Monday, May 22, 2017

Eddie Edwards


Eddie Edwards was born Edwin Branford Edwards in New Orleans on May 22, 1891.

At about the age of ten he began learning the violin. Five years later Edwards began playing the trombone.
He would eventually play both instruments as a professional musician. In 1910 he worked in a local theater as a violinist. As a trombonist he played with "Papa" Jack Laine's Reliance band in 1912 and by 1914 started working with Ernest Giardina's band.

For a regular job he and Nick LaRocca, worked as electricians. He also played minor league baseball around the New Orleans area.

When Johnny Stein's Jazz Band went to Chicago in 1916 Edwards was chosen by Alcide Nunez to be the band's trombone player. Several of this bands personnel would form the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. With this group Edwards would play on the "first" jazz recordings in 1917.

Edwards was a good rhythmic trombonist and also played in a style that became known as the tailgate trombone. He used his horn to mimic animals and to create wild wails anything that would excite and entice the audience.

Unfortunately, he was drafted into the Army during World War I and was replaced by Emile Christian. Edwards served in the army from July 1918 to March 1919. After his discharge from the army, he is said to have kicked around a bit, forming his own band and playing with Jimmy Durante's band before going back to play with the Original Dixieland Jazz Band where he stayed with them until the band broke up in 1925.

Edwards formed his own band in New York after the break-up and successfully led it for most of the remainder of the 1920s. After the 1929 stock market crash he held out for a few more years before calling it quits and retired from music.

For awhile Edwards ran a newspaper stand. Being an athlete he also worked as a coach. But when Nick LaRocca called about reforming the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1936 he jumped at the chance. From then on he was playing into the 1940s sometimes with members of the Original band including J. Russel Robinson, Larry Shields and Tony Sbarbaro.

He continued playing, although not regularly right up until his death on April 9, 1963 in New York.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Jazz Performance - "That's A'Plenty" - The Dixie Demons Jazz Band

There isn't much worse than a demon, but, there isn't too much better than the Dixie Demons playing Trad Jazz! Today let's listen to the Dixie Demons Jazz Band of Toronto, Canada playing That's A'Plenty at the Rex Jazz and Blues Bar, on January 8, 2011!

That's A'Plenty a favorite of Dixieland bands far and wide was composed by Lew Pollack (1895-1946) as a piano rag. It appears that Prince's Band led by Charles Prince (1869-1937) was the first to record the tune in 1917 after which the New Orleans Rhythm Kings recorded it in 1923. Many years later lyrics were written for the tune by Ray Gilbert (1912-1976).

The Dixie Demons have been playing Traditional jazz since 1984 when trombonist Dan Douglas founded. Since that time they have been playing everything from corporate events, clubs and jazz festivals. They are currently selling two CDs on their website Fossil Fuel and Live at the Rex.




The Dixie Demons Jazz Band at the Rex, Toronto, 1-8-2011.


Jack Teagarden playing the tune in 1951.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday Jazz Performance - The Fat Babies in Concert

This Saturday Jazz Performance will be a concert that the Fat Babies gave on November 8, 2013 as part of the 24th annual Chicago Humanities Festival.

Courtesy Fat Babies website "Press Photos"

The Fat Babies was founded by Beau Sample in 2010. The band currently consists of Beau Sample on string bass, Andy Schumm on cornet, John Otto on reeds, Jonathan Doyle on reeds, Dave Bock on trombone, John Donatowicz on banjo and guitar, Paul Asaro on piano, and Alex Hall on the drums.

Not only is 2017 the Centennial of jazz recordings, but it is also the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima which is being celebrated by the Catholic Church. The Fat Babies start off their performance with "Jelly Roll" Morton's Animule Dance also known as Animule Ball. Since, today's date, May 13th is the anniversary of the first appearance of the apparition in Fatima, Portugal and since Morton was a practicing Catholic, who at one point in his life was known to attend Mass daily, I'll pick out Morton's two pieces that were played by the band to comment on.


Born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe on October 20, 1890 he will forever be known by his professional name of "Jelly Roll" Morton. Morton was a larger than life pianist and composer who was playing piano in the early 1900s. He wrote and recorded many jazz standards. His compositions are still being played. He died on July 10, 1941. He was truly one of the jazz greats and his legend lives on.

Pianist Paul Assaro does a fantastic job recreating the spirit of Morton's narration on the Animule Dance piece. Morton recorded the tune during his legendary Library of Congress recordings during the Summer of 1938 and again in 1939. But he first composed it in about 1906. Speaking about the tune he said, the “Animule Dance” is a number that was ages old. I wrote the number and ten thousand claimed it. I don’t believe it’s ever been published. I don’t guess it ever will be published. Or maybe it will. Since so many claimed it, I thought I wouldn’t try to claim it. But there’s nobody ever been able to do it so far but myself.”

The third tune played is another "Jelly Roll" Morton tune which he composed in 1908 called Frog-I-More Rag and later called Froggie Moore. Beau Sample gives the two stories often cited for the tunes strange name. The preferred story seems to be that it was named after a Vaudevillian contortionist who went by that name, whom Morton accompanied on the piano!  Who knows, it just could be true. Morton didn't actually copyright the tune until 1918, ten years after he was supposed to have composed it. He did record it in 1923 as Frog-I-More Rag.



The players for this 2013 concert are a little different from the current band. Jake Sanders was the banjo player, reed player Jonathan Doyle had not yet joined the group when this concert was filmed and Amanda Wolff sings. 

The Fat Babies most recent album release is "Solid Gassuh" which came out in 2016.

Here is "Jelly Roll" Morton's 1939 version of Animule Dance.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Wolverine Jazz Band Strikes Again!

