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Noone and Procope

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  • David Brown
    *This is Dave -- Robert sent this to me instead of to the group by mistake and, as he is away, has asked me to fwd to the group. I see a view that Russell
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 2 8:51 AM
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      *This is Dave -- Robert sent this to me instead of to the group by mistake
      and, as he is away, has asked me to fwd to the group.


      I see a view that Russell Procope played only a pastiche of New orleans
      Clarinet with Ellington. I could not disagree more. Needless to say, the
      range of Procope's performances with Ellington extended beyond anything
      within the expressive range within which Morton recorded. There is a
      recording of Azure which the Ellington band seems to have recorded inside
      Procope's clarinet

      It's a matter of control of ovetrtones and undertones and even keeping the
      centre of the sound at the correct pitch. Noone could at times sound soupy
      (an American musician proficient on reeds but startlingly ignorant of older
      jazz responded to the sound of Noone by saying he seemed to be playing a
      clarinet as if it was a saxophone). Darnell Howard sometimes pitched his
      clarinet as if it was a violin (which he also played). There was quite
      likely a difference between Procope's production of sound at the time of
      Deep Creek, and during the time he spent with Ellington.
      On the last British tour with Ellington. Procope's version of Dixieland
      clarinet (as Ellington announced it during a recorded performance -- Money
      Johnson plays Louis Armstrong) was quite staggering, heard live, for
      physical power. It certainly wasn't pastiche anything.
      I can't imagine Noone, within his range of operation, having ever had to
      project to that extent, or having had to maintain the level of precision
      with overtones etc. required of Procope.

      This is relevant to the issue of Noone with Oliver, for Noone wouldn't
      necessarily have been able to sound like Noone and nobody else, if the
      Oliver band -- wht Johnny Dodds -- had developed in a sufficiently if only
      slightly different direction after an earlier encounter. Too much sheer
      Noone could have meant too much dissonance. As I recall, Ravel was said to
      have transcribed something Noone played, which professional clarinetists
      declared impossible. (I once sat next to a professional reedman at a Benny
      Carter gig, and we both heard sequences of notes which in our expectation
      led direct to a reed-squeak, but were part of a passage BC could phrase
      flawlessly)
      There are probably some parallels with the Noone case in the recordings of
      Monty Sunshine, where sometimes an ensemble got in the way of his developing
      his own contribution in various directions, and sometimes Monty had scope to
      flourish. There weren't rhythmic and harmonic restrictions on the scope his
      phrasing required.
      As for Buster Bailey, who might well have delivered some pastiche when
      playing with Oliver, there were indeed successive general phases in his
      career (including the time when mercifully far from camera and sound
      recording he, Don Redman and Coleman Hawkins allegedly performed a dance
      routine while executing a three-clarinet ensemble passage). I think there is
      alo evidence that he sometimes played more interestingly, or differently,
      than would allow the notion of so many phases of Bailey to be presented as a
      complete account. He was also more adaptable than nost New Orleans giants.
      Ken Peplowski has afforded interesting parallels, for instance beginning a
      gig playing OK jazz on not unidiomatic clarinet, taking up tenor to deliver
      1939-40 Ben Webster, but finising the gig by playing sheer jazz clarinet.
      Back to Noone, and there was after all a second clarinetist on the 1940s
      date where he delivered the miraculous solo on Clambake in B Flat.
      And of course Barney Bigard's career as a major clarinetist pretty well
      began with Ellington.


      Robert



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    • David Brown
      Many thanks Robert for such a substantial and interesting post. I guess our opposite opinions on the stature of Procope are based to a large extent on our
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 2 9:19 AM
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        Many thanks Robert for such a substantial and interesting post.

        I guess our opposite opinions on the stature of Procope are based to a large
        extent on our opinions of the stature of post-war Ellington.

        But I have no doubt Ellington provided a context that enhanced the stature
        of both Bigard and Procope. And no way do I disparage Procope as musician
        but he was no great creative jazzman but then, as his post-Ellington work
        proved, neither was Bigard.

        The idea that Noone was limited by the context of KOCJB is intriguing. I
        previously observed that on 'Chattanooga' he indulges in Doddslike
        punctuation and possibly he was under pressure to fill Dodds shoes. I also
        note that he soon abandoned the classic N.O. frontline and achieved his
        apotheosis in a frontline consisting only of himself and an alto playing
        straight lead.

