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Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: ... and it all started about my query re: trumpet on buddy christian creole five (rambling here on a few points)

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  • Howard Rye
    I am not suggesting that ANYONE involved with this particular debate is anything but an entirely honest interviewer who knows how to avoid asking questions
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 19, 2009
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      I am not suggesting that ANYONE involved with this particular debate is
      anything but an entirely honest interviewer who knows how to avoid asking
      questions which include the answer, and so forth, but anyone who works with
      this material for long soon realizes that some contributors to these debates
      are not and/or do not.

      Musicians actually do not remember every detail of their lives, nor do they
      remember everyone they ever met, nor do they remember every musician they
      ever sat next to on a pick-up record date. They are just like other mortals
      in this respect. (This is sometimes forgotten.)

      On the other hand they do like to please the paying customer, and especially
      the paying customer who is buying them drinks. They are just like other
      mortals in this respect too.

      If therefore they are asked a question to which they do not know the answer,
      they are sometimes quite pleased if the interviewer then tells them the
      answer on the basis of whatever theory he has formed. When they next come to
      Europe (these gentry are usually Europeans) the man with a theory he wants
      proved then sends in one of his friends to ask in all sincerity the answer
      to the question, without mentioning that he has previously told the musician
      the required answer. Surprise, surprise, the musician now knows the answer
      because he was told it only six months ago.

      Whenever you come across a case of a musician who suddenly starts
      remembering something that he has previously told interviewers he doesn¹t
      remember, you know you have struck the activities of one of these
      obsessives. Believe me there have been people out there whose entire being
      has depended upon it being generally accepted that whatever theory they have
      dreamed up is what really happened 50 years before. They are mostly dying
      off of course, along with their informants. I wonder whether rock
      discographers (who are an uncommunicative lot in my experience) have similar
      problems with new generations of obsessive fans.

      And never underestimate pester power. If a musician is pestered enough to
      settle some disputed point, he will eventually settle it, probably with any
      old thing that comes into his head. You can only say ³I really don¹t
      remember² so many times. All these things are well known to oral historians.
      Unfortunately most early jazz enthusiasts had never read even the most basic
      local-history society guide to interviewing the old folks. Maybe they didn¹t
      exist back in the day.


      on 19/10/2009 09:37, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

      >
      >
      >
      >
      > John & Yves
      >
      > Again we hit the problem of the reliability of interview 'evidence' with
      > Jabbo apparently contradicting himself -- no criticism of Jabbo.
      >
      > One might think, however, that he would remember his first session. Thanks
      > John for providing the context. The fact that he volunteered this
      > information and was not replying to a leading question makes it more
      > valuable. But neither did Yves lead when asking about his first session.
      >
      > I think therefore we need to go back and relisten, reprogrammed, for there
      > is always the tendency to hear what we are listening for. I have been
      > listening for Jabbo but will now try to hear Charlie.
      >
      > Dave
      >
      > [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]
    • Nick Dellow
      The importance of Howard s remarks cannot be stressed highly enough. Once one adds the printed page into the formula, a supposition – especially one added to
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 19, 2009
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        The importance of Howard's remarks cannot be stressed highly enough. Once
        one adds the printed page into the formula, a supposition � especially one
        added to the text without the addition of a question mark � easily corrodes
        into a "fact", which is then circulated as such ad infinitum. Jazz
        literature, and discographies in particular, are dotted (perhaps one should
        say pock marked) with the results of this conjectural approach. Amongst
        several notable examples is the famed Benny Peyton's Jazz Kings recording
        session of "February 1920" or "around Spring 1920" or "c.Jan/Feb 1921"
        (depending on which discography one consults), in which it is suggested, or
        even stated as fact, that the band (including Bechet) recorded a session at
        Columbia's studios in London, producing a series of titles including "High
        Society" and "Tiger Rag", all of which were apparently rejected.

        Since the files for Columbia at this date were destroyed before the Second
        World War, the only evidence we have for this legendary ledger-less session
        comes from Sidney Bechet, who in 1939 simply stated to Leonard Feather that
        he recorded whilst in London with the Jazz Kings; no titles were mentioned.
        From the moment Bechet set foot in Europe to take part in the International
        Jazz Festival in Paris in 1949 he was hounded, paparazzi-like, by
        discographers and researchers keen to acquire any information he could
        provide concerning the recordings he made in the 1920s. Inevitably, the
        Columbia session came up. Initially, he told Max Jones and Sinclair Traill
        that he didn't know the names of the titles, but after constant pestering
        from other researchers Bechet eventually took the easy way out and gave his
        interrogators the information they wanted to hear � suggesting that two of
        the titles were "Tiger Rag" and "High Society". Or as John Chilton put it
        "...it is just as likely that Bechet cited two jazz standards just to get
        people off his back."