Yesterday, George A. Borgman's widow Janet C. Borgman was given a birthday party in Millis, Massachusetts. The band that performed throughout was John Clark's Wolverine Jazz Band.
The Wolverine Jazz Band with the birthday girl!

Clark and the members in attendance all knew George when he was writing stories about jazz in the Mississippi Rag and other publications. John Clark and the Wolverines was always one of his favorite  New England bands.

Performing was John Clark the leader and clarinet player, Jeff Hughes on cornet, Rick MacWilliams on tuba, Jimmy Mazzy on banjo and Ross Petot on keyboards. They played a couple of requests that Janet asked for including Egyptian Ella and  Creole Belles.

During the band's break, the noted entertainer Joey Noone, aka Joey Voices put on a terrific comic performance by imitating a number of celebrity singers and actors to the letter! The audience loved his show, so much that half of them crowded round him after his performance asking for his card.

Janet Borgman and Casey McDougal
One guest said the party brightened her day and was still raving about the music and entertainment days later!

Emmy Award winning producer and actor Casey McDougal was in attendance at the party. Her latest film The Last Poker Game in which she appears with Martin Landau and Paul Sorvino is set for it's debut tomorrow at the Tribeca Film Festival.

All-in-all the party was a hit with the Wolverine Jazz Band playing up a storm to an appreciative audience. Traditional jazz still survives in New England!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Legendary Chuck Berry Dead At 90!




Blues guitarist and Rock and Roll icon Chuck Berry was found unresponsive at his home earlier today, March 18, 2017. It was determined that he died of natural causes and it is believed he died of a heart attack.


Berry was born October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri to William and Martha Berry. Berry was a fan of Nat "King" Cole growing up. His first public performance was while he was in high school in 1941. It was also while in school that he had his first major run-in with the law and he was incarcerated. He was released on his 21st birthday in 1947 and the next year he married. He worked at various jobs to support his wife and daughter and eventually began playing with local bands by the early 50s.

By 1953 he was working in a tio and played blues, country and ballads. The group played many of Muddy Waters' tunes and Berry would meet him in Chicago in 1955. It was Waters who suggested that Berry should contact Leonard Chess of Chess Records.

Maybellene was recorded on May 21, 1955 and would go on to sell over a million records. His career took off and he continued recording hits and touring. Songs like Johnny B. Goode, Sweet Little Sixteen and Carol all made the Top 10.


Chuck performing Johnny B. Goode in 1958.


In 1959, however, he had his second major run-in with the law and was arrested for transporting a 14 year old girl over state lines with whom he had sexual relations with. He served a year and a half in prison.

After he was released from prison, he continued his musical career. Dear Dad, Nadine, You Can Never Tell, and Promised Land were a few of his hits in the 1960s.


He released an album of all original music in 1979 which the critics liked. Then he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Grammys. In 1986, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In October 2016 he announced his plans for a new album. His name and his recordings will always be synonymous with the birth of Rock and Roll.

Here is one of his last concerts in Moscowin 2014. He was 88 years old.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Centennial of Jazz Recordings!

Some may not realize it, but 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of jazz recordings. As such, Yankee Jazz Beat will be featuring the first jazz band that recorded on various posts throughout the year. In case you haven't guessed... that jazz band was the Original Dixieland Jazz Band led by Nick LaRocca.

Of course, there is controversy when Nick LaRocca claimed that he and his band were the "creators of jazz" and because of this and other comments and claims many people have neglected the group and their music, which is a shame. "Jelly Roll" Morton made the same claim that he "invented" jazz, but he has been treated with much more respect and even reverence over the years despite some evidence that he may have plagiarized some of his compositions.

LaRocca especially has been labeled a "racist" by some even though those same people ignore the rumors that Morton held some racial prejudices himself.

So, I want to here and now bury all of that malarkey. Jazz musicians great and small were and are not gods, they are fellow mortals who have all the human frailties, prejudices and beliefs. Some were heroes and legends, some were deeply flawed; some were great guys and some were down right bas***ds!

Now back to what matters, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. The original band that recorded consisted of Nick LaRocca on cornet, Eddie Edwards on trombone, Larry Shields on clarinet, Henry Ragas on piano, and Tony Sbarbaro on drums.

The band was formed in Chicago after LaRocca, Edwards, Ragas and clarinetist Alcide "Yellow" Nunez broke off from Johnny Stein's band on May 26, 1916. The four had traveled from New Orleans in early March with Stein for an engagement in Chicago. However, when they arrived they found the club they were to have played at closed. Fortunately, they soon found employment at Schiller's Café on 31st Street. The band was billed as Stein's Band from Dixie. Soon, though, the band's name was changed to Stein's Dixie Jass Band. This appears to have been the first use of "jass" in reference to a band.

The band proved quite popular with audiences, too popular in fact for the pay that they were receiving and by May LaRocca and Edwards felt it was time for them to move on from Schiller's and do other gigs for more pay. When Stein was approached with this notion he balked. An argument ensued and it is said that Edwards ended up punching Johnny Stein in the nose.

A short time later on June 2, 1916, in fact, The Original Dixie Land Jass Band opened at the Del' Abe Café at the Hotel Normandy on the corner of Clark and Randolph Streets. LaRocca was the clear leader of the band although Edwards was the business manager and the two worked closely together. Chicago local Earl Carter played drums replacing Stein, for about two weeks. Tony Sbarbaro was sent for from New Orleans and he permanently replaced Carter on drums.

On July 6th the band started a new engagement appearing at the Casino Gardens on Kinzie St. The bands popularity continued. So much so, that during this period in August and September they  performed in Vaudeville with dancer Jimmy Fogarty to rave reviews.

Problems arising from Nunez's habit of being late on stage and the fact that his playing style clashed with LaRocca's led to Nunez being replaced with Larry Shields at the end of October 1916. Bad blood would remain between Nunez and the band for years to come.

