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Re: First ever recording featuring brushes?

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  • 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 1 of 15 , Jan 2, 2010
      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.
    • 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 2 of 15 , Jan 7, 2010
        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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