap¹s. Whatever its defects, mine at least makes sense in
        English, whereas I have no idea what Schaap thought he meant by ³the sort of
        showy sentimentality that ridicules withering².

        Native speaker (and born hair-splitter) confirms, maybe the shortcut looks
        cute but assuming it means anything at all, I wonder how he managed to link
        it to the rest of the sentence. If you just keep the main words, the
        structure is definitely "Fat's way of singing/ridicules/sentimentalism", any
        substitution woud be a confusion.

        P.
      • Patrice Champarou
        ... or rather (his) tone/ridicules/sentimentalism (which boils down to the same thing, but I do not want to add more confusion to a verbless sentence)
        Message 3 of 23 , Sep 2, 2008
          > "Fat's way of singing/ridicules/sentimentalism"
          or rather "(his) tone/ridicules/sentimentalism" (which boils down to the
          same thing, but I do not want to add more confusion to a verbless sentence)
        • Howard Rye
          It¹s not verbless in the original, Patrice. I only translated the relevant clauses. It goes on and on with a long list of characteristics of Fats Waller¹s
          Message 4 of 23 , Sep 2, 2008
            It¹s not verbless in the original, Patrice. I only translated the relevant
            clauses. It goes on and on with a long list of characteristics of Fats
            Waller¹s playing and eventually ends with ³tout cela se reflète dans son
            jeu² (all this is reflected in his playing).


            on 02/09/2008 23:27, Patrice Champarou at patrice.champarou@... wrote:

            >
            >
            >
            >> > "Fat's way of singing/ridicules/sentimentalism"
            > or rather "(his) tone/ridicules/sentimentalism" (which boils down to the
            > same thing, but I do not want to add more confusion to a verbless sentence)
            >
            >
            >


            Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
            howard@...
            Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Bob Mates
            I certainly don t know French, but I do know that a strong point of Fats s sing was to take the inane, overly-sentimental lyrics to a song, and, by over-doing
            Message 5 of 23 , Sep 2, 2008
              I certainly don't know French, but I do know that a strong point
              of Fats's sing was to take the inane, overly-sentimental lyrics
              to a song, and, by over-doing them, satirize them. You laughed,
              both at his vocal antics, and at the lyrics, because they were
              made to sound more ridiculous, as he made fun of them. Bob
            • David Brown
              I love Fats but he demeaned the great songs along with the dross. Compare with, for instance, Billie who enhanced the dross as well as the great songs. Or with
              Message 6 of 23 , Sep 3, 2008
                I love Fats but he demeaned the great songs along with the dross. Compare
                with, for instance, Billie who enhanced the dross as well as the great
                songs. Or with Louis who delivered the utmost dross with such sincerity you
                believe it -- almost.

                I think Waller's legacy would be even greater had he respected more both his
                material and his own ability to transcend it.

                Dave



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Bob Mates
                It just goes to prove that, more than any other form of music, jazz is an outgrowth of the performer s personality. Billie s songs were full of emotion,
                Message 7 of 23 , Sep 3, 2008
                  It just goes to prove that, more than any other form of music,
                  jazz is an outgrowth of the performer's personality. Billie's
                  songs were full of emotion, because her whole life was that way.
                  Her love songs were kind of her cry for love. Louis loved the
                  schmultzy stuff; making you believe it was part of the
                  performance. From what I've read about Fats, he didn't really
                  take any music very seriously, except church music and classical
                  music. Everything else was fair game. Some say he took away
                  from his ability, but I don't know. I think he pulled you in
                  with the humor, and then, when you were hooked, made you realize
                  what a truly great performer and musician he was. Remember: he
                  wasn't playing for the purists, but for the public. I had a lot
                  of Fats stuff on vinyl, but it's back in Pittsburgh. Someday, I
                  hope to get it up here, to Grand Rapids. Take care, everyone.
                  Bob
                • Tommer
                  ... Interesting reading. I do believe that being funny is not a choice anyone can make, it is a gift, and I also believe Fats Waller wanted to make other
                  Message 8 of 23 , Sep 4, 2008
                    --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Mates <bluesbob@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi, Dave: You have a good point: perhaps, Fats was a victim of
                    > his own persona; had to live up to his image. When that happens,
                    > you try to be funny. Of course, when you try, you usually
                    > aren't.
                    > This whole area of discussion about artists, trapped by their
                    > public persona, is an interesting one. Nadine Kohodas, in her
                    > biography of Dinah Washington, says that, in her later years,
                    > (seems funny to write that phrase, since Dinah died at age 38),
                    > she tried to live up to her nickname, "the queen". It changed
                    > her personality, and it made her spend so much money, that when
                    > she died, she was deep in debt. As for Fats, I've read that, by
                    > the end of his life, he was getting tired of the grind of
                    > touring. Perhaps, if he'd lived, he would have devoted more time
                    > to writing Broadway shows, which he really enjoyed. Perhaps,
                    > too, as the musical tastes had changed, he wouldn't have been
                    > expected to be funny all of the time, and you would have heard a
                    > lot of different stuff.

