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RE: [RedHotJazz] Inaccuracies in VJM article on the Goldkette band and McKinney's Cotton Pickers

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  • David Brown
    I return to the original rather provocative header. I agree Patrice that aggression and insult have no place in the discussion of music but I think the
    Message 1 of 20 , Jan 24, 2011
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      I return to the original rather provocative header.

      I agree Patrice that aggression and insult have no place in the discussion
      of music but I think the identification of these sides is important as also
      is the fact that opinion has been divided on these forever -- 'Jazz
      Directory' of 1951 has this already 'as having long been a subject of
      controversy among collectors'.

      The source for this controversy must pre-date Redman's 1946 remarks for it
      appears he was specifically questioned on this issue. Redman's evidence is
      indeed third hand report of a musician's memory. But if I read it correctly
      he states that he and some other MKCPickers were on 'My Blackbirds' and
      'Don't Be Like That' and that MKCP were complete on 'Birmingham Bertha'.

      I have just listened and cannot find any immediate aural anomalies to
      contradict Redman but is it possible that new evidence will appear with the
      next part of the VJM article ?

      More importantly perhaps is what the fact that these sides have been in
      dispute for over 70 years has to say for racial theories of jazz history.

      Dave



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • hans.eekhoff
      I very much agree with Dave that it is an important issue. Again I would again like to point out the great detail with which Redman described the occasion -
      Message 2 of 20 , Jan 24, 2011
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        I very much agree with Dave that it is an important issue. Again I would again like to point out the great detail with which Redman described the occasion - hardly likely that he made it all up. Besides, when he told the story is wasn't all that long after it happened!
        But, more importantly, the Goldkette band DID record later that day and "An Old Italian Love Song" was issued.
        Here is a link to the tune:

        http://www.redhotjazz.com/Songs/goldkette/oldital.ram

        To my ears this is not the same band as the one that recorded "Bertha" earlier that day - what do you think?

        Hans Eekhoff


        --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:
        >
        > I return to the original rather provocative header.
        >
        > I agree Patrice that aggression and insult have no place in the discussion
        > of music but I think the identification of these sides is important as also
        > is the fact that opinion has been divided on these forever -- 'Jazz
        > Directory' of 1951 has this already 'as having long been a subject of
        > controversy among collectors'.
        >
        > The source for this controversy must pre-date Redman's 1946 remarks for it
        > appears he was specifically questioned on this issue. Redman's evidence is
        > indeed third hand report of a musician's memory. But if I read it correctly
        > he states that he and some other MKCPickers were on 'My Blackbirds' and
        > 'Don't Be Like That' and that MKCP were complete on 'Birmingham Bertha'.
        >
        > I have just listened and cannot find any immediate aural anomalies to
        > contradict Redman but is it possible that new evidence will appear with the
        > next part of the VJM article ?
        >
        > More importantly perhaps is what the fact that these sides have been in
        > dispute for over 70 years has to say for racial theories of jazz history.
        >
        > Dave
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
      • David Weiner
        Of course, the arrangements couldn t be more different! But the distinctive sound of Nat Natoli s nanny-goat vibrato leading the trumpet section on Italian
        Message 3 of 20 , Jan 24, 2011
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          Of course, the arrangements couldn't be more different! But the distinctive
          sound of Nat Natoli's "nanny-goat" vibrato leading the trumpet section on
          "Italian" is not present on "Bertha," for what it's worth.

          Dave Weiner

          -----Original Message-----
          From: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com] On
          Behalf Of hans.eekhoff
          Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 11:57 AM
          To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [RedHotJazz] Re: Inaccuracies in VJM article on the Goldkette band
          and McKinney's Cotton Pickers

          I very much agree with Dave that it is an important issue. Again I would
          again like to point out the great detail with which Redman described the
          occasion - hardly likely that he made it all up. Besides, when he told the
          story is wasn't all that long after it happened!
          But, more importantly, the Goldkette band DID record later that day and "An
          Old Italian Love Song" was issued.
          Here is a link to the tune:

          http://www.redhotjazz.com/Songs/goldkette/oldital.ram

          To my ears this is not the same band as the one that recorded "Bertha"
          earlier that day - what do you think?

