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NEAR FUTURE IN DORSET / HAMPSHIRE / WILTSHIRE BORDER AREA; DON'T MISS
Sunday 8th December 2013; John Maddocks' Jazz Men at the Bournemouth Flying Club Bar & Café, Aviation Park East, off Matchams Lane, Bournemouth International Airport, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 6NE. £8 admission, 7:30PM start. Bookings for jazz, Tel: 01202 701295. Jazz menu available.
Tuesday 10th December 2013; The Bernie Farrenden Jazz Delights Trio in the restaurant at The Nelson Tavern, 75 Mudeford, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 3NJ. Contact 01202 485 105 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thai and English food. Jazz starts at 8 PM.
Every Wednesday; Dinner Jazz at the Lord Bute. Wednesday Jazz every week throughout the year is a very popular night so reservations are essential; tel. 01425 278884. Three course table d’hôte dinner menu is £25.95 per person.
Every Thursday; Tony Robinson's Chicago Jazz Aces at the Fishermans Haunt Salisbury Road, Winkton, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 7AS. Jazz starts at 8:30PM. Food and drink with full table service available (bookings 01202 477283). Free admission.
Monday 16th December 2013; Gerry Brown and his band at the Bournemouth Traditional Jazz Club, starting at 8PM. The club meets at the Bluebirds Social Club in Longham, BH22 9DP (opposite Haskins garden centre) and features a large dance floor, plenty of free car parking and affordable drinks. £8 admission.
Tuesday 17th December 2013; The Bernie Farrenden Quartet in the restaurant at the Amberwood Inn, 154 Ringwood Rd, Walkford, Dorset BH23 5RQ, tel. 01425 272627. Full menu, £3 cover charge, advance booking advisable. Jazz starts at 8 PM.
Wednesday 18th December 2013; jazz jam session at The Three Compasses, 9 The Square, Charminster, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 9QT (not the Bournemouth one). Starts 8 PM, finishes late. Thursday 19th December 2013; Verwood Jazz Club presents Colin Bryant's Hot Rhythm Six with guest Mike Cotton on trumpet, 8PM at "The Hideaway" 17 Moorlands Road, Verwood, Dorset. BH31 7PD, tickets £10 at the door. Doors open 7PM, bar & food available - contact - 07798 721405. To eat in the restaurant prior to the jazz (rather than in the bar or function room), telephone 01202 822684 or e-mail: email@example.com
Friday 20th December 2013; The Rich Bennett Band at the Salisbury Jazz Club, £9 entrance fee, ticket only from Joe Croll, 023 8086 9720 or email Joecroll@sky.com. The Club meets on the second Friday of every month at the Livestock Market, Netherhampton Road, Salisbury SP2 8RH on the outskirts of Salisbury. Dancing is encouraged but you can just sit and listen if you prefer. There is a bar, raffle, large car park and hot food is available until 8.30 PM. Doors open at 7 PM and the jazz starts at 8 PM.
Saturday 28th December 2013; The Jive Aces and The Regular Joes at Verwood Hub. Tickets; £14 in advance or £16 on the door. Doors open 7pm, Bands from 8pm.
Sunday 29th December 2013; John Maddocks' Jazz Men WILL NOT BE PERFORMING at the St Leonards Hotel, 185 Ringwood Road, St Leonards, Dorset, BH24 2NP. £8 admission, 7:30PM start. Bookings for jazz, Tel: 01202 701295. Full menu and bar service now available in the function room.
Wednesday 1st January 2014; TO BE CONFIRMED The Panama Hat New Orleans Jazz Band at Ye Olde George Inn, 2A Castle Street, Christchurch, Dorset BH23 1DT, tel. 01202 479383, starting at 8:30PM. Food is available in the bar without booking. Free admission.
Thursday 2nd January 2014; The Alan James Band with special features, Mark Ward on vibes and Tony Hurst on bass sax, at the New Forest Jazz Club, Tel. 0845 270 2248. Venue is behind the Woodside Inn at Sandy Balls, Tel: 0844 693 1050. Admission is £7, the evening commences at 7.30PM and a bar is provided. Food available from the restaurant and can be eaten in the function room. No advance booking required.
Monday 6th January 2014; Alan Pickering's Spirit of New Orleans at the Bournemouth Traditional Jazz Club, starting at 8PM. The club meets at the Bluebirds Social Club in Longham, BH22 9DP (opposite Haskins garden centre) and features a large dance floor, plenty of free car parking and affordable drinks. £5 admission.
For pictures and a few words from nights not listed below browse Peter Burton Ampair on FaceBook
Saturday, November 30, 2013
The Apple Core Beatles at The Elephant & Castle, West Moors
This evening we visited our local pub, the Elephant and Castle, for a good, reasonably-priced meal with wine followed by live music. The Apple Core Beatles comprised John (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul (Hofner left-handed bass guitar, vocals), George (lead guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals), Ringo (drums, vocal) and sometimes Steve (keyboard, vocals). We led the dancing as usual with Selina looking great in her green gear (mini skirt, jacket, tights, etc). One young woman said loudly "She's got wicked pins". I asked her if that translates to "She has nice legs" and that was confirmed by her well-lubricated colleague who offered to pay to swap legs with Selina.
The link to I Saw Her Standing There, shows the Apple Core Beatles performing at the Cavern Club, Liverpool UK. It also gives their real names; Eric Paisley, rhythm guitar & vocals, James Wheatley bass guitar & vocals, Dale Harris, lead guitar and Roger Bland, drums,
Sunday, November 24, 2013
John Maddocks Jazz Men at the St Leonards Hotel
This evening we went to the St Leonards Hotel, Dorset, for a meal and bottle of wine in the function room, followed by a great evening of jazz.
John Maddocks Jazz Men (pictured) comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Peter Wilkinson (trumpet, vocals), Tony Farr (trombone), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Peter McCurrie (double bass, tuba), George Skidmore, (banjo, guitar, vocal) and Brian Barker (drums).
Unusual numbers on today's jazz scene were:
1) Friendless Blues, written by Big Bill Broonzy and played by him on this link. Born Lee Conley Bradley, "Big Bill" (1893 – 1958) was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His career began in the 1920s when he played country blues to mostly African-American audiences. Through the 1930s and 1940s he successfully navigated a transition in style to a more urban blues sound popular with working class African-American audiences. In the 1950s a return to his traditional folk-blues roots made him one of the leading figures of the emerging American folk music revival and an international star. His long and varied career marks him as one of the key figures in the development of blues music in the 20th century. Broonzy copyrighted more than 300 songs during his lifetime, including both adaptations of traditional folk songs and original blues songs. As a blues composer, he was unique in that his compositions reflected the many vantage points of his rural-to-urban experiences.
2) Peter Wilkinson's vocal It's Nobody's Fault But Mine, a traditional song first recorded by gospel blues artist Blind Willie Johnson in 1927, as on this link. The song is a solo performance with Johnson singing and playing slide guitar. It tells of a spiritual struggle, with reading the Bible as the path to salvation, or, rather, the failure to read it leading to damnation. Blind Willie Johnson recorded "It's Nobody's Fault but Mine" in a time when illiteracy was common in the rural South. Blinded as a young child, Johnson was singing this song as a warning to those who had learned to read, but concerned themselves too much with earthly matters, but Johnson tries to point the way to salvation. He admits to having fault, and he blames himself for not taking advantage of the skill he has, reading, and saving himself. The context of this song is strictly religious. It is a melancholy expression of his spirit, as the blues style echoes the depths of his guilt and his struggle. An early review called the song "violent, tortured and abysmal shouts and groans and his inspired guitar playing in a primitive and frightening Negro religious song". In performing this song, Johnson alternated between vocal and solo slide-guitar melody lines, using a bottleneck (or sometimes a jackknife) on the first and second or sometimes third and fourth strings. He also provided an alternating bass figure with his thumb. The song was introduced to the jazz genre in 1944 by Bunk Johnson, recording with the Yerba Buena West Coast Jazz Band.
3) John's clarinet and vocal feature, dedicated to the late Julian Davies, bass player with the Crane River Jazz Band, I'll Fly Away. This is a hymn written in 1929 by Albert E. Brumley and published in 1932 by the Hartford Music company in a collection titled Wonderful Message. Brumley's writing was influenced in part by an older secular ballad. "I'll Fly Away" has been called the most recorded gospel song and it is frequently used in worship services by Baptists, Pentecostals, Nazarenes, the Churches of Christ and many Methodists. It appears in many hymnals where it is listed under the topics of eternal life, heaven and acceptance. It is a standard song at bluegrass jam sessions and is often performed at funerals. There have been numerous recordings of "I'll Fly Away" since its inclusion in the 2000 film 'O Brother Where Art Thou?', although a vintage Kossoy Sisters recording was used in the film itself, a contemporary recording by Alison Krauss and Gillian Welch (as on this link) was chosen for the soundtrack. This recording, produced by T-Bone Burnett, features Welch on lead vocals with Krauss singing harmony. Their voices are accompanied by Mike Compton on mandolin and Chris Sharp on guitar. The soundtrack sold over eight million copies, reached the top position on at least four of Billboard's album charts, and was named Album of the Year and Best Soundtrack album at the 44th Grammy Awards in February 2002.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Petites Annonces at the Hinton Martell Village Hall
This evening, for the first time, we saw Petites Annonces, playing at the Hinton Martell village hall. The group plays 'gypsy jazz' and comprised Jipé Gérardin (Vocals / Rythm guitar), Pete Nicholson (Lead and Rythm Guitar), Damian Moody (Lead and Rythm Guitar) and Mark Pennell (Stick Bass / Back Vocals). This is a great little Dorset group, playing mainly Django Reinhardt numbers and French songs unknown to us. Four favourites were:
1) I'll see you in my dreams, written by Isham Jones, with lyrics by Gus Kahn and published in 1924. Originally recorded by Isham Jones and the Ray Miller Orchestra, it charted for 16 weeks during 1925, spending seven weeks at number 1. The song was chosen as the title song of the 1951 movie of the same name, a musical biography of Kahn. Popular recordings of it were made by many leading artists including Marion Harris (1924), Cliff Edwards, Louis Armstrong, Pat Boone, Doris Day, Ella Fitzgerald, Mario Lanza, Tony Martin, Anita O'Day, The Platters, Ezio Pinza, Sue Raney, Jerry Lee Lewis (1958, instrumental) and Andy Williams. A "Texas Swing" version of the song was recorded by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.
