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Button Up Your Overquote

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  • Robert Greenwood
    It s my turn now to over-quote from some works which may help shed some light on recent matters under discussion on this list. Tom Bethell, in his biography of
    Message 1 of 7 , Feb 5, 2009
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      It's my turn now to over-quote from some works which may help shed
      some light on recent matters under discussion on this list.
      Tom Bethell, in his biography of George Lewis, also rejects the
      uptown/downtown divide and claims that Lewis himself accorded it no
      credibility. He goes, on though, to quote George as saying: "I want
      to be straight. The majority of the black-skinned musicians stayed
      together…and so did the light-skinned, as a rule." George then goes
      on to describe a gig he played, as a dep for Picou, in the band of
      one Arnold Depass. The Creole lady behind the bar pointed to Lewis
      and asked Depass: "What's that?" She then made Lewis drink from a
      different sort of glass from the other band members. George,
      understandably upset, left the place and got thoroughly drunk at a
      bar where he was made more welcome.
      According to Bethell, Lewis lived all his life in the Creole downtown
      section of New Orleans. Everyone, says Bethell, played a relatively
      legitimate style regardless of neighbourhood, but the music got
      rougher and more improvised as fewer jazzmen bothered to learn to
      read music. Bethell doesn't trouble himself to offer any explanation
      as to why this surely important change might have come about.
      Tom Sancton, in his "Songs For My Fathers", recalls a George Lewis
      who, in the 1960s, "still fumed over the Creole dance halls that
      wouldn't admit him because he didn't have `silky hair'", and
      describes George scorning the suggestion that he might have known
      Picou. "Picou didn't talk to people like me. Picou didn't like you
      unless you had silky hair."
      Finally, a quote from Ken Colyer's letter from New Orleans dated Nov
      30th 1952 to his brother Bill (who died last week, incidentally): "Of
      all the coloured musicians here, there are only one or two who own
      phonographs or records. Lewis's favourite record is Jelly Roll's
      Winin' Boy piano solo, and he really cherishes it." That may not
      prove much, but it's interesting in light of our discussion regarding
      the influence of gramophone recordings.
    • David Brown
      Sincere thanks to Robert, to whom I bow on matters N.O. and from whom we do not hear enough, quoting or otherwise. First for the St Louis Blues overview and
      Message 2 of 7 , Feb 5, 2009
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        Sincere thanks to Robert, to whom I bow on matters N.O. and from whom we do
        not hear enough, quoting or otherwise.

        First for the 'St Louis Blues' overview and do you hear these as copies of
        the Shields or a previously existent traditional blues 'solo' ?

        I'm still slogging through first hand N.O. but what strikes is much
        contradiction Uptown/Downtown, not least in geographical anomalies such as
        you describe with George.

        BUT everywhere is the idea that the music was universal and ubiquitous.

        ' the white and coloured musicians around N.O. all knew each other and there
        wasn't any Jim Crow between them. They didn't really care what color you
        were and I played with a lot of them around N.O.'

        -- to, hopefully, not overquote Pops Foster again.

        he also interestingly claims that :-

        ' the Dixieland band in those days was a mixed band and nobody paid any
        attention. The leader was Larry Shields and you had Achille Baquet playing
        with them. He was coloured and went all over with them.'

        Achille was born 1886 and must therefore be in the frame as a formative
        influence on Shields.

        All accounts have indeed the Creoles, on a socially downward path, as the
        most evilly racially conscious.

        Do you agree Bethel's thesis would seem to undermine the existence of polar
        extremes Uptown/Downtown which somehow merged into jazz as we know it ?

        I have in front of me now probably the first ever George interview from 'The
        Jazz Record' in 'Skip The Gutter' which must be about 1945. He mentions
        Picou, George Baquet, Charles McCurtis (sic) and Lorenzo Tio and especially
        Bechet. No Dodds nor Nelson. George did not start playing clarinet till 1916
        and Dodds left N.O. permanently in 1919 and was absent for periods before
        that. I wonder at the Dodds influence that has been ascribed to George and
        whether he was maybe not answering what he thought 'The Man' wanted to hear.

