Storyville Professors( was: Re: Sam Davis recording)
- I think it proves that "prof." can come up in several contextes, and I
assume that most important is to be sure the right context is used in
each case. Which brings me back to the 1911 article about "prof. Sam
Davis". I still don't see why the newspaper will consider all his
readers to naturally know that Sam Davis got his "Prof." diploma as a
BTW, I am also in doubts Prof. Longhair was of the same Creole
Storyville tradition. Doctor Clayton who recorded in 1930, got his
nickname outside the Creole Storyville context. Maybe Longhair got it
in a similar way. Anyway, the Prof. title didn't stick with no other
New Orleans as a nickname to the rest of his life, no Professor Morton
and no other one, so I don't see a reason why to think in the case of
Longhair it was!
- Hi, Tommer and list: The term "professor" was used as a measure
of respect. W. C. Handy was a musician and a music teacher;
thus, "professor Handy." In gospel music, it was used for people
who led ensembles--Professor Harold Boggs, or Professor Alex
Bradford. Professor Longhair was given that name because of his
ability. Now, you mention Doctor Clayton. (His first name was
Peter.) According to legend, he was from Africa, where he'd been
a doctor of some sort. (I was never really sure whether he was a
true medical doctor, or a root doctor. However, Big Bill Broonzy
claimed that he was a real doctor, whose drinking forced him to
be a blues singer. I guess we'll never know. I also think that
maybe "professor" might have been used in advertising, to give
the pianist a better image, and make the place where he was
playing seem more high-class. Bob
- Old Deacon Jones
He was a preachin' King
They caught him 'round the house
Tryin-a shake that thing
The Mississippi Sheiks "He Calls That Religion".
The point I was trying to make is that the term "Professor" for a
music teacher obviously extended beyond Storyville. I think perhaps
that in the context of Storyville the term was possibly applied
ironically. Also, according to Morton and to Pops Foster, pianists
were often considered effeminate in their choice of instrument.
--- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Michael Rader <Rader.Michael@...>
>be so sure about that.
> Judging by the lyrics of several blues about preachers, I wouldn't
> > I suspect that Professor Wallace inhabited a world far removed
> > thethe
> > streets of Storyville, unless it was to save the fallen women of
> > district._____________________________________________________________________
> > Robert Greenwood.
> Der WEB.DE SmartSurfer hilft bis zu 70% Ihrer Onlinekosten zusparen!
- So why were not violinists, the ultimate thought-effeminate instrument in
jazz, called Professor.
Robert G wrote: The point I was trying to make is that the term "Professor"
for a music teacher obviously extended beyond Storyville. I think perhaps
that in the context of Storyville the term was possibly applied ironically.
Also, according to Morton and to Pops Foster, pianists were often considered
effeminate in their choice of instrument.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Anthony Barnett <ab@...> wrote:
> So why were not violinists, the ultimate thought-effeminate
> jazz, called Professor.No idea; I am merely reporting what is in the literature.
> Anthony http://www.abar.net
Glad to see that Mr Barnett, the violinologist and sometime publisher
of Prynne subscribes to this list.
- --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Bob Mates <bluesbob@...> wrote:
>W. C. Handy was a musician and a music teacher;
> thus, "professor Handy."Bob, Professor Longhair and Doctor Clayton got their rank in the
circles of their friends, which means it is rather than a rank just a
The case of the Gospel leaders you mentioned or teachers it is a
position or a post that regardless of the one holds it he has
The 3rd case is that of real professor rank, regardless of what post
he has at certain time someone is ranked with a professor by
W.C. Handy himself in his book referred to his teacher "professor
Wallace". However, from what Morton wrote and the comment it seems to
me that Morton thought Handy presented himself as academia's
professor which seems like the 3rd case.
It is possible that not but it seems more logical to me so far
otherwise Morton's comment has little meaning.
- In the case of Byrd/Longhair it seems to have been the owner of a
place where he played in New Orleans (according to Mike Ledbitter in
the sleeve notes to the Atlantic LP)who first applied the soubriquet
"Professor Longhair". The intention again seems to have been the wish
to add a touch of "class".
"With a band he called The Midriffs Byrd landed his first steady gig
in 1949 at one of the most prestigious New Orleans black night spots,
the Caledonia Inn, replacing Dave Bartholomew's Swing Band. The owner
of the Caledonia referred to Byrd as a "piano professor" and marrying
it to his hairstyle of uncustomary long hair the persona of Professor
Longhair was born under the renamed title of the band - Professor
Longhair and his Four Hairs Combo. The other three hairs were
Professors No Hair, Need some Hair and Ain't Got No Hair, the latter
being sax player "Apeman" Black who shaved his head." (from a
biography by Grant Morris at
Longhair was taught some of the traditions of NO piano by Champion
Jack Dupree and Tuts Washington. Although his style is sometimes
called "rhumba" inspired, I hear distinct touches of the "Spanish
tinge" which would be due to Washington.
In reply to Tommer's remark:
> Professor Longhair and Doctor Clayton got their rank in the
> circles of their friends, which means it is rather than a rank just a
- I'm not sure that Handy's rank had anything to do with academics.
I have a feeling that many people, who taught music, no matter
what their education, were thought of as "professor." The gospel
folks were given that name by their fans. Bob
Let the horse speak:
"whoever heard of anyone wearing the title `professor of music'
advocate ragtime syncopation, blues or jazz?"
A title, and not just a nickname.
Anyway, those are Morton's words!