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Brass bass

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  • ROBERT R. CALDER
    It might be worth mentioning that Milt Hinton, who recorded on brass bass with Tiny Parham, said he was glad to abandon that instrument because he was not a
    Message 1 of 25 , Feb 2, 2011
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      It might be worth mentioning that Milt Hinton, who recorded on brass bass with
      Tiny Parham, said he was glad to abandon that instrument because he was not a
      good tuba player.

      Perhaps we need to draft in the Spanish-American war and the tale of pawnshops
      full of army band instruments.

      If perhaps a New Orleans version of the quarrel of the moderns and the ancients
      had something to do with who played what when, presumably fashion had something
      to do with the abandonment of brass basses, fashion and changes in not only
      musical style but the preference of dancers.

      Connoisseurs of brass bass should be aware that Ransom Knowling, the veteran New
      Orleans string bassist whose driving accompaniment to the bluesman Arthur Crudup
      in the late 1940s was later imitated with lucrative effect by Elvis Presley,
      played some eloquent tuba solos on recordings by another bluesman, Doctor
      Clayton, around 1940.   
      As I understand matters, Bunk Johnson grew up in a tradition of band playing not
      too different from what was being played around New York, before the later New
      Orleans musicians started to have an impact there. And the New Orleans musicians
      began to incorporate less European influences from what was around them, and
      brought that to New York via Chicago (where Garvin Bushell and Bubber Miley had
      gone for inspiration). Bunk's band with Bushell etc. owes some of its quality to
      the hornmen's roots in something more European-Legit. There was I think
      something of a respectability barrier, such as can be found in Scottish folk
      music, as between polite, respectable, orthodox, and what is musically more
      interesting.

      Luis Russell was the first schooled musician to take up New Orleans jazz, which
      he tried to transfer from NO dance-halls via his Chicago sojourn and recordings
      with King Oliver which belong to the Russell oeuvre.  I would suspect the string
      bass was there part of an exotic New Orleans appeal (such as Cubans had later
      on).  But I bow to no man in my admiration of Cyrus St. Clair as I regret the
      extent to which he might have been regarded as passe


      Robert R. Calder




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • ALAN BOND
      Hi Robert,                     I fell that Cyrus St Clair was not simply a brass bass player per se, but a bass voice with in the front line
      Message 2 of 25 , Feb 2, 2011
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        Hi Robert,
                            I fell that Cyrus St Clair was not simply a brass bass player per se, but a bass voice with in the front line in a similar way to Adrian Rollini's bass sax. Some of the melodic lines that St Clair used were way off the usual territory for brass bass players and, rather that being influenced by bass players, he initiated a genre of his own.
        TTFN - 007

        --- On Wed, 2/2/11, ROBERT R. CALDER <serapion@...> wrote:

        From: ROBERT R. CALDER <serapion@...>
        Subject: [RedHotJazz] Brass bass
        To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Wednesday, 2 February, 2011, 13:38

        It might be worth mentioning that Milt Hinton, who recorded on brass bass with
        Tiny Parham, said he was glad to abandon that instrument because he was not a
        good tuba player.

        Perhaps we need to draft in the Spanish-American war and the tale of pawnshops
        full of army band instruments.

        If perhaps a New Orleans version of the quarrel of the moderns and the ancients
        had something to do with who played what when, presumably fashion had something
        to do with the abandonment of brass basses, fashion and changes in not only
        musical style but the preference of dancers.

        Connoisseurs of brass bass should be aware that Ransom Knowling, the veteran New
        Orleans string bassist whose driving accompaniment to the bluesman Arthur Crudup
        in the late 1940s was later imitated with lucrative effect by Elvis Presley,
        played some eloquent tuba solos on recordings by another bluesman, Doctor
        Clayton, around 1940.   
        As I understand matters, Bunk Johnson grew up in a tradition of band playing not
        too different from what was being played around New York, before the later New
        Orleans musicians started to have an impact there. And the New Orleans musicians
        began to incorporate less European influences from what was around them, and
        brought that to New York via Chicago (where Garvin Bushell and Bubber Miley had
        gone for inspiration). Bunk's band with Bushell etc. owes some of its quality to
        the hornmen's roots in something more European-Legit. There was I think
        something of a respectability barrier, such as can be found in Scottish folk
        music, as between polite, respectable, orthodox, and what is musically more
        interesting.

