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"Virginia Blues" and "Georgia" by the Superior Jazz Band

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  • Agustin Perez Gasco
    Dear list   Someone in another jazz group posted this suggestion/question:  
    Message 1 of 4 , Apr 5 2:35 PM
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      Dear list
       
      Someone in another jazz group posted this suggestion/question:
       
      <<<I recently took a chance and spent five bucks on a 78 by the "Superior Jazz Band" on the early Bell label. According to the Rust discography, "Virginia Blues" and "Georgia" were recorded on April 18, 1922, but "Georgia" was rejected and remade on May 2. They were issued on three related labels, Arto, Bell (#P-144), and Globe. The instrumentation is the same as the OM5; Rust didn't know who the five musicians were, but noted that Ed Kirkeby directed the session. Kirkeby is best known as the manager of the California Ramblers and (later) Fats Waller, but also "managed first dates for the Original Memphis Five," according to John Chilton's Who's Who of Jazz. The first known record by the OM5 was Bell P-140, recorded some time in April, 1922; it was also issued under a pseudonym: The Original Dixieland Jazz Band!

      Which brings us to my record. I figured it was probably something pretty corny until I put it on the turntable today. My thoughts went like this:

      1. "Wow - this is pretty good."
      2. "That sounds like Phil Napoleon on trumpet."
      3. "Is that Jimmy Lytell on clarinet?"
      4. "Damn! I think this is the Original Memphis Five!"

      I compared the playing to that on the earliest OM5 record I had, from June, 1922 - it sure sounds like the same band. "Georgia" (by Walter Donaldson - the Hoagy Carmichael song hadn't been written yet) is excellent throughout. "Virginia Blues" starts well, but gets bogged down when it turns into a medley of "Southern" songs. The trombonist is a little stiff, but I don't know who else it could be except Miff Mole. He and Napoleon loosened up quite a bit on the band's 1923 recordings, but they both were slightly stiff on the 1922 records I've heard by them.

      I know this post is kind of esoteric, but I wanted this information (or at least informed speculation) to be on the web somewhere. I couldn't find anything in print or on the web linking this record to the Original Memphis Five.>>>
       
      Any opinions?
       
      Thanks in advance!
       
      Best regards,
      Agustín Pérez
      Madrid 


      ------------------------------------------------
      Mule Walk & Jazz Talk:  http://thereisjazzbeforetrane.blogspot.com/