          Hans Eekhoff


          --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:
          >
          > I return to the original rather provocative header.
          >
          > I agree Patrice that aggression and insult have no place in the discussion
          > of music but I think the identification of these sides is important as
          also
          > is the fact that opinion has been divided on these forever -- 'Jazz
          > Directory' of 1951 has this already 'as having long been a subject of
          > controversy among collectors'.
          >
          > The source for this controversy must pre-date Redman's 1946 remarks for it
          > appears he was specifically questioned on this issue. Redman's evidence is
          > indeed third hand report of a musician's memory. But if I read it
          correctly
          > he states that he and some other MKCPickers were on 'My Blackbirds' and
          > 'Don't Be Like That' and that MKCP were complete on 'Birmingham Bertha'.
          >
          > I have just listened and cannot find any immediate aural anomalies to
          > contradict Redman but is it possible that new evidence will appear with
          the
          > next part of the VJM article ?
          >
          > More importantly perhaps is what the fact that these sides have been in
          > dispute for over 70 years has to say for racial theories of jazz history.
          >
          > Dave
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >




          ------------------------------------

          ------------------------------------

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        • Howard Rye
          ... Not really, Dave, just a little local difficulty in their application. Traditions don¹t cease to exist because they overlap at times. No one doubts that
          Message 4 of 20 , Jan 24, 2011
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            on 24/01/2011 15:32, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

            >
            >
            > More importantly perhaps is what the fact that these sides have been in
            > dispute for over 70 years has to say for racial theories of jazz history.
            >
            > Dave
            >
            Not really, Dave, just a little local difficulty in their application.
            Traditions don¹t cease to exist because they overlap at times.

            No one doubts that there are separate white and black traditions in the
            string band music of the American South, but there are dozens of records
            (many more than in jazz) which taken in isolation could hardly be assigned
            with confidence to one tradition or the other, though there are not many
            bands which recorded any significant number of sides where it is not obvious
            which tradition they belong to. This comes about for a lot of reasons, black
            bands played in white styles to extract change from white passers by, white
            bands played in black styles when they wanted to sound down and dirty,
            people copied records or performances which particularly appealed to them,
            and many more.

            You could perfectly well substitute jazz in the above. The Goldkette and
            McKinney bands are easy to distinguish ninety per cent of the time (well 98%
            actually) and the differences are due in part to their different cultural
            heritages. The occasions when perhaps the Goldkette band played a Don Redman
            arrangement in the McKinney manner, or McKinney¹s played a Goldkette
            arrangement because the audience they were playing for asked for it, or
            whatever, isn¹t that significant.

            I do not want to enter the main controversy, nor will I until I find out
            what Don Redman actually said, rather than what Daniel Nevers reported that
            Charles Delaunay said he said. I have done a lot of looking for this, and so
            has Nick Dellow to my certain knowledge, and neither of us has any axe to
            grind, which is not true of Delaunay or Nevers.

            I¹m afraid I have provisionally concluded that Delaunay conveniently took
            this information to the grave. But his papers are in the Bibliothèque
            Nationale, where they are not very accessible to anyone other than French
            academics. Someone could go and look at them. Maybe the actual interview
            transcript there.


            >




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • JamesJazz
            May I introduce myself. My name is Jim Gallert. Lars Bjorn and I wrote Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-1960. This discussion is exactly
            Message 5 of 20 , Jan 24, 2011
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              May I introduce myself. My name is Jim Gallert. Lars Bjorn and I wrote "Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-1960."
              This discussion is exactly what I hoped to find on this list - serious jazz research folks presenting information and in some cases disagreeing about stuff. I love the Cotton Pickers.
              I don't have any evidence contrary to Redman's comments that "Birm Bert" is a McKinney's recording. I listened to it (and all of the McK recs) with David Hutson & Dave Wilborn many years ago. I don't recall Dave's comments (if any) about this tune but I am pretty certain I would recall any revelation about it not being a Mck band.
              Dave was pretty sharp and didn't embellish stories once he told them, at least to me. I will review the interviews that Lars and I did with Dave (separate interviews) and will report to the group should any relevant comments surface.

              Dave was also a really sweet man, and had a million off-color jokes gleaned from his years as a popular MC in various Detroit clubs (post-McKinney). He later sang with the New McKinney's Cotton Pickers, but he'd been away from his strings too long and couldn't recapture his rhythm, so a vocalist he remained. Dave Wilborn was a gentle man.

              Jim Gallert
              www.detroitmusichistory.com
              www.jazzstage.us

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: "patrice champarou" <patrice.champarou@...>
              To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 6:21:47 AM
              Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] I fully agree

               




              Maybe I should insist that I do not intend to stop or ban the thread in
              itself, which is an interesting one.
              Otherwise, I would have erased the whole of it by now...
              No, what does not fit the mood and aim of this group is reference to old
              quarrels which occured somewhere else, or to elements of the discussion
              which are probably familiar to a couple of former protagonists, but far too
              elliptic for most readers, who might mostly retain an obviously unfriendly
              attitude (and no, I am not supposed to decide who started it, I just do not
              want this here ;-)).