                    Interesting reading. I do believe that being funny is not a choice
                    anyone can make, it is a gift, and I also believe Fats Waller wanted
                    to make other people happy, and so was his music. IMO Fats Waller
                    wanted to be grouped with artists like James Johnson and Art Tatum
                    and not Teddy Wilson, but many would place him there, only when
                    seriously thinking about him the connection to the first group is
                    more understood. Pannasie and Schuller both had winding ways to deal
                    with this situation, I might later try to excerpt but the reason I
                    wanted to reply is because an article by John S. Wilson
                    titled 'Thomas "Fats" Waller':
                    <<<<begin excerpt:
                    Both Fats Waller and his principal tutor, James P. Johnson, lived
                    lives of aching frustrations. Johnson ached openly because he could
                    find no audience for his serious compositions, but Waller's desire to
                    find acceptance as a serious musician was burried under a heavy
                    coating of pervasive geniality.

                    ....

                    Gene Sedric, the saxophonist and clarinettist in Fats's little band
                    from 1938 to 1943, remembers times when Waller was so full of his
                    feeling for serious music that he couldn't help playing, even in a
                    nightclub, with all the musicality of which he was capable. But this
                    wasn't the Fats that the customers had paid to hear. 'people in the
                    audience would think he was lying down', Sedric says.b 'They'd
                    yell, "Come on Fats!". He'd take a swig of gin or something and say
                    resignedly,"Aw right, here it is"'
                    <<<<<<<<end excerpt

                    The article certainly leaves space for imagination, but still it
                    seems in the right spirit.

                    There are more details on the article which is too long to quote, for
                    instance about Fats attitude at the organ differently from the piano.
                    I have this article on "Reading Jazz"/ selected writings of several
                    writers edited by Robert Gotllieb and it is written "Also from
                    Shapiro and Hentoff's The Jazz Makers"

                    Tommer
                  • Bob Mates
                    Well, it just goes back to what I said before. Obviously, Fats would have wanted to play serious music, but that s not what the public wanted, and, after
                    Message 9 of 23 , Sep 5, 2008
                      Well, it just goes back to what I said before. Obviously, Fats
                      would have wanted to play "serious" music, but that's not what
                      the public wanted, and, after all they're the ones who paid him.
                      One could even bring racism into the discussion, because many
                      people figured that black folks were supposed to be happy, happy,
                      happy. By the way, while briefly on the subject of racism, it's
                      interesting and very sad to note that many of the jazz clubs, who
                      regularly hired black jazz musicians, wouldn't allow them to
                      patronize with the white customers. Apparently, George Brunies,
                      the trombonist, was an absolute out-and-out racist. I wonder
                      where he thought the music he loved to play came from. Back to
                      Fats: Fats's organ playing was much more serious than was a lot
                      of his piano playing. I think "Jitterbug Waltz" was ahead of its
                      time. Of course, if it's serious playing you're looking for,
                      listen to "London Suite".
                      Just briefly, it occurs to me that, if you believe the 1890 birth
                      date for Jelly Roll, you're going to have to scramble and come up
                      with a lot of new dates for his compositions.
                      Sorry to make a long post like this. Take care, everyone. Bob
                    • Tommer
                      ... Louis Armstrong was surfacing always happy, smiling, laughing, and also, Louis didn t care to abandon hot music and become sweeter with the times going by.
                      Message 10 of 23 , Sep 6, 2008
                        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Mates <bluesbob@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > One could even bring racism into the discussion, because many
                        > people figured that black folks were supposed to be happy, happy,
                        > happy. By the way, while briefly on the subject of racism, it's
                        > interesting and very sad to note that many of the jazz clubs, who
                        > regularly hired black jazz musicians, wouldn't allow them to
                        > patronize with the white customers.