The song was also recorded by Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, and inspired Merle Travis to record it as a guitar instrumental. Many other guitarists including Chet Atkins and Marcel Dadi followed in Merle's footsteps. The song was on the soundtrack for the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, which won Ginger Rogers her only Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. It was recorded by Mario Lanza on his Coca-Cola Show of 1951-2 and is available on a compilation album mastered from those same shows, and featuring the same title, I'll See You in My Dreams, released by BMG in 1998.
It is played on this link by Petites Annonces at the Chetnole Jazz Cafe in January 2013.
2) Seul Ce Soir, composed by Charles Trenet (1913 – 2001) and most famous as tyhe composer and singer of 'La Mer'. It is played on this link by Django Reinhardt with a large backing orchestra.
3) Mademoiselle De Bucharest, written by Matelot Ferret and performed on this link by The Cook Trio at The Cocoa Village Playhouse, Florida in March of 2010. I presume this is Jez Cook who we saw as a young man playing with Ian Cruickshank.
4) The encore; Dark Eyes, (Russian: Очи чёрные, Ochi chyornye; English translation: Black Eyes; French translation: Les yeux noirs) is a Russian song. The lyrics were written by a Ukrainian poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka. The words were subsequently set to Florian Hermann's Valse Hommage (in an arrangement by S. Gerdel') and published as a romance on 7 March 1884. The link is to one of the many Django Reinhardt recordings.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Chris Pearce's Frenchman Street Jazz Band at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening, for the second time, we saw Chris Pearce's Frenchman Street Jazz Band, this time playing at the Verwood Jazz Club. The band comprised Chris Pearce (alto sax, tenor sax, clarinet, curly soprano sax, vocal), Dave Leithead (Trumpet), Richard Leach (trombone, vocals), Phil Probert (banjo, guitar), Tony Sharp (bass) and Graham Smith (drums). This is a fine band, with a range of numbers and styles. Favourite numbers were:
1) Halle Hallelujah, composed by Sidney Bechet and played on this link by the master himself.
2) Phil's lovely Dorothy Fields medley on guitar, comprising:
The Way You Look Tonight, sung beautifully on this link by The Dinning Sisters in 1943. It was composed by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Dorothy Fields for the Astaire/Rogers film 'Swing Time'.
I'm in the Mood For Love sung on this link by Doris Day. It was composed by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields (again).
Don't Blame Me played on this link by Coleman Hawkins. It was also composed by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields.
3) Last Mile Blues, written by Ida Cox with somebody called Crump. The link is to Ida Cox with Red Allen (tpt), J C Higginbotham (tb), Edmund Hall (clt), Cliff Jackson (pno), Billy Taylor (bs) and Jimmy Hoskins (dms).
Monday, November 11, 2012
Dart Valley Stompers at the Bournemouth Traditional Jazz Club
This evening we saw the Dart Valley Stompers, playing at the Bluebirds Club. This great band comprised Jeremy Huggett (leader, clarinet, tenor sax, soprano sax, vocals), Graham Trevarton (trumpet, cornet, vocals), Ron Milford (trombone, vocals), Pete Miller (banjo, guitar), Lukas Drinkwater (double bass) and Chris Stockins (drums). This is a great band; Graham is the best trumpeter we see frequently, with a beautiful, almost classical, tone yet always in the jazz idiom.
Notable numbers were:
1) Jambalaya, written and recorded by American country music singer Hank Williams and first released in 1952. Named for a Creole and Cajun dish, jambalaya, it spawned numerous cover versions and has since achieved popularity in a number of music genres. With a melody based on the Cajun song "Grand Texas", some sources, including Allmusic, claim that the song was co-written by Williams and Moon Mullican, with Mullican uncredited but receiving ongoing royalties. It reached number one on the U.S. country charts for fourteen non-consecutive weeks and remains one of Hank Williams' most popular songs today. However, I have provided a link to the more jazzy version by Fats Domino and his Orchestra.
2) Ron's vocal The Birth of the Blues written by Ray Henderson, with lyrics by Buddy G. DeSylva and Lew Brown. The song was published in 1926, recorded in 1927 by "Whispering" Jack Smith, the Hamilton Sisters and Fordyce (Three X Sisters), and by Cab Calloway, in 1943 or 1944. The song was later a hit for Frank Sinatra and was frequently performed by popular singers such as Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr., Shirley Bassey, Keely Smith, Jack Teagarden, Pearl Bailey, and Al Hirt. In 1965 Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Johnny Carson Performed the Song live at a televised session for "The Frank Sinatra Spectacular". An Oscar nominated film "Birth of the Blues" starring Bing Crosby was released in 1941.
The link is to the great guitarist Les Paul with a little assistance from Chet Atkins.
3) When My Dreamboat Comes Home, written by Dave Franklin with lyrics by Cliff Friend. Dave Franklin (1895–1970) was an accomplished songwriter and pianist. A member of Tin Pan Alley, Franklin co-wrote "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down," which was adopted as the theme song to the Looney Tunes cartoon series. His primary collaborator was lyricist Cliff Friend. His other collaborators included Al Dubin, Isham Jones and Irving Taylor. Franklin worked in vaudeville and night clubs in the U.S. and Europe. According to The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz, 1900–1950, by Roger Kinkle, he left school at 13 to work as a pianist in a publishing house. Some of his songs were recorded by Glen Gray, Isham Jones, Guy Lombardo and Frankie Trumbauer.
The link is to HENRY "RED" ALLEN & HIS ORCH.: Red Allen (tpt,voc) Gene Mikell (clt) Tab Smith (alto) Cecil Scott (tenor) Clyde Hart (pno) Danny Barker (gtr) John Kirby (bs) and Cozy Cole (dms).
Thursday, November 7, 2013
The Alan James Band at the New Forest Jazz Club
This evening we went to the New Forest Jazz Club at Sandy Balls. The band play in the function room behind the Woodside Inn, a good venue for jazz.
The Alan James Band (pictured) comprised Tom Connor (trumpet, Vocals), Tony Hurst (trombone, vocals), Mike Betts (clarinet, tenor sax, baritone sax), Mark Ward (keyboard), Cliff Harper (double bass) and Norman Bishop (drums). Interesting numbers were:
1) Home (When Shadows Fall), Composed in 1931 by Harry and Geoffrey Clarkson, although Peter van Steeden was given writer credit for his administrative contribution. The link is to a fine version by Louis Armstrong in 1932.
2) If You Were Mine, written by Matty Malneck and Johnny Mercer and featured in the Musical "To Beat The Band!" The link is to a 1935 recording by Billie Holiday, accompanied by Roy Eldridge (tpt), Benny Morton (tb), Chu Berry (tenor sax), Teddy Wilson (pno), Dave Barbour (gtr), John Kirby (str bs) and Cozy Cole (dms).
3) Serenade In Blue, a 1942 swing number composed by Harry Warren, with lyrics by Mack Gordon. It was introduced in the 1942 film 'Orchestra Wives' by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, sung by Lynn Bari in the film but dubbed by Pat Friday. The link is to a lovely instrumental version by Stan Getz.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
John Maddocks Jazz Men at the St Leonards Hotel
This evening we went to the St Leonards Hotel, Dorset, for a meal and bottle of wine in the function room, followed by a great evening of jazz.
John Maddocks Jazz Men (pictured from last time) comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Peter Wilkinson (trumpet, vocals), Tony Farr (trombone), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Peter McCurrie (double bass, tuba), George Skidmore, (banjo, guitar, vocal) and, special guest, Graham Smith (drums).
Unusual numbers on today's jazz scene were:
1) A Porter's Love Song to a Chambermaid, written by James P. Johnson with lyrics by Andy Razaf. The link is to Mildred Bailey, a great jazz singer who is largely forgotten now. James Price Johnson (1894 – 1955) was an American pianist and composer; a pioneer of the stride style of jazz piano. He and Jelly Roll Morton were arguably the two most important pianists who bridged the ragtime and jazz eras, and the two most important catalysts in the evolution of ragtime piano into jazz. As such, he was a model for Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum and his more famous pupil, Fats Waller. Johnson composed many hit tunes including the theme song of the Roaring Twenties, "Charleston" and "If I Could be With You One Hour Tonight" and remained the acknowledged king of New York jazz pianists until he was dethroned in 1933 by the recently arrived Art Tatum, who is widely acknowledged by jazz critics as the most technically proficient jazz pianist of all time. Johnson's artistry, his significance in the subsequent development of jazz piano, and his large contribution to American musical theatre, are often overlooked, and as such, he has been referred to by Reed College musicologist David Schiff, as "The Invisible Pianist".
2) Flow Gently Sweet Afton, the link being to Kay Starr with Red Nichols' Orchestra. Sweet Afton is a lyrical poem describing the Afton Water in Ayrshire, Scotland. It was written by Robert Burns in 1791 and set to music by Jonathan E. Spilman in 1837, under the title Flow gently, sweet Afton. Many artists have performed it over the years since it was written, including the progressive acoustic trio Nickel Creek in 2000. Sweet Afton contains a lot of monosyllables, which contribute to a gentle, soothing rhythm. It can be seen as a hymn for peace. The poem is in the metre 11 - 11 - 11- 11, and is often sung to the tune of the popular Christmas carol Away in a Manger called Cradle Song.
In the town of New Cumnock in East Ayrshire there is a bridge across Afton Water on the A76 upon which there is a plaque commemorating Robert Burns and this great poem. The Afton of New Cumnock gives its name to the Glen of Afton, which has connections with William Wallace, Robert Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots (1568), and Robert Burns. The Wallace seal attached to the Lubeck Letter of 1297 gives substance to the theory that Wallace's father was from Kyle Regis (this area) and a rock formation "up the glen" is named Castle William, supposedly after the Scottish patriot's fortification.