        I believe that the climate and culture which produced classic N.O. clarinet
        style(s) was unique and that nobody born outside that city and time -- not
        Buster, nor Procope, nor Howard, nor Sunshine nor Peplowski -- can offer
        more than good ersatz.

        Heine Beau can be heard on one solo on the 'Clambake' session and, on this
        evidence, is the clarinettist least likely to be confused with Noone.


        Dave




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      • serapion@btinternet.com
        Ken Mathieson -- veteran drummer and leader of the impressive CJO n Scotland, tells me when he was talking to Harold Dejan a number of years ago Dejan told him
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 4 1:50 PM
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          Ken Mathieson -- veteran drummer and leader of the impressive CJO n Scotland, tells me when he was talking to Harold Dejan a number of years ago Dejan told him about his own early lessons with Tio, and how Buster Bailey had lessons with Tio, and the avowed Noone worshipper Procope also worked with Tio when Tio was in New York around the time Procope got the Morton gig. Bailey was presumably a formed player at the time, Procope not.
          I remember the bassist Dave Green saying he'd never heard a more beautiful sound than the very elderly Benny Waters clarinet, which was actually very different from what Benny produced when he started on clarinet to get the gig with Jimmy Archey when Bob Wilber was drafted into the army.
          I wasn't .saying Ken Peplowski was a New Orleans style of player, just that at least a number of years ago when not warmed up he played the start of a gig in a fairly straight or legit style, but when warmed up he got everything together and was an idiomatic jazz clarinetist -- you wouldn't mistake him for Gervase de Payer in the second of these phases, but it was amazing to hear the same guy different during two sections of the same gig.

          Kim Cusack is certainly an impressive exponent of the best that can be done without having been around long ago.
          As I recall, Kenny Davern would have said that Ellington found the best Bigard and Procope could do, and stole it. BUt as he said when Humphrey Lyttelton asked how he kept the band together "I give them money."

          Robert

          --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:
          >
          > ... I have no doubt Ellington provided a context that enhanced the stature of both Bigard and Procope.
          > The idea that Noone was limited by the context of KOCJB is intriguing. I
          > previously observed that on 'Chattanooga' he indulges in Doddslike
          > punctuation and possibly he was under pressure to fill Dodds shoes. I also
          > note that he soon abandoned the classic N.O. frontline and achieved his
          > apotheosis in a frontline consisting only of himself and an alto playing straight lead.
          > I believe that the climate and culture which produced classic N.O. clarinet style(s) was unique .
          > Dave
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • David Brown
          Hi Robert And excuse late reply -- I ve been away. That Procope studied with Tio is extremely interesting and, as far as I can tell, unreported elsewhere. It
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 12 2:55 AM
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            Hi Robert

            And excuse late reply -- I've been away.

            That Procope studied with Tio is extremely interesting and, as far as I can
            tell, unreported elsewhere. It leads me to re-appraise his work on 'Deep
            Creek' which I previously attributed to Morton. It would also enhance his
            claim to be a real N.O. player rather than an ersatz.

            Also interesting that the wonderful Dave Green cites Waters clarinet as a
            beautiful sound. I myself heard him on several occasions and, while admiring
            his energy, do not have the memory of glorious sound on any instrument. Does
            anybody know example of this on record ?

            In the old days, a player had one style and sound and maybe a problem I have
            with retromen is that they can change hats so readily. What is their real
            musical identity ?

            I have early Davern where he is playing like George but he later became more
            eclectic and eventually moulded a style of some originality, even if his
            influences, especially Noone, were always evident.

            Goodman essayed classical repertoire although not entirely successfully and
            certainly not in the class of De Peyer or Brymer.

            All best

            Dave


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          • lastofthebarons
            I ve got to say that I agree with Dave Green, not Dave Brown regarding Benny Waters tone on clarinet. I saw him many times from the 70s to the 80s and was
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 12 8:15 AM
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              I've got to say that I agree with Dave Green, not Dave Brown regarding Benny Waters' tone on clarinet. I saw him many times from the 70s to the 80s and was always impressed with it, particularly on slow numbers. I do agree with you Dave regarding his energy he would have made a fortune if he'd been able to bottle it. His sound on Tenor and Alto was bordering on the hard, particularly into the 80s his as well as the Century's. I think that that was largely due to his hard driving style but on ballads his tone on alto was lovely, perhaps not velvety but expressive none-the-less. He seemed give up tenor in his later years, I'm talking about his very late 80s and beyond.

