Friday, December 14, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - December 2007 Issue

The December 2007 issue of The Mississippi Rag was the very last one published. For its final year The Rag  was published online.

In it there were articles covering some of Duke Ellington's  singers. These included Ivie Anderson, Kay Davis, Adelaide Hall, Al Hibbler, as well as others.

There is also a tribute to the 95 year old tenor saxophonist Franz Jackson and a look at his long career.

A mandolinist, Dennis Pash, a member of the Kansas City's Etcetera String Band, is examined. Plus there is coverage of  the Oklahoma Centennial Ragfest, the EarlyJas Festival, Brighton's Swing Jazz Party, Sunnie Sutton's Jazz Party and the Doc Evans Centennial Celebration.

There is also a salute to the Hall Brothers Jazz Band and remembrances Lowell Schreyer and ragtime icon John Arpin.

On page 26 George A. Borgman's last Yankee Jazz Beat column covers musician and radio host Ray Smith's 35 years as host of his radio program The Jazz Decades. He also mentions Ken Badger's Trio, Dr. John Clark's Wolverine Jazz Band, Craig Ball's Back Bay Rhythm Maker's Quintet and Stan McDonald's Blue Horizon Jazz Band.

George leaves off with these words of wisdom, "Take a teenager to a traditional jazz gig or festival. When they have the opportunity to hear trad jazz, they'll probably love it."

Here is the December 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. December 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Jack Everette and His Orchestra

One of the bands that George A. Borgman played saxophone and clarinet with in 1946 was the Jack Everette Orchestra a Mid-west territorial big band.

The leader was John Everette Jackson, who was born in Watkins, Iowa on August 22, 1905 to John T. and Katie May (Wells) Jackson. He would use "Jack Everette" for his first band in 1926 in Cedar Rapids because there was another popular Mid-west group known as Jack Jackson and His Orchestra. Three years later, Jack married Alice Leroy Hart on March 4, 1929 in Iowa City.

The Jack Everette Orchestra started gaining it's popularity after the band began broadcasting from Station KWCR on a weekly radio show. The band had a long run at the Mayfair Club in Des Moines and had built up its prestige by the mid-thirties. The Orchestra was fairly successful during the Big Band years and worked a territory everywhere from Cincinatti to Salt Lake City and from Houston to Canada. His band had a long list of performance dates and occasionally they'd travel to Chicago and to Kansas City where they would play at the PlaMor Ballroom.

The band was disbanded during World War II, during which time Jack opened a restaurant in Springfield, Missouri.

With the end of the war Jack reformed his band with many of the same players as before. In a February 9, 1946 advertisement in Billboard he asked for, "TENOR SAX, TRUMPET MEN; commercial ideas and diligence required," to play with his "established territory band." Perhaps this ad led to George's stint with the band on saxophone. Whenever George joined it would not be for long, because he would join the U.S. Army in 1946 too and would become part of the Army of Occupation when he was sent to Germany in 1947.
The Jack Everette Orchestra continued its run until 1956. In that year his son Dave started his own orchestra. Jack and Dave would then start the Jackson Artist Corporation, a booking agency, in Kansas City, Missouri in 1962. Ten years later Jack would pass away on July 9, 1972.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Jazz comes over the Blue Horizon - by George A. Borgman