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • stevenabrams78jazz
      You are correct. It is an EARLY version of the Memphis Five but issued under the name of Lanin s Southern Serenaders with a different personnel than the later
      Message 2 of 4 , Apr 9 10:23 AM
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        You are correct.
        It is an EARLY version of the Memphis Five but issued under the
        name of Lanin's Southern Serenaders with a different personnel than
        the later Memphis Five. Also listed in 'The Fabulous Fives'
        Sam Lanin groups also were issued on the Arto-Bell labels.
        Personnel probably is:
        Phil Napoleon (TP) Moe Gappel (TB) Jimmy Lytell (CL)
        Frank Signorelli (P) Jack Roth (D)
        Notice I said probably as Miff Mole moved in and out of the band so
        did Lytell as he replaced Doc Behrendson on clarinet especially in
        the first half year of 1922.
        I hope this helps somewhat.
        Steven Abrams
      • Ralph
        thank you for quoting this interesting, though necessarely speculative post. LET ME FIRST SAY THAT I DISAGREE WITH YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE SUPERIOR JAZZ BAND
        Message 3 of 4 , May 7, 2012
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          thank you for quoting this interesting, though necessarely speculative post.
          LET ME FIRST SAY THAT I DISAGREE WITH YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE "SUPERIOR JAZZ BAND" ARE THE SAME MUSICIANS AS THE "ORIGINAL MEMPHIS FIVE" OF THE SAME PERIOD (APRIL/MAY 1922).
          Who am I to say so ?
          An avid 78 rpm collector, who specializes in the period 1917 to 1922.
          I am VERY familiar with the sound of the OM5 groups (I own over 300 of their original 78s, only missing the following 9 records:
          Banner 1178 or Regal 9455
          Bell P-216 or Globe 7216
          Gennett 5125 or Starr 9385
          Gennett 5142
          Emerson 10725
          Emerson 10741
          Emerson 10783
          Vocalion 15234
          Pathé Act. 36413 or Perfect 14594
          (anyone help???))
          It was also me who first discovered that the OM5 also provided the accompaniment for IDA COX's "Blue Kentucky Blues" (mx 2003-2 on Paramount 12258).
          I also own Bell P-144 by the "Superior Jazz Band", and just had an intense listening session, along with all the OM5 groups recordings of March to June 1922.
          1.) The overall sound of Bell P-144 is UNLIKE the OM5 sound of this period. Less Swing, less musical purity.
          2.) Trumpeter is definetively NOT Phil Napoleon. Napoleon is more musical, exhibits a tone which is always in tune, compared to the broader tone and less driving lead of the Bell P-144 trumpeter.
          3.) Trombonist is definetively NOT Miff Mole. More pedestrian, lacking Mole's sweeping figures which helped to free the trombone from it's tailgate role, and a more crude, albeit more forceful tone.
          4.) Clarinetist COULD be Doc Behrendson.
          On aural grounds, I do think that Lytell joined the OM5 not until early June, 1922, and not already in early April, 1922, as reported in the standard discographies.
          Thus, IMO, the following OM5 goups records still feature Berendson, and NOT (already) Lytell:
          Arto 9140/Bell P-140(April 5, 1922)
          Gennett 4689 (April 14,1922)
          Cameo 218/Muse 218 (April 22,1922)
          Paramount 20131,etc.(May 10, 1922)
          Arto 9149/Bell P-149(May 11, 1922)
          Cameo 232/Harmogr750(May 22, 1922)
          Gennett 4886 (May 25, 1922)
          4.) Further, I compared the "Superior Jazz Band"'s Bell P-144 to the following:
          A.) KNICKERBOCKER NOVELTY FIVE
          571-A Virginia Blues GG 1102
          571-B Virginia Blues GG 1102
          571-C Virginia Blues GG 1102
          YERKES' NOVELTY FIVE
          578-D On The 'Gin 'Gin GG 1102
          'Ginny Shore (NOTE TAKE!)
          (I own three copies of GG 1102)
          First, the musicians on both sides (Knickerbocker N.F. / YERKES' N.F.)
          are the same. These would be:
          Hymie Farberman, t / Tom Brown, tb /Ross Gorman or Arnold Brilhardt, cl / p / d.
          Second, the personnel on GG 1102 and Bell P-144 sounds identical, to my ears.
          The possible exception is the clarinettist, which is more on a Ted Lewis kick on GG 1102; the clarinetist on Bell P-144 exhibits a purer tone, and avoids novelty effects.
          B.) LENOX NOVELTY ORCHESTRA
          Doo Dah Blues Arto 9137
          I've Got The Wonder Where He Went And When He's Coming Back Blues Arto 9137
          Recorded March 1922.
          Instrumentation is 2t/tb/cl/Cm/p/bj/bb/d.
          Loren McMurray is unmistakeable on C-Melody sax, t/tb/cl sound as if they were the same men as on Bell P-144 (NOT Napoleon, NOT Mole, PROBABLY Behrendson).
          C.) LANIN'S FAMOUS PLAYERS
          1-1450 Lonesome Mama Blues Federal 5203
          To my ears:
          t(NOT Napoleon)/Miff Mole-tb/Doc Behrendson-cl/Loren McMurray-as/p.
          The trumpeter on this HOT recording could be the same man as on Bell P-144, but tb and cl sound different.
          D.)
          VIRGINIANS
          Victor 18881, Victor 18895, Victor 18913
          IMO, all three frontmen are different to those of bell P-144.
          E.)SPECHT'S SOCIETY SYNCOPATORS
          1100-1 You Can Have Him, I Don't Want Him Blues Banner 1090
          1101-2 Hot Lips Banner 1090
          Again, all three frontmen sound different to those of the SUPERIOR JAZZ BAND.
          I was especially careful comparing the Specht recording to the Superior J.B. recording in the light of the following:
          In Record Research 25 (Nov./Dec.1959), eminent scholar CARL KENDZIORA had the following to say while reviewing the OM5 section of the first (1959) edition of HORST H. LANGE's "FABULOUS FIVES" (on page 7):
          "The Superior Jazz Band coupling on Arto group labels listed on page 13 is not the OM5. This was a session booked by Ed Kirkeby for Arto on April 18, 1922 /the Georgia title was remade May 2nd). His notebooks show this only as "Jazz Band" and the only clue as to the identity of the group is the cryptic one word "Deppe" also listed in the book. There was a Russell Deppe playing in the Paul Specht and His Hotel Astor Orchestra and so this just might be a Specht group under Deppe's leadership."
          Only problem is that there is no banjo (Deppe's instrument) on Bell P-144, Guarente is definetively NOT the trumpeter heard on Bell P-144, and tb and cl are, IMO, also played by different men.
          Regards,
          Ralph
          Ralph Wondraschek
          Plöck 89
          69117 Heidelberg
          Germany
          E-Mail: rwondra@...

