Bernard Wolfe, Mezzrow, and Really the Blues
- "His version of 'Davenport Blues', a discussion of which can be found on
Albert's Bixography and elsewhere, is one of those very rare things -- a
perfect jazz record."
I am relieved that David has found a perfect jazz record (and one so locally-sourced) achieving parity with Parker's Embraceable You, the Hines/Louis Weatherbird, Bix's I'm Coming Virginia, and any number of sides by the Morton Red Hot Peppers and the classic early 40s Ellington Band, in the Welsh /Hunt version of Davenport Blues.
The Welsh band was always quoted as being in some way superior to trad, despite Jim Douglas's rhythm guitar and the leader's tendency to smarminess (Philip Larkin's word) in both his cornet playing and his vocals. Their version of Tangerine recorded live at some continental jamboree may well stand as one of the worst of its type. I must admit I've not heard the session I believe they recorded with Big Ben's Banjo Band.
- Sadly, I have to report that ³the sweeter side of King Keppard² was a
discographical misattribution on which Rudi Blesh built a flight of fancy.
This particular piece of tosh is to be found in the Postscript¹ appended to
later editions of Blesh¹s Shining Trumpets¹. Keppard isn¹t even on the
record cited as proto-Beiderbecke, Doc Cook¹s I Got Worry¹. The trumpeter
is probably Elwood Graham, whose presence is confirmed by his file
attribution as a member of the vocal trio on Hum and Strum¹. As the date
is 1928 comment on the likely direction of influence is probably
superfluous. This is a showband doing what showbands do (giving the public
what it wants). It would be an exaggeration to call I Got Worry² a
Whiteman-imitation but they are aiming at the same territory and Graham
plays in the style he or the arranger considered appropriate for that job. I
seriously doubt that anything more compliacted is happening.
Incidentally despite what discographies say about the personnel of this
session, Doc Poston is certainly present since the files name him as one of
the vocal trio too, unless there really was a musician called ³Postum² in
on 16/06/2009 18:01, Tommer at tommersl@... wrote:
>Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
> --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com <mailto:RedHotJazz%40yahoogroups.com> ,
> "Tommer" <tommersl@...> wrote:
>> > I didn't read this Murray but IMO improvisation on Blues texture (hot) is
>> different than improvising on the something that wraps the Blues (sweet).
>> > IMO Louis' "West End Blues" the piano is sweet. They also don't swing much.
>> On the other hand the piano on Johnny Dodds' "New St. Louis Blues" is hot and
>> they swing. I was reffering to the piano but it is more or less what I feel
>> about the whole of each of the two.
>> > What I prefer? The hot!
>> > Tommer
> I have to add something accordingly. I think that one of the problems in
> understanding among Jazz listeners the connection between Jazz and Blues is
> that because unfair argues. Like, saying anything Louis did was hot which is
> not true. What those that like "West End Blues" is the virtuoso trumpet thing,
> but in terms of hot music it is not so much.
> Why I mentioned this is complicated to explain, first because I saw that West
> End is regarded by Albert and I am sure others think the same as one of the
> two (with Singin the Blues) most important records of the 1920's, and for me
> this record is a symbol to the end of the most powerful Blues era in Jazz,
> because this as well as Singin are records that goes from collective efforts
> on Blues texture to virtuoso use of Blues for other things.
> And I don;t mean 12-bar Blues, because 12-bar can play without improvisation
> on the texture, as much as other forms can be played inside the texture.
> What I believe is that because assuming everything Louis did was "hot" is why
> Rudi Blesh claimed that Bix wasn't influenced by Louis but, he was influenced
> by the sweeter side of King Keppard.
> Because assuming everything Louis was doing at the time was hot, causes a
> problem, how can a always hot musician influence so much a musician Blesh
> believed was sweet?
> And this is what confuse people! Because there are romantic descriptions to
> deal with this.
> So, Murray omitting Oliver or for that same matter any list is questionnable,
> at the time Bunk and George Lewis were rediscovered they weren't as able to
> deal with Blues texture too much. That era is over since the 1920's are over.
> But, Murray could say that on Bunk because Bunk was from the old times!
> However, Oliver had Jazz Babies Blues and Alligator and Krooked Blues and
> Canal Street Blues, and other that were some of the best Blues in Jazz ever
> recorded IMO. I don't believe he omitted Oliver, maybe he didn't hear the
> right records or just forgot about him or had a short selevtive or
> representative list.
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