A bit of old New Orleans is featured every Friday evening at the Foundry in the Liberty Village Mall, Route 27, Walpole
Exactly at 8:30, Stan McDonald raises his soprano saxophone or clarinet to the playing position, he stamps his left foot to the snappy tempo - counting out loud, "One, two, three, four" - and the Blue Horizon Jazz Band hits the downbeat of its first tune of the evening. 
Everyone plays a few bars together, and then the frontliners begin taking solos - first, McDonald, followed by the trumpet and trombone, each instrument providing counterpoint to the soloist's melodic line, while the rhythm section, piano, banjo, bass and drums keeps a steady beat. 
Jazz fans come from all over New England to enjoy the traditional jazz and early swing and the restaurant's fine cuisine. 
The diners and the bar patrons have a good view of the band, and there is an area for dancing. The acoustics in the high-ceilinged room are excellent. 
Bandleader McDonald, whose daytime job is Liberty Director at Framingham State College, is considered to be one of the best reedmen in the world. He is a disciple of Sidney Bechet, the famous soprano saxophonist and the clarinetist from New Orleans. 
Stan McDonald & George A. Borgman
According to Alan C. Weber, who wrote the notes for the band's 1982 record album, it is the "consensus that no living reedman plays so effectively in the Bechet manner - full, rich, tone, pronounced vibrato and long, lyrical melodic lines." 
McDonald led the New Orleans Jazz Doctors from 1954 until 1960 and also performed with the New Orleans Six and the Historic Jazz Band. 
In 1971, he was one of the founders of the New Black Eagles Jazz Band. He travelled with that group to festivals throughout the United States and Europe. He made numerous recordings with them. He left the Black Eagles and formed BHJB in 1981. 
Trumpeter Walter Miller, with a Harvard Ph.D. in anthropology and a retired expert in street-gang sociology, is a trad jazz purist of the Louis Armstrong school. 
Miller played trumpet with Buck Clayton in Paris, Lil Armstrong and Lee Collins in Chicago, and J. C. Higginbotham on the college circuit. In Boston, he performed with bands at such clubs as Storyville, Savoy, and Mahogany Hall, and he was also in the Historic Jazz Band with McDonald. 
Miller has been with the band since 1982, when McDonald talked him into coming out of the musical retirement.
McDonald and Miller also do vocals. McDonald's vocal style is reminiscent of Jack Teagarden's. He does well on "You're Such An Ugly Child" and Jelly Roll Morton's "Don't You Leave Me Here." Miller enjoys singing "After You're Gone" and "Sweet Lorraine." He is particularly good on "Makin' Whoopee." 
Retired engineer Ken Parsons, the trombonist, is a self-taught musician. He sometimes played in McDonald's Jazz Doctors in the 1950s and also played with traditional and contemporary jazz groups in central Massachusetts before joining BHJB a couple of years ago. 
Pianist Phil Hower has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and is research director at an electronics firm. 
Hower played with groups on the West Coast in the sixties, and he had his own quartet in San Francisco. He later played at bars in Pittsburgh before moving to Boston, where he developed a good reputation as an authentic trad jazz pianist. He joined BHJB in 1983. 
Royce Anderson, also a Ph.D., who teaches marketing  at the Graduate School of Management, Clark University, Worcester, came on board with BHJB as a guitarist about a year ago. He formerly played the blues, folk music and bluegrass on the guitar, but recently converted to a six-string banjo. 
"It's just like playing the guitar," Anderson explained. "I sometimes bring a guitar to a gig, but the banjo has that nice, percussive sound. There were some banjos with six strings back in the early jazz days. Johnnie St. Cyr played one in Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven." 
Swiss-born Hans Brack, the youngest member of the group, is taking a Ph.D. in chemistry at Brown University. He played bass with several bands in Boston before joining BHJB in 1985. 
Drummer Don Russell, a machinist, joined the group in April. He said, "I don't like at all what is called jazz today, but I've always loved this music. I like happy people, I like happy music and I like the New Orleans jazz." 
BHJB played steady gigs at Ephraim's in Sudbury, Bogart's Milford, and the Sherborn Inn. It has had many one-nighters, including the Sticky Wicket in Hopkinton, the Jazz Revival in Beverly and in Cambridge at the Regatta Bar of the Charles Hotel. 
The band was featured at the Manassas Jazz Festival in Virginia in 1984, the Downeast Jazz Festival in Camden, Maine, in 1988 and in 1990 at the Pennsylvania Jazz Society's celebration of the 100th anniversary of jazz. 
Through the years, BHJB has issued a cassette and two record albums. A CD is currently in the works.  