          --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "stevenabrams78jazz" <stevenso-b@...> wrote:
          >
          > You are correct.
          > It is an EARLY version of the Memphis Five but issued under the
          > name of Lanin's Southern Serenaders with a different personnel than
          > the later Memphis Five. Also listed in 'The Fabulous Fives'
          > Sam Lanin groups also were issued on the Arto-Bell labels.
          > Personnel probably is:
          > Phil Napoleon (TP) Moe Gappel (TB) Jimmy Lytell (CL)
          > Frank Signorelli (P) Jack Roth (D)
          > Notice I said probably as Miff Mole moved in and out of the band so
          > did Lytell as he replaced Doc Behrendson on clarinet especially in
          > the first half year of 1922.
          > I hope this helps somewhat.
          > Steven Abrams
          >
        • Ralph
          I d like to add that I discussed the Superior Jazz Band record (Bell P-144) about 15 years ago with Mark Berresford, John R.T. Davies and Werner Benecke - all
          Message 4 of 4 , May 9, 2012
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            I'd like to add that I discussed the Superior Jazz Band record (Bell P-144) about 15 years ago with Mark Berresford, John R.T. Davies and Werner Benecke - all experts of early New York jazz - and the consensus (based on aural grounds) was: NO, NOT the OM5.
            Also to be pointed out is the fact that Ed Kirkeby in his notebooks clearly remarked "Original Memphis Five" for all the Arto recordings of the Napoleon/Signorelli gang he organized in the studios (mostly the "New York Recording Laboratories'"(Paramount) studio, or the "Indipendent Recording Laboratories'" studio (which was mainly used by the Plaza group)).
            But, as Kendziora pointed out, the remark for the Bell P-144 date is solely "Jazz Band (Deppe)".

            By the way, when I visited John R.T. Davies for the last time in 2001 (along with some of my NORK 78s for the Retrieval CD project), I also brought along my OM5 Arto/Bell/Globe/Nordskog 78s.
            In between JRT and myself, we were only missing Bell P-228 (the tape copy I had of Horst H. Lange's copy was substandard), and, though JRT did the transfers of all twelve 78s (including Bell P-97), the missing original Bell P-228 meant that the CD of the OM5's complete Arto sessions never saw the light of day (was planned for Jazz Oracle).
            In the meantime, I've acquired an E- copy of Bell P-228, so a new attempt for such a CD could be made.

