Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Louis and King Oliver

Expand Messages
  • ROBERT R. CALDER
    I m not sure who has primacy in a duet, the one conventionally called the lead, or the one who plays (let us not eschew technicalities) the bits round the more
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 26, 2014
      I'm not sure who has primacy in a duet, the one conventionally called the lead, or the one who plays (let us not eschew technicalities) the bits round the more direct part which sound fiddly to hearers who can't appreciate their logicality. There were of course the bum notes in whose playing Louis and then Coleman Hawkins persisted (always wondered whether Hawkins seemed different on some Jack Purvis recordings, and supposed it was because Hawkins and Purvis played very similar lines, doing more than "Copyin' Louis" -- until it was revealed not to be Hawkins but somebody remarkably impressive though not in a class by himself as was Hawkins)/

      The general picture I remember being given long ago of a Clarence Williams Blue Five date was of the other men grouped round a recording horn and Louis and Bechet just inside the studio door, about as far as possible from the horn without leaving the studio. This I heard on the BBC when Louis was alive in the flesh.  

      My formal musical expertise is in voice, and what I was being told was to do with the carrying power of man and instrument, that as in the case of some singers (the Scottish bass David Ward was a case in point) they don't sound loud in a normal setting, but their voices carry a long way. Ward can be heard on record above large orchestral and choral forces, where others couldn't be. To do with overtones and even undertones and between-tones, as if there were two people playing simultaneously, which should not be regarded as a mere figure of speech by anybody who heard Red Rodney and Peter King playing in perfect musical accord, sounding neither like two people nor one. Louis though sounding like one had a complex sound, and so had HarrySweets Edison. I once had almost to go on stage with him to oblige the lady in the audience to whom he'd signalled  an urgent need for a cigarette (!!!!). Which would now be illegal! He was half the front line of a quintet with Benny Waters when Benny was only 84 and blowing amazingly powerfully. It was only that time that I realised the massive power but not volume of Edison, who on some of his Verve performances really goes back to Armstrong phrasing. 

      Louis would be unable to emulate King Oliver because his sound was internally so complex (unlike Jabbo Smith, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy; and Charlie Rouse with Sonny Clark sounds like a Hawkins with some of the sonic complexities kept out). The Delta blues singer Charlie Patton also had enormous carrying power on record, and of course some acoustic recordings of operatic baritones can't be improved on. 
      Louis's sound was of course complex because also of what he could hear, the musical relationships which King Oliver didn't it seems hear (on one of the records with Eddie Lang and Justin Ring, Oliver's solo takes its precise force from his playing two identical choruses, a unique perfect and deliberate repetition saying this is the climax). It's exactly the same difference as between a pure lyric tenor, Tagliavini or Alfredo Kraus, and Domingo or Martinelli. 
      I owe to Humphrey Lyttelton the observation of how far one musician might be deaf to the genius of another because the other guy was doing what the one who didn't hear was deaf to music he wasn't himself interested in making. 
      Incidentally the emaciated ill-looking Hawkins, sight of whom shocked people on his last trip to England, still amazed with the sound he produced. So said people thus amazed. 
      Rather a pity people became preoccupied by the transcribable notes played at the expense of the sort of things audible from a classical pre-1917 vocal perspective. If you want a parallel to the horror some people expressed at bebop, there was the legendary Victorian baritone Sir Charles Santley, fulminating in horror at the obscenity which was Caruso,

      addio ma non per sempre!
      Robert R. Calder 


          
    • Andrew Taylor
      On 6/26/2014 7:59 AM, ROBERT R. CALDER serapion@btinternet.com ... You can say that again Pops! (Good ol Google Translate). Re: other email - Entertaining
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 26, 2014
        On 6/26/2014 7:59 AM, 'ROBERT R. CALDER' serapion@...
        [RedHotJazz] wrote:
        > addio ma non per sempre!
        You can say that again Pops!

        (Good ol' Google Translate).