              Cheers,

              Marc

              On 12 Sep 2011, at 10:55, David Brown wrote:

              > Hi Robert
              >
              > And excuse late reply -- I've been away.
              >
              > That Procope studied with Tio is extremely interesting and, as far as I can
              > tell, unreported elsewhere. It leads me to re-appraise his work on 'Deep
              > Creek' which I previously attributed to Morton. It would also enhance his
              > claim to be a real N.O. player rather than an ersatz.
              >
              > Also interesting that the wonderful Dave Green cites Waters clarinet as a
              > beautiful sound. I myself heard him on several occasions and, while admiring
              > his energy, do not have the memory of glorious sound on any instrument. Does
              > anybody know example of this on record ?
              >
              > In the old days, a player had one style and sound and maybe a problem I have
              > with retromen is that they can change hats so readily. What is their real
              > musical identity ?
              >
              > I have early Davern where he is playing like George but he later became more
              > eclectic and eventually moulded a style of some originality, even if his
              > influences, especially Noone, were always evident.
              >
              > Goodman essayed classical repertoire although not entirely successfully and
              > certainly not in the class of De Peyer or Brymer.
              >
              > All best
              >
              > Dave
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >



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            • David Brown
              Hi Marc Quite prepared to believe you and Dave Green but can t find any Waters on clarinet. Quite a lot Youtube but alto. Anybody point at some online or
              Message 6 of 9 , Sep 12 9:29 AM
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                Hi Marc

                Quite prepared to believe you and Dave Green but can't find any Waters on
                clarinet. Quite a lot Youtube but alto.

                Anybody point at some online or anywhere else ?


                Dave


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • stevenabrams78jazz
                HI DAVID: You might find Ben Waters on clarinet with King Oliver s Dixie Syncopators especially perhaps TIN ROOF blues. He also played with Clarence Williams
                Message 7 of 9 , Sep 13 1:42 PM
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                  HI DAVID:
                  You might find Ben Waters on clarinet with King Oliver's Dixie Syncopators especially perhaps TIN ROOF blues.
                  He also played with Clarence Williams Blue Five around 1925 perhaps on the Sarah Martin side doing Cushion Foot Stomp.

                  Steven Abrams
                  San Francisco

                  --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "David Brown" <johnhaleysims@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Marc
                  >
                  > Quite prepared to believe you and Dave Green but can't find any Waters on
                  > clarinet. Quite a lot Youtube but alto.
                  >
                  > Anybody point at some online or anywhere else ?
                  >
                  >
                  > Dave
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • Bob Smith
                  Dear David, I ve also got Ben Waters as sometimes possible, sometimes probable, and almost certain on Clarence Williams with King Oliver recordings in 1928,
                  Message 8 of 9 , Sep 14 7:44 AM
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                    Dear David,

                    I've also got Ben Waters as sometimes possible, sometimes probable, and almost certain on Clarence Williams with King Oliver recordings in 1928, thus:
                    CW' Jazz Kings: Red River Blues and I Need You (possible) clt & alt 1928-05-29
                    CW & His Orchestra: Long , Deep, And Wide; Speakeasy; Squeeze Me; New Down Home Blues (probably) ten & clt c.1928-08
                    Katherine Henderson, CW and his Orchestra: Lonesome Lovesick Blues; Have You Felt That Way?; What Can You Do Without Me? (almost certain) ten c. 1928-10
                    CW & His Orchestra: Wildflower Rag; Midnight Stomp; I'm Through (almost certain) ten & clt c. 1928-11
                    CW & His Orchestra: Bozo; Longshoreman's Blues (almost certain) ten c.1928-11
                    Katherine Henderson, CW and his Orchestra: Do It Baby; Mushy Love; If You Like Me (possibly) ten c. 1928-11
                    CW & His Orchestra: Beau-Koo Jack; Sister Kate; Pane In The Glass (almost certain) ten & clt c. 1928-12

                    Source: K.-B Rau

                    Kind Regards

                    Bob Smith



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                  • David Brown
                    Hi Bob Many thanks for the long list. Reasonable bustling neo-Hawkins tenor solos there are but few clarinet solos and those are very, very unimpressive and on
                    Message 9 of 9 , Sep 14 11:12 AM
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                      Hi Bob

                      Many thanks for the long list. Reasonable bustling neo-Hawkins tenor solos
                      there are but few clarinet solos and those are very, very unimpressive and
                      on this evidence he must rank as the worst clarinet that Clarence used --
                      which is saying something.

                      Nothing here to equate with the happy memories of fine and mellow clarinet.
                      So I must assume he later improved.


                      All Best

                      Dave


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