Chicago had been the groups studying period where LaRocca and the band experimented with original tunes and a hectic, driving style that was spurned on by the audiences approval. When Al Jolson heard the band he was impressed and it is said that it was upon his recommendation in New York that led to the bands offer of a try out at Reisenweber's Café on Columbus Circle in New York City.

And the beat goes on...

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!


HAPPY NEW YEAR!                              And the beat goes on...

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Jazz?

Yes! Christmas Jazz. Merry Christmas one and all. Here is a great album that people who like jazz and Christmas may be interested in looking up, entitled, Putumayo Presents: New Orleans Christmas.

The album is from 2007 and features tracks from a diverse range of musicians from the Dukes of Dixieland to Big Al Carson!

Album: Putumayo Presents New Orleans Christmas
Label: Putumayo World Music
Genre: Blues, Cajun, Christmas
Year: 2007
Tracks:
1. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town - Big Al Carson 00:00
2. Christmas In New Orleans - James Andrews 03:32
3. 'Zat You, Santa Claus? - Ingrid Lucia 07:41
4. Silver Bells - Heritage Hall Jazz Band 11:35
5. I'll Be Home For Christmas - Banu Gibson & The New Orleans Hot Jazz 15:39
6. Please Come Home For Christmas - Papa Don Vappie's New Orleans Jazz Band 18:22
7. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Ellis Marsalis 22:14
8. White Christmas - John Boutte 25:21
9. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - Topsy Chapman 28:31
10. Santa's Second Line - New Birth Brass Band 33:21
11. Holiday Time In New Orleans - Dukes Of Dixieland 37:36

MERRY CHRISTMAS!                          And the beat goes on...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

In Memory of Jazz Trumpeter Alan Elsdon

October 15th marks the birthday of British jazz trumpeter Alan Elsdon who died earlier this year on May 2, 2016.

Here is a YouTube post of his album "Jazz Journeymen" from 1977.


Alan Elsdon plays trumpet and sings, Micky Cook is on trombone, Ron Drake plays clarinet and saxophone, Brian Leake is on piano and alto-saxophone, John Attwood plays guitar and banjo, Mick Gilligan is on bass, and John Armatage is on drums.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Saturday Jazz Performance - Estonian Dixieland Band

Photo produced by the Estonian Dixieland Band

This Saturday will be a little different because of the lack of video performances available for this band, the Estonian Dixieland Band. The only video I could find of the band playing live, featured parts of two tunes in which the Ella Stone sang with them.

The performance on the video, which was posted to YouTube on May 11, 2016, covers a part of both Crazy Rhythm and Bei Mir Bist Du Schön. Crazy Rhythm was featured in the 1928 musical Here's Howe. It was written and composed by Irving Caesar (1895-1996), Joseph Meyer (1894-1987), and Roger Wolfe Kahn (1907-1961). Kahn and his orchestra were first to record the tune in April 1928. It has been a popular jazz tune ever since.

Bei Mir Bist du Schön, is the German title for Bei Mir Bist du Shein which was written by Sholom Secunda (1894-1974) and Jacob Jacobs (1890-1977) in 1932 for a Yiddish musical comedy I Would if I Could.

But it wasn't until Sammy Cahn (1913-1993) and Saul Chaplin (1912-1997) rewrote the lyrics in English in 1937 that the song took off, with the Andrew Sisters recording it that November. The tune's popularity made it's way around the world.




The Estonian Dixieland Band is comprised of Petri Piiparinen on drums; Edgar Roditšenko on clarinet; Keio Vutt on saxophone; Sander Valdmaa on trumpet; Teno Kongi on trombone; Argo Vals on tuba; and Tommo Henttonen on banjo. They appear to have at least one album out. Here is their excellent recording of Sweet Georgia Brown.




Now lets listen to Crazy Rhythm as recorded by Roger Wolfe Kahn and His Orchestra in New York on April 12, 1928.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Dixieland Legend Clarinetist Pete Fountain Dead at 86

Born Pierre Dewey Fountain, Jr. was born on July 3, 1930 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was known the world over as Pete Fountain. After joining the Lawrence Welk Orchestra in the late Fifties for two years he went on to record album after album for Decca Records

Every jazz fan has heard of Fountain who played everything from Dixieland to the Blues.

He died Saturday morning August 6, 2016, while in hospice care in New Orleans. He leaves his wife of 64 years and his two sons.

Here is a video of Pete Fountain performing in New Orleans that is part of the Bob and Ruth Byler Archival Collection.
 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Musical Echoes from the Hub "Jazz and the Genuine" by Henry J. Harding

Musical Echoes from the Hub "Jazz and the Genuine" by Henry J. Harding



 JAZZ AND THE GENUINE

EVIDENTLY the craze for wild jazz combinations is dying out, and popular favor is swinging back to the more subdued effects of the legitimate orchestra. As with everything, when carried to excess, the public speedily tire of that which is overdone bygoingto extremes. It is not so very long ago that every hotel, cafe and dance-hall was experimenting with jazz music — and how the different leaders vied with each other for new and crazier stunts! Drummers had traps by the score (the noisier the better), the biggest crash cymbals and the loudest beating bass drums pedals, strings of cow bells, etc.; clarinetists were encouraged to play entirely in the upper register and produce goosey wails, trills and runs, while the rest of the team swayed back and forth to the rhythm of the music As for the leaders — some of them would dance and prance about the stage, others went so far as to do cabaret stunts on the floor among the dancers.

Is it any wonder that the public should grow weary of the continuous bedlam of noise? The proper setting for a musical comedian is the theatrical stage — anywhere else he falls flat. There is a certain dignity to orchestral music, for the dance as well as concert, which enforces the performer to concentrate upon its interpretation, therefore absurd comedy cannot be indulged in without sacrificing genuine effects. As an illustration of the change in popular favor, let me cite an instance.