3) Missouri Waltz, the link being to the Glenn Miller version. "Missouri Waltz" is the official state song of Missouri and is associated with the University of Missouri. It had been a minstrel song and became the state song under an act adopted by the General Assembly on June 30, 1949. The song came from a melody by John Valentine Eppel and was arranged by Frederic Knight Logan, using lyrics written by J. R. Shannon. First published in 1914, the song did not sell well and was considered a failure, but by 1939, the song had gained popularity and six million copies had been sold. Sales increased substantially after Missourian Harry S. Truman became president, and it was reported that the "Missouri Waltz" was his favorite song. Although, when asked about his feelings the following reply was published by the White House:
"President's attitude towards the song? He can take it or leave it. Is it really his favorite? No. Does he play it often? No. Is Margaret ever heard singing it? No. What is the President's reaction to song's adoption by Missouri as state song? See answer to first question."
Although the song is often associated with Harry Truman, the president did not claim it as his favorite song. In fact, he had this to say about it in a television interview: "If you let me say what I think, I don't give a...about it, but I can't say it out loud because it's the song of Missouri. It's as bad as 'The Star Spangled Banner' as far as music is concerned."
The song is played by the University of Missouri's Marching Mizzou at every home football game to a unique marching style in 3/4 time.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Spirit of New Orleans Band at the Bluebirds Club
This evening we went to see Alan Pickering's Spirit of New Orleans jazz band at the Bluebirds Club in Longham.
The band comprised; Alan Pickering (trombone, vocal), Tim Eyles (trumpet, vocals), Bernie Murtha (clarinet, alto sax, vocals), Doug Kennedy (banjo), Peter McCurrie (tuba) and Steve Keats (drums).
Victor surpised us by NOT asking the prettiest girl for a dance !
All the numbers played featured the letter G in the title, notable examples being:
1) Gotta Travel On, written by Paul Clayton, Tom Six, Larry Ehrlich and David Lazar. It has mainly been recorded by country and western artists. The link is to the 1959 Chris Barber Band.
2) Graveyard Blues, written by R.P.Williams I believe although Tim says it is just 'trad'. The link is to John Lee Hooker.
3) Golden Leaf Strut, supposedly written by Leon Roppolo (1902 – 1943), a prominent early jazz clarinetist, best known for his playing with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings as on this link. Roppolo also played saxophone and guitar. It is very similar to Milenburg Joys, credited to Paul Mares, Walter Melrose, Jelly Roll Morton and Leon Roppolo but generally believed to be by Morton. I am sceptical of Roppolo's composition claims for several numbers; I suspect plagiarism, rife at the time.
Thursday, October 19, 2013
Golden Eagle Jazz Band at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening we went to see The Golden Eagle Jazz Band at Verwood Jazz Club. They were supported by four groupies; much younger than the rest of us. Selina still looked the best in her white mini-skirt. We danced to nine numbers; good band for dancing.
The band (pictured) comprised Mike Scroxton (trumpet, Vocals), Roy Stokes (trombone, vocals), Alan Cresswell (clarinet), Kevin Scott (banjo, leader, vocals, jokes), Mike Broad (double bass) and Pete Jackman (drums). Interesting numbers were:
1) I Thank You Mr Moon, Composed by Oppenheim-Morse-Baer, whoever they are. The link is to a wonderful version by The Boswell Sisters in 1931 with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra: Bunny Berigan, (tpt), Tommy Dorsey (tbn), Jimmy Dorsey (cl, as), Joe Venuti (vln), Arthur Schutt (p), Eddie Lang (g), Artie Bernstein (sb), Stan King (d) and Victor Young (cond). There is some doubt about Schutt and Bernstein
2) I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles, written by John Kellette. The lyrics are credited to "Jaan Kenbrovin", actually a collective pseudonym for the writers James Kendis, James Brockman and Nat Vincent. The number was debuted in the Broadway musical 'The Passing Show' of 1918, and it was introduced by Helen Carrington. The copyright to "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" was originally registered in 1919, and was owned by the Kendis-Brockman Music Co. Inc. This was transferred later that year to Jerome H. Remick & Co. of New York and Detroit. When the song was written, James Kendis, James Brockman, and Nat Vincent all had separate contracts with publishers, which led them to use the name Jaan Kenbrovin for credit on this song. James Kendis and James Brockman were partners in the Kendis-Brockman Music Company.
It is most famous in the UK as the West Ham United football club anthem. As I am from West Ham I can say, not many people know this but, it comes from the resemblence of schoolboy footballer W. (Billy) J. "Bubbles" Murray to the boy in the Millais painting "Bubbles". This was used in a famous Pears soap advert at the time. The link is to a wonderful version by Les Paul that we have on CD
3) Smile, Darn Ya, Smile !, written by Frank Marsales and Abe Lyman for the Merrie Melodies cartoon short (1931) as in this link. This is one of the only three Merrie Melodies cartoons to star Foxy; the other two are Lady, Play Your Mandolin! and One More Time. This short is a remake of Trolley Troubles, a Disney short featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in whose creation Hugh Harman had once been involved.
Monday, September 14, 2013
The Louisiana Jazz Men at the Bluebirds Club
This evening we went to see the Louisiana Jazz Men at the Bluebirds Club in Longham.
The band (pictured) comprised; Tony Karavis (cornet, vocals), John Wiseman (trombone), Bernie Murtha (leader, clarinet, alto sax, vocals), Ray Gould (string bass), Geoff Perrin (banjo) and Peter Jackman (drums). Unusual numbers this evening were:
1) Rip 'em up Joe, listed as 'Traditional'. The link is to a recording by a group of musicians that we have seen individully but never together; Tony Pyke [reeds] Cuff Billett [trumpet] Alan Dandy [piano] Andy Lawrence [bass] and Johnny Baker [drums].
2) Melancholy Blues, credited to Bloom and Melrose, presumably Marty and Walter but who knows for sure ? The link is to a recording by Louis Armstrong and his hot seven. Louis at his very best !
3) Bernie's vocal Chicken Ain't Nothin' but a Bird, written by Cab Calloway as a novelty number and performed by him on this link. The soloists are Chu Berry, Dizzy Gillespie and Cozy Cole.
Friday, October 11, 2013
The Time Trio at The Elephant & Castle, West Moors
This evening we visited our local pub, the Elephant and Castle, for a good, reasonably-priced meal with wine followed by live music. The Time Trio comprised leader Phil Murray on guitar and vocals with Paul on bass guitar and Dave on drums and vocals. We led the dancing as usual with Selina looking great in her teenage-style frayed denim mini skirt. Several women joined us dancing as the night wore on, one complimenting us on our enthusiasm. She probably thought we were rather old for it.
Favourite numbers were:
1) Honky Tonk Woman, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards while on holiday in Brazil from late December 1968 to early January 1969, inspired by Brazilian gauchos at the ranch where Jagger and Richards were staying in Matão, São Paulo. Two versions of the song were recorded by the band: the familiar hit which appeared on the 45 single (as on this link) and their collection of late 1960s singles, Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2); and a honky-tonk version entitled "Country Honk" with slightly different lyrics, which appeared on Let It Bleed. The concert rendition of the song featured on Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out! differs from both the hit version and the country version, with a markedly different guitar introduction and an entirely different second verse, but is much closer to the single version than the album version.
Thematically, a "honky tonk woman" refers to a dancing girl in a western bar who may work as a prostitute; the setting for the narrative in the first verse of the blues version is Memphis, while "Country Honk" sets the first verse in Jackson.
“ I met a gin soaked bar-room queen in Memphis ”
“ I'm sittin' in a bar, tipplin' a jar in Jackson ”
The band initially recorded the track called "Country Honk", in London in early March 1969. Brian Jones was present during these sessions and may have played on the first handful of takes and demos. It was his last recording session with the band. The song was transformed into the familiar electric, riff-based hit single "Honky Tonk Women" sometime in the spring of 1969, prior to Mick Taylor's joining the group. In an interview in the magazine Crawdaddy!, Richards credits Taylor for influencing the track: "... the song was originally written as a real Hank Williams/Jimmie Rodgers/1930s country song. And it got turned around to this other thing by Mick Taylor, who got into a completely different feel, throwing it off the wall another way." However, in 1979 Taylor recalled it this way: "I definitely added something to Honky Tonk Women, but it was more or less complete by the time I arrived and did my overdubs." Ry Cooder has asserted that he originated the song's main guitar riff, and has accused the Rolling Stones of "ripping him off".
2) Shakin' All Over, a rhythm and blues song originally performed by Johnny Kidd and the Pirates as on this link (with pics of late 1950s women). It was written by frontman Johnny Kidd and reached no. 1 in the UK in August 1960. The musicians who performed on the recording were Johnny Kidd (vocals), Alan Caddy (guitar), Brian Gregg (bass), Clem Cattini (drums) and Joe Moretti (lead guitar). Kidd was quoted as saying:
"When I was going round with a bunch of lads and we happened to see a girl who was a real sizzler we used to say that she gave us 'quivers down the membranes'. It was a standard saying with us referring to any attractive girl…..I can honestly say that it was this more than anything that inspired me to write 'Shakin' All Over'."
3) Wild Thing, written by New York City-born songwriter Chip Taylor. Originally recorded by American band The Wild Ones in 1965, "Wild Thing" is best known for its 1966 cover by the British Group The Troggs (as on this link), which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1966. The song peaked at No. 2 in Britain. As performed by The Troggs, "Wild Thing" is ranked no. 257 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song's central guitar riff is immediately recognizable and frames the central lyrics: In the final verse the intention of the narrator and his relationship to the wild thing is revealed. A young man who has viewed his loves desire from across a crowded dance hall. The song is in fact an internal narration of the events that are unfolding in their dance. It is theorised due to the intensity of the "shake it" lines that they are perhaps dancing to Buddy Holly.