        Dave





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      • Gilber M. Erskine
        I have been following the recent posts here on New Orleans clarinetists with great interest. Here are a few rambling and random items--- [1] I was in New
        Message 3 of 7 , Feb 5, 2009
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          I have been following the recent posts here on New Orleans clarinetists with great interest. Here are a few rambling and random items---
          [1] I was in New Orleans on family vacation in the summer of 1946 and met Sam Ruvidiitch and Bill Bowers just before they met and recorded Emile Barnes. After he got back to New York, Sam sent me a copy of one of the tunes they recorded. I'm sorry to say I was not too impressed, maybe because the other musicians were not up to it.
          [2] By a WIDE margin, the New Orleans clarinetists were vastly superior to most all others in playing the blues. And the examples are multiple: Leon Roppolo, Sidney Bechet, Sidney Arodin, Albert Nicholas, Irving Fazola, Johnny Dodds, Edmond Hall, Larry Shields, George Lewis, Lester Bouchon, Raymond Burke, Jimmie Noone. When clarinetist Gus Mueller quit Paul Whitemans's band in the early '20s, one of the reasons he gave was "None of you know how to play the blues". BTW, if anyone has a copy of the Creole lable "Slow Blues" that Raymond Burke made in the early 1940s in Kansas City, I will pay a premium price for it.
          3] Most New Orleans clarinetists do not like the styles of Frank Teschemacher and Pee Wee Russell. I think it has to to with the clarinet tone. Barney Bigard once cancelled his subscription to DownBeat because Teschemacher won a ciritcs poll. When Raymond Burke heard Pee Wee's break at the end of "Serenade to a Shylock" [Jam Session at Commodore]. he just shook his head in disapproval.
          4] I've recently become obsessed with the tune "Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me" and still play the Louisiana Five recording in 1919 with Acide "Yellow" Nunez, in spite of the primitive sound. The tune was recorded extensively in 1919 and 1920, and became a classic standard after Jimmie Noone's 1928 recording. Wild Bill Davison has done it multiple times from the 1950s until his death. I am astonished to find that my all time favorite performance of this tune is in a video clip of the Swedish trumpeter, Hans Carling, and his 15-year old son Max, at a concert in Poland in 1984. They are playing with a group of Polish musicians, and it is quite remarkable. The rhythm section is superb and the recording balance is professional. Give a listen especially to soprano saxaphonist Frans Sjostrom---
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EV-n6nkjrM

          -----GILBERT M. ERSKINE

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: David Brown
          To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2009 10:44 AM
          Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Keep The Spoon Out Of Your Cup was Button Up Your Overquote


          Sincere thanks to Robert, to whom I bow on matters N.O. and from whom we do
          not hear enough, quoting or otherwise.

          First for the 'St Louis Blues' overview and do you hear these as copies of
          the Shields or a previously existent traditional blues 'solo' ?

          I'm still slogging through first hand N.O. but what strikes is much
          contradiction Uptown/Downtown, not least in geographical anomalies such as
          you describe with George.

          BUT everywhere is the idea that the music was universal and ubiquitous.

          ' the white and coloured musicians around N.O. all knew each other and there
          wasn't any Jim Crow between them. They didn't really care what color you
          were and I played with a lot of them around N.O.'

          -- to, hopefully, not overquote Pops Foster again.

          he also interestingly claims that :-

          ' the Dixieland band in those days was a mixed band and nobody paid any
          attention. The leader was Larry Shields and you had Achille Baquet playing
          with them. He was coloured and went all over with them.'

          Achille was born 1886 and must therefore be in the frame as a formative
          influence on Shields.

          All accounts have indeed the Creoles, on a socially downward path, as the
          most evilly racially conscious.

          Do you agree Bethel's thesis would seem to undermine the existence of polar
          extremes Uptown/Downtown which somehow merged into jazz as we know it ?

          I have in front of me now probably the first ever George interview from 'The
          Jazz Record' in 'Skip The Gutter' which must be about 1945. He mentions
          Picou, George Baquet, Charles McCurtis (sic) and Lorenzo Tio and especially
          Bechet. No Dodds nor Nelson. George did not start playing clarinet till 1916
          and Dodds left N.O. permanently in 1919 and was absent for periods before
          that. I wonder at the Dodds influence that has been ascribed to George and
          whether he was maybe not answering what he thought 'The Man' wanted to hear.

          Dave

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





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        • David Brown
          Hello Gilbert Always nice to hear from you especially as you were there whereas we only have the records and the books. What do you make of Uptown clarinet
          Message 4 of 7 , Feb 5, 2009
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            Hello Gilbert

            Always nice to hear from you especially as you were there whereas we only
            have the records and the books.

            What do you make of Uptown clarinet style ? Did it still exist -- assuming
            it ever did exist -- in your time in N.O. and if so what players ?

            You are spot on about N.O. clarinet players and blues and this could be
            extended to N.O. players generally.

            I know we discussed the wonderful Ray Burke before and your report of him
            listening to PWR. I had assumed he admired PWR but that is apparently not
            the case ?