At a big ball recently given in the Copley-Plaza Hotel, a jazz team had been stationed in one of the connecting halls, with a regular combination of strings, wood-wind and brass placed in the other. When the jazz team started you could almost see the ceiling vibrate. It was rip, tear and rattlety-bang from start to finish — banjos strumming, saxophones warring and the drummer laying down a regular battle scene — but when the other orchestra began, what a noticeable contrast! Here the strings were the big feature, the six first violins bowing as one instrument and working up every little effect in true musicianly style; now a piano strain, then working up to a forte and instantly dropping back to piano, with a background of tone-color from the wood-wind and muted brass.

The jazz hall was practically deserted by the dancers, and in the other hall encore after encore was demanded. With either team it was not a question of the most popular numbers, for undoubtedly with both teams the music libraries and tempos were the same. It was simply that the dancers had tired of jazz, and were swinging back to the time-honored and legitimate form of music.

We have all played in jazz teams when the craze was on and (regardless of our personal opinions of the effects) it seemed as if the dancers really enjoyed the numbers, yet I doubt if many of "us" performers ever have danced, or have been present as mere spectators to listen to the music for an entire evening. The first few numbers seem to attract, but after those the monotony of the same colorings is noticeably tiresome. With the string orchestra, however, an innumerable variety of effects is made possible.

You may not agree with this statement — but did you ever notice that it is not necessary to play forte all the time for the dancers to keep in perfect rhythm, not even in the big auditoriums? Do you know that at times, in the end of the hall farthest away from the orchestra, the music cannot be heard, yet the dancers keep in the same step? It is the rhythm or pulsation which enables them to do this without actually hearing the music.

To make it more clear, let us estimate that the sound-zone where the music is heard embraces three-quarters of the hall; when the dancers enter this zone they catch the steady, swinging rhythm of the music, then circling nearer they pass the orchestra and move up the other side, but now leaving the music. The further they recede the fainter the sound of the music, yet by carrying the rhythmic pulse of the music with them as they pass out of the sound-zone, they keep in perfect step until they again enter it.

Just as a picture attracts the eye, so does music sway the mind. The tempo is perfect enough with the noisy jazz and the dancers could not possibly miss the rhythm, yet with the lights and shades of the string team the mental effect is intensified, together with the added pleasure of colorings. This feature is applicable to the small orchestra of five or six, as well as to the fifteen or twenty-five piece teams. To be convinced, attend a dancing party where some well-known regular and popular orchestra is playing, listen to the comments of the dancers and then draw comparisons. All the jazz effects are there, but are introduced only occasionally to vary the color. There certainly is no lack of pep, for owing to the shadings all climaxes are possible, even in waltzes. By the way, the slow dreamy waltz seems to be coming back into favor again this season, for it is requested about every third or fourth number.

The object of this article is not to knock jazz teams in general, but to inform the readers as to the popular trend of dancers. The day of the slam-bang style is passing, and the more musical effects are in demand. During the height of the jazz craze many leaders dropped the violin for the banjo, but now they are returning to the old school and feature the banjo and jazz only once or twice during an evening. As the saxophone has developed it has become a permanent member of the dance orchestra, the counter melodies of the 'cello adding body and harmony in the smaller teams.

Keep abreast of the times, boys! Don't sit down and wait for something to happen, but spruce up your orchestras along the new lines. Prosperous times are looming ahead in the music profession, and the demand is for live ones with good music.

(This article was originally published in the April 1919 issue of Jacob's Band Monthly on pages 22 & 61.)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Jazz Performance - "The Sheik of Araby" - Cottas Club Jazz Band

Take some good old fashioned Dixieland jazz musicians from Portugal, mix in some Monte Python, toss in a good measure of Benny Hill, then plop them down in the middle of the United Arab Emirates and what do you get? You get this crazy music video from 2011 by the Cottas Club Jazz Band playing The Sheik of Araby!

The Cottas Club Jazz Band is made up of six members from West Portugal. They played their first gig in May 2003 and have since been playing their brand of music invoking many of the traditional styles of music that was being played in New Orleans in the '20s and '30s. Everything from Dixieland to the Blues are performed by them.

The band was especially inspired by the Louis Armstrong All Stars of the 1950s. They are not slaves to the genre and the music however and freely interpret and adapt the tunes to fit their brand of  style and irreverence. Their costumes are as much a part of their performances as is the music!

Ted Snyder (1881-1965) composed the music for The Sheik of Araby with the words written by Harry B. Smith (1860-1936) and Francis Wheeler. The tune was composed as a parody of the Rudolph Valentino film The Sheik which was a silent movie blockbuster. The humor of the song and it's popularity soon made it a jazz standard that has continued to be played by bands to this very day.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday Jazz Performance! - "Got A Great Big Date With A Little Bitta Girl" - Alex Mendham & His Orchestra

Not too many really exciting things can be said to be occurring these days in the world of classic jazz. The discovery of a couple of Louis Armstrong masters is definitely one piece of exciting news. I will now discuss another exciting development, the production of a music video of Alex Mendham & His Orchestra playing Got A Great Big Date With A Little Bitta Girl! It was released onto YouTube by the band on February 4, 2016. Every time I watch it it just knocks me out. They did a great job capturing the era of the music they play.



Got A Great Big Date With A Little Bitta Girl was written by Joe Sanders (1896-1965) half of the Coon-Sanders Nighthawks Orchestra which he led with Carelton Coon. The Nighthawks first recorded the song in Chicago on July 26, 1929. Its catchy beat and perfect performance makes it a classic tune. It only recently seems to have taken off online however, where many bands can be seen and heard playing it.

