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Re: R: [RedHotJazz] Sources on Pre War European Jazz

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  • Howard Rye
    Indeed there are later works. Catherine Parsonage, The Evolution of Jazz in Britain 1890-1935 (Ashgate 2005) is not perfect (what is?) but it so far exceeds
    Message 1 of 16 , Mar 16, 2011
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      Indeed there are later works. Catherine Parsonage, The Evolution of Jazz in
      Britain 1890-1935 (Ashgate 2005) is not perfect (what is?) but it so far
      exceeds Godbolt¹s and Boulton¹s efforts in both understanding and quality of
      research as to be in a different league. (Which is of course partly to say
      that I agree with its emphasis and conclusions whereas I emphatically do not
      agree with Godbolt¹s!)

      There have been at least two other recent studies of jazz in Britain but
      they are more sociological than historical. We ought to mention John
      Chilton¹s Who¹s Who of British Jazz, which contains more of the history than
      any other book.

      on 16/03/2011 10:07, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > I guess UK is Europe ? The only history of pre-war UK jazz I know is Godbolt
      > 'A History Of Jazz In Britain 1919-50'. But maybe I'm out of date. I usually
      > am.
      >
      > Oh, there was a previous, David Boulton 1958, 'Jazz In Britain' which is
      > even less comprehensive.
      >
      > [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]
    • David Brown
      Thanks for updating Howard. I am intrigued as to with what emphasis and conclusions you emphatically disagree. Dave [Non-text portions of this message have
      Message 2 of 16 , Mar 16, 2011
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        Thanks for updating Howard.

        I am intrigued as to with what emphasis and conclusions you emphatically
        disagree.

        Dave


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Howard Rye
        A reading of Catherine Parsonage¹s book will clarify this perfectly! But the basic problem is that Godbolt knows little or nothing about what happened BMM
        Message 3 of 16 , Mar 16, 2011
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          A reading of Catherine Parsonage¹s book will clarify this perfectly!

          But the basic problem is that Godbolt knows little or nothing about what
          happened BMM (before the Melody Maker) and didn¹t consider it necessary to
          find out.

          More generally, most writing about British jazz has relied heavily and
          inevitably on the Melody Maker and has adopted its perspective, which
          reflected vested interests which certainly did not have unbiased
          documentation as their main priority. In some ways the French are better off
          for having had a dialectic right from the start so that although all the
          numerous books on jazz in France are all heavily biassed there are at least
          alternative views out there for interested enquirers to assess and compare
          if they wish. Until very recently the Melody Maker view of British jazz
          history stood unchallenged.

          I haven¹t looked at Godbolt¹s book for years (because I do not want to find
          his prejudices ³contaminating² my own research and I prefer to do my own
          reading of the MM) but I just pulled it out of the enfer to confirm my
          recollection that it contains no mention of Victor Vorzanger¹s Broadway
          Band. Is that a sufficient explanation of my disagreement?

          If not, read the two references to Ken Johnson¹s band, by far the best and
          most idiomatic non-American jazz group to work in Britain before 1940, and
          particularly the sentence on page 188 by which he excuses himself.

          ³Emphatically² is a serious understatement. Just looking at the wretched
          book makes me angry all over again. But most of his copying from the Melody
          Maker is no doubt accurate, wherein lies the book¹s usefulness. If you
          haven¹t time or opportunity to read the MM yourself, Godbolt will do.




          on 16/03/2011 10:52, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

          >
          >
          >
          > Thanks for updating Howard.
          >
          > I am intrigued as to with what emphasis and conclusions you emphatically
          > disagree.
          >
          > Dave
          >


          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
          Thanks Howard. At 50 odd nicker a throw, all I m ever likely to read is what is up Google books but this is sure a scholarly work. I m very pleased to see that
          Message 4 of 16 , Mar 16, 2011
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            Thanks Howard.

            At 50 odd nicker a throw, all I'm ever likely to read is what is up Google
            books but this is sure a scholarly work. I'm very pleased to see that Ms
            Parsonage enthuses over the ODJB's lovely 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles'.

            Victor Vorzanger's Broadway Band is new to me -- is it jazz ? --so its
            absence does not really explain your disagreement but I understand what you
            mean.

            I had no idea -- would never have thought in fact -- that M.M. ever had a
            coherent and consistent view of jazz history.

            I guess it's the 'black contribution to British jazz was slight' that makes
            you angry all over again. But obviously, as regards numbers of musicians,
            this was so.