              And that's about all, the discussion can carry on with the topic initially
              called McKinney's Cotton Pickers and "Birmingham Bertha", without the
              unrequested mention of a personal "addition" in the subject line, which
              breaks the thread and lets everyone think this is by no means an open,
              collective discussion (see group's rules there again, they also have
              technical reasons which I already explained, a Yahoo group is not a forum).

              Best,

              Patrice

              -----Message d'origine-----
              From: hans.eekhoff
              Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 8:01 AM
              To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [RedHotJazz] I fully agree

              And I mentioned it myself in my previous posting - I tried to have this
              discussion in private (it did not start there).
              Anyway, the main point should be clear for those who are interested in the
              matter itself.
              My apologies - I will not carry on about it.
              Hans Eekhoff
            • David Brown
              Hello Howard The history of early jazz big band is indeed not a black & white issue. Sudhalter makes, although does not prove, a case for Redman, the
              Message 6 of 20 , Jan 25, 2011
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                Hello Howard

                The history of early jazz big band is indeed not a black & white issue.

                Sudhalter makes, although does not prove, a case for Redman, the pre-eminent
                early black arranger and supposed father of big band style, being influenced
                by, and working within, the style of earlier white arrangers, notably Ferde
                Grofé. Challis arranged for Henderson. Does the confusion between Goldkette
                and MKCP not suggest that the deciding factor was more the arrangement than
                the race of the musicians ?

                Bose's solo on 'My Blackbirds' was previously attributed to Nesbitt. Steve
                Brown was a dominant figure among bassists and influenced black and white.

                As the Swing Era progressed, black influence on white swing bands increased.
                Almost all the big white swing bands used black arrangers. I struggle to
                find an exception. Anybody ? I exclude Miller from swing bands. Am I right ?
                Also the token blacks in white bands.

                Any later examples of white arrangers working for black bands ?

                Dave



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Howard Rye
                on 25/01/2011 09:28, David Brown at johnhaleysims@yahoo.co.uk asks: ³ Does the confusion between Goldkette and MKCP not suggest that the deciding factor was
                Message 7 of 20 , Jan 25, 2011
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                  on 25/01/2011 09:28, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... asks:

                  ³ Does the confusion between Goldkette and MKCP not suggest that the
                  deciding factor was more the arrangement than
                  the race of the musicians ?²

                  I¹m sure it has nothing to do with anybody¹s colour, but this is the wrong
                  question, unless you suppose that Redman¹s arranging style owes nothing to
                  his cultural inheritance, and equally that the arranging styles of
                  Goldkette¹s arrangers owe nothing to theirs.

                  I would be amazed if Redman and Challis did not listen to one another¹s
                  work, and if they did not both take note of what Grofé and people even
                  further into the straight music-world were doing. I would also expect that
                  both would be aware of African-American arrangers like William Grant Still,
                  Will Vodery, and especially Will Marion Cook, who may well be the ultimate
                  father of all jazz arranging.

                  Who influenced them is interesting but it is more interesting to me what use
                  they made of the influence and how that was determined by various factors in
                  their musical background.

                  I suggested myself that the playing of one another¹s arrangements may be the
                  source of any confusion there is between the Goldkette band and MKCP. In
                  other words they may have been deliberately imitating one another!

                  What actual evidence is there that Steve Brown influenced African-American
                  bass players, bearing in mind that Bill Johnson, the oldest jazzman on
                  record, and presumptively the inventor (though I don¹t suppose for a moment
                  he came from nowhere either) of slap-bass playing, would have been a much
                  more accessible model in a segregated world? There is a wonderful anthology
                  compiled by Dick Spottswood on Dust To Digital (How Low Can You Go?) DTD-04
                  which tends to demonstrate this point.

                  Bass history is complicated by the fact that it was almost impossible to
                  record pizzicato bass before the invention of the microphone. John R.T.
                  Davies used to say that a bass player was ³present only in spirit² when he
                  felt that the player must have been in the studio because musicians you
                  could hear were apparently reacting to his playing! Slap bass therefore
                  bursts on to the recording scene fully formed.