Alex Mendham & His Orchestra is a British group that plays dance music from the 1920s and '30s. They released their first album Whistling in the Dark in 2013. They are currently the house band at the Savoy Hotel in London.


Here is the original version played by the Coon-Sanders Orchestra in 1929.



But wait, there's more! So impressed by Alex Mendham & His Orchestra I want to share another of the groups music videos, this time featuring the Dunlop Sisters. They play He's the Last Word composed by Walter Donaldson with lyrics by Gus Kahn. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Jazz Performance Saturday! "Sunday" - Des Moines Metro Concert Band

The Des Moines Metro Concert Band has been in existence for 70 years this year 2016! It is currently under the direction of Clarence Padilla. However, Dan Stevenson the group's clarinetist was musical director when this performance was recorded on July 13, 2014 on the West Terrace of the Iowa State House in Des Moines. So, let's get a little Sunday on Saturday as the group plays Sunday.

Sunday was first recorded by Jean Goldkette and His Orchestra on October 15, 1926 the same year it was written and composed by Ned Miller, Chester Conn, Jules Stein, and Bennie Krueger. 

The performers in this video are Dan Stevenson on clarinet; Bruce Martin on keyboard; Steve Charlson on bass; Scott Davis on cornet; John Benoit on trombone; Wayne Page on saxophone; and Kurt Bowermaster on drums.



Here is Jean Goldkette's version of Sunday recorded in October of 1926.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Return of Neville Dickie to Sherborn, Massachusetts

Yesterday an event took place in Massachusetts that no one thought would happen, British pianist Neville Dickie returned to Sherborn! His last public performance in Sherborn, took place at the Sherborn Inn in 2014 and then the Inn shuttered its doors.

However, the Inn was transformed into The Hertitage and through the intervention of Stan and Ellen McDonald, it was arranged for Dickie to return and play the same piano whose ivories he'd been tickling for something like 15 years.

Joining Dickie were some of his old friends Stan McDonald, Steve Taddeo, Jeff Hughes and Ross Petot.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Great Trad Jazz Trumpeter Alan Elsdon Passes Away

The great British trumpeter Alan Elsdon is said to have died yesterday. Born in London on October 15, 1934. He studied trumpet under  the Scottish trumpeter Tommy McQuarter. Elsdon played with many bands including ones led by Cy Laurie, Graham Stewart, and Terry Lightfoot. He played with Laurie during the years 1955 to 1957. He then seems to have played with the Royal Air Force Band alongside Graham Stewart from 1957 to 1959. He then played with the Trad jazz bandleader Terry Lightfoot for two years until 1961 when he formed his own band. On June 1, 1962 he and his band appeared on the British television series All That Jazz.

It was while working with Lightfoot's band that he worked with such jazz greats as Kid Ory and Henry Red Allen. In those early years of his career he also worked with many other well known musicians including played with Wingy Manone, Howlin' Wolf, Albert Nicholas, Bud Freeman, George Melley, and Edmond Hall. In the 1960s and 1970s he toured the United Kingdom building up his reputation as a jazz musician.  From 1978 to 1985 he played in Keith Nichols's  Midnite Follies Orchestra working is other groups led by Nichols.

He continued playing, touring and recording throughout the 1980s and 90s. He also taught music and wrote about it. Elsdon was said to have been an exciting performer but just a down to earth fellow with no heirs in person. He died on May 2, 2016


Here Alan Elsdon plays trumpet on Burnin' The Iceberg with Geoff Cole's Red Hot Seven in November 1996.

The rest of the players are Geoff Cole on trombone, Tony Pyke on reeds,
Pat Hawes on piano, Eric Webster on banjo,
Ken Matthews on bass, and Chris Marchant on drums.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday Jazz Performance! - Louis Armstrong - More than Okey!

Okey, so lets get started. This Saturday Jazz Performance is a little older than most, it doesn't capture a band on video either, but it is still worthwhile. Today we are featuring two sound recordings recorded over 80 years ago by Louis Armstrong.

The reason for this breaking in protocol is because these two very sharp sounding Armstrong recordings, transferred by Nick Dellow, have been posted by Jonathan Holmes on his jazz oriented YouTube Channel.

They are said to have been transferred from an "Okeh metal mother which was shipped to Germany for Odeon to use." Basically, it was an old fashioned master recording which was cut on a metal record, which is why the sound is so good.

Dellow states that, "There are still metals parts for pre-war Victor, Columbia and OKeh (from 1926) 78 rpm recordings residing within Sony's vaults in New York, though I have no idea exactly how much is left... Very occasionally, they are used as the source material for CD reissues, but the results vary!"

The first is Knee Drops performed by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Five, it was recorded in Chicago, Illinois on July 5, 1928. The record features Louis Armstrong on trumpet, Fred Robinson on trombone, Jimmy Strong on clarinet, Earl Hines on piano, Mancy Cara on banjo, and Zutty Singleton on the drums

Knee Drops was composed by Lil' Harden Armstrong, Louis' wife. This version was the first recording of the tune, I believe.



The second recording is Thomas "Fats" Waller's Ain't Misbehavin' performed by Louis Armstrong & His Orchestra. It was recorded in New York, on July 19, 1929.

The performers are Louis Armstrong who sings and plays the trumpet, Carroll Dickerson on violin, Homer Hobson on trumpet, Fred Robinson on trombone, Bert Curry on saxophone, Crawford Wethington on saxophone, Jimmy Strong on clarinet and tenor saxophone, Gene Anderson on piano, Mancy Cara on banjo, Pete Briggs on bass, and Zutty Singleton on the drums.