        It is of course quite possible that Bechet recorded in London, even though
        nothing except a few flashes of fool's gold has been found. It should be
        borne in mind that, according to several sources, the repertoire of the Jazz
        Kings primarily encompassed pop ephemera of the day, such as "Bright Eyes"
        and "Beautiful Faces Need Beautiful Clothes". Apart from the remarks by
        Bechet, made under pressure, there is no hard evidence that the band played
        or recorded "Tiger Rag" or "High Society", yet both titles are still listed
        in several discographies without a question mark in sight. Of course, this
        is only one of many similar examples.

        Nick


        2009/10/19 Howard Rye <howard@...>

        >
        >
        > I am not suggesting that ANYONE involved with this particular debate is
        > anything but an entirely honest interviewer who knows how to avoid asking
        > questions which include the answer, and so forth, but anyone who works with
        > this material for long soon realizes that some contributors to these
        > debates
        > are not and/or do not.
        >
        > Musicians actually do not remember every detail of their lives, nor do they
        > remember everyone they ever met, nor do they remember every musician they
        > ever sat next to on a pick-up record date. They are just like other mortals
        > in this respect. (This is sometimes forgotten.)
        >
        > On the other hand they do like to please the paying customer, and
        > especially
        > the paying customer who is buying them drinks. They are just like other
        > mortals in this respect too.
        >
        > If therefore they are asked a question to which they do not know the
        > answer,
        > they are sometimes quite pleased if the interviewer then tells them the
        > answer on the basis of whatever theory he has formed. When they next come
        > to
        > Europe (these gentry are usually Europeans) the man with a theory he wants
        > proved then sends in one of his friends to ask in all sincerity the answer
        > to the question, without mentioning that he has previously told the
        > musician
        > the required answer. Surprise, surprise, the musician now knows the answer
        > because he was told it only six months ago.
        >
        > Whenever you come across a case of a musician who suddenly starts
        > remembering something that he has previously told interviewers he doesn�t
        > remember, you know you have struck the activities of one of these
        > obsessives. Believe me there have been people out there whose entire being
        > has depended upon it being generally accepted that whatever theory they
        > have
        > dreamed up is what really happened 50 years before. They are mostly dying
        > off of course, along with their informants. I wonder whether rock
        > discographers (who are an uncommunicative lot in my experience) have
        > similar
        > problems with new generations of obsessive fans.
        >
        > And never underestimate pester power. If a musician is pestered enough to
        > settle some disputed point, he will eventually settle it, probably with any
        > old thing that comes into his head. You can only say �I really don�t
        > remember� so many times. All these things are well known to oral
        > historians.
        > Unfortunately most early jazz enthusiasts had never read even the most
        > basic
        > local-history society guide to interviewing the old folks. Maybe they
        > didn�t
        > exist back in the day.
        >
        > on 19/10/2009 09:37, David Brown at johnhaleysims@...<johnhaleysims%40yahoo.co.uk>wrote:
        >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > John & Yves
        > >
        > > Again we hit the problem of the reliability of interview 'evidence' with
        > > Jabbo apparently contradicting himself -- no criticism of Jabbo.
        > >
        > > One might think, however, that he would remember his first session.
        > Thanks
        > > John for providing the context. The fact that he volunteered this
        > > information and was not replying to a leading question makes it more
        > > valuable. But neither did Yves lead when asking about his first session.
        > >
        > > I think therefore we need to go back and relisten, reprogrammed, for
        > there
        > > is always the tendency to hear what we are listening for. I have been
        > > listening for Jabbo but will now try to hear Charlie.
        > >
        > > Dave
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >>
        > >
        > >
        > > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
        > > howard@... <howard%40coppermill.demon.co.uk>
        > > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
        > >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mordechai Litzman
        I really enjoyed your mini essay on the vagaries of interviewing people and learned many lessons from it - thanks, ________________________________ From:
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 19, 2009
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          I really enjoyed your mini essay on the vagaries of interviewing people and learned many lessons from it - thanks,




          ________________________________
          From: Howard Rye <howard@...>
          To: red hot jazz <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Mon, October 19, 2009 5:26:16 AM
          Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: ... and it all started about my query re: trumpet on buddy christian creole five (rambling here on a few points)


          I am not suggesting that ANYONE involved with this particular debate is
          anything but an entirely honest interviewer who knows how to avoid asking
          questions which include the answer, and so forth, but anyone who works with
          this material for long soon realizes that some contributors to these debates
          are not and/or do not.

          Musicians actually do not remember every detail of their lives, nor do they
          remember everyone they ever met, nor do they remember every musician they
          ever sat next to on a pick-up record date. They are just like other mortals
          in this respect. (This is sometimes forgotten.)

          On the other hand they do like to please the paying customer, and especially
          the paying customer who is buying them drinks. They are just like other
          mortals in this respect too.

          If therefore they are asked a question to which they do not know the answer,
          they are sometimes quite pleased if the interviewer then tells them the
          answer on the basis of whatever theory he has formed. When they next come to
          Europe (these gentry are usually Europeans) the man with a theory he wants
          proved then sends in one of his friends to ask in all sincerity the answer
          to the question, without mentioning that he has previously told the musician
          the required answer. Surprise, surprise, the musician now knows the answer
          because he was told it only six months ago.