(George A. Borgman is a freelance writer.) - The Daily Transcript, October 24, 1991.

Stan McDonald and his Blue Horizon Jazz Band is still playing up a storm. George's widow and son Eric went to see them play at the Sherborn Inn on November 20th! Apart from band members not much has changed with McDonald and his music.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Boston Jazz Chronicles

George's article, "Boston's Grand Old Man of Jazz," about Sabby Lewis, which was printed in The Mississippi Rag in 1994 was cited in the bibliography of the 2012 book; The Boston Jazz Chronicles.

The author of the book, Richard Vacca, spent seven years researching the Boston jazz scene for the period between 1937 to 1962. For more information on the book check out Troy Street Publishing.

When George A. Borgman relocated to the Boston area after retiring from the military he started hearing about the jazz pianist Sabby Lewis. Firstly, from his wife Janet who grew up in Dorchester and would hear his band on the radio and secondly from New England area musicians.
George enventually caught up with Sabby; went to his performances; interviewed him; talked with him on the phone, and would end up absolutely adoring him. He commented that he, "cried when he died." Sabby Lewis passed away in July of 1994 shortly before the story about him was published in The Mississippi Rag.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"The Bench" - Lost Film

Here is a "lost" silent film segment from the feature comedy film The Man in the Movie in which George actually played two roles. That of a silent comedy "heavy" and/or "drunk" and a cranky movie theater patron.

In this segment I call The Bench George appears as the silent comedian who's had one too many. He basically made up his actions on the spot.

This film was shot on the corner of the Boston Public Garden. At one point a bus load of Japanese tourists stopped at the light at the corner. The tourists saw George playing his part and what seemed like a hundred cameras began clicking away! He used to proudly say that pictures of him were all over Japan.

Also featured in this film are George's son Eric Peter McClymer who plays the man who finds the money and Gregory DiGregorio the one who sits of Eric's coat tail.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - November 2007 Issue

The November 2007 issue of The Mississippi Rag is the second to last issue ever printed.

In it can be found an examination of some popular trombonists Tommy Dorsey, Jack Teagarden, Miff Mole, George Brunis, Cutty Cutshall, Lou McGarity, and Brad Gowans.

Joe Boughton's annual star–studded Jazz at Chautauqua is covered in a photo display, and ragtime pianist, ex-Soviet citizen, Larisa Migachyov is interviewed.

Two great British jazz festivals, Whitley Bay and Keswick Jazz Festivals, are also, extensively covered as well as an in depth film analysis by William Schafer, of the 1986 independent jazz film, "The Gig," which feastured Warren Vache, Jr.

George's Yankee Jazz Beat column is located on page 28.

Here is the November 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. November 2007 Excerpt from the film The Gig.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - October 2007 Issue

The Mississippi Rag of October 2007 featured an interview with classical and ragtime pianist Richard Dowling. He is also considered a specialist on composer George Gershwin.

Sophie Tucker, who is sometimes remembered as "the last of the Red–Hot Mamas," is examined with historical photographs in an informative article.

The Illiana Club and Eddy Banjura the "Jazz Warrior" is explored as is the Swinging Jazz Party of Blackpool, England, which is covered with some colorful pictures.

And as always George A. Borgman's Yankee Jazz Beat which covers the New England jazz scene can be found on page 14!

Here is the October 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. October 2007

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

"biggest little band in the land" - The John Kirby Sextet - Inner City & Classic Jazz Release

A new release by Inner City & Classic Jazz is the "Biggest Little Band in the Land" featuring the John Kirby Sextet.

Classic Jazz Records says this regarding their new CD and the John Kirby Sextet.

"Occupying a very small slice of jazz history, the years 1937 thru 1944 with the players listed, defined what a superb artistry and cohesion to an extraordinary extent, could mean in jazz. The war years of the 40s decimated the membership and this exquisite ensemble was no more. Happily these recordings exist and are now once again available to jazz fans. You'll never hear jazz the same way again."

