Saturday, May 31, 2014

Saturday Jazz Performance - The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jass Band - "Bourbon Street Parade"

This Saturday lets take a look and a listen to The New Orleans Swamp Donkeys Traditional Jass Band playing Bourbon Street Parade!

Bourbon Street Parade was written by the New Orleans drummer Paul Barbarin (1899-1969) in 1952 and was popularized by The Dukes of Dixieland.

This performance of the tune took place at the 40th Anniversary of the Sacramento Music Festival on May 24, 2013.

The band in this video consists of five members: The leader and trumpet player is James Williams, Sam Friend is on banjo, Jon "ToeJam" Ramm is on the trombone, the Sousaphone is played by Wes Anderson and lastly Josh "Jams" Marotta is on drums. Although not seen in this video their clarinet player is Joe Goldberg.

They describe what they play as being, "traditional jazz, blues, jass originals, vaudeville, modern jazz adaptations, and many other jazz and New Orleans-derived styles."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Jazz Performance - The Dutch Swing College Band with Teddy Wilson - "Oh, Lady Be Good"

This Saturday we have a jazz performance that was recorded in 1976 in Austria. The great pianist Teddy Wilson joined The Dutch Swing College Band for this rendition of Oh, Lady Be Good.

Oh, Lady Be Good was written by George and Ira Gershwin in 1924 and debuted in the Broadway show, Lady Be Good! which starred Fred and Adele Astaire.

The band here consists of  the leader Peter Schilperoort who's on clarinet, Bert de Kort who plays the cornet, Bob Kaper is on the alto sax, Dick Kaart is playing the trombone, Jaaap van Kempen plays guitar, Henk Bosch van Drakensteyn is playing bass and Huub Janssen is on drums. Teddy Wilson is guesting on the piano.

Thirty years later, Bob Kaper would become the leader of Dutch Swing College Band.

Here is Paul Whiteman's Take on Oh, Lady Be Good from December 29, 1924.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday Jazz Performance - Duke Heitger's Hot Jazz Septett - "Baby Won't You Please Come Home"

As a new feature, here at the Yankee Jazz Beat blog, every Saturday a jazz performance caught on tape will be posted.

A publicity photo of Duke Heitger.
Today, we'll look at Duke Heitger's Hot Jazz Septett and their performance of  Baby Won't You Please Come Home. 

The performance took place at Duisburger Hof in Germany on May 9, 2011. The band here is comprised of Duke Heitger, the leader, and who also plays trumpet and sings, Dan Barrett on trombone, Evan Christopher who plays both the clarinet and tenor sax, Bernd Lotzky plays the piano, David Blenkhorn on guitar, Kerry Lewis playing bass, and Jeff Hamilton on the drums.
Baby Won't You Please Come Home was written by Charles Warfield and published by Clarence Williams in 1919.

Traditional Jazz Around the World - Vol. 1 [Australia/Scotland/Sweden] - Review by George A. Borgman

Traditional Jazz Around the World - Vol. 1: Australia/Scotland/Sweden - At least one American jazz critic did not like this compact disc because, it seems, three foreign bands performed traditional jazz, an American idiom.
No wonder we are sometimes called "Ugly Americans!" Each of these bands performs quite well in the traditional jazz styles, displaying some authentic New Orleans elements that many American bands have long neglected.
There are splendid solos in each band and each band performs particularly well in New Orleans style ensemble with superb counterpoint from the front line and piano.
The musicians in each of the foreign bands do a very fine job with interesting seldom heard tunes, and we in the United States should be proud of the fact that jazz, an uniquely American musical art form, is appreciated by musicians and listeners throughout the world.
Traditional jazz belongs to the world. George Borgman IAJRC Journal

Here is an example of some Traditional Jazz from Scandinavia. Joe Muranyi guests with the Scandinavian Rhtyhm Boys, Oct. 19, 2008

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Look At Jazz Tap Dancer Jimmy Slyde - by George A. Borgman

Jimmy Slyde
Jazz tap dancer Jimmy Slyde was born James Titus Godbolt in Atlanta, Georgia and after his family moved to Massachusetts, he took violin lessons at the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston.

Bill "Bojangles" Robinson
He became interested in tap dancing and studied it at Stanley Brown's tap studio, where he was introduced to tap dancers such as Bill (Bojangles) Robinson.