The song is in the key of A major, and is based around the chord progression (I - IV - V - IV), which is the basis for the main riff. Also the instrumental parts during the chorus are in key with the rest of the song. However, the guitars are not strictly tuned to middle C in the Troggs' version and the slightly sharp tuning causes the chords to actually be midway between A and Bb. This has mystified many guitar players trying to play along with the record. It has been suggested that The Troggs did this as a joke. As a side note, the middle eight was originally someone whistling, but in The Troggs' version this was replaced by Colin Fretcher, musical director, playing an ocarina. 4) Hey! Baby, written by Margaret Cobb and Bruce Channel, and recorded by Channel in 1961 (as on this link), first released on LeCam records, a local Fort Worth, Texas label. After it hit, it was released on Smash Records for national distribution. He co-produced the song with Major Bill Smith (owner of LeCam) and released it on Mercury Records' Smash label. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks, starting the week ending March 10, 1962. The song features a prominent riff from well-known harmonica player Delbert McClinton. According to a CNN article from 2002, while touring the U.K. in 1962 with The Beatles, harmonica player Delbert McClinton met John Lennon and gave him some harmonica tips. Lennon put the lessons to use right away on "Love Me Do" and later "Please Please Me". I conclude that Hey! Baby was the reason for the Beatles initial success.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
John Maddocks Jazz Men at the St Leonards Hotel
This evening we went to the St Leonards Hotel, Dorset, for a meal and bottle of wine in the function room, followed by a great evening of jazz.
John Maddocks Jazz Men (pictured) comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, alto sax, vocals), Peter Wilkinson (trumpet, vocals), Tony Farr (trombone), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Peter McCurrie (stick bass, tuba), George Skidmore, (banjo, guitar, vocal) and, special guest, the wonderful young Julian Aldridge (drums).
Favourite numbers were:
1) John's fine alto feature with Chris Satterley's vocal Please Don't Talk about me When I'm Gone, written by Sam H. Stept with lyrics by Sidney Clare. Original publication also credited singer Bee Palmer as co-composer. The song was published in 1930. The chorus uses virtually the same chord sequence as the 1925 composition 'Has Anybody Seen My Gal?'. The link is to the greatest of all jazz singers, Billie Holiday. This song is also sung by Norma Shearer's character Mary Haines in the 1939 film The Women as a joke when she leaves her girl friends alone at tea while she takes a call from her philandering husband Stephen Haines.
2) Working Man Blues, one of the many great numbers written by Joe 'King' Oliver, as featured on this link. We prefer the 1950's Dutch Swing College Version with the slow introduction but it is not available on YouTube.
As a player, Oliver took great interest in altering his horn's sound. He pioneered the use of mutes, including the rubber plumber's plunger, derby hat, bottles and cups. His favorite mute was a small metal mute made by C.G. Conn Instrument Company, with which he played his famous solo on his composition the "Dippermouth Blues" (an early nickname for fellow cornetist Louis Armstrong). His recording "WaWaWa" with the Dixie Syncopators can be credited with giving the name wah-wah to such techniques. He credited jazz pioneer Buddy Bolden as an early influence and in turn was a major influence on numerous younger cornet/trumpet players in New Orleans and Chicago, including Tommy Ladnier, Paul Mares, Muggsy Spanier,Johnny Wiggs and, the most famous of all, Louis Armstrong. One of his protégés, Louis Panico (cornetist with the Isham Jones Orchestra), authored a book entitled "The Novelty Cornetist," which is illustrated with photos showing some of the mute techniques he learned from Oliver. As mentor to Armstrong in New Oleans, Oliver taught young Louis and gave him his job in Kid Ory's band when he went to Chicago. A few years later Oliver summoned him to Chicago to play with his band. Louis remembered Oliver as "Papa Joe" and considered him his idol and inspiration. In his autobiography, "Satchmo - My Life in New Orleans," Armstrong wrote: "It was my ambition to play as he did. I still think that if it had not been for Joe Oliver, Jazz would not be what it is today. He was a creator in his own right."
3) John's show-stopping clarinet feature (at which most of his rivals fail) St Philip Street Breakdown, composed by George Lewis (playing it on this link) with some suggestions that he copied it from Woody Herman's 'Chips Boogie Woogie'. Lewis was born Joseph Louis Francois Zenon, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Lewis' great-great grandmother by his mother, Alice Zeno, was a Senegalese slave who was brought over to Louisana around 1803. Zeno's family retained some knowledge of Senegalese language and customs until Alice's generation.
Lewis was playing clarinet professionally by 1917, at the age of seventeen, working with Buddy Petit and Chris Kelly regularly as well as the trombonist Kid Ory and other leaders. In 1942, when a group of New Orleans jazz enthusiasts, including jazz historian Bill Russell, went to New Orleans to record the older trumpeter Bunk Johnson, Johnson chose Lewis as his clarinetist. Previously almost unknown outside of New Orleans, Lewis was soon asked to make his first recordings as a leader of the revivalist period. Lewis stayed with Bunk Johnson's newly popular band through 1946. This included a trip to New York City, where they played for dancing at the Stuyvesant Casino on Second Avenue. At this time, the band members included Johnson, Lewis, Marrero, Pavageau, trombonist Jim Robinson, pianist Alton Purnell, and drummer Baby Dodds. While in New York, they recorded for the Decca and Victor labels.
After Bunk's retirement, Lewis took over leadership of the band, usually featuring Robinson, Pavageau, Marrero, Purnell, drummer Joe Watkins, and a succession of New Orleans trumpet players—including Elmer Talbert, Avery "Kid" Howard, and Percy Humphrey. Starting in 1949 Lewis was a regular at the French Quarter's Bourbon Street entertainment clubs. National touring soon followed, and Lewis became a symbol of the New Orleans jazz tradition. Traveling ever more widely, he often told his audiences that his touring band was "the last of the real New Orleans jazz bands." His music was extremely influential on a whole generation of British New Orleans jazz musicians, and many clarinettists based their style (at least initially) on Lewis's playing. He first visited Britain in 1957, playing across the country with Ken Colyer's Jazzmen. In 1959 he returned, this time with his full band, and received a warm response. British fans of the old New Orleans style were thrilled to see and hear in the flesh some of the old masters from the Crescent City.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
New Orleans Heat at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening we went to see New Orleans Heat at Verwood Jazz Club.
The band (pictured) comprised Gwyn Lewis (cornet, flugelhorn, Vocals), Mike Taylor (trombone), John Scantlebury (clarinet, alto sax, vocals), Tony Peatman (banjo), Harry Slater (double bass), Barry Grummett (keyboard, leader) and Colin Bushell (drums). The most obvious advantage of this band is the fine jazz-style vocals of Gwyn Lewis, featured on the majority of numbers. Favourite numbers were:
1) 2:19 Blues, Composed by Mamie Desdume. The link is to a wonderful version by Louis Armstrong and Sidney Béchet. On the Library of Congress version by Jelly Roll Morton, the piece is introduced by Morton with these words: “Here’s was among the first blues that I’ve ever heard, happened to be a woman, that lived next door to my godmother’s in the Garden District. Her name was Mamie Desdunes. On her right hand, she had her two middle fingers, between her forefingers, cut off, and she played with the three. So she played a blues like this all day long, when she first would get up in the morning.” Jelly Roll plays the piano introduction with his characteristic emphasis on the beauty of the melody, but with a quietly rocking, Spanish bass, not present on the later version. The 1939 version is much simpler in structure, but equally beautiful and highly regarded since its first release, with its poignant spoken introduction in these words: “This is the first blues I no doubt heard in my life. Mamie Desdunes, this is her favourite blues. She hardly could play anything else more, but she really could play this number. Of course, to get in on it, to try to learn it, I made myself the . . . the can rusher.”
Bunk Johnson told Alan Lomax in an interview recorded by Lomax in March 1949 that he knew Mamie well. This is what he said: “I knew Mamie Desdoumes (Lomax’s spelling) real well. Played many a concert with her singing those same blues. She was pretty good looking — quite fair and with a nice head of hair. She was a hustling woman. A blues-singing poor girl. Used to play pretty passable piano around them dance halls on Perdido Street. When Hattie Rogers or Lulu White would put it out that Mamie was going to be singing at her place, the white men would turn out in bunches and them whores would clean up.” The date of the interview was verified by Lomax in a letter he wrote to The Record Changer about Bunk Johnson in June 1949.
Mamie died at 2414 Clara Street, New Orleans on 4th December 1911, aged 32 years, almost exactly the same age at which her mother died. The death certificate was recorded under the name of Mamie Dugue, married and a housekeeper. The cause of death was phthisis pulmonitis (tuberculosis of the lungs).
2) The Kid Thomas Boogie, composed by Thomas Valentine, commonly known as Kid Thomas (1896 - 1987). Kid Thomas was born in Reserve, Louisiana and came to New Orleans in his youth. He gained a reputation as a hot trumpet man in the early 1920s. Starting in 1926 he led his own band, for decades based in the New Orleans suburb of Algiers, Louisiana. The band was long popular with local dancers. Kid Thomas had perhaps the city's longest lasting old-style traditional jazz dance band. Unlike many other musicians, Thomas was unaffected by the influence of Louis Armstrong and later developments of jazz, continuing to play in his distinctive hot, bluesy sometimes percussive style. He was always open to playing the popular tunes of the day (even into the rock & roll era) as he thought any good dance bandleader should do, but played everything in a style of a New Orleans dance hall of the early 1920s.
Kid Thomas Valentine started attracting a wider following with his first recordings in the 1950s. His band played regularly at Preservation Hall from the 1960s through the 1980s. Thomas also toured extensively for the Hall, including a Russian tour, and was often a guest at European clubs and festivals, working with various local bands as well as his own. During the 1960s Kid Thomas recorded extensively for the Jazz Crusade label both with his own band and with Big Bill Bissonnette's Easy Riders Jazz Band. He made over 20 tours with the Easy Riders in the U.S. Northeast. Many of these recordings are now available on CD on the GHB or Jazz Crusade labels. In the mid 1980s, as Thomas's strength started to wane, Preservation Hall management brought in Wendell Brunious, at first as second trumpet; Brunious took over most of the trumpet playing in Thomas's final year or so, though Kid Thomas continued to lead the band and keep rhythm with a slap stick. The link is to New Orleans Delight.
