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Re: First ever recording featuring brushes?

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  • silverleafjb
    To my knowledge, the first recording of brushes may be land Of Cotton Blues by the Georgians, from Sept. 6, 1923. In Dick Sudhalter s book Lost Chords he
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 1, 2010
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      To my knowledge, the first recording of brushes may be "land Of Cotton Blues" by the Georgians, from Sept. 6, 1923. In Dick Sudhalter's book "Lost Chords" he suggests this may also be the first drum solo (by Chauncey Morehouse).

      Cheers,
      Chris Tyle
      --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Gerry Paton <gerry.paton@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi all. I'm new here.  The last few years I've taken up drumming and have a question for you:
      > Can anyone name the first ever recording featuring drums played using brushes?  
      >
      > I think the earliest recording I've come across so far is the Fletcher Henderson recording Copenhagen. I say think as the brush sound (if that's what it is) is pretty 'unique'. There's a section where you hear a percussion effect like a wet rag being slapped on a hard floor. This same sound can be heard on the track Knockin' A Jug by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra in 1928. The drummer, Kaiser Marshall, played on both tracks and is definitely playing brushes on Knockin' A Jug: you can hear the sweep.  
      >
      > I've experimented with dead-sticking brushes on the drum head, using either hand, and provided a little force is used the sound is remarkably close to the effect Marshall achieved. Not exactly a sensitive performance, and not a style I'd like to emulate, but it does suggest that Marshall was using brushes during part of Copenhagen. Or are my ears deceiving me?  
      >
      > Anyway, if anyone knows of earlier performances featuring brushes, I'd love to hear from you.
      > Gerry
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
    • silverleafjb
      Regarding Copenhagen by Fletcher Henderson, there are two takes available for listening, masters 13828 and 13829. On the first take, I hear what sounds like
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 1, 2010
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        Regarding "Copenhagen" by Fletcher Henderson, there are two takes available for listening, masters 13828 and 13829. On the first take, I hear what sounds like a woodblock being played. On the second, it sounds to me as though someone is clapping on the afterbeats. But I don't think it's a brush.

        Cheers,
        Chris Tyle

        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "kbrau44" <kbrau44@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Gerry, I think it is high time that at least one person reacts on your query. I must admit that I have not yet listened to Copenhagen after reading your message, but I certainly shall do. According to New Grove Dictonary of Jazz brushes seem to have been invented in the early 20s, and I vaguely remember Baby Dodds and Ben Pollack claiming to have invented them (but I may be wrong at that point), but I very often seemed to hear brushes on early recordings when, after repeated listening, I became convinced that it were sticks (single strokes). But I agree whole-heartedly, that Marshall is playing brushes - as well as sticks - on Knockin´ A Jug. You should have a look to Louis Armstrong´s band in Copenhagen 1932 - I mean the film-clips - Oliver Tynes on drums, and you can see him playing brushes, which certainly is different than they are played today (Look them up on Youtube or Dailymotion or on Yazoo´s Jazz Band Ball). But I would suggest that you listen to J.R.Morton Trio with Bigard and Singleton, and then sort out what Zutty is playing where. And then we meet again on these sides here. Okeh? Best K-B
        >
        > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Gerry Paton <gerry.paton@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Hi all. I'm new here.  The last few years I've taken up drumming and have a question for you:
        > > Can anyone name the first ever recording featuring drums played using brushes?  
        > >
        > > I think the earliest recording I've come across so far is the Fletcher Henderson recording Copenhagen. I say think as the brush sound (if that's what it is) is pretty 'unique'. There's a section where you hear a percussion effect like a wet rag being slapped on a hard floor. This same sound can be heard on the track Knockin' A Jug by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra in 1928. The drummer, Kaiser Marshall, played on both tracks and is definitely playing brushes on Knockin' A Jug: you can hear the sweep.  
        > >
        > > I've experimented with dead-sticking brushes on the drum head, using either hand, and provided a little force is used the sound is remarkably close to the effect Marshall achieved. Not exactly a sensitive performance, and not a style I'd like to emulate, but it does suggest that Marshall was using brushes during part of Copenhagen. Or are my ears deceiving me?  
        > >
        > > Anyway, if anyone knows of earlier performances featuring brushes, I'd love to hear from you.
        > > Gerry
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        >
      • Howard Rye
        It all depends on whatever arbitrary definition of the dividing line between ragtime and jazz you choose to adopt. There are plenty of drum solos on
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 2, 2010
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          It all depends on whatever arbitrary definition of the dividing line between
          ragtime and jazz you choose to adopt. There are plenty of drum solos on
          ³ragtime² records, but jazz enthusiasts who don¹t listen to ragtime and
          string band records naturally think that something else is ³the first².

