Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: Bernard Wolfe, Mezzrow, and Really the Blues
- Ladies and gents,
I sometimes have some trouble understanding what everybody is aiming at - or
fighting for - in this discussion, but apart from Robert's limited remark
regarding Finkelstein, I think it would be safer to leave Marxism out of it.
Unless you do wish to start a seperate topic in which some of us, including
myself, might come up with strong arguments outside the music field in
order to "disambiguate" the word, which in turn would grant a right to
anyone with a confuse and naive acception of the term in mind to reply on
the political ground, etc.
Of course it's OK to reopen any can of worms you like, as long as it brings
some precision. I did not read that Robert applied the word "caricature" to
Mezzrow's music (although I know lots of people who would) but to the way
his book advocates his knowledge of black culture (?) "from the inside".
Honestly, it's been too long since I read (a translation of) this book for
me to seriously discuss the content - I don't even have a copy - but what I
maily remember is insistance on slang, caricature of black speech and
pronunciation as in can't-remember-which-book about Mance Lipsomb (from
which I suppose the original version was full of "sho's" and "yessah's"),
insistance on drugs, booze, criminality, collusion with the mafia etc. so as
to present the wold of black music as a world apart, mentally trapped in a
different way of thinking which I remember fascinated a lot of my then-young
pals. Probably a reflection of the truth, but with the insistant underlying
argument that things were/are that way, have always been and will always be,
jazz resulting from such living conditions and nothing else, or does not
deserve to be called jazz.
I wish Tommer remembered how many early male blues musicians confessed they
had primarily learned from records, even in Blind Lemon's time, before
re-using such worn-out arguments as "Whites stealing from Blacks". And
although my memory is failing (and Jean Pierre Lion's index is full of
paging mistakes, which made me give us the search) I really wonder where and
when, apart from twenty minutes he spent listening to him rehearsing while
he was himself an already accomplished musician, Bix would have happened to
"see Louis Armstrong to learn from him the Blues/Jazz culture and art
- 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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