3) The final number, great for dancing, Kansas City Boogie, about which I know nothing. The link is to a piano solo by Julia Lee in 1952.
Monday, September 9, 2013
Colin Kingwell's Jazz Bandits at the Bluebirds Club
This evening we went to see Colin Kingwell's Jazz Bandits at the Bluebirds Club in Longham.
The band (pictured) comprised; Dave Stradwick (cornet), Colin Kingwell (trombone, jokes), John Lawes (clarinet, vocals), Peter Brooks (string bass), Dave Foorsett (banjo) and 'Malc' Murphy (drums, vocals). Unusual numbers this evening were:
1) John Lawes' vocal Don't Give Up The Ship, the dying command of Captain James Lawrence in 1813 aboard the USS Chesapeake when being defeated by HMS Shannon. The link is to the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, despite different words, because it features some fine legs. The number was composed by the prolific Harry Warren with Al Dubin in 1935 for the musical 'Shipmates Forever'.
Warren was born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna, one of eleven children of Italian immigrants Antonio (a bootmaker) and Rachel De Luca Guaragna, and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His father changed the family name to Warren when Harry was a child. Although his parents could not afford music lessons, Warren had an early interest in music and taught himself to play his father's accordion. He also sang in the church choir and learned to play the drums. He began to play the drums professionally by age 14 and dropped out of high school at 16 to play with his godfather's band in a traveling carnival. Soon he taught himself to play piano and by 1915, he was working at the Vitagraph Motion Picture Studios, where he did a variety of administrative jobs, such as props man, and also played mood music on the piano for the actors, acted in bit parts and eventually was an assistant director. He also played the piano in cafés and silent-movie houses. In 1918 he joined the U.S. Navy, where he began writing songs
Warren's first hit song was "Rose of the Rio Grande" (1922), with lyrics by Edgar Leslie. He wrote a succession of hit songs in the 1920s, including "I Love My Baby (My Baby Loves Me)" and "Seminola" in 1925, "Where Do You Work-a John?" and "In My Gondola" in 1926 and "Nagasaki" in 1928. In 1930, he composed the music for the song "Cheerful Little Earful" for the Billy Rose Broadway revue, Sweet and Low, and composed the music, with lyrics by Mort Dixon and Joe Young, for the Ed Wynn Broadway revue The Laugh Parade in 1931.
He started working for Warner Brothers in 1932, paired with Dubin to write the score for the first blockbuster film musical, 42nd Street, and continued to work there for six years, writing the scores for 32 more musicals. He worked for 20th Century Fox starting in 1940, writing with Mack Gordon. He moved to MGM starting in 1944, writing for musical films such as The Harvey Girls and The Barkleys of Broadway, many starring Fred Astaire. He later worked for Paramount, starting in the early 1950s, writing for the Bing Crosby film Just for You and the Martin and Lewis film The Caddy, the latter containing the hit song "That's Amore". He continued to write songs for several more Jerry Lewis comedies. Warren is particularly remembered for writing scores for the films of Busby Berkeley; they worked together on 18 films. His "uptempo songs are as memorable as Berkeley's choreography, as [sic] for the same reason: they capture, in a few snazzy notes, the vigorous frivolity of the Jazz Age." The 1980 stage musical 42nd Street showcases his popular songs from these films. Warren won the Academy Award for Best Song three times, collaborating with three different lyricists: "Lullaby of Broadway" with Al Dubin in 1935, "You'll Never Know" with Mack Gordon in 1943, and "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" with Johnny Mercer in 1946. He was nominated for eleven Oscars.
2) Another John Lawes vocal, Gosport Nancy, a traditional sailor's song collected by Cyril Tawney, who was born in Gosport. Perhaps because of the family tradition of maritime service, Tawney joined the Royal Navy at the age of sixteen, serving for thirteen years, several of which were spent in submarines. During this period he developed his lifelong interest in English traditional music. While still in the Navy in 1957, he performed on an Alan Lomax radio show broadcast on Christmas Day, Sing Christmas and the Turn of the Year. He appeared on television on the following Easter Sunday. It went well and soon he had a weekly television spot and a networked show, Watch Aboard. Encouraged by these successes, Cyril left the Navy early in 1959 to become a full-time professional musician and broadcaster. He earned his living in this way for 44 years, making him Britain's longest-standing professional folksinger.
Tawney continued to work in broadcasting and had a weekly radio show, "Folkspin." Meanwhile, he researched the traditional songs of southwest England and 20th Century Royal Navy songs. In the early 1960s he established his first folk club in Plymouth, where he met his wife Rosemary. He founded the West of England Folk Centre and was instrumental in setting up folk clubs in other places in the region. He is often referred to as the Founding Father of the West Country folk revival. His song The Oggie Man written in 1959, appeared on the album A Cold Wind Blows on the Elektra ’66 label. It reappeared in 1971 on the Decca Record Company Ltd album The World of Folk. The song tells the story of the demise of the 'Oggie Man' from the Devonport Naval Dockyard, at a time when old-fashioned "fast food" was being replaced by the more modern purveyors of hot dogs (and all) (the "big boys" of the song). The Oggie Man had until that time offered his oggies (pasties) to sailors returning from sea, or from shore leave, from a box at the Albert Gate of the dock. It has been suggested that the sale of oggies here dated back to the 1700s.
As we believe in innocence until proven guilty, we have no hesitation in posting this link to the Rolf Harris version, complete with some nice clips of Gosport, where John Lawes keeps his boat. John says that Gosport sailors' wives used to put a detergent packet in the window, e.g. OMO (Old Man Overseas) or SURF (Sex Urgently Required Friday). I forget what PERSIL meant.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
John Maddocks Jazz Men at the Bournemouth Flying Club Café
This evening we went to the Bournemouth Flying Club Café, Hurn, Dorset, for jazz, food and a bottle of wine.
John Maddocks Jazz Men (pictured from rather too close) comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Peter Wilkinson (trumpet, vocals), Tony Farr (trombone), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Peter McCurrie (string bass, tuba), George Skidmore, (banjo, guitar, vocal) and Brian Barker (drums).
Interesting numbers included:
1) George's vocal Nobody's Sweetheart Now, written in 1924, with music by Billy Meyers and Elmer Schoebel, and lyrics by Gus Kahn and Ernie Erdman. The link is to Rudy Vallee and his Conneticut Yankees from a 1929 film "Vagabond Lover" the title of a song which he personally wrote. Of the song's four writers, the most interesting in many respects is Elmer Schoebel (1896 - 1970). He was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger who started playing along to silent films in Champaign, Illinois early in his career. After moving on to vaudeville late in the 1910s, he played with the 20th Century Jazz Band in Chicago in 1920. In 1922-23 he was a member of the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, then led his own band, known variously as the Midway Gardens Orchestra, the Original Memphis Melody Boys and the Chicago Blues Dance Orchestra, before joining Isham Jones in 1925. After returning to Chicago he played with Louis Panico and Art Kassel, and arranged for the Melrose Publishing House.
In the 1930s Schoebel wrote and arranged, working as the chief arranger for the Warner Brothers publishing division. From the 1940s onward he did some performing with Conrad Janis, Blue Steele's Rhythm Rebels (1958), and with his own ensembles in St. Petersburg, Florida. He continued to play up until his death. Schoebel was never famous as a performer, but he wrote a number of standards, including "Bugle Call Rag", "Nobody's Sweetheart Now", "Farewell Blues", "Copenhagen", and "Prince of Wails". The last two of those songs were the only two Schoebel ever recorded as a leader, in 1929.
2) Black Cat On The Fence, composed, depending on which source you believe, by either Narvin Kimball or Emanuel Sayles. Narvin Kimball (1909 - 2006) was a jazz musician who played banjo and string bass and was also known for his fine singing voice. This left-handed virtuoso banjo player was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of well regarded string bass player Henry Kimball. He was playing music professionally by the mid-1920s with such groups as the bands of Fate Marable and Papa Celestin. He married a fellow member of Celestin's Tuxedo Jazz Band, pianist Jeannette Kimball (née Salvant). In the 1930s during the Great Depression Kimball switched to string bass to play in swing bands such as Sidney Desvigne's, but music did not provide enough money; and he got a day job as a mailman. He continued playing music in the evening, leading his band called "Narvin Kimball's Gentlemen of Jazz".
After World War II he formed a singing group called "The Four Tones" with Fred Minor, Alvin Alcorn, and Louis Barbarin that enjoyed some local success. With the revival of interest in traditional jazz, about 1960, he was able to return to playing banjo professionally again. He played regularly at such French Quarter venues as Preservation Hall and Dixieland Hall, at the latter often leading a band under his own name. However he kept his day job as a postman until his retirement in 1973; until then he only took brief tours outside the city while on vacation from his postal job. After this date, he toured the United States and Europe extensively with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. His singing "Georgia on My Mind" was a reliable show stopper. He was the oldest member of the band at his retirement in 1999 at age 90. When Hurricane Katrina was threatening New Orleans, in 2005, Preservation Hall leader Ben Jaffe made a point to make sure Kimball and his wife were evacuated to Baton Rouge. He died in exile with relatives in South Carolina.