The group heard is made up of John Kirby on bass, Charlie Shavers playing trumpet, Russell Procope on Alto sax, Buster Bailey playing clarinet, Billy Kyle on piano and playing the drums is O'Neil Spencer. The twenty-four tunes on the album are all from the years 1941, 1943 and 1944.

John Kirby is said to have been born on December 31, 1908. He was orphaned as a child and was already in New York playing music by the mid-1920s. He started out on trombone moved on to the tuba and settled on the double-bass.

1937 proved to be an important year for Kirby and his band. They began playing the Onyx Club and recording. Their swing version of Loch Lomond proved to be a hit and he and his band would see success through most of the 40s.

By 1950, however, things had changed. Kirby suffered ill heath from diabetes and drinking. His audience had declined, with concert at Carnegie Hall in December to a porr turnout.
He died on June 14, 1952 in California as he was planning for a comeback. Fortunately, his recordings of his groups live on. In 1993 John Kirby was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame.

Nat Hentoff said this about the music of the Biggest Little Band in the Land:

"At the time, it was a phenomenon unlike any other in jazz. A unit which was so together that other musicians would come to marvel at the collective precision of it all - the subtlety of dynamics, the stunning ensemble virtuosity, the way the soloist was so integral a part of the continually floating, soaring, driving, whizzing whole. This was cool jazz before anyone had thought of the term, before Miles Davis and those Capitol recordings. This was a prototype of how disciplined jazz could be before the Modern Jazz Quartet. This was John Kirby." 


An interesting BBC radio program Jazz Legends from 2003.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - September 2007 Issue

The Mississippi Rag of September 2007 looks at the 20th Annual Elkhart Jazz Festival. Contains an interview with North Carolina "ragtimer" Eytan Uslan and has an interesting article on The Vitaphone Project and its effort to restore 1920s Vitaphone films.

There is also coverage of  the Blind Boone Ragtime Festival,  the Caesarea Jazz Festival in Israel and the Great Connecticut Jazz Festival  Here is the September 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. September 2007

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - August 2007 Issue

In the August 2007 issue of The Mississippi Rag looks at the "JazzAscona New Orleans and Classics" festival which lasted for eleven days and featured jazz artists from around the globe.

It also features Rich Johnson a Bix Beiderbecke researcher and music director who helped establish Davenport's Bixfest. George's Yankee Jazz Beat mentions the passing of pianist Matthew Quinn, the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame, he also writes about the Artie Shaw Orchestra under Dick Johnson and singer Steve Marvin as well as mentioning many other New England bands and musicians.

Here is the August 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. August 2007

Thursday, July 12, 2012

George Borgman's Ruby Braff Article Referenced

George's extensive article “The One and Only Ruby Braff,” which was published in the December 1995 issue of The Mississippi Rag is referenced multiple times in a new book on the recordings of Ruby Braff. Thomas P. Hustad used George's article in the writing of his 722 paged book Born to Play: The Ruby Braff Discography and Directory of Performances which was released this year 2012. George interviewed the trumpeter Braff in person for his article. Ruby Braff died on February 9, 2003 in New York. Sweethearts On Parade Featuring Ruby Braff and Ralph Sutton at The Mid-America Jazz Festival in 1988 in St Louis, Missouri.