            Yes, technique -- proper technique -- is stressed as paramount in accounts
            of early N.O. 'Illegitimate' tone was not prized maybe until Oliver whose
            use of mutes seems to have been widely admired. And maybe here we have the
            reason why Dodds left about no legacy in N.O.

            Dave





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Robert Greenwood
            ... wrote: First for the St Louis Blues overview and do you hear these as copies of the Shields or a previously existent traditional blues solo ?~ I don t
            Message 5 of 7 , Feb 6, 2009
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              --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
              wrote:
              "First for the 'St Louis Blues' overview and do you hear these as
              copies of
              the Shields or a previously existent traditional blues 'solo' ?~

              I don't know what it is. How could I? The truth is that, by now,
              we'll never know what the truth is. One can only keep an open mind.
              Black American musicians used whatever they felt would make them
              better, even more employable, musicians whether it derived from
              klezmer, the cries of street vendors, or recordings of the ODJB.

              "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:
              "George did not start playing clarinet till 1916
              and Dodds left N.O. permanently in 1919 and was absent for periods
              before
              that. I wonder at the Dodds influence that has been ascribed to
              George and
              whether he was maybe not answering what he thought 'The Man' wanted
              to hear."

              Bethell quotes George Lewis as having heard Dodds in New Orleans in a
              band with Louis and Ory.
            • David Brown
              I don t know either but my informed opinion is that they were copying the Shields solo. How this so entered the public domain I have no idea. Possibly one
              Message 6 of 7 , Feb 6, 2009
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                I don't know either but my informed opinion is that they were copying the
                Shields solo. How this so entered the public domain I have no idea.
                Possibly one player copied it first -- Milé -- and the others copied him. I
                don't think they all sat round and studied the record. Maybe they heard it
                from brother Harry who reported that he copied it note for note and always
                played it. How did Picou's solo on 'High Society' become standard ?

                Did George ever claim Dodds influence ?





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Dan Van Landingham
                Just what is Uptown clarinette style?I ve never heard the term before.When I think of the likes of Nunez,Shields,Tio and the rest,I only know of Louisiana
                Message 7 of 7 , Feb 6, 2009
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                  Just what is "Uptown" clarinette style?I've never heard the term before.When I think of the
                  likes of Nunez,Shields,Tio and the rest,I only know of "Louisiana Traditional Jazz" versus
                  the so-called "Chicago Style" type of jazz.At any rate,I really enjoy reading these blogs
                  as I am constantly learning something new from this website.For Howard Rye:I used to
                  have an old British Decca 78 by the Harry Roy band called "Stepping Out at Midnight" or
                  something like that(the obverse is "Barrel House Boogie" not to be confused with a Harry
                  "The Hipster" Gibson Musicraft 78 with the same title).It was a great band.As for the title,
                  the hole in the center of the record was enlarged due to hard use by whomever owned the
                  record years before I bought it in 1969 at a Salvation Army thirft store in Coos Bay,Oregon.
                  The only other bands from England I was somewhat more familiar with were Ambrose,Ray
                  Noble and his New Mayfair Orchestra(on HMV)and Jack Hylton.Somewhere I have an old
                  CD of Coleman Hawkins circa 1939 and the very last track was Hawkins with Jack Hylton's
                  band.The only other English bands I have heard were by  George Chisolm,Ted Heath and
                  another band whose leader's name escapes me at present.His band appeared here some
                  forty five or so years ago and a label called "Top Rank".It was another good band;the only
                  cut I recall from the album was called "Blue Denham" and "London Derierre".

                  --- On Fri, 2/6/09, David Brown <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:

                  From: David Brown <johnhaleysims@...>
                  Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Keep The Spoon Out Of Your Cup was Button Up Your Overquote
                  To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Friday, February 6, 2009, 1:53 AM






                  Hello Gilbert

                  Always nice to hear from you especially as you were there whereas we only
                  have the records and the books.

                  What do you make of Uptown clarinet style ? Did it still exist -- assuming
                  it ever did exist -- in your time in N.O. and if so what players ?

                  You are spot on about N.O. clarinet players and blues and this could be
                  extended to N.O. players generally.

                  I know we discussed the wonderful Ray Burke before and your report of him
                  listening to PWR. I had assumed he admired PWR but that is apparently not
                  the case ?

                  Yes, technique -- proper technique -- is stressed as paramount in accounts
                  of early N.O. 'Illegitimate' tone was not prized maybe until Oliver whose
                  use of mutes seems to have been widely admired. And maybe here we have the
                  reason why Dodds left about no legacy in N.O.

                  Dave

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



















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