            I must defend Godbolt. 'There is nothing dry or pedantic about this work. It
            is enlivened throughout by the author's passion for the music itself ' --
            George Melly

            I would also observe that Godbolt goes as far 1950 in this volume and that
            there is a second, from 1950-70, which is even more enlivened because he
            himself was part of the scene.

            Dave




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Howard Rye
            Yes, let¹s us say in fairness that Godbolt¹s second book is much better because he was an eye and ear witness of many of the events he recounts. I¹d go so
            Message 5 of 16 , Mar 17, 2011
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              Yes, let¹s us say in fairness that Godbolt¹s second book is much better
              because he was an eye and ear witness of many of the events he recounts. I¹d
              go so far as to say it is indispensible to anyone wanting to understand
              British trad. So probably is Jim¹s autobiography, though I have never read
              it, having been throroughly put off by the Storyville review!

              However, these are primary sources rather than what our enquirer was
              apparently seeking.

              Vorzanger¹s band is in Rust. The records are variable and anyone is at
              liberty to regard them or anything else as of merely historical importance,
              but history is what we are talking about here. Vorzanger himself was
              certainly not a jazz musician. He continued to provide music for bar
              mitzvahs and weddings from his Whitechapel base well into the 50s, long
              after his brief flirtation with jazz. Curiously he continued to appear in
              the London Phone Book as a band contractor until 1959. Curiously, because he
              died in 1957. Assumably someone carried the business on for a bit. The band
              on Scala was not really his band. It was the band from Moody¹s Club and its
              real leader was the African-American trombonist Ellis Jackson, later a
              pillar of Billy Cotton¹s band. (Have you heard the 1936 sessions by Billy
              Cotton¹s Cotton Pickers? Well worth seeking out.) There isa film made at
              Moodyt¹s (unfortunately silent) showing the band in action.


              on 16/03/2011 18:27, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > Thanks Howard.
              >
              > At 50 odd nicker a throw, all I'm ever likely to read is what is up Google
              > books but this is sure a scholarly work. I'm very pleased to see that Ms
              > Parsonage enthuses over the ODJB's lovely 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles'.
              >
              > Victor Vorzanger's Broadway Band is new to me -- is it jazz ? --so its
              > absence does not really explain your disagreement but I understand what you
              > mean.
              >
              > I had no idea -- would never have thought in fact -- that M.M. ever had a
              > coherent and consistent view of jazz history.
              >
              > I guess it's the 'black contribution to British jazz was slight' that makes
              > you angry all over again. But obviously, as regards numbers of musicians,
              > this was so.
              >
              > I must defend Godbolt. 'There is nothing dry or pedantic about this work. It
              > is enlivened throughout by the author's passion for the music itself ' --
              > George Melly
              >
              > I would also observe that Godbolt goes as far 1950 in this volume and that
              > there is a second, from 1950-70, which is even more enlivened because he
              > himself was part of the scene.
              >
              > 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]
            • bruce talbot
              When I was working in recording studios in London in the 60s and 70s an elderly violinist named Vorzanger (can t remember his first name) was one of the string
              Message 6 of 16 , Mar 17, 2011
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                When I was working in recording studios in London in the 60s and 70s an elderly violinist named Vorzanger (can't remember his first name) was one of the string players who regularly turned up on sessions.  Presumably son of Victor...possibly the contractor to which you refer.

                Bruce Talbot

                --- On Thu, 3/17/11, Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:

                From: Howard Rye <howard@...>
                Subject: Re: R: [RedHotJazz] Sources on Pre War European Jazz
                To: "red hot jazz" <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
                Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 10:53 AM







                 









                Yes, let¹s us say in fairness that Godbolt¹s second book is much better

                because he was an eye and ear witness of many of the events he recounts. I¹d

                go so far as to say it is indispensible to anyone wanting to understand

                British trad. So probably is Jim¹s autobiography, though I have never read

                it, having been throroughly put off by the Storyville review!



                However, these are primary sources rather than what our enquirer was

                apparently seeking.



                Vorzanger¹s band is in Rust. The records are variable and anyone is at

                liberty to regard them or anything else as of merely historical importance,

                but history is what we are talking about here. Vorzanger himself was

                certainly not a jazz musician. He continued to provide music for bar

                mitzvahs and weddings from his Whitechapel base well into the 50s, long

                after his brief flirtation with jazz. Curiously he continued to appear in

                the London Phone Book as a band contractor until 1959. Curiously, because he

                died in 1957. Assumably someone carried the business on for a bit. The band

                on Scala was not really his band. It was the band from Moody¹s Club and its

                real leader was the African-American trombonist Ellis Jackson, later a

                pillar of Billy Cotton¹s band. (Have you heard the 1936 sessions by Billy

                Cotton¹s Cotton Pickers? Well worth seeking out.) There isa film made at

                Moodyt¹s (unfortunately silent) showing the band in action.