The Mississippi Rag - June 2007 Issue

The June 2007 issue of The Mississippi Rag contains comprehensive, colorful coverage of the Atlanta Jazz Party. An in-depth look at Fate Marable's riverboat jazz in the early 1900s through a 1961 interview with Norman Mason and an interview with Corie Melaugh, a member of the new ragtime generation. It also includes a trip to the Norwich Jazz Party, which opened the UK's 2007 season of Trans-Atlantic jazz parties and regional columns which includes George's Yankee Jazz Beat as well as the TJEN column exploring recorded "playalong" options. Here is the June 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. June 2007

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - July 2007 Issue

The July 2007 issue of The Mississippi Rag captures the eclectic program that made the Sacramento Jubilee on Memorial Day Weekend a winner for over a quarter of a century. Some of the bands covered are Simon Stribling's New Orleans Ale Stars, the Boondockers, Vince Bartels' Migrant Jazz Workers, Lost Weekend, Capital Focus Jazz Band and Big Tiny Little's band. It also includes a look at three jazz pioneers, Jack Purvis, Emmett Miller, and Fess Williams. George's Yankee Jazz Beat mentions the passing of pianist Matthew Quinn, the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame, he also writes about the Artie Shaw Orchestra under Dick Johnson and singer Steve Marvin as well as mentioning many other New England bands and musicians. Here is the July 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. July 2007 Simon Stribling's New Orleans Ale Stars at Port Angeles 2007

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - May 2007 Issue

In the May 2007 issue, of The Rag, the late historian and curator emeritus Dick Allen is honored by writers Butch Thompson, William Schafer, Paige Van Vorst and the Hogan Jazz Archive curator Bruce Boyd Raeburn. Allen was dedicated to New Orleans jazz. His enthusiasm led to the founnding of the Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University.
This issue also includes an interview with "Ragtime Kid" author Larry Karp, and has colorful coverage of a star-studded tribute to the late bassist Bob Haggart, as well as a visit to the Tribute to Bix, and the launching of Judi K's new "Jazz Warriors" series with a salute to Wayne Arihood of La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Here is the May 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. MAY 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Carole Elaine Borgman 1958 - 1967

In April of 1996, George remembered the death of his daughter.

"Friday was the 29th anniversary of the death of Carole Elaine Borgman, our beloved daughter. She was only eight years old. Tanya Rousseau Tupine, her ballet instructor in Virginia in 1965 and 1966, called her a genius at ballet. I miss her very much, so does Janet. No parent ever gets over the death of a child, of course."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

"The Musical Counterspy" - By George A. Borgman

Every year I'm asked to write an article for this booklet. If I didn't like the Hot Steamed Jazz Festival so much, I'd beg off, for I'm very busy working on various stories and reviews for The Mississippi Rag.

But what should I write about? I don't like writing about myself, but I've had a very full life, not only as a musician and jazz journalist, but also as a special agent in Military Intelligence in the Army.

In June 1945, at age 17, as a freshman at the University of Missouri in Columbia, I played tenor and alto saxophones and clarinet in the Missourians, a big band, and in the Fall I joined the Moderaires, a big swing band that worked almost every night at Dean's, a basement student hangout in downtown Columbia.

The following March, we heard that Jack Teagarden and His Orchestra were to play at the Engineer School's St. Patrick's dance on Saturday evening, the 16th. A black band played Dean's on Wednesday nights, when we were off, so we traded nights with our black friends, so we could go hear Teagarden Saturday night.

At the dance, during an intermission, we went outside to smoke and converse with some of Teagarden's sidemen. We all laughed about Jack's Texas drummer, who wore cowboy boots and had a plastic straw to sip whisky from a bottle in his coat pocket. During the second break, the guitar player said that Teagarden was looking for a jam session after the dance.

All the Modernaires were there, and we all jumped at the chance for a session with Teagarden. We took our girl friends home early (and were they angry!) and picked up our instruments at our dorms and frat houses. Our drummer, who had a Cadillac convertible, drove across town to purchase some booze for us from a woman who sold it after hours to students. I drank Southern Comfort whisky then, and he brought me a bottle.

At the end of the dance, we met Teagarden, and he and a few of his guys got into cars with us to go to Dean's. I ended up with Jack in the back seat of the Caddy convertible. I knew that Jack loved the booze, and I opened the bottle of Southern Comfort and offered him a taste. He eagerly took a big swig, and, as the "parade" of cars drove across town to Dean's, Jack and I almost emptied the bottle.