        Luis Russell was the first schooled musician to take up New Orleans jazz, which
        he tried to transfer from NO dance-halls via his Chicago sojourn and recordings
        with King Oliver which belong to the Russell oeuvre.  I would suspect the string
        bass was there part of an exotic New Orleans appeal (such as Cubans had later
        on).  But I bow to no man in my admiration of Cyrus St. Clair as I regret the
        extent to which he might have been regarded as passe


        Robert R. Calder


             

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



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

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        Yahoo! Groups Links








        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David Brown
        Robert C Yes, brass bass and string bass do not seem a natural double and one can believe that string bassists would struggle to find the breath and embouchure
        Message 3 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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          Robert C

          Yes, brass bass and string bass do not seem a natural double and one can
          believe that string bassists would struggle to find the breath and
          embouchure for so different an instrument. I guess the movement was mostly
          in that direction but I think John Kirby started on brass and had to change
          to string.

          Thanks for bringing attention the Knowling sides. One does not somehow
          expect tuba in a blues environment. Can't find these -- where are they now
          available ?

          I agree that syncopated music or ragtime was played throughout black USA
          but, pre-recording, I think there would have been large regional variation
          and that somehow music in N.O. was always unique.


          Alan

          Pity we cannot here discuss 'Wilson, Keppel & Betty' whose phenomenal
          success with but a single joke was remarkable. What jazz bands would you
          have been hearing contemporary to the sand dancing trio ?


          Dave


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • patrice.champarou@free.fr
          ... From: David Brown Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 10:54 AM To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses ... (...) ... DOCD
          Message 4 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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            -----Message d'origine-----
            From: David Brown
            Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 10:54 AM
            To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

            > Robert C
            (...)
            > Thanks for bringing attention the Knowling sides. One does not somehow
            > expect tuba in a blues environment. Can't find these -- where are they now
            > available ?

            DOCD 5179 is out of stock, available as mp3 download from eMusic.
            The sides with Knowling can also be heard on Deezer.
            BTW, Tampa Red also had a brass bass accompanist on his first 1928
            recording, Through Train Blues.
            There was also an Octave Gaspard on bb with Billiken Johnson (also Lilian
            Glinn and Gertrude Perkins, but I have not heard that)

            P.
          • ALAN BOND
            Hi David,                  Chris Barber, Ken Colyer, Eric Batty, Freddy Randall, Eric Silk, Terry Lightfoot, Sandy Brown, Eric Allandale,
            Message 5 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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              Hi David,
                               Chris Barber, Ken Colyer, Eric Batty, Freddy Randall, Eric Silk, Terry Lightfoot, Sandy Brown, Eric Allandale, Charlie Galbraith, Steve Lane, Kenny Ball, Humphrey Lyttelton, Acker Bilk, Teddy Layton and Mick Mulligan among others (never too keen on the last named - others of the same opinion would tell you why). We also used to listen to Be-Bop as well but you didn't tell your 'trad' friends that nor vice versa as there was almost all out war between the two camps. We didn't care - we just liked our jazz.

                              In the latter days when I was a semi-pro musician (had a day job as well, see) we used to go to the 'Tally Ho' at Kentish Town on a Sunday evening for the jam session there. A tiny bar with sometimes 15 or 16 musicians jamming was a sight to behold as everyone was packed in like sardines. Alan Littlejohns and Harry Lock from the Eric Silk band were regulars as was Mike Hogh the trombonist par excellence. The regular band was a trio with Hugh Ledigo on piano, Vic Richards on drums and Ronnie Bott on bass and other regulars were Ziggy Ludwigsen and Wally Moffat on tenors, Keith Graville on guitar and Peter Shade on vibes. Occasional guests were, Kenny Baker, George Chisholm, Bruce Turner, Vic Ash and Ray Whittham. Great days but fifty years or more ago now and sadly missed. I picked up an LP of Jazz at The Tally Ho via the late John Kendall who used to work for Doug Dobell and one side of it was recorded at the pub with the other
              done in a studio. The stage could only just accomodate the trio and all the other musicians would either stand at the front or on beer crates along the wall towards the bar, these being thoughtfully provided by the management.
              TTFN - 007

              --- On Thu, 3/2/11, David Brown <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:

              From: David Brown <johnhaleysims@...>
              Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses
              To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
              Date: Thursday, 3 February, 2011, 9:54

              Robert C

              Yes, brass bass and string bass do not seem a natural double and one can
              believe that string bassists would struggle to find the breath and
              embouchure for so different an instrument. I guess the movement was mostly
              in that direction but I think John Kirby started on brass and had to change
              to string.