Emanuel Sayles (1907 - 1986) was an American jazz banjoist chiefly active in the New Orleans jazz scene. Sayles played violin and viola as a child, then taught himself banjo and guitar. He went to high school in Pensacola, Florida, then relocated to New Orleans and played with William Ridgely's Tuxedo Orchestra. Following this he worked with Fate Marable, Armand Piron, and Sidney Desvigne on riverboats up and down the Mississippi River. In 1929 he participated in recordings with the Jones-Collins Astoria Hot Eight. Sayles moved to Chicago in 1933, where he led his own group and worked often as an accompanist on blues and jazz recordings with Roosevelt Sykes and others. He returned to New Orleans in 1949, playing with George Lewis (with whom he toured Japan in 1963-64) and Sweet Emma Barrett. He played with Punch Miller in Cleveland in 1960, then played again in Chicago in the house band at the Jazz Ltd. club from 1965-67. Returning once more to New Orleans in 1968, he played with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Sayles also recorded with Peter Bocage, Kid Thomas Valentine, Earl Hines, and Louis Cottrell, Jr. He recorded extensively as a leader in the 1960s for GHB, Nobility, Dixie, and Big Lou.
The link is to the classic Ken Colyer version from the 1950's. recorded at The Railway Hotel, Hampstead, London. The line-up was; Ken Colyer; tpt, Mac Duncan; tmb, Ian Wheeler; clt. John Bastable; bjo. Ron Ward; bss. and Colin Bowden; dms.
3) John on soprano sax and vocal for The Sunny Side of the Street, supposedly composed by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields, although it is likely that Fats Waller sold it to them. It was introduced in the Broadway musical Lew Leslie's International Revue, starring Harry Richman and Gertrude Lawrence. Having become a jazz standard, it was played (usually as an instrumental) by such greats as Ted Lewis, Dave Brubeck, Earl Hines, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Errol Garner, Dizzy Gillespie, Art Tatum, James Booker, and Count Basie. Duke Ellington's orchestra featuring Ivie Anderson recorded a live performance at the Cotton Club in 1938. Fats Waller and His Rhythm performed the song live with Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden in a radio broadcast from Martin Block’s Make Believe Ballroom in October 1938. The version is included on the 1981 Smithsonian Folkways album Striding in Dixieland. Frankie Laine had a hit with his recording and the song also was recorded by other leading vocalists, including Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Keely Smith, Nat King Cole, Jo Stafford, and Frank Sinatra. Arguably the best known arrangement is found in the 1945 record by Tommy Dorsey and the Sentimentalists.
The link is to a remastered high quality recording by Louis Armstrong from the Louis Armstrong Jazz Collection Vol.8.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
John Maddocks Jazz Men at the St Leonards Hotel
This evening we went to the St Leonards Hotel, Dorset, just for jazz and bottle of wine, having eaten at the Elephant Castle in West Moors first.
John Maddocks Jazz Men (pictured with organiser Tony MacDonald in foreground) comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Peter Wilkinson (trumpet, vocals), Tony Farr (trombone, ), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Peter McCurrie (string bass, tuba), George Skidmore, (banjo, guitar) and Brian Barker (drums).
Interesting numbers included:
1) Chris Satterley's vocal S'posin, composed in 1929 by Paul Denniker with lyrics by Andy Razaf. It became a hit for crooner Rudy Vallee and even inspired a whole series of similar songs, a cycle to which Denniker and Razaf were pleased to contribute, thus giving birth to "Wontcha" and "Perhaps". Fats Waller played many of Denniker's compositions, to the extent that they became more associated with the player/singer than the composer. The link is to the Paul Whiteman Orchestra with vocal by Bing Crosby. It is a Crosby recording that we have on CD.
2) John's clarinet feature Oriental Man, composed by Jimmy Blythe and Clarence Johnson. Blythe was born in Louisville, Kentucky and moved to Chicago around 1916, studying with pianist Clarence Jones. He was an all-round pianist, who generally incorporated boogie-woogie styles into more varied pieces such as "Chicago Stomps" (1924) which drew on ragtime and other popular styles of the time. He made hundreds of piano rolls in the early 1920s, for the Columbia (later renamed Capitol) Music Roll Company in Chicago, before accompanying many singers on Paramount Records and appearing with small 'spasm bands' like the Midnight Rounders and the State Street Ramblers. He also duetted with Johnny Dodds, and led his own group, Blythe's Sinful Five. His 1925 recording, "Jimmy's Blues", provided the theme used by Pinetop Smith on "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie", and he was also acknowledged as an influence by Albert Ammons. Blythe died of meningitis in Chicago in 1931, aged 30. The link is to Johnny Dodds Chicago Footwarmers in 1927.
3) The Saturday Night Function, written by Barney Bigard and arranged by Duke Ellington. The link is to Duke Ellington and his Cotton Club Orchestra in 1929.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Dave Moorwood's Rascals of Rhythm at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening, after a good meal in the 'Hideaway' restaurant, we saw Dave Moorwood's Rascals of Rhythm playing at the Verwood Jazz Club. The band comprised Mike Willis (soprano sax, clarinet, tenor sax), Tony Blincowe (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax), Perry lock (keyboard), Dave Moorwood (acoustic guitar), Roger Davis (double bass) and Kim Osmond (vocals). This a good band with a less traditional style than many at Verwood. Its main feature is the dominance of vocals. Notable numbers were:
1) Copenhagen, composed in 1924 by bandleader Charlie Davis and recorded in that year by the Wolverine Orchestra in a foxtrot tempo. The title refers to Copenhagen tobacco, favoured by Davis's bass player. On April 5, 1924, Davis's jazz band began an engagement at the Ohio Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana, and performed the song "Copenhagen." That evening, members of The Wolverines, including cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, heard the performance and asked Davis to be allowed to perform the tune in their own engagement. Davis agreed; the Wolverines worked out their own arrangement in the course of engagements at Indiana University and elsewhere over the following weeks. The Wolverines recorded it at Gennett Studios in Richmond, Indiana on May 6, 1924. "Copenhagen" was published in the same year (in the Wolverines' arrangement) by the Melrose Bros. Music Company of Chicago, Illinois. At least nine other recordings of the tune were released in 1924 alone. The Wolverines recording features a brief cornet solo by Beiderbecke; the recording by Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra, arranged by Don Redman, features a solo by Louis Armstrong.The link is to a live performance by the Dutch Swing College in Berlin in 1965. We have a better DSC version from the 1950s.
2) Kim's first vocal Breaking in a pair of shoes, composed by Franklin-Stept-Washington. I presume this is Sam H Stept and Ned Washington (lyrics) but I have no idea about Franklin. The link is to the best-known version by Benny Goodman. Teddy Wilson's recording is also widely available.
3) Another of Kim's vocals The Frim Fram Sauce, composed in 1945 by Joe Ricardel with lyrics by Redd Evans. It was made famous by The Nat King Cole Trio and performed by a variety of musicians over the years. "The Frim Fram Sauce" is best remembered for its silly lyrics. The narrator speaks to a waiter in a restaurant, as if in the process of ordering food. Throughout the song, the customer lists numerous real foods that he doesn't want, such as pork chops and fish cakes. In the chorus, he explains what he really wants: some "frim fram sauce" with the "oss and fay" /ˈɒs.nˌfeɪ/ and "shifafa" /ʃəˈfɑːfə/ on the side. (The spelling is uncertain; we could instead have "oss'n'fay" or "ussinfay" /ˈʌs.nˌfeɪ/), and "shafafa.") At the end, the narrator character says: "If you don't have it, just bring me a check for the water!" This may be interpreted as the character performing a scam: he wanted the water (which is customarily served free to customers at restaurants before they order), and makes up nonsense words for dishes as he has no intention of really ordering anything (which he would have to pay for), and he knows that he will not be charged for the water.
Although considered a novelty song, "The Frim Fram Sauce" has nonetheless endured as a memorable tune of its era. It has been performed by numerous artists including Ella Fitzgerald (with Louis Armstrong), Slim and Slam (Slim Gaillard and Slam Stewart), Les Brown, King Crimson, John Pizzarelli, Diana Krall, who both included the song in her 1993 debut album Stepping Out as well as in her 1996 Nat King Cole tribute album, All For You, and Mandy Mann (2005). American blues guitarist Bob Brozman also included a version of the song, with somewhat revised lyrics on his 2007 album, "Post-Industrial Blues". The song was also performed on the American Idol TV show in 2002 by Ryan Starr. A plausible etymology and meanings for two of the three strange food terms in the lyrics – which the lyrics writers may or may not simply have made up as nonsense terms – were given in an article by etymologist-philologist William Safire published in 2002: frim fram is an alteration of "flim(-)flam," meaning "insignificant stuff" or "nonsense" ussin-fay is pig Latin for "fussin'," playing about fretfully. As mentioned in Safire's article, the food terms, especially the third term, shafafa, are often interpreted as having a sexual meaning or innuendo.
The link is to Diana Krall (pno & voc); Dan Faehnde (gtr); Ben Wolfe (bass); Rodney Green (dms), live at the Marciac Jazz Festival (France). Aug. 5, 2001.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Amy Roberts Band at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening, we saw Amy Roberts with her own Band at the Bournemouth Traditional Jazz Club at the Bluebirds Club in Longham. The band comprised Amy Roberts (alto sax, clarinet, flute), Sam Watt (keyboard), Richard Leach (trombone, vocal), Sandy Suchodolski (string bass) and Graham Smith (drums). Still only 25, Amy was better than ever on all three instruments. Sam and Sandy, even younger than Amy, were as good as any of the old-timers. Favourite numbers were:
1) Who's Sorry Now, composed by Ted Snyder with lyrics by Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby and published in 1923. The song has been recorded by a number of artists, some of the earliest versions being recorded by Irving Kaufman, Marion Harris, and Isham Jones. It was recorded later in 1932 by Billy Banks and His Rhythmakers, featuring Eddie Condon on guitar. The Tiny Hill Orchestra recorded it in 1945. Another one of those was an August 20, 1951 recording by Jerry Gray and his orchestra. Johnnie Ray recorded his version in 1956 for the Columbia Records label. It reached number 17 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1956.