Dean's was closing, and the black guys were packing up their instruments. When they saw Jack Teagarden walk in with his trombone case, they happily brought out their horns, and we had a great jam session until about 2:00 a.m. Then we all went to the drummer's frat house, and Teagarden and the guys jammed until 7:00 a.m. There is a photo of Jack, seated on the piano bench, blowing his horn, and all the Modernaires are standing in the background. I am seated to the far right, and I'm obviously blotto.

Oh, yes, a month later Teagarden fired his drummer for being an alcoholic!

Jack Teagarden and His Orchestra circa 1951 playing Wolverine Blues.

That was a memorable experience - sharing a bottle with Teagarden. Another one I recall was when I was with MI in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1978.

My unit gave me the assignment of "riding shotgun" on a counterintelligence operation we had going at the Penthouse Club, which was located on one of Frankfurt's main streets not far from the Abrams Building (formerly the I.G. Farben Building), where I worked.
So every day, after work, I walked to the Penthouse, which was a hangout for the spies, from both East and West, and a lot of American soldiers drank there and chased the girls. A few dope pushers also showed up.

I usually sat at the bar with an old man (let's call him "Vaclav"), in his late sixties. We knew he was working for the Czechoslovakian Intelligence Service. Vaclav wore a hat, limped and carried a cane, and looked just like a Hollywood character actor who always played a spy or a Gestapo agent. Vaclav told me he was born in the Sudetenland area of Czechoslovakia. We conversed in English or German. The Army had trained me in the Czech language, but I didn't want Vaclav to know that, of course. 

On the evening of January 16, 1978, Vaclav told me it was the fortieth anniversary of the famous concert of the Benny Goodman band at Carnegie Hall. Vaclav then related to me the names of all of Goodman's musicians and invited guest players and their instruments, and even named the tunes they played. The next day I went to an Army library and found a book on jazz and read about the concert. Everything he told me was accurate. I couldn't believe it - a Czechoslovakian spy who was an expert on the Goodman Carnegie Hall concert! During later conversations with Vaclav, he really impressed me with his knowledge of jazz and swing.

So, those are two of my experiences - sharing a bottle of whisky with Jack Teagarden, and a CSSR spy giving me the rundown of the Goodman Carnegie Hall concert.

Oh, yes, in order to make room for the spies to operate in the Penthouse, I informed the Army's Criminal Investigative Division of the dope deals there, and the local CID narcotic squad (who looked and dressed like hippies) showed up one night. The GIs recognized them, and we didn't see a GI there for six months.

"Sing, Sing, Sing" - Benny Goodman and His Orchestra - 1937 Version.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy Days at the Sherborn Inn in 2002!

George and his wife Janet at the Sherborn Inn listening to jazz in 2002. Sherborn, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - April 2007 Issue

This issue contains information on the rise, fall and lasting influence of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, with the second part of an article written by William Schafer. The issue also publishes many historic photographs of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Freddie Keppard, Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Laine's Reliance Jazz Band and the Original Creole Orchestra. There is also an interview with ragtime pianist and broadcaster Bryan Wright, as well as a look at how "Jass" revolutionized popular music. The issue includes a comprehensive review of a 10-disc set of Hoagy Carmichael material.

Here is the April 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. APRIL 2007

Saturday, March 24, 2012

George A. Borgman Memorial Video

George's grandson William Allan Schnarr has put together a very nice memorial video that's entitled This one is for you Gramps....

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Great Louis Armstrong

In June of 1957, a few months after George and Janet Ferroli were married, they went to see the legendary trumpet player and performer Louis Armstrong who was opening up the season at Lake Tahoe. The Borgmans had a table right at the foot of the stage and to Janet’s surprise Louis Armstrong announced that “we have a couple here who just got married,” he pointed them out to the audience and said, “let’s give them a hand.”