Slyde teamed up with Jimmy (Sir Slyde) Mitchell, and they were known as the Slyde Brothers.
Known for his sharp wit, his smooth dance moves, his timing and his effortless glides across the stage, Slyde, during the big-band era, worked with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and others, and for years with pianist Barry Harris.
Slyde danced in Black and Blue, a revue which played on Broadway and in Paris, and in the movies (Tap, The Cotton Club, 'Round Midnight and others).
Slyde taught tap, and he and several other tap dance elders produced jam sessions at La Cave, a Manhattan nightclub, which attracted such dancers as Savion Glover, Tamango, Max Pollak, and Roxanne Butterfly.
Jimmy Slyde, aged 80, died May 16, 2008 at his home in Hanson, Massachusetts. He was survived by his wife, Donna, and a son, Daryl.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Lt. James Reese Europe: His Life and Death

Today is the anniversary of the death of the great American ragtime orchestra leader James Reese Europe who was murdered in Boston, Massachusetts on May 9, 1919.
James Reese Europe was born on February 22, 1880 in Mobile, Alabama. Sometime after his birth, his father moved the family to Washington, D. C. It was while living there that James excelled in the study of the violin under the tutelage of an assistant conductor of the U. S. Marine Band.
In 1899, Europe's father died unexpectedly and shortly thereafter John Europe, James' older brother, moved to New York City to find work as a pianist. By 1904, James had made the move to New York himself, where he continued studying music. He also briefly conducted the orchestra of the musical comedy A Trip to Africa
By 1905, Europe would become a member of the theatrical production Ernest Hogan's Memphis Students and then would become a conductor for the musical comedy The Shoo-Fly Regiment. His success as a composer and a conductor for black musical productions, such as The Black Politician in 1906 and The Red Moon in 1908 ended in 1910 when the public lost interest in these type of shows.
Europe was one of the people who started a black musicians guild in New York called the Clef Club and served as its first president in 1910. A one hundred piece symphony orchestra made up of members of the Clef Club was established. The orchestra performed around New York and played Carnegie Hall on May 2, 1912.
Vernon & Irene Castle

The popular ballroom dance duo of Vernon & Irene Castle hired Europe as their musical director in 1913. This association helped to popularize Europe and his Orchestra. In December of 1913 Europe began cutting record sides for Victor culminating in a total of eight sides by May of 1914. Europe's association with the Castles would abruptly end when Vernon signed up with the British Air Service in 1915 to fight in World War I.
The 15th National Guard Regiment an all black regiment was formed in Harlem in 1916 in preparation for the United States' possible entry into the war. Europe was made a Lieutenant and was put in charge of organizing a regimental band.