The song was recorded in 1958 by Connie Francis, as on this link. Since then the song has become closely identified with her due to the immense popularity of her version which was her breakout hit. Francis' father had pestered her to record "Who's Sorry Now" being adamant that the song would be a rock and roll smash hit. Francis did not share this enthusiasm but when an October 1957 recording session - scheduled to be Francis' last as she had scored no hits - wrapped early the singer used the leftover studio time to record "Who's Sorry Now" as a goodwill gesture to her father. Breaking in January 1958 - mainly on account of Dick Clark's championing of "Who's Sorry Now" on American Bandstand - the track rose to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 that spring, with eventual US sales totaling one million units. In the UK, "Who's Sorry Now" was number 1 for six weeks in May and June 1958. "Who's Sorry Now?" was featured in the Marx Brothers film A Night in Casablanca (1946), directed by Archie Mayo and released by United Artists.
2) Sam with bass and drums playing Misty, composed by Erroll Garner, who plays it on this link. It was originally composed as an instrumental following the traditional 32-bar format and first recorded for Garner's 1955 album Contrasts. The tune was later paired with lyrics by Johnny Burke and became the signature song of Johnny Mathis, appearing on his 1959 album Heavenly and reaching #12 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart later that year.
It has been covered many times, by such artists as Ella Fitzgerald (1959), Sarah Vaughan (1959), Billy Eckstine (1960), Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, The Students, Earl Grant (1961), Della Reese (1962), (Lloyd Price (1963), Richard "Groove" Holmes (1965), Donny Hathaway (1970) as a gospel song, Johnny Hartman 1971 and also by Ray Stevens (1975) as a country song. Lesley Gore included a version of the song on her 1963 debut album, I'll Cry If I Want To. Joni James recorded a version of "Misty" accompanied by acoustic guitar on her 1963 album, Like 3 O'Clock in the Morning. A version was also recorded by Julie London and an instrumental version by The Shadows. Erroll Garner's version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1991 and Johnny Mathis's version of the song was inducted in 2002. The 1975 country version by Ray Stevens won a Grammy in the category of Music Arrangement of the Year. The song plays a key role in the plot of the 1971 film 'Play Misty for Me'. Clint Eastwood and Universal paid $25,000 to use it. Selina watched the film on television late one night when I was away on business and insisted I must see it with her next time.
3) S'wonderful, composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin. It was introduced in the Broadway musical Funny Face (1927) by Adele Astaire and Allen Kearns. The song was included in the 1951 movie An American in Paris where it was sung by Gene Kelly and Georges Guétary, as well as in the 1957 American musical film Funny Face, in which it was performed by Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire and in Starlift (1951) by Doris Day. The song is a very well known standard, recorded by many artists, especially jazz artists. Vocal versions include those of Brian Wilson, Anita O'Day, Gene Kelly, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Joe Williams, John Pizzarelli, Sarah Vaughan, Karrin Allyson, Diana Krall (as on this link), João Gilberto and Engelbert Humperdinck. There have also been purely instrumental recordings, for example, by Dave Grusin, Ray Conniff, Lee Konitz and Lennie Tristano, Sonny Stitt, and Lionel Hampton with Oscar Peterson. Krall's version was also used for an Australian TV advertisement for promoting Virgin Australia in 2012.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
John Maddocks and Friends at the St Leonards Hotel
This evening we went to the St Leonards Hotel, Dorset, just for jazz and drinks, having eaten at the Elephant Castle in West Moors, where we live.
John Maddocks and Friends (pictured) comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Rich Bennett (trumpet, vocals), Richard Lonnen (trombone, harmonica), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Peter McCurrie (string bass, tuba, bass guitar), George Skidmore, (banjo, guitar) and Brian Barker (drums).
There were several interesting numbers that were new to us, three of which were:
1) John's alto and vocal feature (There'll Be No Freebies at) Miss Jenny's Ball, which Quinton Redd claims to have composed on his record label (difficult to confirm). However, the link is to a fine recording by Mamie Smith. She was born Mamie Robinson, probably in Cincinnati, Ohio, although no records of her birth exist. When she was ten years old, she found work touring with a white act called the Four Dancing Mitchells. As a teenager, she danced in Salem Tutt Whitney's Smart Set. In 1913, she left the Tutt Brothers to sing in clubs in Harlem and married a waiter named William "Smitty" Smith.
In 1920, Mamie recorded a set of songs written by the African-American songwriter Perry Bradford, including "Crazy Blues" and "It's Right Here For You (If You Don't Get It, 'Tain't No Fault of Mine)". It was the first recording of vocal blues by an African-American artist and the record became a best seller, selling a million copies in less than a year. To the surprise of record companies, large numbers were purchased by African Americans, and there was a sharp increase in the popularity of race records. Because of the historical significance of "Crazy Blues", it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994 and, in 2005, was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. Although other African Americans had been recorded earlier, such as George W. Johnson in the 1890s, they were African-American artists performing music which had a substantial following with European-American audiences. The success of Mamie's record prompted record companies to seek to record other female blues singers and started the era of what is now known as classic female blues. It also opened up the music industry to recordings by, and for, African Americans in other genres.
Mamie continued to make a series of popular recordings throughout the 1920s. She also toured the United States and Europe with her band "Mamie Smith & Her Jazz Hounds" as part of "Mamie Smith's Struttin' Along Review". She was billed as "The Queen of the Blues". This billing of Mamie Smith was soon one-upped by Bessie Smith, who called herself "The Empress of the Blues." And like Bessie did, Mamie too found that the new mass medium of radio provided a way to gain additional fans, especially in cities with predominantly white audiences. Various recording lineups of her Jazz Hounds included (from August 1920 to October 1921) Jake Green, Curtis Moseley, Garvin Bushell, Johnny Dunn, Dope Andrews, Ernest Elliot, Porter Grainger (who also accompanied Bessie Smith and wrote 'Ain't Nobody's Business'), Leroy Parker, Bob Fuller, and (June 1922-January 1923) Coleman Hawkins, Everett Robbins, Johnny Dunn, Herschel Brassfield, Herb Flemming, Buster Bailey Cutie Perkins, Joe Smith, Bubber Miley and Cecil Carpenter. While recording with her Jazz Hounds, she also recorded as "Mamie Smith and Her Jazz Band", comprising George Bell, Charles Matson, Nathan Glantz, Larry Briers, Jules Levy, Jr., Joe Samuels, together with musicians from the Jazz Hounds, including Coleman, Fuller and Carpenter.
2) John's vocal and alto blues feature with Peter on bass guitar and Richard on harmonica, Never Trust a Woman (until she's dead and deep), composed by Louis Jordan and Bill Doggett. The link is to a Louis Jordan recording, probably the original one from 1951. Louis Thomas Jordan (1908 – 1975) was a pioneering American musician, songwriter and bandleader who enjoyed his greatest popularity from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. Known as "The King of the Jukebox", he was highly popular with both black and white audiences in the later years of the swing era. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him no. 59 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Jordan was one of the most successful African-American musicians of the 20th century, ranking fifth in the list of the all-time most successful black recording artists according to Billboard magazine's chart methodology. Though comprehensive sales figures are not available, he scored at least four million-selling hits during his career. Jordan regularly topped the R&B "race" charts, and was one of the first black recording artists to achieve a significant "crossover" in popularity into the mainstream (predominantly white) American audience, scoring simultaneous Top Ten hits on the white pop charts on several occasions. After Duke Ellington and Count Basie, Louis Jordan was probably the most popular and successful African-American bandleader of his day.
Jordan was a talented singer with great comedic flair, and he fronted his own band for more than twenty years. He duetted with some of the biggest solo singing stars of his day, including Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. Jordan was also an actor and a major black film personality—he appeared in dozens of "soundies" (promotional film clips), made numerous cameos in mainstream features and short films, and starred in two musical feature films made especially for him. He was an instrumentalist who played all forms of the saxophone, but specialized in the alto, in addition to playing piano and clarinet. A productive songwriter, he wrote or co-wrote many songs that became influential classics of 20th-century popular music. Although Jordan began his career in big-band swing jazz in the 1930s, he became famous as one of the leading practitioners, innovators and popularizers of "jump blues", a swinging, up-tempo, dance-oriented hybrid of jazz, blues and boogie-woogie. Typically performed by smaller bands consisting of five or six players, jump music featured shouted, highly syncopated vocals and earthy, comedic lyrics on contemporary urban themes. It strongly emphasized the rhythm section of piano, bass and drums; after the mid-1940s, this mix was often augmented by electric guitar. Jordan's band also pioneered the use of electric organ. With his dynamic Tympany Five bands, Jordan mapped out the main parameters of the classic R&B, urban blues and early rock'n'roll genres with a series of hugely influential records. These recordings began many of the styles of black popular music in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, and exerted a huge influence on many leading performers in these genres. Many of his records were produced by Milt Gabler, who went on to refine and develop the qualities of Jordan's recordings in his later production work with Bill Haley, including "Rock Around The Clock".
3) Rich Bennett's vocal, You've Changed, written in 1941 by Carl Fischer with lyrics by Bill Carey. Carl T. Fischer (1912 - 1954) was a Native American jazz pianist and composer. He worked with Frankie Laine, composing Laine's 1945 hit song, 'We'll Be Together Again'. Fischer's parents, of Cherokee lineage, overcame poverty to provide him with music lessons. At the age of 32, Fischer joined a touring band and wrote some minor hits, which led to his work as an accompianist for Laine. With Laine's encouragement, Fischer wrote the musical, Tecumseh!, although it was never performed before Fischer's death.
Lyricist and composer Bill Carey (1916 - 2004), a Laguna Beach resident for 50 years, wrote songs for Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughn. More recent artists to record his music were Joni Mitchell, George Michael and Eva Cassity. Born in Holister, Calif. in 1916, he began singing various San Francisco nightclubs before even graduating from high school. He began singing with Ted Fio Rito's Orchestra in 1933 and sang with Muzzy Marcelino and Betty Grable. He went on to work in the music and movie industry and had his own jazz program two nights a week called "Carey's Capers." From 1935 to 1938, He played various film roles: "Roberta," "Old Man Rhythm," "Freshman Love" and "Yank at Oxford." He played alongside James Cagney in "Something to Sing About" in 1937 and alongside Randolph Scott in "Campus Confessions." He also sang and danced with Fred Astaire in another musical. He started writing lyrics for songs in the late 1930s, and by 1942, the song, 'You've Changed,' was recorded by Billy Holiday as on this link, on which she was by then past her best due to alcohol and drugs. Makes the song even sadder.