After the audience applauded George explained that he had mentioned to the management about being newly married so that Louis could do just that.

Here is a recording of Louis Armstrong playing one of George’s favorite tunes Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust.

The Mississippi Rag - March 2007 Issue

Here is the March 2007 online edition of The Mississippi Rag. MARCH 2007

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jazz Trumpeter Lou Colombo Passes at 84

Jazz trumpeter Lou Colombo tragically died in an auto accident on Saturday, March 3, 2012, outside his daughter's restaurant in Fort Myers, Florida.

George A. Borgman wrote a feature article on the great jazzman for The Mississippi Rag in 1995.

Colombo was a staple of the Cape Cod jazz scene since the 1950s. Tony Bennett even sang with his band when he was in the area.

Colombo is survived by his wife, Noelle, six children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - February 2007

The second electronic issue of The Mississippi Rag, was published online in February 2007.

Here is a link to the February online issue. The Mississippi Rag - February 2007.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

George Comments on Millitary Intelligence Work

"I caught eight Viet Cong and North Vietnamese spies in Saigon, and I didn't even leave my desk. It was just putting things together like a puzzle. The French Embassy cooperated with me all the way. They were turned over to the South Vietnamese Police. All eight spies worked for our Military Intelligence - maids and dishwashers and gate guards at our MI villas throughout South Vietnam. Frankfurt was also fun. I had to outwit a Czech intelligence officer in Prague and succeeded in doing so." - October 6, 2007

Monday, January 2, 2012

Jazz Jamboree

In 1918, ten years before George A. Borgman was born here is how jazz was being written about. This article entitled Jazz Jamboree comes from Gulian Lansing Morrill's book On the Warpath.

One o'clock Sunday morning we gazed into a notorious cabaret where the revelers jazzed, boozed, soaked, stuffed and danced while a police officer looked on to see that order was observed while drink orders were served.

If music is the language of the angels in heaven, the jazz suggests the grunts of the Inferno. It is music gone mad — a big noise, a slambang, or, to quote Milton, "Such music (as 'tis said) before was never made."

Saul grew mad and threw a javelin at David when he played the harp. If he had heard this band harp on their string, bone, wood, brass, and skin instruments he would have thrown some sticks of dynamite at the bass drum and blown them all up with one bang. It was murderous music, and we felt "fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils." This night's music was not like the "Twelfth Night," "Sweet sound that breathes upon a bank of violets." but like a hurricane blowing on an onion patch. The band was hired to invite and promote eating and drinking, but jazz excess surely sickens appetite with its crash, twang, strain and "dying fall." The fiddling fiend of a leader who jumped around, turned a somersault and held the bow in his teeth, proved himself to be, not a real virtuoso, but a ragtime "vicioso." As he rasped the strings we felt like stringing him up. The sliding trombone skated around, charged the air, stabbed empty space and made a noise full of fury signifying nothing. The pianist took a head dive through a wave of melody and played a St. Vitus dance with sharp lightning, treble and thunder bass. The drummer was the whole thing behind his cheeseshaped drum. He pelted the skin with savage blows. He was no dub, this rub-a-dub fellow, this drummer traveling across the borderland of sound from the jingle of the triangle, smash of the cymbal, crow of the rooster, cry of the baby, and whistle of the train to the final cataclysmic crash. The cornetist blew himself red in the face, splitting his lips and the ears of his hearers, and exploding air to the very crack of Doom. A jazz band is madness set to music.

In far away lands I have seen savages jump, play and shout. About the only difference between them and this band was that these jazzers wore dress suits. I am sure if they made a tour through the jungles of darkest Africa they would make a hit with the wild animals and savages. Their sheet music was torn into rag time and they tore a passion to tatters.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Mississippi Rag - January 2007

In January 2007, The Mississippi Rag, for which George was a contributing editor and New England correspondent, published online for the first time.

Here is a link to the first online issue. The Mississippi Rag - January 2007.