              Thanks for bringing attention the Knowling sides. One does not somehow
              expect tuba in a blues environment. Can't find these -- where are they now
              available ?

              I agree that syncopated music or ragtime was played throughout black USA
              but, pre-recording, I think there would have been large regional variation
              and that somehow music in N.O. was always unique.


              Alan

              Pity we cannot here discuss 'Wilson, Keppel & Betty' whose phenomenal
              success with but a single joke was remarkable. What jazz bands would you
              have been hearing contemporary to the sand dancing trio ?


              Dave


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



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

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

              Yahoo! Groups Links








              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • David Brown
              Hi Alan Nice memories. A smidge before my time. As ever, everywhere, far more musicians than ever were able to enter posterity through recording. Happy hours
              Message 6 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                Hi Alan

                Nice memories. A smidge before my time. As ever, everywhere, far more
                musicians than ever were able to enter posterity through recording.

                Happy hours here too in John Kendall's cellar with that fungus smell. I
                still have stuff in the shelves from that source that are redolent.

                Admirable and rare that you 'crossed-over' -- it was indeed war.

                Mulligan could be a fine trumpet player and the band could stomp. The
                vocalist tended to overpower but was a great writer.

                Dave


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Bob Eagle
                Octave Gaspard ( Musician, Orchestra ) was in Dallas in 1930 - he had been born in Louisiana in about 1870. How early would you like? Bob
                Message 7 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                  Octave Gaspard ("Musician, Orchestra") was in Dallas in 1930 - he had been born
                  in Louisiana in about 1870.

                  How early would you like?

                  Bob




                  ________________________________
                  From: "patrice.champarou@..." <patrice.champarou@...>
                  To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Thu, 3 February, 2011 6:14:57 PM
                  Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                   


                  -----Message d'origine-----
                  From: David Brown
                  Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 10:54 AM
                  To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                  > Robert C
                  (...)
                  > Thanks for bringing attention the Knowling sides. One does not somehow
                  > expect tuba in a blues environment. Can't find these -- where are they now
                  > available ?

                  DOCD 5179 is out of stock, available as mp3 download from eMusic.
                  The sides with Knowling can also be heard on Deezer.
                  BTW, Tampa Red also had a brass bass accompanist on his first 1928
                  recording, Through Train Blues.
                  There was also an Octave Gaspard on bb with Billiken Johnson (also Lilian
                  Glinn and Gertrude Perkins, but I have not heard that)

                  P.







                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • ALAN BOND
                  Hi David,                  Mulligan was a complete anarchist who somehow led a charmed life. He was outrageous and many a time when I thought
                  Message 8 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                    Hi David,
                                     Mulligan was a complete anarchist who somehow led a charmed life. He was outrageous and many a time when I thought he was going to receive some hurt he actually got away with it. Jimmy Godbolt sums it up with an anecdote in 'All This & Ten Per Cent.'

                                    George Melly was a diamond - he was as nicely outrageous as Mulligan was nasty. Altogether a lovely man and a great wit. There were far too many occasions when I heard Mulligan's Blue Magnolia band (or whatever he was calling it that evening) play badly because someone had got his gander up. I much preferred Freddy Randall's band and Fred was a nice chap to boot. I also missed out my favourite band of them all and that was Alex Welsh. I have an IPod which is almost entirely Alex Welsh and I never get fed up with it.

                                    Next favourite - Eric Silk, and thereby hangs a tale related to me by Steve Lane. Steve was depping for Dennis Field on one occasion and, as usual, he got there a bit sharp and was met by 'pop' who used to be what would now be called a 'roadie.' Pop welcomed Steve and asked if he would like a drink, at which Steve requested an orange juice (being teetotal) which was delivered promptly. Now 'Pop' was organised to the extent that the band got paid at the end of the gig with the money in a nice little wage packet and which Steve duly received and popped in his pocket. When he got home and checked the money it was (as far as I can remember the figures) 9d (not 9p) short - 'Pop' had deducted the price of the orange juice from Steve's pay !

                                    There are plenty more where that came from but too many of them are rude so I will draw a veil over the rest of the proceedings. Just as a taster though, has anyone ever actually shouted out 'Onions' during a performance of that tune - No ! - me neither.

                    TTFN - 007

                    --- On Thu, 3/2/11, David Brown <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:

                    From: David Brown <johnhaleysims@...>
                    Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses
                    To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                    Date: Thursday, 3 February, 2011, 11:17

                    Hi Alan

                    Nice memories. A smidge before my time. As ever, everywhere, far more
                    musicians than ever were able to enter posterity through recording.