                >

                >

                >

                >



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • David Brown
                All This And Many A Dog is indeed essential for anyone interested in British post-war jazz. Not just Trad. In fact, Godbolt worked tirelessly to book the
                Message 7 of 16 , Mar 17, 2011
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                  'All This And Many A Dog' is indeed essential for anyone interested in
                  British post-war jazz. Not just Trad. In fact, Godbolt worked tirelessly to
                  book the non-trad mainstream bands which less than flourished for a few
                  years in the 50s/60s. It was a struggle, as he describes, but it could
                  always be that he was ringing Vorzanger's number after he was dead.

                  It is a very similar memoir to, and complements, often from the other side
                  of the fence, Melly's 'Owning Up'. Also often as funny.

                  I'll check out the Cottons. If I can find them -- where ? -- and am
                  especially intrigued as they come with recommendation from this source.

                  Dave Wilkins and Bertie King were among the finest, if not the finest,
                  musicians on their instruments working in pre-war UK. But, as West Indians,
                  like their British contemporaries, they would have had to learn jazz and
                  their styles are, at best, almost as derivative of American models.

                  Dave


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Howard Rye
                  I would be content to say the jazz styles of these musicians were quite as derivative. What is interesting is what input there was from other musics of the
                  Message 8 of 16 , Mar 17, 2011
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                    I would be content to say the jazz styles of these musicians were quite as
                    derivative.

                    What is interesting is what input there was from other musics of the African
                    diaspora to whch they were inheritors and what effect this had on their
                    ability to assimilate jazz and especially jazz rhythms. (I don¹t have an
                    answer to this and there very likely is no single answer anyway).

                    Bertie King had two styles, one essentially derivative of Benny Carter and a
                    much rougher style which can be heard for instance in his work with Chris
                    Barber. There are obvious links to the work of Pete Brown who had the same
                    Caribbean heritage.

                    In the 1920s and 1930s Caribbean musicians in Europe essentially had to play
                    jazz (except for the Martinquans in France) because the audience for
                    Caribbean music was insignificant. On the other hand the latest sounds from
                    Harlem were in demand. This is not confined to Britain. Denmark¹s Harlem
                    Kiddies (a bunch of Danes and Norwegians of Virgin Islands heritage) offer
                    the same mix. There are Dutch parallels too, notably Lex van Spall. They
                    were undoubtedly able to turn the theories of racists about the genetic
                    inheritance of cultural characteristics to their advantage by claiming an
                    ³authenticity¹ to which in truth they did not have much claim, though those
                    who came up in the 20s were much more likely to have worked with visiting
                    African-Americans and learned at first hand.

                    It is I¹m sure significant that so many of these musicians switched to Latin
                    music in the 40s when it became fashionable, following in the footsteps of
                    ³Edmundo Ros², known to his compatriots as Eddie Ross of the Trinidad Police
                    Band, and after 1950 to music from their own heritage. Trinidadian trumpeter
                    Cyril Blake led some of the best jazz records made in Britain, but in the
                    last years of his life recorded exclusively calypsos (though he had left
                    Trinidad in the teens and never went back). Blake learned his jazz in groups
                    dominated by African-Americans, whereas those who came up in the 1930s had
                    no more or less opportunities for direct absorption than other Britons.
                    Hence the suspicion that their frequent superiority connects to their
                    Caribbean heritage in ways which might prove to be quite complex.


                    on 17/03/2011 15:11, David Brown at johnhaleysims@... wrote:

                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > 'All This And Many A Dog' is indeed essential for anyone interested in
                    > British post-war jazz. Not just Trad. In fact, Godbolt worked tirelessly to
                    > book the non-trad mainstream bands which less than flourished for a few
                    > years in the 50s/60s. It was a struggle, as he describes, but it could
                    > always be that he was ringing Vorzanger's number after he was dead.
                    >
                    > It is a very similar memoir to, and complements, often from the other side
                    > of the fence, Melly's 'Owning Up'. Also often as funny.
                    >
                    > I'll check out the Cottons. If I can find them -- where ? -- and am
                    > especially intrigued as they come with recommendation from this source.
                    >
                    > Dave Wilkins and Bertie King were among the finest, if not the finest,
                    > musicians on their instruments working in pre-war UK. But, as West Indians,
                    > like their British contemporaries, they would have had to learn jazz and
                    > their styles are, at best, almost as derivative of American models.
                    >
                    > 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
                    Vorzanger had at least 5 sons (Herman, Barold, Edward, Alfred, and Charles). The eldest, Herman, was born in 1896, so would certainly have been elderly by this
                    Message 9 of 16 , Mar 17, 2011
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                      Vorzanger had at least 5 sons (Herman, Barold, Edward, Alfred, and Charles).
                      The eldest, Herman, was born in 1896, so would certainly have been elderly
                      by this time, but I don¹t seem to have any information on which of the sons
                      followed in their father¹s footsteps. Barold was the informant for his
                      father¹s death certificate.