        Re: other email - Entertaining to see another side of you - feel free to
        give me a holler if you want some writing tips. - Andrew

        --
        Andrew Taylor, MLS
        Associate Curator, Visual Resources
        Department of Art History, Rice University
        713-348-4836
        https://twitter.com/agrahamt
      • alan504450
        A story about the Clarence Williams Blue Five was related to us by the late Irene Gibbons (better known as Eva Taylor), who was Clarence Williams widow. We
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 28, 2014
          A story about the Clarence Williams Blue Five was related to us by the late Irene Gibbons (better known as Eva Taylor), who was Clarence Williams' widow. We were gathered around and Trevor Benwell had put on 'Cakewalkin' Babies from Home' when Eva started grinning. At the end she told us the story of how Louis and SB were fighting to blow one another out of the studio and poor old Charlie Irvis was standing back wondering what was happening as he could barely get a note in. At the time Eva had not long arrived from Sweden, where she made some sides with Maggie's Blue Five. Her style had changed down the years and her singing had become much more jazz influenced than it was in the 'twenties. A lovely lady who I am privileged to have met.
          TTFN - 007

          -----Original Message-----
          From: 'ROBERT R. CALDER' serapion@... [RedHotJazz] <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
          To: RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com <RedHotJazz@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 13:59
          Subject: [RedHotJazz] Louis and King Oliver

           
          I'm not sure who has primacy in a duet, the one conventionally called the lead, or the one who plays (let us not eschew technicalities) the bits round the more direct part which sound fiddly to hearers who can't appreciate their logicality. There were of course the bum notes in whose playing Louis and then Coleman Hawkins persisted (always wondered whether Hawkins seemed different on some Jack Purvis recordings, and supposed it was because Hawkins and Purvis played very similar lines, doing more than "Copyin' Louis" -- until it was revealed not to be Hawkins but somebody remarkably impressive though not in a class by himself as was Hawkins)/

          The general picture I remember being given long ago of a Clarence Williams Blue Five date was of the other men grouped round a recording horn and Louis and Bechet just inside the studio door, about as far as possible from the horn without leaving the studio. This I heard on the BBC when Louis was alive in the flesh.  

          My formal musical expertise is in voice, and what I was being told was to do with the carrying power of man and instrument, that as in the case of some singers (the Scottish bass David Ward was a case in point) they don't sound loud in a normal setting, but their voices carry a long way. Ward can be heard on record above large orchestral and choral forces, where others couldn't be. To do with overtones and even undertones and between-tones, as if there were two people playing simultaneously, which should not be regarded as a mere figure of speech by anybody who heard Red Rodney and Peter King playing in perfect musical accord, sounding neither like two people nor one. Louis though sounding like one had a complex sound, and so had HarrySweets Edison. I once had almost to go on stage with him to oblige the lady in the audience to whom he'd signalled  an urgent need for a cigarette (!!!!). Which would now be illegal! He was half the front line of a quintet with Benny Waters when Benny was only 84 and blowing amazingly powerfully. It was only that time that I realised the massive power but not volume of Edison, who on some of his Verve performances really goes back to Armstrong phrasing. 

          Louis would be unable to emulate King Oliver because his sound was internally so complex (unlike Jabbo Smith, Roy Eldridge, Dizzy; and Charlie Rouse with Sonny Clark sounds like a Hawkins with some of the sonic complexities kept out). The Delta blues singer Charlie Patton also had enormous carrying power on record, and of course some acoustic recordings of operatic baritones can't be improved on. 
          Louis's sound was of course complex because also of what he could hear, the musical relationships which King Oliver didn't it seems hear (on one of the records with Eddie Lang and Justin Ring, Oliver's solo takes its precise force from his playing two identical choruses, a unique perfect and deliberate repetition saying this is the climax). It's exactly the same difference as between a pure lyric tenor, Tagliavini or Alfredo Kraus, and Domingo or Martinelli. 
          I owe to Humphrey Lyttelton the observation of how far one musician might be deaf to the genius of another because the other guy was doing what the one who didn't hear was deaf to music he wasn't himself interested in making. 
          Incidentally the emaciated ill-looking Hawkins, sight of whom shocked people on his last trip to England, still amazed with the sound he produced. So said people thus amazed. 
          Rather a pity people became preoccupied by the transcribable notes played at the expense of the sort of things audible from a classical pre-1917 vocal perspective. If you want a parallel to the horror some people expressed at bebop, there was the legendary Victorian baritone Sir Charles Santley, fulminating in horror at the obscenity which was Caruso,

          addio ma non per sempre!
          Robert R. Calder 


              
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.