                        Louis Armstrong was surfacing always happy, smiling, laughing, and
                        also, Louis didn't care to abandon hot music and become sweeter with
                        the times going by. But Louis Armstrong will forever be a great
                        musician. Was Fats Waller was influenced by Armstrong's charisma,
                        (and not just the singing style)?

                        Bob, what does it mean to patronize with the white customers?

                        I also wonder whether there were "uncle tom" accusations against Fats
                        Waller. There were such at Louis Armstrong.
                        Tommer
                      • Bob Mates
                        It meant that many clubs wouldn t let their black musicians sit and have a drink with the white customers. They weren t allowed to mix with the customers at
                        Message 11 of 23 , Sep 6, 2008
                          It meant that many clubs wouldn't let their black musicians sit
                          and have a drink with the white customers. They weren't allowed
                          to mix with the customers at all. I'm not aware of any "uncle
                          tom" accusations against Fats. Those charges were levelled again
                          Louis Armstrong, because he wouldn't participate in civil rights
                          demonstrations. This was long after Fats was dead. Bob
                        • Tommer
                          ... Bob, sure the movement of the 1950 s that was the beginning of black panthers and other movements like that that were using uncle tomming as a measure of
                          Message 12 of 23 , Sep 7, 2008
                            --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Mates <bluesbob@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > It meant that many clubs wouldn't let their black musicians sit
                            > and have a drink with the white customers. They weren't allowed
                            > to mix with the customers at all. I'm not aware of any "uncle
                            > tom" accusations against Fats. Those charges were levelled again
                            > Louis Armstrong, because he wouldn't participate in civil rights
                            > demonstrations. This was long after Fats was dead. Bob
                            >

                            Bob, sure the movement of the 1950's that was the beginning of black
                            panthers and other movements like that that were using "uncle
                            tomming" as a measure of negative contribution to their causes which
                            they thought to be identical with African Americans causes, were
                            after Fats was long gone, however, on the historical level I was
                            wondering what historically and officially was the movement opinion
                            about Fats, hopefully someone has an answer.
                            Tommer
                          • Bob Mates
                            My understanding has always been that Fats was just as popular with blacks as he was with whites, while he was alive. He was universally loved. The one thing
                            Message 13 of 23 , Sep 7, 2008
                              My understanding has always been that Fats was just as popular
                              with blacks as he was with whites, while he was alive. He was
                              universally loved.
                              The one thing that's important to know is that people's views of
                              music can change, depending upon your situation. For instance,
                              many black people rejected the blues as "slavery music". It
                              didn't jibe with the new image African-Americans wanted to
                              convey. Let me give you a more personal example. I'm a blind
                              person. Now, I love Ray Charles. I think he was a great
                              performer. However, many blind people go out of their way to say
                              that they don't like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder or Jose
                              Feliciano. It has to do with the fact that many people will say
                              to you, "so, I guess that, being blind, you really dig Stevie
                              Wonder, huh?". So, you either say that you can't stand the guy,
                              or you go into this thing about how you do like him, but his
                              blindness has nothing to do with it.
                              In Fats's case, as times changed from might have changed the way
                              they perceived his music. But, as I said, my understanding is
                              that he was extremely popular while he was alive. Bob
                            • Robert Greenwood
                              ... black ... which ... Leaving aside the satirical possibilities (which greatly cheer me) of Bobby Seale or Huey P. Newton issuing an official edict on Fats
                              Message 14 of 23 , Sep 8, 2008
                                --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Tommer" <tommersl@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Bob, sure the movement of the 1950's that was the beginning of
                                black
                                > panthers and other movements like that that were using "uncle
                                > tomming" as a measure of negative contribution to their causes
                                which
                                > they thought to be identical with African Americans causes, were
                                > after Fats was long gone, however, on the historical level I was
                                > wondering what historically and officially was the movement opinion
                                > about Fats, hopefully someone has an answer.
                                > Tommer
                                >