                    Happy hours here too in John Kendall's cellar with that fungus smell. I
                    still have stuff in the shelves from that source that are redolent.

                    Admirable and rare that you 'crossed-over'  -- it was indeed war.

                    Mulligan could be a fine trumpet player and the band could stomp. The
                    vocalist tended to overpower but was a great writer.

                    Dave


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



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

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

                    Yahoo! Groups Links








                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • David Brown
                    Alan Those were the days eh, when even Eric Silk had a roadie ! We can view Mulligan from both Godbolt and Melly and also from the records which unfortunately
                    Message 9 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                      Alan

                      Those were the days eh, when even Eric Silk had a roadie !

                      We can view Mulligan from both Godbolt and Melly and also from the records
                      which unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on taste -- are dominated
                      by Melly.

                      'I could never watch ( and the verb is chosen carefully ) George Melly
                      singing without feeling embarrassed and the same goes for his writing.'

                      Not me, Philip Larkin in a prissy review of 'Owning Up' from 1965.

                      Alex Welsh we have done here before with also confrontational opinions. Same
                      goes for the Dobell's 'redevelopment'.


                      Tony

                      Always nice to hear. You left us too soon.



                      Dave


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • David Brown
                      Doctor Clayton Pearl Harbour Blues , with its sublime lyric and the brass bass of Ransom, is available to hear or download free from jazz-on-line. My
                      Message 10 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                        Doctor Clayton 'Pearl Harbour Blues', with its sublime lyric and the brass
                        bass of Ransom, is available to hear or download free from jazz-on-line.

                        My discographical source on this lists a second bassist namely Alfred Elkins
                        on 'imitation string bass' which is not a bass non-instrument we have
                        discussed. What was this ?

                        But I must say that listening through phones on the PC I cannot hear him.


                        Dave


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Mordechai Litzman
                        Easiest way of hearing it is to find it on YouTube. Did listen to the recording, and I can only hear some kind of brass bass but no string bass. (Perhaps
                        Message 11 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                          Easiest way of hearing it is to find it on YouTube. Did listen to the recording,
                          and I can only hear some kind of brass bass but no string bass. (Perhaps
                          "imitation string bass" refers to the broom stick contraptions in string and jug
                          bands?)

                          Speaking about origins of bass, where does the humble jug come into the picture?





                          ________________________________
                          From: David Brown <johnhaleysims@...>
                          To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Thu, February 3, 2011 11:05:52 AM
                          Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses


                          Doctor Clayton 'Pearl Harbour Blues', with its sublime lyric and the brass
                          bass of Ransom, is available to hear or download free from jazz-on-line.

                          My discographical source on this lists a second bassist namely Alfred Elkins
                          on 'imitation string bass' which is not a bass non-instrument we have
                          discussed. What was this ?

                          But I must say that listening through phones on the PC I cannot hear him.

                          Dave

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







                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • patrice.champarou@free.fr
                          ... From: David Brown Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 5:05 PM To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses ... He cannot be
                          Message 12 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                            -----Message d'origine-----
                            From: David Brown
                            Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 5:05 PM
                            To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                            > Doctor Clayton 'Pearl Harbour Blues', with its sublime lyric and the brass
                            > bass of Ransom, is available to hear or download free from jazz-on-line.

                            > My discographical source on this lists a second bassist namely Alfred
                            > Elkins
                            > on 'imitation string bass' which is not a bass non-instrument we have
                            > discussed. What was this ?

                            > But I must say that listening through phones on the PC I cannot hear him.

                            > Dave

                            He cannot be heard with a full stereo equipment either, I guess Howard did
                            not have time, or did not feel the absolute need to correct all doubtful
                            information which were originally part of B&GR, bass played by either Alfred
                            Elkins, Bill Settles, or William Mitchell being a favourite.
                            I suppose that "imb." was the common "bass cano" (unless someone can provide
                            a specific explanation for the latter), clothes line attached to a
                            broomstick and played over a washtub (what we call "contrebassine", a French
                            neologism subtly merging "double bass" and "pan")

                            P.
                          • patrice.champarou@free.fr
                            There is a specific Yahoo group devoted to jug, and jug bands http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/jugband/ We almost had one of their former members here
                            Message 13 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                              There is a specific Yahoo group devoted to jug, and jug bands
                              http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/jugband/
                              We almost had one of their former members here years ago, but he did not
                              appreciate that I blocked his first message, clearly aimed at his previous
                              moderator, so he left on the next day ;-)

                              P.