                  >
                  >


                  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]
                • hans.eekhoff
                  Hello Jim, Yes you re absolutely right, there is no single reason to assume that Redman was making it all up - quite the contrary. Aural evidence, also
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jan 25, 2011
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                    Hello Jim,
                    Yes you're absolutely right, there is no single reason to assume that Redman was making it all up - quite the contrary.
                    Aural evidence, also comparison with "An Old Italian Love Song", says enough.
                    I too met (and played with) Dave Wilborn but didn't think of playing this particular side for him - I wasn't to know that so many years later it would become such an issue!
                    But I agree that Dave was not senile or anything - just a sweet guy and one helluva banjo player. I wish that some of the banjoists today stuck to the rhythm like Dave did in the MKCP days!
                    Hans Eekhoff


                    --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, JamesJazz <jamesjazz@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > May I introduce myself. My name is Jim Gallert. Lars Bjorn and I wrote "Before Motown: A History of Jazz in Detroit, 1920-1960."
                    > This discussion is exactly what I hoped to find on this list - serious jazz research folks presenting information and in some cases disagreeing about stuff. I love the Cotton Pickers.
                    > I don't have any evidence contrary to Redman's comments that "Birm Bert" is a McKinney's recording. I listened to it (and all of the McK recs) with David Hutson & Dave Wilborn many years ago. I don't recall Dave's comments (if any) about this tune but I am pretty certain I would recall any revelation about it not being a Mck band.
                    > Dave was pretty sharp and didn't embellish stories once he told them, at least to me. I will review the interviews that Lars and I did with Dave (separate interviews) and will report to the group should any relevant comments surface.
                    >
                    > Dave was also a really sweet man, and had a million off-color jokes gleaned from his years as a popular MC in various Detroit clubs (post-McKinney). He later sang with the New McKinney's Cotton Pickers, but he'd been away from his strings too long and couldn't recapture his rhythm, so a vocalist he remained. Dave Wilborn was a gentle man.
                    >
                    > Jim Gallert
                    > www.detroitmusichistory.com
                    > www.jazzstage.us
                    >
                    > ----- Original Message -----
                    > From: "patrice champarou" <patrice.champarou@...>
                    > To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                    > Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 6:21:47 AM
                    > Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] I fully agree
                    >
                    >  
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Maybe I should insist that I do not intend to stop or ban the thread in
                    > itself, which is an interesting one.
                    > Otherwise, I would have erased the whole of it by now...
                    > No, what does not fit the mood and aim of this group is reference to old
                    > quarrels which occured somewhere else, or to elements of the discussion
                    > which are probably familiar to a couple of former protagonists, but far too
                    > elliptic for most readers, who might mostly retain an obviously unfriendly
                    > attitude (and no, I am not supposed to decide who started it, I just do not
                    > want this here ;-)).
                    >
                    > And that's about all, the discussion can carry on with the topic initially
                    > called McKinney's Cotton Pickers and "Birmingham Bertha", without the
                    > unrequested mention of a personal "addition" in the subject line, which
                    > breaks the thread and lets everyone think this is by no means an open,
                    > collective discussion (see group's rules there again, they also have
                    > technical reasons which I already explained, a Yahoo group is not a forum).
                    >
                    > Best,
                    >
                    > Patrice
                    >
                    > -----Message d'origine-----
                    > From: hans.eekhoff
                    > Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 8:01 AM
                    > To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: [RedHotJazz] I fully agree
                    >
                    > And I mentioned it myself in my previous posting - I tried to have this
                    > discussion in private (it did not start there).
                    > Anyway, the main point should be clear for those who are interested in the
                    > matter itself.
                    > My apologies - I will not carry on about it.
                    > Hans Eekhoff
                    >
                  • Michael Rader
                    Coming back to this thread for the moment, John Chilton s McKinney s Music has excerpts from a 1951 interview with Sterling Bose, who said The bands would
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jan 27, 2011
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                      Coming back to this thread for the moment, John Chilton's "McKinney's Music" has excerpts from a 1951 interview with Sterling Bose, who said "The bands would sometimes trade arrangements to relieve the monotony of playing the same scores night after night". Bose went on to say that "My Blackbirds are Bluebirds Now", as recorded by Goldkette on Victor was actually a McKinney score. Bose claimed that the similarity of the two bands was greater in person than on records, because in the studios special pains were taken to keep the styles distinct". (Chilton 1978, p. 29, the interview was porinted in the Record Changer of November 1951).
                      "Birmingham Bertha" is not mentioned at all in Chilton's booklet or the discography by Chilton, John RT Davies and Laurie Wright published in Storyville Nos 32 and 32. For what it's worth, I think Bertha sounds like a Cotton Pickers side, but I might well be mistaken if what Bose said was true.

                      Michael Rader
                      ___________________________________________________________
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