          James I Lent¹s drum solo record ŒThe Ragtime Drummer¹ recorded for several
          companies in London in 1904 repays listening. Lent was in London with the
          African-American show ŒIn Dahomey¹, but was apparently not an
          African-American (ancestry still under investigation but he was reputed
          white back in New York) so Sudhalter might have rated him if he had heard of
          him. Many of the records of the Savoy Quartet might as well be drum solos by
          Alec Williams (who was African-American) so completely does he dominate
          them.

          on 02/01/2010 06:15, silverleafjb at silverleafjb@... wrote:

          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > To my knowledge, the first recording of brushes may be "land Of Cotton Blues"
          > by the Georgians, from Sept. 6, 1923. In Dick Sudhalter's book "Lost Chords"
          > he suggests this may also be the first drum solo (by Chauncey Morehouse).
          >
          > Cheers,
          > Chris Tyle
          > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com <mailto:RedHotJazz%40yahoogroups.com> ,
          > Gerry Paton <gerry.paton@...> wrote:
          >> >
          >> > Hi all. I'm new here.  The last few years I've taken up drumming and have a
          >> question for you:
          >> > Can anyone name the first ever recording featuring drums played using
          >> brushes?  
          >> >
          >> > I think the earliest recording I've come across so far is the Fletcher
          >> Henderson recording Copenhagen. I say think as the brush sound (if that's
          >> what it is) is pretty 'unique'. There's a section where you hear a
          >> percussion effect like a wet rag being slapped on a hard floor. This same
          >> sound can be heard on the track Knockin' A Jug by Louis Armstrong and his
          >> Orchestra in 1928. The drummer, Kaiser Marshall, played on both tracks and
          >> is definitely playing brushes on Knockin' A Jug: you can hear the sweep.  
          >> >
          >> > I've experimented with dead-sticking brushes on the drum head, using either
          >> hand, and provided a little force is used the sound is remarkably close to
          >> the effect Marshall achieved. Not exactly a sensitive performance, and not a
          >> style I'd like to emulate, but it does suggest that Marshall was using
          >> brushes during part of Copenhagen. Or are my ears deceiving me?  
          >> >
          >> > Anyway, if anyone knows of earlier performances featuring brushes, I'd love
          >> to hear from you.
          >> > Gerry
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > [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]
        • gerry.paton
          Wow, thanks so much for all the replies everyone! Apologies for being a little late getting back to you all. Firstly, I ve chanced my mind about Henderson s
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 2, 2010
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            Wow, thanks so much for all the replies everyone! Apologies for being a little late getting back to you all.

            Firstly, I've chanced my mind about Henderson's Copenhagen. I agree with you Chris about it either being a hand-clap or wood block. However, I didn't know about "land Of Cotton Blues" so I'll definitely check that out (many thanks!)

            Since posting my original question I've unearthed a huge amount of info about the history of brushes and have been busy writing it up for an article that will eventually get posted (although I don't know where it will be housed, yet). silverleafjb, I've already checked out ragtime recordings, but couldn't find any evidence of brushes ever having being used. They did use sand-blocks in those days, however, to replicate the rhythms and sound of the 'sand dance'.

            Re Ralph Berton, yes I recently became aware of his claim. I have no doubt that Vic Berton cobbled together a pair of brushes and was responsible for alerting his "Manufacturing Friend" (almost certainly Ludwig & Ludwig) to the commercial potential of selling brushes, but it seems that brushes were already being use in New York. A case of 'great minds think alike'.

            Re flyswatters, Ludwig were probably the first to come to market with brushes made specifically for drummers, but their design was based on a 'telescopic fly swatter' and they were taken to court for copyright infringement. Interestingly, the makers of the flyswatter were even marketing their product as a 'drum beater' by the time of the court case (1928).