                              -----Message d'origine-----
                              From: Mordechai Litzman
                              Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:11 PM
                              To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                              Speaking about origins of bass, where does the humble jug come into the
                              picture?
                            • tubaman@tubatoast.com
                              I have done extensive research on the imitation string bass (also sometimes listed as bass cano on some blues recording discographies.) There are many
                              Message 14 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                                I have done extensive research on the 'imitation string bass' (also sometimes listed as 'bass cano' on some blues recording discographies.) There are many possible answers to this and musicologists at several major museums and universities have helped me in my investigations.

                                1. It can be a vocal bass sound - like The Mills Brothers often did.

                                2. It can be a washtub or gut-bucket bass with one string that is tuned mainly by stretching or relaxing the string.

                                3. It can be a home-made bass with one or more strings tuned by pressing on a fret-board or neck and usually having a resonating chamber made of wood, metal, cardboard or other material. Searching on Gas Tank Bass gets some amazing results!
                                A large "Diddley-Bo" would sound like a bass. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diddley_bow

                                4. The term "Bass Cano" is most likely a translation or typographic error - some bass players used a 5 or 10 gallon tin can as a resonating chamber instead of a washtub ( here is one example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44362663@N06/4429376297/ )

                                So the possibilities are numerous and it would be hard to be sure which instrument was being used on a particular recording without photographs of the session!

                                BTW, there were some manufactured metal string double-bass instruments - aluminum chambers shaped to resemble traditional wooden string basses. http://alikat.com.au/history.html

                                Dave Richoux


                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
                                Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2011 8:05am
                                To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                Doctor Clayton 'Pearl Harbour Blues', with its sublime lyric and the brass
                                bass of Ransom, is available to hear or download free from jazz-on-line.

                                My discographical source on this lists a second bassist namely Alfred Elkins
                                on 'imitation string bass' which is not a bass non-instrument we have
                                discussed. What was this ?

                                But I must say that listening through phones on the PC I cannot hear him.


                                Dave
                              • David Brown
                                Hi Patrice So where can I hear Elkins in all his ersatz glory ? I pondered that what might be meant was a vocal bass line as the John Mills, jnr & snr. I guess
                                Message 15 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                                  Hi Patrice


                                  So where can I hear Elkins in all his ersatz glory ?

                                  I pondered that what might be meant was a vocal bass line as the John Mills,
                                  jnr & snr.

                                  I guess that might also appear in blues ?


                                  Dave



                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • tubaman@tubatoast.com
                                  The Jug was certainly the poor man s tuba - but the playing method is very different. This website has a lot of interesting jug history (that may or may not be
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                                    The Jug was certainly the poor man's tuba - but the playing method is very different. This website has a lot of interesting jug history (that may or may not be 100% true) -
                                    http://www.juggernautjugband.com/crazy.htm

                                    I have been on the jugband list for a few years now (mostly because of my research on 'imitation bass' but I also do blow some jug.)

                                    Dave Richoux



                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: patrice.champarou@...
                                    Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2011 9:32am
                                    To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                    There is a specific Yahoo group devoted to jug, and jug bands
                                    http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/jugband/
                                    We almost had one of their former members here years ago, but he did not
                                    appreciate that I blocked his first message, clearly aimed at his previous
                                    moderator, so he left on the next day ;-)

                                    P.

                                    -----Message d'origine-----
                                    From: Mordechai Litzman
                                    Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:11 PM
                                    To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                    Speaking about origins of bass, where does the humble jug come into the
                                    picture?



                                    ------------------------------------
                                  • tubaman@tubatoast.com
                                    This article about the Memphis Jug Band is also pretty interesting: http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/memphis-jug-band-biography Dave Richoux ...
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                                      This article about the Memphis Jug Band is also pretty interesting:
                                      http://www.enotes.com/contemporary-musicians/memphis-jug-band-biography

                                      Dave Richoux

                                      -----Original Message-----
                                      From: tubaman@...
                                      Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2011 10:59am
                                      To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                      The Jug was certainly the poor man's tuba - but the playing method is very different. This website has a lot of interesting jug history (that may or may not be 100% true) -
                                      http://www.juggernautjugband.com/crazy.htm

                                      I have been on the jugband list for a few years now (mostly because of my research on 'imitation bass' but I also do blow some jug.)