                                Leaving aside the satirical possibilities (which greatly cheer me) of
                                Bobby Seale or Huey P. Newton issuing an "official" edict on Fats
                                Waller, the Panthers, although they did some good work, are not noted
                                for their contribution to jazz criticism. Someone will correct me if
                                I am wrong. I suspect they had more urgent matters to attend to and
                                that the constituency they sought among sections of the black
                                American working class were all listening to Motown anyway and
                                couldn't care less about Fats.
                                Robert Greenwood.
                              • Gilber M. Erskine
                                Message 15 of 23 , Sep 8, 2008
                                  <<<Let me give you a more personal example. I'm a blind person. ---Bob Mates>>>

                                  You obviously must depend on someone reading these posts to you. How can you ever be sure that what that person is telling you is correct?
                                  ----------GILBERT M. ERSKINE

                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: Bob Mates
                                  To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Sunday, September 07, 2008 3:02 PM
                                  Subject: re: [RedHotJazz] Re: shopworn sentimentalism (was Bob Fuller musicians and recording)


                                  My understanding has always been that Fats was just as popular
                                  with blacks as he was with whites, while he was alive. He was
                                  universally loved.
                                  The one thing that's important to know is that people's views of
                                  music can change, depending upon your situation. For instance,
                                  many black people rejected the blues as "slavery music". It
                                  didn't jibe with the new image African-Americans wanted to
                                  convey. Let me give you a more personal example. I'm a blind
                                  person. Now, I love Ray Charles. I think he was a great
                                  performer. However, many blind people go out of their way to say
                                  that they don't like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder or Jose
                                  Feliciano. It has to do with the fact that many people will say
                                  to you, "so, I guess that, being blind, you really dig Stevie
                                  Wonder, huh?". So, you either say that you can't stand the guy,
                                  or you go into this thing about how you do like him, but his
                                  blindness has nothing to do with it.
                                  In Fats's case, as times changed from might have changed the way
                                  they perceived his music. But, as I said, my understanding is
                                  that he was extremely popular while he was alive. Bob





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                                • Bob Mates
                                  Actually, Gilbert, I have a computer, which reads the posts either in Braille or as speech. Therefore, the only one who can make a mistake is me! hahaha
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Sep 8, 2008
                                    Actually, Gilbert, I have a computer, which reads the posts
                                    either in Braille or as speech. Therefore, the only one who can
                                    make a mistake is me! hahaha There's a lot of good stuff about
                                    jazz available, either in Braille, or from people scanning it.
                                    Bob
                                  • Gilber M. Erskine
                                    Thanks! ... From: Bob Mates To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 12:45 PM Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: shopworn sentimentalism (was
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Sep 8, 2008
                                      Thanks!
                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      From: Bob Mates
                                      To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                      Sent: Monday, September 08, 2008 12:45 PM
                                      Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: shopworn sentimentalism (was Bob Fuller musicians and recording)


                                      Actually, Gilbert, I have a computer, which reads the posts
                                      either in Braille or as speech. Therefore, the only one who can
                                      make a mistake is me! hahaha There's a lot of good stuff about
                                      jazz available, either in Braille, or from people scanning it.
                                      Bob





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