Re: [RedHotJazz] Re: Date of First String Bass
- What a lot of great responses! By asking a vague question, I got a lot more information than I intended--and all of it useful!
Clearly I should have stated "recording big band" or "recording large ensemble". I assume the inclusion in such discussions of the names of Isham Jones, Leo Reisman, Nat Shilkret and Paul Whiteman is likely not a good way to make friends. Nevertheless I've been listening to all of these cheek-by-jowl with the work of Luis Russell, McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Dorsey Brothers, Ellington, Goldkette and personal demi-god Fletcher Henderson. I've been covering the years from 1924 to 1930 exclusively and putting in 2-3 hours a day into concentrated listening. Then napping. There sure was a lot of sludge back then, but even the most postured "stylings" of pap are fascinating in the context it provides.
I'm up to 1930 and note that many large ensembles are still hammering away with tuba, particularly popular "society/hotel" orchestras. This surprised me. I assumed that string bass owned the entire neighborhood by then. After a dragnet of Ellington liner notes, I concluded that he started replaced tuba with string bass in the person of Wellman Braud in late 1927. But listening to a lot of music of 1927, clearly after the advent of electric recording, it seems that tuba remained dominant in popular, jazz-influenced pop, "hot" musics, etc.
It looks like Fletcher Henderson's band was regularly using tuba until 1929 or even later. Admittedly it becomes difficult to distinguish between the two instruments in some recorded settings.
So now limiting the discussion to "big band/large ensemble" and avoiding string-bands, quartets/quintets: I had always assume that this setting--for recordings--generally had tuba. As such I was looking for who began using string bass as a replacement for tuba, if it concentrated in one or a few individual groups.
Secondly I wanted to know when tuba, effectively, stopped being a first-call instrument for these recorded musics.
I sure hope I got closer with the question this time.
>Don't forget, Gerry, that many bands had tuba and string bass side by side
> So now limiting the discussion to "big band/large ensemble" and avoiding
> string-bands, quartets/quintets: I had always assume that this
> setting--for recordings--generally had tuba. As such I was looking for who
> began using string bass as a replacement for tuba, if it concentrated in
> one or a few individual groups.
> -- Gerry
at the same time - this is readily apparent in many of the Vitaphone shorts
of 1927-30 - often, a band also had a banjoist and a guitarist playing
simultaneously, too. There are numerous records - like Gus Arnheim's "One
More Time," from 1931, where tuba is in use on the first half of the disc,
with a switchover to string bass for the "hot" final choruses to add an
extra measure of excitement to the performance.