A big thank you goes out to both Jonathan Holmes and Nick Dello for making these transfers available!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Will Marion Cook - featured in "Musical America" - February 7, 1920

Will Preserve and Cultivate the Music of the Colored Race

CHICAGO, Feb. 1.—It is scarcely half a year since James R. Saville, the enterprising manager of musical organizations, took hold of the American Syncopated Orchestra and singers. It was at a time when the season had just about closed and Will Marion Cook, the conductor and master mind of the organization, was undetermined on his future public course. Mr. Saville saved the situation by taking charge of the management and while Mr. Cook was abroad re-organized the band and the singers and booked them extensively throughout the country, but particularly on the western coast in California, He came into Chicago last week and in glowing terms spoke not only of the work of the orchestra and singers, but of the unanimously cordial receptions which have been accorded to this organization throughout the far west.

He spoke particularly of the number of concerts that he gave in San Francisco; there were three of these, always to capacity houses, the audiences averaging between four and seven thousand persons. He also had to give three concerts at Los Angeles at the Trinity Auditorium, and among other places that he visited with the orchestra and the singers were Oakland, Berkeley, where they played in the Greek Theater to 7000 persons; Fresno, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, San Louis Obispo, back to San Francisco, then another tournee through Palo Alto, San José, Sacramento and back to San Francisco. At Sacramento, Will Marion Cook returned from Europe and assumed the conductorship of the company. Since then they have been heard at Winnipeg and surrounding cities, coming east to Wyoming, Oregon, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and other states. The remainder of the tour is to be spent in St. Paul, Minn., for one week, in Minneapolis, another week, and at Indianapolis, the second week in February.

Recently the American Syncopated Orchestra and Singers have been incorporated under state laws. The first clause in the incorporation papers has for its intent and purpose a significant object. The incorporators plan to preserve the music of the colored race and also to cultivate and improve it both vocally and instrumentally.

Will Marion Cook, who remains at the head of this body, is a well-known composer, some of whose songs and arrangements of Spirituals, have gained him country-wide celebrity. He is a gifted musician, magnetic personality, and a fine leader of men. The concerts have been received by the general public with unalloyed pleasure and enjoyment.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Jazz Performance Saturday! - "Royal Garden Blues" - The China Coast Jazzmen with guest Bob Kokta

Here is an interesting band known as The China Coast Jazzmen which plays at the Hong Kong pub - Ned Kelly's Last Stand. In the performance today guest trombonist Bob Kokta stands-in on Royal Garden Blues. Sometimes they are billed as Colin Aitchison and The China Coast Jazzmen. Aitchison is the bands leader and is the  longest serving band leader at Ned Kelly's. He started with them in 1993 and became the full-time band leader in 1997.

Ned Kelly's Last Stand is said to be oldest "Jazz Bar" in Asia. The bar has performances of jazz, every night, and has done so for almost 40 years. Many well known jazz musicians have performed ther such as Bob Wilber, Kenny Ball, and Matt Monroe. Ned Kelly's has become the "must go" location in Hong Kong for all visiting jazz lovers.
 
Royal Garden Blues was written by composer Spencer Williams (1889-1965) and published by Clarence Williams' publishing company in 1919. Although Clarence Williams is credited as one of the composers he most likely didn't compose the tune at all. It was a common practice for music publishers to attach their name to the works they published. Williams also composed such notable tunes, as I Ain't Got Nobody, (1915), Tishomingo (1916), Everybody Loves My Baby, (1924), and Basin Street Blues (1928).

The China Coast Jazzmen have performed in Macau, Singapore and even Denmark. They have a really nice sound on Royal Garden Blues and let it fly! This performance was recorded at Ned Kelly's Last Stand in Hong Kong and was posted to YouTube on March 13, 2013. 


Friday, April 8, 2016

Memories of A Jazz Journalist - Part Eleven - Jimmy Mazzy by George A. Borgman

Mazzy in 2013.
Banjoist/singer Jimmy Mazzy has led his own groups in the Boston area and worked with many jazz bands in the United States, and he is well known and appreciated in Europe where he has appeared on tour with tubaist Eli Newberger and clarinetist Joe Muranyi. (These three can be heard together on the Stomp Off CDs Shake It Down and  Halfway To Heaven.)

Newberger has been with the famous New Black Eagle Jazz Band for more than 25 years, and Muranyi toured with Louis Armstrong's All Stars from 1967 to '71 and has worked with many of the top jazz artists from New York City and elsewhere.

Mazzy has a unique singing style that displays fervor, passion, and love for the tunes, and at times he gives a little shout that has been compared, perhaps inaccurately, as similar to the rebel yell used in the Civil War, but it would probably be better to term it the Mazzy shout. Some listeners compare Mazzy's singing to that of black blues singers, but it is more like that of white singers from Appalachia, whether singing folk-like tunes or the blues. No matter what it might be called, Mazzy's vocalizing with the support of his wonderful banjo playing, is superb and exquisite, like a well-cut diamond.


In this low-resolution video from 1996 Mazzy plays "Viper Mad" with Joe Muranyi and Eli Newberger.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Great Musician Says Jazz Is Bound To Fail" by Carter Latimer 1922

Here is a small article on jazz from The Musical Leader, Vol. 43 from 1922.

"Jazz is a great dance for the man or woman who doesn't know how to dance."

"It doesn't require dancing to dance jazz."

"Take the dance away from the floor and jazz music wouldn't last a week."

"The flat-footed, knock-kneed, pigeon-toed man, or the man or woman who hasn't any rhythm or music in his soul is what keeps jazz music and jazz dancing before the public."

"Jass is a dance made by and for the flat-footed man."

"When jazz is buried, and the funeral is not far distant, it will be buried so deep that God himself  can't find it then-and flat-footed man and the unmusical woulds will be the mourners at the grave."

These were some of the original flashes from the tongue of John Philip Sousa.


