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.