Monday, May 30, 2011

"Barney Google"

Here is a novelty tune treat! "Barney Google," written by Billy Rose and Con Conrad.
Sheet music for the song.
This was one of George's favorite tunes as a child. He would listen to it on his Aunt Ruth's Edison phonograph. Years later when he inherited the beloved Edison phonograph, "Barney Google" was not among the Edison records.

This tune below, is believed to be the very same version that George played with delight in the 1930s. It was recorded on April 13, 1923, and features the vocals of Billy Jones and Ernie Hare.

Little did he know that the date of April 13th, when this was recorded, would be the birthday of his future wife, Janet Ferroli, who also had fun listening to this song!

So, without further ado...Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Books, Books, Books

As a jazz writer, researcher, reviewer and reporter George was prolific. Especially since he got started in his jazz writing later in life, he has scores of articles, reviews, liner notes, photographs, interviews and research for various book projects.

At this time we are assessing all his writings and evaluating which book projects would be best to start with. As early as the 1960s George was researching one of his favorite performers Jack Teagarden for whom he met, played with and shared a bottle back in the day. Considering he died in 1964, George basically researched his whole life even writing to request his birth certificate from Texas, to which he received a response that no birth record existed for him in their records.

George published an article concerning his first meeting with Big T and is barely in frame in a great photograph he had in remembrance of the night he played with T. Perhaps his biography on Jack Teagarden might be a good beginning for a George A. Borgman book launch.

Friday, May 6, 2011

"What is Traditional Jazz?" by George A. Borgman

What is traditional jazz? It is the wonderful music that originated in New Orleans, traveled on river boats up the Mississippi River into Memphis, St. Louis, and eventually into Chicago and New York City. In Chicago such black musicians as Louis Armstrong and King Oliver were featured in clubs, and several white musicians from New Orleans formed the Original Dixieland Jazz Band there and moved on to New York, where they made the first jazz recording. The stride piano style allegedly originated in New York's Harlem.

During Prohibition, jazz became so popular in speakeasies and night clubs that the 1920s became known as the Jazz Age, and music performed for the dancers is known as hot dance music. It was played from charts, and solos were improvised, whereas the music of New Orleans and Chicago was performed without music. As time went by, along came such bands as Fletcher Henderson's and Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra, and they began playing a more jump style that led into the swing idiom.

Johann Sebastian Bach
All the styles mentioned above can be called traditional jazz, in my opinion. Many people imply that jazz is the only music that is improvised. That's not true, Johann Sebastian Bach and other organists improvised in cathedrals, and in my opinion any composer - a monk who thought up a Gregorian chant, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, George Gershwin and other Tin Pan Alley composers - were improvisers when they wrote original tunes. So, improvisation is not limited to jazz, trad or otherwise.

I was classically trained on piano, clarinet and saxophone and have two degrees in musicology, but I love jazz and swing, which I used to play in the 1940s and early 1950s. I was never a great improviser, though, and I admire the jazz musicians who can improvise well.

I have one pet peeve, and that is when a bandleader identifies the music of "Louisiana Fairy Tale" as being written by Fats Waller or Louis Armstrong! J. Fred Coots wrote the music for that tune. Let's get it right, guys! And who was the clarinet player who took the solo on "Louisiana Fairy Tale" on the original This Old House on PBS? The answer: Billy Novick of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jazz Journalists Association Won't Post George's Obituary

Without any response to inquires, as to why George A. Borgman who had been a jazz journalist from 1991 to 2009, the Jazz Journalists Association, for whom George was a member, has refused to acknowledge George’s death and post his obituary on the Associations website under The Last Post.

An obituary was sent via e-mail to Todd Jenkins on November 7, 2009 after asking Mr. Jenkins whether they would be interested in posting it. Noticing that no obituary was posted on The Last Post Mr. Jenkins was contacted again on November 20, 2009. He wrote back saying, “I've been having a lot of browser problems; I can't get anything to upload properly. If I can't get it resolved over the weekend, I will e-mail this file to another JJA contributor and have him upload it. Sorry for the delay!”

Fast forward to April 26, 2011 when it was again noticed that no obituary, not even a short mention, was listed on the website. Mr. Todd was contacted, again, via the website’s contact page, with this message, “I had submitted an obit on JJA mem. George Borgman who died in 09. He wrote for several trad jazz pub + was a contributing editor and NE correspondent for The Miss Rag. I noticed he was not added. Why?”

This time there was no answer.

What explanation could there be for not publishing Jazz Journalists member George’s obituary? Is this just some ham-fisted oversight or is there another reason why the Association won’t acknowledge his death?