 James R. Europe's Victor Band Sept. 25, 1914.
With the United States Entry into the war the 15th was sent to France. Europe and his regimental band arriving their on January 1, 1918. Once in France however the prejudices of the time would not allow the members of the 15th to see combat. They were instead utilized as laborers working on construction. Eventually they were allowed to see combat and sent to the front, but only as an attachment of the French army under the new designation - the 369th Regiment also known as "the Hell Fighters." This regiment would distinguish itself in battle with newspaper stories telling of their exploits. Lt. Europe was the first black officer to lead troops into battle. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Silver Star.
Taken February 12, 1919.
After the Armistice the 369th returned to New York arriving in February 1919. Europe's band received many offers to perform and after the unit was officially mustered out it recorded thirty sides for the Pathé company in March.
Europe's 369th Band made their States-side debut at the Hammerstein's Manhattan Opera House before three thousand spectators. For ten weeks the band traveled the country performing at sellout engagements. The end of the tour brought them to Boston.
On May 9, 1919 they were originally supposed to have appeared at the Boston Opera House, but due to a problem they were rescheduled in Mechanic's Hall, which was more often used as a boxing arena than as a band stand. 
Noble Sissle
Things began to go wrong during their first show. Herbert Wright, a drummer, left the stage during a performance and began arguing with Noble Sissle, the band's singer. Wright who served with the regiment in France, had psychological problems with severe mood swings. Whenever he'd suffer from one of these emotional upsets Europe or Sissle could usually get him under control.
At the Intermission, Europe and Sissle tried to placate Wright and get him back onstage meeting with him in the dressing room. This time Wright could not be assuaged. He pulled a knife and shouted, "I'll kill anybody that takes advantage of me! Jim Europe, I'll kill you!"
Europe picked up a chair to protect himself against Wright who had backed Europe up against a wall. Members of the band yelled for Europe to knock the knife out of Wright's hand. Noble Sissle would later describe the events stating that, "Jim grasped the chair in an attitude as though he was about to carry out our warning, when all of sudden there came over him some thought, God knows what, that caused him to completely relax, his whole body and set the chair down and was about to mutter 'Herbert get out of here!' when to our amazement, before any of us could move from our track, like a panther Herbert Wright hurled himself over the chair.
As he came through the air, Jim clasped his body and whirled it away from him, but as the demon had made up his mind to carry out his murderous attack with a back-handed blow. He made a wild swing of his knife, brought it down in the direction of Jim Europe’s face."
When Europe's collar was loosened blood was spurting from a cut in his carotid artery. Sissle wrapped a cloth around Europe's neck and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Herbert Wright was arrested. No one expected Europe to die and the performance continued. When word came back that James Reese Europe had died his band members were stunned.
Europe's funeral procession, May 13, 1919.
Herbert Wright was indicted for first degree murder, the day before Europe was to be laid to rest. Wright claimed he acted in self-defense. Medical experts declared Wright to be, “of such low type mentality that there was a question as to his entire responsibility.” Wright was sentenced to ten years after pleading guilty to manslaughter. He served his time in the Massachusetts State Penitentiary and was paroled on April 1, 1927.

How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down? recorded in 1919.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Debut Album - "Speak Low" featuring Patrice Jégou released!

Award winning-singer Newfoundland born Patrice Jégou has just released her first album Speak Low. Produced by Yinka Oyelese and Mark Kibble it has been released by Prairies Star Records.
The album contains fifteen tunes where Jégou shows off ability to sing in various styles. She is a classically-trained mezzo-soprano and sings songs that vary from number to number. Everything from Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree to From This Moment On.
Listen to song #6 from the record, This Little Light of Mine.

DELVING INTO THE GENEALOGY OF JAZZ - A 1919 Article on Jazz From Current Opinion Magazine


Was It Born in Chicago, Brought Up in New Orleans, Discovered by New York and Glorified by Paris?

GOOD or bad, fad or institution, Jazz was born in Chicago, developed in New Orleans, exploited in New York and glorified in Paris. So writes one of the many authorities who have recently delved into this latest manifestation of American music that has conquered a place in the western world. 

Howard Brockway, the American composer, attempts to explain, in the N. Y. Review, the characteristics and origin of Jazz, but its origin still remains obscure. Chicago claims it, and, according to E. M. King, Chicago still holds the strongest title. But Jazz, claims Mr. Brockway, tho it is new to us in the United States and through us to both England and France, is not absolutely new to the world. He attempts an analysis of this newest musical phenomenon:

“Just what is Jazz? In striving to answer this query, I can not hope to imitate the admirable brevity of the word. Jazz is ordered and calculated noise. It is a compound of qualities, both rhythmic and melodic. It seeks, and with absolute success be it said, to sweep from our minds all simultaneous consideration of other things, and to focus our attention upon its own mad, whirling, involved self. Herein lies a large part of its compelling force and appeal. It may well be that General Gouraud could find the hideous load of responsibility lightened, perhaps even put aside for the moment, as he listened to Europe's jazzing, and that he felt his pulse responding to the virile rhythm, and his emotions joining in the rush of the humorous carefree mood. Certain it is that our dough-boys, fresh from the trenches, with days and weeks of grim endeavor and physical strain behind them, turned to the Jazz furnished by their bands and found in it relaxation and solace and cheer which enabled them to forget what was past and to abandon themselves wholeheartedly to the joyous hilarity of the present moment.

“There is not the slightest doubt that in this maelstrom of rhythm there abides a powerful tonic effect. Through the medium of the physical, it reaches and influences the psychological attitude. I have been convinced of the truth of this fact by personal experience, undergone not once but many times."