John Philip Sousa the famous conductor and composer, who was born in 1854, had ten more years to put up with jazz music. As a composer of Marches, he was a power house, but as a predictor of the demise of jazz he was less than useless.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Jazz Performance Saturday! - "Isle of Capri" - John Petters with Max Collie's All Star Festival Band

The first Saturday of the month features drummers for the Saturday Jazz Performance. So, today we look and listen to the drumming of John Petters as he drums with Max Collie's All Star Festival Band on March 4, 2011.
 

Petters was born in Stratford, East London. As a youngster he began collecting 78 records and was a shortwave radio enthusiast. In 1971 he began drumming along to old records which taught him the basics. By the time he was in college he had already started his first band. He started gigging in 1976 and by the next year he had formed The New Dixie Syncopators and recorded his first album in November.

1985 was a big year for Petters he founded the "Square Jazz Club" in Harlow, England and wrote a three part series on the History of Jazz Drumming. For three years he toured with "Legends of British Trad" from 1991 to 1994. He also organized the first jazz festival at Wisbech, England in 1995.

Petters continued touring and playing right up into the 2000s. He has a YouTube Page.

Isle of Capri was written in 1934 by Wilhelm Grosz (1894-1939)  who composed the music and Jimmy Kennedy (1902-1984) who added the lyrics. The first recording of the tune was by Lew Stone and His Band which took place on July 25, 1934.

Here Petters plays with Max Collie on trombone, Chez Chesterman on cornet, Brian White on clarinet, "Gentleman" Jim McInstosh on banjo, and Annie Hawkins on bass.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Jazz Performance Saturday! - "Dans les rues d'Antibes" - Buck Creek Jazz Band

Let's focus on the Buck Creek Jazz Band for today's Jazz Performance Saturday! This band made its debut at the Potomac River Jazz Club jazz picnic in 1977 thanks to the efforts of Fred and Anna Wahler. Although ostensibly and East Coast band they played all over appearing for many years at festivals in Fresno, California, and Chattanooga,Tennessee as well as countless others. They performed on cruise ships and recorded a good number of albums. 

In this video the Buck Creek Jazz Band finish out their 31 year run with Sidney Bechet's 1952 composition Dans les rues d'Antibes otherwise known as the "French tune!" Sidney Bechet (1897-1959) was the legendary clarinet and soprano saxophone player who became a sensation in the early years of jazz. He would eventually live in France where he wrote this tune.


The Buck Creek Jazz Band are seen here performing , for the last time, on the Jazzsea Caribbean on January 9, 2009.


But wait there's more! Since the band's retirement, there have been some reunions where the band has played at festivals.

Now on a sad note, an early member of the band, drummer Johnny Roulet (1922-2016) passed away this morning due to complications from surgery. His services will be at Fairfax Memorial Park on Wednesday, March 23rd at 10 AM.

Now let's have a listen to Sidney Bechet's version of  Dans les rues d'Antibes recorded in the '50s.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

Jazz Performance Saturday! - "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue"- West End Jazz Band

Today we will take a look and a listen to the West End Jazz Band, which is based out of the Chicago area. The where the band is performing is just as interesting as the music they are playing!

Image from their website.
Recorded on October 19, 2008 during a Chicago/Hudson Lake train excursion we hear the Twenties tune, Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue. The West End Jazz Band formed in about 1980 under the leadership of cornet player Mike Bezin. The band plays the great music of the 1920s and '30s. They've played many a jazz festival and make the train ride on  private cars to the historic Blue Lantern dance hall on Hudson Lake, Indiana. The great Bix Beiderbecke played there during the Summer of 1926.

Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue (Has Anybody Seen My Girl?) was written by Ray Henderson and the lyrics by Sam Lewis and Joe Young. It was published and recorded in the same year, 1925. The California Ramblers released a notable recording of it in that year.

In this video we have  Mike Bezin on cornet; Leah Bezinon on banjo; Frank Gualtieri on trombone; John Otto on clarinet; Mike Albiniak on drums; and Mike Walbridge on tuba. Also heard on this perform were Andy Schumm on cornet; Dave Bock on trombone; Sue Fischer on washboard; and Jack Kuncl on banjo.

So here goes! Enjoy this rendition of this classic tune , on a train  from 2008!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Jazz Performance Saturday! - "Royal Garden Blues"- Potato Head Jazz Band

This week let's take a look at a jazz performance by the Potato Head Jazz Band.

The Potato Heads exhibit the spirit of early jazz! - Photo from Facebook page.
The Potato Heads are based out of Granada, Spain, but perform all over the world. This jazz performance the old favorite Royal Garden Blues, is from a 2013 Spanish television program. 

Royal Garden Blues was written by composer Spencer Williams (1889-1965) and published by Clarence Williams' publishing company in 1919. Although Clarence Williams is credited as one of the composers he most likely didn't compose the tune at all. It was a common practice for music publishers to attach their name to the works they published.

Spencer Williams also composed such notable tunes, as I Ain't Got Nobody, (1915), Tishomingo (1916), Everybody Loves My Baby, (1924), and Basin Street Blues (1928).

The band members in this television performance are Alberto Martín on trumpet; Martin Torres on clarinet; Andrew Lynch, tenor saxophone; Patricio Caparrós, bass; Antonio Fernández, banjo; and Jaime Párrizas on drums.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Jazz Performance Saturday! - "Doctor Jazz"- Imperial Jazzband

Today we look at the Imperial Jazzband from the Lake Constance region of Switzerland. In this performance the band is playing the tune Doctor Jazz composed by Joe "King" Oliver in the 1920s. "Jelly Roll" Morton's famous recording of the tune with His Red Hot Peppers took place on December 16, 1926.