            Best wishes,

            Ralph

            --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "Ralph" <rwondra@...> wrote:
            >
            > thank you for quoting this interesting, though necessarely speculative post.
            > LET ME FIRST SAY THAT I DISAGREE WITH YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE "SUPERIOR JAZZ BAND" ARE THE SAME MUSICIANS AS THE "ORIGINAL MEMPHIS FIVE" OF THE SAME PERIOD (APRIL/MAY 1922).
            > Who am I to say so ?
            > An avid 78 rpm collector, who specializes in the period 1917 to 1922.
            > I am VERY familiar with the sound of the OM5 groups (I own over 300 of their original 78s, only missing the following 9 records:
            > Banner 1178 or Regal 9455
            > Bell P-216 or Globe 7216
            > Gennett 5125 or Starr 9385
            > Gennett 5142
            > Emerson 10725
            > Emerson 10741
            > Emerson 10783
            > Vocalion 15234
            > Pathé Act. 36413 or Perfect 14594
            > (anyone help???))
            > It was also me who first discovered that the OM5 also provided the accompaniment for IDA COX's "Blue Kentucky Blues" (mx 2003-2 on Paramount 12258).
            > I also own Bell P-144 by the "Superior Jazz Band", and just had an intense listening session, along with all the OM5 groups recordings of March to June 1922.
            > 1.) The overall sound of Bell P-144 is UNLIKE the OM5 sound of this period. Less Swing, less musical purity.
            > 2.) Trumpeter is definetively NOT Phil Napoleon. Napoleon is more musical, exhibits a tone which is always in tune, compared to the broader tone and less driving lead of the Bell P-144 trumpeter.
            > 3.) Trombonist is definetively NOT Miff Mole. More pedestrian, lacking Mole's sweeping figures which helped to free the trombone from it's tailgate role, and a more crude, albeit more forceful tone.
            > 4.) Clarinetist COULD be Doc Behrendson.
            > On aural grounds, I do think that Lytell joined the OM5 not until early June, 1922, and not already in early April, 1922, as reported in the standard discographies.
            > Thus, IMO, the following OM5 goups records still feature Berendson, and NOT (already) Lytell:
            > Arto 9140/Bell P-140(April 5, 1922)
            > Gennett 4689 (April 14,1922)
            > Cameo 218/Muse 218 (April 22,1922)
            > Paramount 20131,etc.(May 10, 1922)
            > Arto 9149/Bell P-149(May 11, 1922)
            > Cameo 232/Harmogr750(May 22, 1922)
            > Gennett 4886 (May 25, 1922)
            > 4.) Further, I compared the "Superior Jazz Band"'s Bell P-144 to the following:
            > A.) KNICKERBOCKER NOVELTY FIVE
            > 571-A Virginia Blues GG 1102
            > 571-B Virginia Blues GG 1102
            > 571-C Virginia Blues GG 1102
            > YERKES' NOVELTY FIVE
            > 578-D On The 'Gin 'Gin GG 1102
            > 'Ginny Shore (NOTE TAKE!)
            > (I own three copies of GG 1102)
            > First, the musicians on both sides (Knickerbocker N.F. / YERKES' N.F.)
            > are the same. These would be:
            > Hymie Farberman, t / Tom Brown, tb /Ross Gorman or Arnold Brilhardt, cl / p / d.
            > Second, the personnel on GG 1102 and Bell P-144 sounds identical, to my ears.
            > The possible exception is the clarinettist, which is more on a Ted Lewis kick on GG 1102; the clarinetist on Bell P-144 exhibits a purer tone, and avoids novelty effects.
            > B.) LENOX NOVELTY ORCHESTRA
            > Doo Dah Blues Arto 9137
            > I've Got The Wonder Where He Went And When He's Coming Back Blues Arto 9137
            > Recorded March 1922.
            > Instrumentation is 2t/tb/cl/Cm/p/bj/bb/d.
            > Loren McMurray is unmistakeable on C-Melody sax, t/tb/cl sound as if they were the same men as on Bell P-144 (NOT Napoleon, NOT Mole, PROBABLY Behrendson).
            > C.) LANIN'S FAMOUS PLAYERS
            > 1-1450 Lonesome Mama Blues Federal 5203
            > To my ears:
            > t(NOT Napoleon)/Miff Mole-tb/Doc Behrendson-cl/Loren McMurray-as/p.
            > The trumpeter on this HOT recording could be the same man as on Bell P-144, but tb and cl sound different.
            > D.)
            > VIRGINIANS
            > Victor 18881, Victor 18895, Victor 18913
            > IMO, all three frontmen are different to those of bell P-144.
            > E.)SPECHT'S SOCIETY SYNCOPATORS
            > 1100-1 You Can Have Him, I Don't Want Him Blues Banner 1090
            > 1101-2 Hot Lips Banner 1090
            > Again, all three frontmen sound different to those of the SUPERIOR JAZZ BAND.
            > I was especially careful comparing the Specht recording to the Superior J.B. recording in the light of the following:
            > In Record Research 25 (Nov./Dec.1959), eminent scholar CARL KENDZIORA had the following to say while reviewing the OM5 section of the first (1959) edition of HORST H. LANGE's "FABULOUS FIVES" (on page 7):
            > "The Superior Jazz Band coupling on Arto group labels listed on page 13 is not the OM5. This was a session booked by Ed Kirkeby for Arto on April 18, 1922 /the Georgia title was remade May 2nd). His notebooks show this only as "Jazz Band" and the only clue as to the identity of the group is the cryptic one word "Deppe" also listed in the book. There was a Russell Deppe playing in the Paul Specht and His Hotel Astor Orchestra and so this just might be a Specht group under Deppe's leadership."
            > Only problem is that there is no banjo (Deppe's instrument) on Bell P-144, Guarente is definetively NOT the trumpeter heard on Bell P-144, and tb and cl are, IMO, also played by different men.
            > Regards,
            > Ralph
            > Ralph Wondraschek
            > Plöck 89
            > 69117 Heidelberg
            > Germany
            > E-Mail: rwondra@...
            >
            > --- In RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com, "stevenabrams78jazz" <stevenso-b@> wrote:
            > >
            > > You are correct.
            > > It is an EARLY version of the Memphis Five but issued under the
            > > name of Lanin's Southern Serenaders with a different personnel than
            > > the later Memphis Five. Also listed in 'The Fabulous Fives'
            > > Sam Lanin groups also were issued on the Arto-Bell labels.
            > > Personnel probably is:
            > > Phil Napoleon (TP) Moe Gappel (TB) Jimmy Lytell (CL)
            > > Frank Signorelli (P) Jack Roth (D)
            > > Notice I said probably as Miff Mole moved in and out of the band so
            > > did Lytell as he replaced Doc Behrendson on clarinet especially in
            > > the first half year of 1922.
            > > I hope this helps somewhat.
            > > Steven Abrams
            > >
            >
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