            As Ralph Berton mentioned, there was a tradition of playing suitcases with 'whisk-brooms' at jam sessions. As I'm sure many of you are aware, Frank 'Josh' Billings performed with the Mound City Blue Blowers using brooms and case, and film footage exists showing him doing just that. Basically, the whisk broom seems to be where the tradition of using brushes stems from: drummers wishing to replicate the sound looked around for more manageable 'brushes' to use with the drum-kit and stumbled upon using wire-brush fly-swatters. I found an article about Charleston, written in 1907, and the author describes in great detail how the barbers of that area would drum out syncopated ragtime rhythms with a whisk broom when brushing down a customer. Ralph Berton was probably right when he said the idea of using whisk brooms probably came from the 'spasm bands'.

            Re Cottrell, Zutty Singleton said that "The first pair of brushes I ever had were sent from Chicago by Manuel Perez to Louis 'Old Man' Cotrelle [sic], the drummer from Piron. I studied Cotrelle's work a lot during the early days. But Cotrelle didn't care about brushes, so he gave them to me and those were the first pair of brushes I ever saw in my life. Before that, you had to get your soft effects just by controlling your touch with the sticks." jtdyamond, may I ask where you got the info about Cottrell being horrified by the discolouring that brushes caused? It complies with Singleton's account and I'd love to check the original source.

            Once again, many thanks for all your input. I now have a few more leads to follow up.
          • David Weiner
            In the 1929 Mound City Blue Blowers film shorts, drummer Josh Billings plays hand-held whisk brooms on a suitcase as brushes. Dave Weiner ... Blues ...
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 2, 2010
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              In the 1929 Mound City Blue Blowers film shorts, drummer Josh Billings plays
              hand-held whisk brooms on a suitcase as "brushes."

              Dave Weiner
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > To my knowledge, the first recording of brushes may be "land Of Cotton
              Blues"
              > by the Georgians, from Sept. 6, 1923. In Dick Sudhalter's book "Lost
              Chords"
              > he suggests this may also be the first drum solo (by Chauncey Morehouse).
              >
              > Cheers,
              > Chris Tyle
            • Ron L'Herault
              I just listened to a nice recording of nothing but drums on an orange label (I think), Emerson 7 disk. I don t know what year the disk is from but it did
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 2, 2010
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                I just listened to a nice recording of nothing but drums on an orange label
                (I think), Emerson 7" disk. I don't know what year the disk is from but it
                did have a c.1918 on it so it had to be 1918 or newer.

                I play trombone and like using mutes. One leader I play for thinks that
                they are out of place in early jazz performances. He cites one time on a
                Dodds record that he has heard a recorded muted bone. I'd love to be able
                to point out other early/earlier recorded examples of muted trombone are
                there any?

                Ron L

                -----Original Message-----
                From: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com] On
                Behalf Of silverleafjb

                To my knowledge, the first recording of brushes may be "land Of Cotton
                Blues" by the Georgians, from Sept. 6, 1923. In Dick Sudhalter's book "Lost
                Chords" he suggests this may also be the first drum solo (by Chauncey
                Morehouse).

                Cheers,
                Chris Tyle
              • jtdyamond
                As I recall it was Cie Frazier who told me, about 1982. Do you know anything about the use of temple blocks or skulls ? jtdyamond
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 7, 2010
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                  As I recall it was Cie Frazier who told me, about 1982.

                  Do you know anything about the use of temple blocks or skulls ?

                  jtdyamond

                  --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "gerry.paton" <gerry.paton@...> wrote:
                  >

                  > Re Cottrell, Zutty Singleton said that "The first pair of brushes I ever had were sent from Chicago by Manuel Perez to Louis 'Old Man' Cotrelle [sic], the drummer from Piron. I studied Cotrelle's work a lot during the early days. But Cotrelle didn't care about brushes, so he gave them to me and those were the first pair of brushes I ever saw in my life. Before that, you had to get your soft effects just by controlling your touch with the sticks." jtdyamond, may I ask where you got the info about Cottrell being horrified by the discolouring that brushes caused? It complies with Singleton's account and I'd love to check the original source.
                  >
                  > Once again, many thanks for all your input. I now have a few more leads to follow up.
                  >
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