                                      Dave Richoux
                                    • patrice.champarou@free.fr
                                      ... From: tubaman@tubatoast.com Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 7:59 PM To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses ... Yes,
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                                        -----Message d'origine-----
                                        From: tubaman@...
                                        Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 7:59 PM
                                        To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                        Subject: Re: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                        > The Jug was certainly the poor man's tuba - but the playing method is very
                                        > different.
                                        > This website has a lot of interesting jug history (that may or may not be
                                        > 100% true) -
                                        > http://www.juggernautjugband.com/crazy.htm

                                        > I have been on the jugband list for a few years now (mostly because of my
                                        > research on 'imitation bass' but I also do blow some jug.)

                                        > Dave Richoux

                                        Yes, I clearly remember reading you over there...
                                        My own question regarding the jug, as well as several other "novelty"
                                        instruments like the harmonica, is whether at the time they were recorded,
                                        they were not much more of a fashion than the "poor man's" intruments.
                                        Thinking of the numerous songs on which Clarence Williams played that.

                                        Patrice
                                      • patrice.champarou@free.fr
                                        ... From: David Brown Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:55 PM To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses ... I suppose
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                                          -----Message d'origine-----
                                          From: David Brown
                                          Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:55 PM
                                          To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                          Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                          >Hi Patrice

                                          >So where can I hear Elkins in all his ersatz glory ?
                                          >I pondered that what might be meant was a vocal bass line as the John
                                          >Mills,
                                          >jnr & snr.
                                          >I guess that might also appear in blues ?
                                          >Dave

                                          I suppose Howard knows farmore than I do, but to me the answer would be
                                          "nowhere", meaning that Elkins' and some others' names were added whenever
                                          an efficient muffled string bass sound could be heard in the background.
                                          Ransom Knowling was the real exception, something like the equivalent of
                                          Louis Vola in the so-called folk blues field.
                                          There were probably many examples of bass voices in quartets and Gospel
                                          choirs, but I do not think the equipment allowed intended imitation of the
                                          bass as an instrument in the pre-war days, the earliest example I can think
                                          of is Clifton Givens singing bass lines in Sonny Boy Williamson' 1951
                                          recordings!

                                          P.
                                        • Ron L'Herault
                                          Vince Giordano, and the bass player in a band local to my area both play aluminum basses. Ron L ... From: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Feb 3, 2011
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                                            Vince Giordano, and the bass player in a band local to my area both play aluminum basses.

                                            Ron L

                                            -----Original Message-----
                                            From: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com [mailto:RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of tubaman@...
                                            Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 12:53 PM
                                            To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                            Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                            I have done extensive research on the 'imitation string bass' (also sometimes listed as 'bass cano' on some blues recording discographies.) There are many possible answers to this and musicologists at several major museums and universities have helped me in my investigations.

                                            1. It can be a vocal bass sound - like The Mills Brothers often did.

                                            2. It can be a washtub or gut-bucket bass with one string that is tuned mainly by stretching or relaxing the string.

                                            3. It can be a home-made bass with one or more strings tuned by pressing on a fret-board or neck and usually having a resonating chamber made of wood, metal, cardboard or other material. Searching on Gas Tank Bass gets some amazing results!
                                            A large "Diddley-Bo" would sound like a bass. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diddley_bow

                                            4. The term "Bass Cano" is most likely a translation or typographic error - some bass players used a 5 or 10 gallon tin can as a resonating chamber instead of a washtub ( here is one example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44362663@N06/4429376297/ )

                                            So the possibilities are numerous and it would be hard to be sure which instrument was being used on a particular recording without photographs of the session!

                                            BTW, there were some manufactured metal string double-bass instruments - aluminum chambers shaped to resemble traditional wooden string basses. http://alikat.com.au/history.html

                                            Dave Richoux


                                            -----Original Message-----
                                            From: "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...>
                                            Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2011 8:05am
                                            To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                            Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                            Doctor Clayton 'Pearl Harbour Blues', with its sublime lyric and the brass
                                            bass of Ransom, is available to hear or download free from jazz-on-line.

                                            My discographical source on this lists a second bassist namely Alfred Elkins
                                            on 'imitation string bass' which is not a bass non-instrument we have
                                            discussed. What was this ?

                                            But I must say that listening through phones on the PC I cannot hear him.


                                            Dave





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

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

                                            Yahoo! Groups Links
                                          • Howard Rye
                                            It¹s kind of you to adopt the generous interpretation, Patrice, but theoretically the fourth edition corrected instrumentation wherever there was a perceived
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Feb 4, 2011
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                                              It¹s kind of you to adopt the generous interpretation, Patrice, but
                                              theoretically the fourth edition corrected instrumentation wherever there
                                              was a perceived need to do so. We didn¹t have to time to check all cases so
                                              some will have slipped through where no query had ever been raised. In this
                                              instance someone definitely thinks they hear two bass instruments. If they
                                              are wrong, it¹s a mistake.