                      on 17/03/2011 13:21, bruce talbot at brucetalbot@... wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > When I was working in recording studios in London in the 60s and 70s an
                      > elderly violinist named Vorzanger (can't remember his first name) was one of
                      > the string players who regularly turned up on sessions.  Presumably son of
                      > Victor...possibly the contractor to which you refer.
                      >
                      > Bruce Talbot
                      >
                      > --- On Thu, 3/17/11, Howard Rye <howard@...
                      > <mailto:howard%40coppermill.demon.co.uk> > wrote:
                      >
                      > From: Howard Rye <howard@...
                      > <mailto:howard%40coppermill.demon.co.uk> >
                      > Subject: Re: R: [RedHotJazz] Sources on Pre War European Jazz
                      > To: "red hot jazz" <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com
                      > <mailto:RedHotJazz%40yahoogroups.com> >
                      > Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 10:53 AM
                      >
                      >  
                      >
                      > Yes, let¹s us say in fairness that Godbolt¹s second book is much better
                      >
                      > because he was an eye and ear witness of many of the events he recounts. I¹d
                      >
                      > go so far as to say it is indispensible to anyone wanting to understand
                      >
                      > British trad. So probably is Jim¹s autobiography, though I have never read
                      >
                      > it, having been throroughly put off by the Storyville review!
                      >
                      > However, these are primary sources rather than what our enquirer was
                      >
                      > apparently seeking.
                      >
                      > Vorzanger¹s band is in Rust. The records are variable and anyone is at
                      >
                      > liberty to regard them or anything else as of merely historical importance,
                      >
                      > but history is what we are talking about here. Vorzanger himself was
                      >
                      > certainly not a jazz musician. He continued to provide music for bar
                      >
                      > mitzvahs and weddings from his Whitechapel base well into the 50s, long
                      >
                      > after his brief flirtation with jazz. Curiously he continued to appear in
                      >
                      > the London Phone Book as a band contractor until 1959. Curiously, because he
                      >
                      > died in 1957. Assumably someone carried the business on for a bit. The band
                      >
                      > on Scala was not really his band. It was the band from Moody¹s Club and its
                      >
                      > real leader was the African-American trombonist Ellis Jackson, later a
                      >
                      > pillar of Billy Cotton¹s band. (Have you heard the 1936 sessions by Billy
                      >
                      > Cotton¹s Cotton Pickers? Well worth seeking out.) There isa film made at
                      >
                      > Moodyt¹s (unfortunately silent) showing the band in action.
                      >
                      >> >
                      >
                      >> >
                      >
                      >> >
                      >
                      >> >
                      >
                      > [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]
                    • bruce talbot
                      Charles was the Vorzanger I was thinking of.... ... From: Howard Rye Subject: Re: R: [RedHotJazz] Sources on Pre War European
                      Message 10 of 16 , Mar 17, 2011
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                        Charles was the Vorzanger I was thinking of....

                        --- On Thu, 3/17/11, Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:

                        From: Howard Rye <howard@...>
                        Subject: Re: R: [RedHotJazz] Sources on Pre War European Jazz
                        To: "red hot jazz" <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
                        Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 3:56 PM







                         









                        Vorzanger had at least 5 sons (Herman, Barold, Edward, Alfred, and Charles).

                        The eldest, Herman, was born in 1896, so would certainly have been elderly

                        by this time, but I don¹t seem to have any information on which of the sons

                        followed in their father¹s footsteps. Barold was the informant for his

                        father¹s death certificate.



                        on 17/03/2011 13:21, bruce talbot at brucetalbot@... wrote:



                        >

                        >

                        >

                        >

                        >

                        >

                        > When I was working in recording studios in London in the 60s and 70s an

                        > elderly violinist named Vorzanger (can't remember his first name) was one of

                        > the string players who regularly turned up on sessions.  Presumably son of

                        > Victor...possibly the contractor to which you refer.