          Whenever you come across a case of a musician who suddenly starts
          remembering something that he has previously told interviewers he doesn¹t
          remember, you know you have struck the activities of one of these
          obsessives. Believe me there have been people out there whose entire being
          has depended upon it being generally accepted that whatever theory they have
          dreamed up is what really happened 50 years before. They are mostly dying
          off of course, along with their informants. I wonder whether rock
          discographers (who are an uncommunicative lot in my experience) have similar
          problems with new generations of obsessive fans.

          And never underestimate pester power. If a musician is pestered enough to
          settle some disputed point, he will eventually settle it, probably with any
          old thing that comes into his head. You can only say ³I really don¹t
          remember² so many times. All these things are well known to oral historians.
          Unfortunately most early jazz enthusiasts had never read even the most basic
          local-history society guide to interviewing the old folks. Maybe they didn¹t
          exist back in the day.

          on 19/10/2009 09:37, David Brown at johnhaleysims@ yahoo.co. uk wrote:

          >
          >
          >
          >
          > John & Yves
          >
          > Again we hit the problem of the reliability of interview 'evidence' with
          > Jabbo apparently contradicting himself -- no criticism of Jabbo.
          >
          > One might think, however, that he would remember his first session. Thanks
          > John for providing the context. The fact that he volunteered this
          > information and was not replying to a leading question makes it more
          > valuable. But neither did Yves lead when asking about his first session.
          >
          > I think therefore we need to go back and relisten, reprogrammed, for there
          > is always the tendency to hear what we are listening for. I have been
          > listening for Jabbo but will now try to hear Charlie.
          >
          > Dave
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >>
          >
          >
          > Howard Rye, 20 Coppermill Lane, London, England, E17 7HB
          > howard@coppermill. demon.co. uk
          > Tel/FAX: +44 20 8521 1098
          >

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







          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • tommersl
          ... It makes complexions but it is not so much a big problem. For instance, Willie The Lion Smith on Blues. One interview he claimed that Blues started in
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 22, 2009
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            --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:
            >
            > If therefore they are asked a question to which they do not know the answer,
            > they are sometimes quite pleased if the interviewer then tells them the
            > answer on the basis of whatever theory he has formed. When they next come to
            > Europe (these gentry are usually Europeans) the man with a theory he wants
            > proved then sends in one of his friends to ask in all sincerity the answer
            > to the question, without mentioning that he has previously told the musician
            > the required answer. Surprise, surprise, the musician now knows the answer
            > because he was told it only six months ago.
            >

            It makes complexions but it is not so much a big problem. For instance, Willie "The Lion" Smith on Blues. One interview he claimed that Blues started in New York. Some people might consider weight to this.

            However, it is just a way that someone organized what he was told. According to the same interview, Smith said that he saw some workers singing it and now it is easier, young boy hearing for the first time in his life the Blues, and he think that it was just invented here and now!

            It just proves that when Smith was young, Blues wasn't a popular folklore in New York.

            Reading interviews and essays right is the problem of 2nd and on generation researchers (those that have important part from their body of works based and relied on previous researchers' work). It is also a problem of any other people who don't know what really happened behind the scenes of some interview, how much alcohol was involved, and what interests to prove something were part of the deal.

            There are interviews that have examples and well explained like that of Jelly Roll Morton LoC and even on those, people need to realize that there are possibilities that someone wanted to prove something. But if one drops the conclusions and focus on the orientation of the content, he theoretically has better chances to avoid blundering by it.

            Tommer
          • David Brown
            Yves and anybody I have listened through the Big Charlie Thomas CD (Timeless) again in light of recent information. My conclusion is that Big Charlie is
            Message 5 of 11 , Nov 2, 2009
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              Yves and anybody

              I have listened through the Big Charlie Thomas CD (Timeless) again in light
              of recent information. My conclusion is that 'Big Charlie' is probably on
              all sides except the Morris Seven Hot Babies which still sound like Jabbo,
              the playing 'hotter', technically more assured but artistically less
              original and creative. The OKeh Melody Stars and the Sims/Williams offer no
              evidence of Charlie's unique traits but maybe this is because there is too
              little exposed cornet for evidential purposes. There is certainly nothing
              anomalous on these sides to prevent it being Charlie.

              The astounding thing about Charlie's style is the heavy Louis influence in
              NYC, or indeed anywhere, as early as November 1925. The question is how this
              was absorbed. It must have been through personal contact during Louis' stay
              with Henderson and/or from records. One wonders at what circumstances would
              have allowed Charlie to have sufficient personal exposure to Louis. Playing
              in the same band is an obvious solution but there seems no candidate. If
              from record it could initially only have been the Hendersons and the blues
              accompaniments. It is possible, so programmed, to hear the later sides as
              showing that Charlie has a new model to emulate as the Hot5s hit the
              streets.

              Dave


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