                                              As to why my predecessors decided that ³imb² was an appropriate abbreviation
                                              for tub bass, I have no idea, but it is so well established that there was
                                              no point in changing it. This is supposed to be the only possibility. The
                                              other ones listed by Dave Richoux should be differently described. Vocal
                                              basses certainly are. Diddley-bows should be but this would be dependent on
                                              someone recognising the sound.

                                              The use of tub bass on so many records from the 1930s has more to do with
                                              the need to employ non-union musicians whenever possible than it does with
                                              tradition, I¹m afraid. We owe a great deal of this music primarily to the
                                              need to fill jukeboxes at minimum cost.

                                              The same goes for quite a few traditional personnel identifications of the
                                              kind you quote as well. Since ³Alfred
                                              Elkins, Bill Settles, or William Mitchell² obviously means ³unknown² in
                                              plain language I didn¹t see any reason to engage in argument about it. I
                                              didn¹t and don¹t understand why anyone thinks this kind of speculation is
                                              useful but much attention is still devoted to it.

                                              It took a couple of lifetimes to build up this body of traditonal lore in
                                              blues and jazz discography, and if anyone would like to donate a lifetime to
                                              trying to verify every personnel suggestion that has been handed down they
                                              will place posterity deeply in their debt!




                                              on 03/02/2011 17:21, patrice.champarou@... at patrice.champarou@...
                                              wrote:

                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > -----Message d'origine-----
                                              > From: David Brown
                                              > Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 5:05 PM
                                              > To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com <mailto:RedHotJazz%40yahoogroups.com>
                                              > Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses
                                              >
                                              >> > Doctor Clayton 'Pearl Harbour Blues', with its sublime lyric and the brass
                                              >> > bass of Ransom, is available to hear or download free from jazz-on-line.
                                              >
                                              >> > My discographical source on this lists a second bassist namely Alfred
                                              >> > Elkins
                                              >> > on 'imitation string bass' which is not a bass non-instrument we have
                                              >> > discussed. What was this ?
                                              >
                                              >> > But I must say that listening through phones on the PC I cannot hear him.
                                              >
                                              >> > Dave
                                              >
                                              > He cannot be heard with a full stereo equipment either, I guess Howard did
                                              > not have time, or did not feel the absolute need to correct all doubtful
                                              > information which were originally part of B&GR, bass played by either Alfred
                                              > Elkins, Bill Settles, or William Mitchell being a favourite.
                                              > I suppose that "imb." was the common "bass cano" (unless someone can provide
                                              > a specific explanation for the latter), clothes line attached to a
                                              > broomstick and played over a washtub (what we call "contrebassine", a French
                                              > neologism subtly merging "double bass" and "pan")
                                              >
                                              > P.
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >
                                              >


                                              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]
                                            • Howard Rye
                                              Elkins appears as an accompanist to 23 artists in the B&GR index. Vocal bass lines do appear but are not very common except in vocal groups. Can¹t think of
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Feb 4, 2011
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                                                Elkins appears as an accompanist to 23 artists in the B&GR index.

                                                Vocal bass lines do appear but are not very common except in vocal groups.
                                                Can¹t think of any off hand.


                                                on 03/02/2011 17:55, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Hi Patrice
                                                >
                                                > So where can I hear Elkins in all his ersatz glory ?
                                                >
                                                > I pondered that what might be meant was a vocal bass line as the John Mills,
                                                > jnr & snr.
                                                >
                                                > I guess that might also appear in blues ?
                                                >
                                                > 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]
                                              • Howard Rye
                                                It¹s not quite as bad as that! Elkins is named in some file data. As the personnel with both basses on the Doctor Clayton session goes back to Jazz Directory
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Feb 4, 2011
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                                                  It¹s not quite as bad as that!

                                                  Elkins is named in some file data. As the personnel with both basses on the
                                                  Doctor Clayton session goes back to Jazz Directory I will be amazed if this
                                                  is not one of them.

                                                  Also various informants such as Memphis Slim on whose sessions Elkins
                                                  appears were quizzed about this by people like Yannick Bruynoghe and Hughes
                                                  Panassié before the ³please validate my theory² boys contaminated their
                                                  memories.