                        >

                        > Bruce Talbot

                        >

                        > --- On Thu, 3/17/11, Howard Rye <howard@...

                        > <mailto:howard%40coppermill.demon.co.uk> > wrote:

                        >

                        > From: Howard Rye <howard@...

                        > <mailto:howard%40coppermill.demon.co.uk> >

                        > Subject: Re: R: [RedHotJazz] Sources on Pre War European Jazz

                        > To: "red hot jazz" <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com

                        > <mailto:RedHotJazz%40yahoogroups.com> >

                        > Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 10:53 AM

                        >

                        >  

                        >

                        > Yes, let¹s us say in fairness that Godbolt¹s second book is much better

                        >

                        > because he was an eye and ear witness of many of the events he recounts. I¹d

                        >

                        > go so far as to say it is indispensible to anyone wanting to understand

                        >

                        > British trad. So probably is Jim¹s autobiography, though I have never read

                        >

                        > it, having been throroughly put off by the Storyville review!

                        >

                        > However, these are primary sources rather than what our enquirer was

                        >

                        > apparently seeking.

                        >

                        > Vorzanger¹s band is in Rust. The records are variable and anyone is at

                        >

                        > liberty to regard them or anything else as of merely historical importance,

                        >

                        > but history is what we are talking about here. Vorzanger himself was

                        >

                        > certainly not a jazz musician. He continued to provide music for bar

                        >

                        > mitzvahs and weddings from his Whitechapel base well into the 50s, long

                        >

                        > after his brief flirtation with jazz. Curiously he continued to appear in

                        >

                        > the London Phone Book as a band contractor until 1959. Curiously, because he

                        >

                        > died in 1957. Assumably someone carried the business on for a bit. The band

                        >

                        > on Scala was not really his band. It was the band from Moody¹s Club and its

                        >

                        > real leader was the African-American trombonist Ellis Jackson, later a

                        >

                        > pillar of Billy Cotton¹s band. (Have you heard the 1936 sessions by Billy

                        >

                        > Cotton¹s Cotton Pickers? Well worth seeking out.) There isa film made at

                        >

                        > Moodyt¹s (unfortunately silent) showing the band in action.

                        >

                        >> >

                        >

                        >> >

                        >

                        >> >

                        >

                        >> >

                        >

                        > [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]






















                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Robert
                        ... Entertaining as it is, this is one of its great limitations. Vol. 2 of Godbolt s History is pretty much a further volume of his memoirs. He seems to deal
                        Message 11 of 16 , Mar 17, 2011
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                          --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, Howard Rye <howard@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Yes, let¹s us say in fairness that Godbolt¹s second book is much better
                          > because he was an eye and ear witness of many of the events he recounts.

                          Entertaining as it is, this is one of its great limitations. Vol. 2 of Godbolt's History is pretty much a further volume of his memoirs. He seems to deal exclusively with the scene as he, and his generation knew it. There is no mention of Barry Martyn, for instance, or of the visiting African-American New Orleanians such as Kid Sheik, Kid Thomas, Manny Paul, John Handy, Andrew Morgan, all of whom came to the UK before 1970. No mention of Eureka magazine or of the Promotional Society for the Preservation of New Orleans Music who sponsored the tours made by Sheik, et al. But then Sheik never played Trad, did he?
                          Robert Greenwood
                        • David Brown
                          I was deliberately trying not to be provocative but I would claim that Wilkins did possibly diverge farther from his US models, was more original, than any
                          Message 12 of 16 , Mar 17, 2011
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                            I was deliberately trying not to be provocative but I would claim that
                            Wilkins did possibly diverge farther from his US models, was more original,
                            than any other UK player of the 30s I can think of -- at the moment. Other
                            candidates ?



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • David Brown
                            Again need to defend Godbolt who never espoused Trad but fought a good fight for uncommercial Mainstream . But much on George Lewis who was the most
                            Message 13 of 16 , Mar 18, 2011
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                              Again need to defend Godbolt who never espoused 'Trad' but fought a good
                              fight for uncommercial 'Mainstream'.

                              But much on George Lewis who was the most important still extant influence
                              on British Revivalism.

                              Godbolt is enthusiastic but does share the standard critical view of his
                              generation which has George 'representing direct the music's turn-of-the
                              century originators ' --- incl Bolden.

                              It's a good job I took cover in the Anderson to avoid being trampled in the
                              rush of candidates for original British jazzmen.

                              But to add even more, George Chisholm, of course, who was always instantly
                              recognisable, not least for the 'humour' which pervaded his work and which
                              eventually slipped into facetiousness.


                              Dave


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