Jazz is composed of rhythm, melody and a certain modicum of contrapuntal inner voices, continues Mr. Brockway. But the greatest of these is rhythm. The Jazz band starts out to “get you" and leaves nothing to chance. “It is fairly well established that only an oyster can resist the appeal of syncopated rhythm when it is performed with masterful abandon which absolutely controls dynamic gradations and vital accents.” Here is the real secret of Jazz:

The howitzers of the Jazz band's artillery are stationed in the ‘traps.’ Under this heading we find all the instruments of percussion, such as the big drum, the snare drum, cymbals, triangle, wooden blocks played upon with drumsticks, xylophone, cowbells, rattles, whistles for the production of various weird noises, and in most of other implements, often the personal conceptions of individual players of the traps. The trombones may represent field guns, while the clarinets, oboes, saxophones, alto horns and cornets furnish the rapid-fire batteries. The range being pointblank, it is easy to see why the effect of the ‘drum-fire' is complete!

“The melody will always be borne by sufficient instruments to ensure its ‘getting over.’ Then, in the inner voices of the band, will take place a combination of effects which adds enormously to the total drive of the number. Here are certain of the contrapuntal features which are mentioned above. They consist of a variety of hilarious effects, produced by trombones or saxophones, attained by a curious sliding from note to note. This creates an extremely comical result. This characteristic and droll portamento has become so well known and so popular that it has achieved a specific name—‘blues,’ a humorously apt designation. A striking contrast is made by the mournful soughing of the trombones in the midst of the joyous riot of the rest of the band. Sharp rhythmic ejaculations arise from out the welter of sound, and over the whole tumult the traps-player spreads his array of dazzling accents, brought forth with absolute virtuosity from his motley army of noise producers. It almost seems, at times, like a case of ‘each for himself and the devil take the hindmost.’ But it is not so, and there is definite purpose and ordered means in it all."

In support of his contention that Jazz is not new to the world, Mr. Brockway tells of a Chinese festival held at Paderewski‘s chateau in Switzerland, in honor of the great pianist’s birthday. At that time Mr Brockway discovered phonograph records of a native Siamese orchestra:

“When I first heard them played, I was astounded, for there in this Siamese music, in spite of the strange Oriental idioms, from an Occidental’s harmonic standpoint, was the very essence of— Jazz! The music was like nothing that my ears had ever heard, and uncouth to the point of absolute unintelligibility. But there were the insistent rhythm, the demoniac energy, the fantastic riot of accents from the drums and other percussion instruments, and a humorous mood which made me laugh long and loud. It seemed humorous to me. I have often wondered what that mood really was—in Siamese. There is no room for doubt when we hear our own Jazz!   Wholehearted, boisterous, rough, but the very soul of kindly good humor and care-free merriment."

Other less erudite musical authorities are satisfied that Jazz is purely of American origin. We find the New York Telegraph, Broadway’s own gazette, for instance, giving the credit to Chicago:

“At last we have the genesis of Jazz. Chicago disputes the 'honor' of having first stuffed cotton in its ear, with New Orleans, where so many idiosyncrasies of Senegambian flavor originated. We are convinced that Chicago has made out a good case. ‘Good or bad, fad or institution,’ says the brief for Chicago, ‘Jazz was born in this city, developed in New Orleans, exploited in New York and glorified in Paris.’ And Chicago presents as Exhibit A, Jasbo Brown, a negro musician, who doubled with the comet and piccolo. ‘When he was sober,’ continues the brief, ‘he played orthodox music, but when he imbibed freely of gin, which was his favorite pastime, he had a way of screaming above the melody with a strange barbaric abandon. One evening a young woman frequenter of the café where he held forth, tired of the conventional manner in which the music was played, called out, “A little more Jasbo in that piece!" The cry was taken up. “Jazz! Jazz !" and Jazz music was christened.’ "

Is Jazz one of the spiritual results of our attempt at assimilation of some thirty-nine different races? questions E. M. King in the N. Y. Evening Post. Or have all the itinerant musicians-— masters and monkeys, German bands and hurdy-gurdies, ferry-boat fellows and those who jangle the tambourines — combined in a scheme for self-preservation? A certain professor remarked last winter that Jazz bands were merely outbreaks of irrepressible spontaneity, which would express itself momentarily and then disappear. But they are becoming epidemic, international. Mr. King thinks that Jazz is a ragged combination of letters that suggests bumping and snorting, wind and banging blinds, broken glass and the devil-may-care back of it all. Chicago, therefore, he asserts, is its inevitable origin:

“The traditional place of wind and broken glass, and the geographical center of the Jazz bands is Chicago. Not once in a long journey did a traveler hear more manifestations, morning, noon and night, of what Jazz bands can do under pressure than smote the ear in Chicago. Up and down Michigan Avenue the bands rent the air with their tonal curses and during the height of the loan nothing less than ‘My Country 'Tis of Thee’ was subjected to irresponsible syncopation. Jumping and throbbing, 'Sweet Land of Liberty' was pitiful lèse majesté. Certainly there ascended on Chicago's famous Broadway by the lake actual cosmic vacuums, holes and slashes in space, if you please, pierced by instruments lifted in ethereal massacre. To all appearances, Chicago not only does not mind, but likes it. O Chicago, couldst thou but sit on the parapet once removed and hear! . . . Surely, if the general air in Chicago is preeminently Jazz, if it is true that the good people naturally pitch and roll to the lilt of the many bands, why should the country allow the lake city to constitute itself a propagating choir of Jazz immortal? If one municipality has lost its aesthetic sense, has it no respect for the feelings of others? Shall the popcorn of Chicago blow over all the lot?

“This is a fair metaphor, too. Put a whole band in a giant popper, hold it over the glowing coals of an ample crater, and, shaking well, command it to make some jolly music—the production would be meticulously true to Jazz form: The wheezes of the scorching horns; the popping of the overheated drumheads; the groans and pleadings of the musicians, with now and then a pure silvery note from a thoroughbred piper who cared not a rap that he was to be roasted for his art; the ravings of the crowd looking on; dervishes and holy-rollers expressing themselves; the chuckles of a few cannibals; and over all the raucous imperturbability of old horse fiddles. . . . That would be a Chicago Jazz band.

“So far many parts of the East have been spared. Washington is almost free. New York is rent in spots. Boston is only slightly Jazz. But the Middle West is in the throes—and it may never know it until consciousness returns.”

The Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded in 1919 playing Satanic Blues.

Monday, May 5, 2014

By George! - It's Probert in England CD Review - by George A. Borgman

Reedman George Probert gets together with a few English jazz players on this recording to produce some good jazz in the traditional style of New Orleans.
The first tune sets the mood for the whole recording, for it is an exciting rendition of Vincent Youmans' "I Want to Be Happy," which was introduced to the public in 1925 in the stage musical No, No, Nanette, and it was subsequently featured in a couple of movies and Broadway revivals. Here, trombonist Geoff Cote and pianist Pat Hawes take interesting solos, and Probert shines on the soprano sax, with fine drum work from drummer Pete Lay.
There is good interplay between Probert's reeds and Sarah Bissonnette's tenor saxophone on several of the tunes, but the blending of their instruments does not always work well, especially on "Chloe," on which there seems to be a difference of opinion between the two saxophonists in regard to certain chord changes. Also, at times, there is too much tenor saxophone backup to the other frontliners' solos.

Hawes' piano and the front line are outstanding on the extremely long (almost nine minutes) "Arkansas Blues" (1921), by Anton Lada and Spencer Williams. There are fine solos from Probert's soprano, Dave Copperwaite's trumpet and Andy Ford's banjo, with some nice counterpoint provided by Bissonnette, on "Over in the Gloryland." The trombone and the piano shine on "Just One More Chance" and good ensemble playing is featured on "My Old Kentucky Home" and J. C. Higginbotham's "Give Me Your Telephone Number," a real swinger and one of the better renditions.
In 1920, Paul Whiteman introduced "Whispering" on a Victor recording, which sold a million copies, and it was later featured in four film musicals: Ziegfeld Girl (1941), Greenwich Village (1944), Give My Regards to Broadway (1948), and The Eddy Duchin Story (1956). The All-Stars play "Whispering" quite well here, with a fine piano solo in the middle, as Ken Matthews provides a solid beat in the background on the bass.
So, the British tradition of New Orleans jazz continues, but this compact disc, even though many of the tunes are excellently performed, is not always the best example of it; however, it is worth possessing. - George A. Borgman, IAJRC Journal

Chloe: George Probert, recorded December 23, 1995 at the Pizza Express, Maidstone, England by Dave Bennett.