                                                  So there is a solid base (pun intended) which may not always have been built
                                                  on intelligently, but these sessions were contractors work and we have a
                                                  pretty good idea who was contracted to whom.

                                                  The classic examples of vocal bass on record (the Mills Brothers ARC
                                                  recordings and the Monarch Jazz Quartet) are pre-war, so the theory about
                                                  recording equipment can be completely discounted. If blues artists were
                                                  using vocal basses on gigs and not on record the reason is artistic or
                                                  financial.


                                                  on 03/02/2011 19:27, patrice.champarou@... at patrice.champarou@...
                                                  wrote:

                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > -----Message d'origine-----
                                                  > From: David Brown
                                                  > Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2011 6:55 PM
                                                  > To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com <mailto:RedHotJazz%40yahoogroups.com>
                                                  > Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses
                                                  >
                                                  >> >Hi Patrice
                                                  >
                                                  >> >So where can I hear Elkins in all his ersatz glory ?
                                                  >> >I pondered that what might be meant was a vocal bass line as the John
                                                  >> >Mills,
                                                  >> >jnr & snr.
                                                  >> >I guess that might also appear in blues ?
                                                  >> >Dave
                                                  >
                                                  > I suppose Howard knows farmore than I do, but to me the answer would be
                                                  > "nowhere", meaning that Elkins' and some others' names were added whenever
                                                  > an efficient muffled string bass sound could be heard in the background.
                                                  > Ransom Knowling was the real exception, something like the equivalent of
                                                  > Louis Vola in the so-called folk blues field.
                                                  > There were probably many examples of bass voices in quartets and Gospel
                                                  > choirs, but I do not think the equipment allowed intended imitation of the
                                                  > bass as an instrument in the pre-war days, the earliest example I can think
                                                  > of is Clifton Givens singing bass lines in Sonny Boy Williamson' 1951
                                                  > recordings!
                                                  >
                                                  > P.
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >


                                                  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]
                                                • David Brown
                                                  Hi Patrice and everybody I think the John Mills (x 2) were indulging in brass bass imitation and can be very well heard on 30s sides. I have the very first
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Feb 4, 2011
                                                  • 0 Attachment
                                                    Hi Patrice and everybody


                                                    I think the John Mills (x 2) were indulging in brass bass imitation and can
                                                    be very well heard on 30s sides.

                                                    I have the very first Mills on now 'Nobody's Sweetheart' 1931 (in a JRT
                                                    transcription) and the 'tuba' of John Jnr almost dominates.


                                                    Dave


                                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                  • patrice.champarou@free.fr
                                                    ... From: David Brown Sent: Friday, February 04, 2011 9:57 AM To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses ... Well, yes, Dave,
                                                    Message 25 of 25 , Feb 5, 2011
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                                                      -----Message d'origine-----
                                                      From: David Brown
                                                      Sent: Friday, February 04, 2011 9:57 AM
                                                      To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                                                      Subject: RE: [RedHotJazz] Early Brass Basses

                                                      > Hi Patrice and everybody

                                                      > I think the John Mills (x 2) were indulging in brass bass imitation and
                                                      > can
                                                      > be very well heard on 30s sides.

                                                      > I have the very first Mills on now 'Nobody's Sweetheart' 1931 (in a JRT
                                                      > transcription) and the 'tuba' of John Jnr almost dominates.

                                                      Well, yes, Dave, quite obviously!
                                                      Sorry for such a late, and probably pointless reply, for some reason my
                                                      mailer had sent this one to an unrelated folder.

                                                      Vocal imitiation of brass bass (in which a human voice is still
                                                      recognizable) was the starting point, I only meant to say that the process
                                                      had not, as far as I know, been used in pre-war *blues* - an arbitrary
                                                      category indeed, but one under which neither the Mills nor the Ink Spots are
                                                      usually filed.
                                                      Also that the separate indication of "imb." which appears in discographies
                                                      does not seem to refer to anything else than imitation of *string* bass.
                                                      I tried several recorded examples in which Elkins was mentioned, and all I
                                                      could hear until now was either, clearly nothing at all as in Clayton's
                                                      case, or some muffled sound merging with the piano basses... BTW, I was
                                                      unfair to Bill Settles if I added him to the list, because he usually played
                                                      a real double bass, and the difference is quite obvious.

                                                      I admit that the term "technical limitation" was not the proper one, but the
                                                      post-war examples I mentioned, actually faking the pizzicati of a string
                                                      bass with voice, seemed to require a PA mike and a separated amp with some
                                                      primitive reverb.

                                                      Patrice
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