This performance of Doctor Jazz by the Imperial Jazzband was recorded in Germany on August 7, 2010.

Some of the band members playing are Norbert Wanner on tuba; Reiner Barann  on banjo; Heinz Schmid on clarinet and Peter Hohl on trombone.


The rest of the video with further music can be found here on YouTube.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Jazz Performance Saturday! - "That's A Plenty" - Colin Bowden with Delta Jazz Band

 It's a new year and a new Jazz Performance Saturday! Last year we focused on piano players for the first Saturday of the month performances, this year it'll be drummers! Today's performance features a performance by British drummer Colin Bowden with Delta Jazz Band. It is from September 20, 2009 in HundertMeister, Duisburg, Germany.


Colin Bowden was born in 1932 in Hampstead Heath, London. It was during World War II at the age of ten when he spied a drummer playing through a window at a  village hall, that he realized he discovered something that fascinated him. Then as a teenager he began collecting jazz records of Spike Jones and Lu Watters.

He joined the RAF and bought and old drum set from a friend. At the end of 1952 he heard Jelly Roll Morton's  "Oh, Didn't He Ramble?"which made him settle on jazz. He readily admits that Baby Dodds and Big Sid Catlett are two of his influences.

He's considered on of the best of the European New Orleans style drummers. Consequently he has played with a diverse assortment of jazz players and bands, from Humphrey Lyttelton and Kenny Davernto Ken Colyer's Jazzmen.

That's A Plenty is a popular jazz tune that started out as a ragtime piece composed by Lew Pollack (1895-194). The sheet music was published by the Joe Morris Music Co. in 1914. Interestingly, it was decades later that Ray Gilbert (1912-1976) added lyrics to the tune. It appears that the first recording was done in 1914 by Prince's Band.

Featured in this video are Colin Bowden on drums, Pat Halcox on trumpet, Terry Giles on clarinet, Andy Maynard on banjo, Mike Pointon on trombone and John Sirett on bass.


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Jazz Performance Saturday! - "Under the Double Eagle"- Devil Mountain Jazz Band

For today's jazz performance I present the Devil Mountain Jazz Band out of Oakley, California playing Under the Double Eagle.

From jazz nut.com.
The Devil Mountain Jazz Band was founded in 1982 and have appeared in several hundred jazz festivals since then. They specialize in playing music from the 1800s to the 1940s. They play many different types of music, the blues, dixieland, ragtime, even gospel and novelty tunes.

Interestingly the tune they play in this performance is an 1893 march written by Josef Franz Wagner (1856-1908) the Austrian composer. John Philip Sousa would popularize the tune in America recording it several times starting in 1896.

Featured in this performance recorded on February 15, 2015 at the 31st Annual Sounds of Mardi Gras in Fresno, California, we have leader Ken Keller on banjo; Tom Barnebey on piano; Pete Main on clarinet; Noel Weidkamp and Tom Belmessieri both on cornet; Glenn Calkins on the trombone; Keith Baltz on tuba; and Allan Grissette on drums.



Here are some more videos from the same event...


Ray and His Little Chevrolet composed by Bernie Grossman,
Jack Stanley and Billy Baskette from about 1924.


King of the Zulus

East St. Louis Toodle-Oo composed by Duke Ellington
and Bubber Miley around 1926.


Custom House Up and Down

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Jazz Performance Saturday! Jerry Rothschild - Plays Jelly Roll Morton

The first Saturday of the month has been reserved for piano players! So this month lets take a look at Jerry Rothschild and his half hour session playing the music of Jelly Roll Morton.

Master jazz piano player, composer and band leader Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941) was a colorful character. He composed many famous tunes still played to this day.

Rothschild's performance was recorded at the South Bay New Orleans Jazz Club on April, 12, 2015 at Redondo Beach, California.
 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Saturday Jazz Performance - "Just A Closer Walk With Thee" - Ambrosia Brass Band

On today's Saturday Jazz Performance we will hear Italy's Ambrosia Brass Band playing the traditional gospel tune, Just A Closer Walk With Thee.

The Ambrosia Brass Band is based out of Milan, Italy. The current members of the band are Francesco Licitra on saxophone; Giancarlo Mariani on trumpet; Rudy Migliardi on trombone; Beppe Caruso on tuba; Marco Castiglioni on the snare drum; Walter Ganda on the bass drum; and Fabio KoRyu Calabrò as the grand marshall.

Just A Closer Walk With Thee has a murky past and it is almost impossible to know for sure where this tune was first developed and played. There is little doubt that it was a religious oriented song that was sung as early as the 1800s however, and it was quickly adapted by jazz bands and has been heard played by such bands since the dawn of Dixieland.

This video performance was recorded in June 2011 as part of JazzAscona 2011 an annual jazz festival held in Switzerland.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Jazz Performance Saturday - "Rosetta" - Nova Scotia Jazz Band

For this Saturday's Jazz Performance we'll see a performance of the Nova Scotia Jazz Band with guest trombone player Roy Williams playing Rosetta.

Rosetta was written by Earl "Fatha" Hines who composed the music and Henri Woode who added the lyrics. Hines first recorded the tune on February 13, 1933. He would again record it on September 24, 1934. It even was recorded by Western swing bandleader Bob Wills in 1938. Rosetta would become a jazz favorite.

The Nova Scotia Jazz Band was founded in 2009 and won "Best Early Jazz Band" in 2011 as part of the Scottish Jazz Awards. The next year, 2012, found themselves featured in the film The Happy Lands.

In this performance John Burgess is on clarinet, Andy Sharkey is on bass and Roy Williams is on trombone. This video was recorded in the Fall of 2011 at The Lot in Edinburgh.




Here's Earl Hines' 1933 version of Rosetta.

Earl Hines & his Orchestra 1933