Friday, July 26, 2013
Acker Bilk at the Bournemouth Pavilion Ballroom
This evening we went to the Bournemouth Pavilion Ballroom to see Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band. The picture shows Acker in 2007; he now plays from a wheelchair. The current fine band comprises Colin Wood (Piano), John Day (Double Bass), Ian Bateman (Trombone), Enrico Tomasso (Trumpet), Acker Bilk (Clarinet) and Richie Burns (Drums). At the end we complimented Ian on his responses to Dave Hewett's FaceBook comments. Favourite numbers were:
1) Enrico's feature with interesting introduction and fine vocal St James Infirmary, of anonymous origin, though sometimes credited to one Joe Primrose (probably falsely as it is a pseudonym for Irving Mills). Louis Armstrong made it famous in his influential 1928 recording as on this link.
2) The ensemble piece Mood Indigo, composed by Barney Bigard and Duke Ellington for a radio broadcast in October 1930 and originally titled "Dreamy Blues." It was "the first tune I ever wrote specially for microphone transmission," Ellington recalled. "The next day wads of mail came in raving about the new tune, so Irving Mills put a lyric to it. Renamed "Mood Indigo," it became a jazz standard. While Irving Mills—Jack Mills's brother and publishing partner—took credit for the lyrics, in a 1987 interview, lyricist Mitchell Parish claimed that he had written the lyrics. The main theme was provided by Bigard, who learned it in New Orleans from his clarinet teacher Lorenzo Tio, who called it a "Mexican Blues". Ellington's distinctive arrangement was first recorded by his band on 17 October 1930. "Mood Indigo" is featured in the films Paris Blues (1961), The Untouchables (1987), Curtain Call (1999), The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) and in the miniseries Mildred Pierce (2011). It is also the closing music for the film The Cotton Club (1984). The link is to a version by the Harlem Ramblers featuring Acker Bilk (cl), Humphrey Lyttelton (cl), Tabis Bachmann (cl), Henry Chaix (pno), John Treichler (bass) and Gerry Ceccaroni (dr) in 1982.
3) Acker and Colin's duet, without the rest of the band, If I Had You, a 1928 song by "Irving King" (Jimmy Campbell and Reg Connelly) with Ted Shapiro. This romantic love song has become a mainstream jazz standard and continues to be performed and used in movie soundtracks into the 21st century. The song was used most notably in the soundtrack for the 1929 silent film Our Modern Maidens. Note: This song should not be confused with another early 20th century song of the same title written by Irving Berlin. The link is to the Benny Goodman version with a strange, in my view unrelated, cartoon.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Reeds United at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening, for the second time, we saw Reeds United playing at the Verwood Jazz Club. The band comprised George Huxley (soprano sax, clarinet, alto sax, vocals), John Maddocks (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Chris Satterly (keyboard), Geoff Over (banjo, guitar), John Fellows (double bass) and Barry Norman (drums). Notable numbers were:
1) Clarinet duet Trogs Blues, the link being to a 1954 live recording by Wally Fawkes with the Humphrey Lyttleton band; the other musicians being Johnny Parker (piano), Johnny Pickard (trombone), Bruce Turner (alto sax), Freddy Legon (banjo), Mickey Ashman (bass) and George Hopkinson (drums). Humph can be heard at the start crediting the composition to Wally, which seems logical as his cartoonist pseudonym in the Daily Mail 'Flook' series was 'Trog', a reference to his early drawings being like those of a troglodyte. John Maddocks seeks to disagree over composition rights; I hope he reads this and argues his case.
2) Dinah, composed by Harry Akst, with lyrics by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young. It was introduced by Eddie Cantor in Kid Boots (1923) in Pittsburgh. The song was published in 1925. The link is to my favourite version by the Quintette du Hot Club de France, led by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelly. I have most of Django's recordings on vinyl EPs and LPs, including rare ones.
I somehow found myself dancing with Selina and Ursula Lodge simultaneously; quite tricky. On return to our table I joked with strangers that it is a long time since I did it with two women at once !
3) Swing That Music, Written by Horace Gerlach and Louis Armstrong and performed on this link by Louis with what sounds like a large orchestra. It could be the Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra recording from May 18, 1936 in New York City. Personnel were: Louis Armstrong, (trumpet, vocal); Leonard Davis, Gus Aiken, Louis Bacon, (trumpets); Jimmy Archey, Snub Mosley, (trombones); Henry Jones, Charlie Holmes, (alto saxophones); Bingie Madison, Greely Walton, (tenor saxophones); Luis Russell, (piano); Lee Blair, (guitar); Pops Foster, (bass); Paul Barbarin, (drums).
Phil Schapp writes: Horace Gerlach is something of a phantom to Jazz history. His name is most prominent for his association with Louis. In 1936, Satchmo published his first book, “Swing That Music”, an autobiography and Jazz history. A song came out at that time also named “Swing That Music”. Horace Gerlach is listed with Louis as the co-composer. There is so little other documentation for Gerlach that his involvement or musical consequence with Armstrong was challenged. It became assumed by Jazz fans and Satchmo buffs that Horace Gerlach was some attendant figure to Louis’ operation who somehow got his name on copyrights. This is not the case. Horace Gerlach was a musician of consequence and an essential part of the Louis Armstrong Orchestra in the middle 1930s and, quite likely, into the late 1930s. A member of that Louis Armstrong Orchestra, the tenor saxophonist Greely Walton, provided glowing accounts about Gerlach. Greely had a very high regard for Horace. Walton stated that Gerlach was a primary in the music (music not lyrics; although Greely did not dismiss that Gerlach wrote words to music) in the 1935-36 Louis Armstrong Orchestra. Walton verified Gerlach's essential role in the composing, THE ARRANGEMENT, and, possibly, the words to "Swing That Music". You might notice that the piece “Swing That Music” has an intricate AND WRITTEN drum part. It is audible when played by 3 different drummers.
1. Paul Barbarin on the original recording of May 18, 1936.
2. Ray McKinley on a second recording done when the work was new on August 7, 1936.
3. Billy Gussack – a fairly obscure drummer – on June 25, 1938.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Karen Sharp with the Bernie Farrenden Quartet at the Amberwood
This evening, for the second time, we went to the Amberwood Inn in Walkford, where we ate a delicious Stroganoff and drank a fine Malbec. The jazz was provided by the Bernie Farrenden Quartet with special guest Karen Sharp on tenor sax. The quartet comprised Bernie Farrenden (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax), Ray Shea (keyboard, composer), John Seaman (bass) and Lee Miller (drums). Favourite numbers were:
1) Jitterbug Waltz. Thomas "Fats" Waller and His Rhythm introduced "Jitterbug Waltz" on their March 16, 1942, RCA Victor recording date. "Jitterbug Waltz" was inspired by some piano exercises that Waller's son Maurice had been practicing on the piano. It is almost universally performed as an instrumental because, although there are lyrics, only a handful of vocalists have taken on the challenging melody. The link is to Erroll Garner accompanied by Leonard Gaskin (bass) and Charlie Smith (drums). Recorded in NYC, July 20, 1949. (Atlantic Records).
2) On Green Dolphin Street, played on this link by Barney Kessel (guitar) with Ray Brown (bass) and Shelley Manne (drums). This is a 1947 popular song composed by Bronisław Kaper with lyrics by Ned Washington. The song, composed for the film Green Dolphin Street (which was based on a 1944 novel of the same name by Elizabeth Goudge), went on to become a jazz standard after being recorded by Miles Davis in 1958.
It brings back memories from 2006 of the restaurant and live jazz venue of the same name at the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town. The area exceeded all our expectations and the Ostrich steak was great. Shame it was not a good night for jazz.
3) Played as a Bossa Nova, A Beautiful Friendship, composed by Donald Kahn, son of the famous lyricist Gus Kahn, with lyrics by Stanley Styne, son of the composer Jule Styne. The link is to the Scott Hamilton Quartet at the Ueffilo Jazz Club - Gioia del Colle - Bari, comprising Scott Hamilton (tenor sax), Paolo Birro (piano), Aldo Zunino (bass), and Alfred Kramer drums. We have the Ella Fitzgerald version on CD.
Friday, July 12, 2013
Savannah Jazz Band at Salisbury Jazz Club
This evening, for the second time since Joe Croll took over its management, we went to the Salisbury Jazz Club at the Livestock Market. Joe welcomed us in by the side door and praised this weblog.
The jazz was provided by that great band from West Yorkshire, the Savannah Jazz Band, comprising John Meehan (drums & leader), Brian 'Sam' Ellis (trombone, keyboard, arranger), Bill Smith (cornet, harmonica, vocals), Roger Myerscough (clarinet, alto sax, vocals), Tony Pollitt (bass) and guest Dave Moorwood (banjo, guitar). Favourite numbers were:
1) Featuring Sam on keyboard and Bill on harmonica, Stormy Monday, written by T-Bone Walker and first recorded in 1947. Confusingly, it is also sometimes referred to as "Stormy Monday Blues", although that is the title of a 1942 song by Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine. Walker titled his song as he did to avoid the name collision. The song's initial release (1947) is based on the standard 12-bar blues format. The lyrics portray a person who is separated from their love, and is suffering from guilt in some way because of what they have done. The link is to the Eva Cassidy version.
2) Original Tuxedo Rag, played on this link by the early Chris Barber Band. It was written by Papa Celestin and recorded by the Original Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra in New Orleans in 1925. Celestin was born in Napoleonville, Louisiana, to a Creole family, son of a sugar-cane cutter. In his youth worked on rural Louisiana plantations. Eager for a better life, he worked as a cook for the Texas & Pacific Railroad, saved up money and bought used musical instruments. He played guitar and trombone before deciding on cornet as his main instrument. He took music lessons from Claiborne Williams, who traveled down the Bayou Lafourche from Donaldsonville. He played with the Algiers Brass Band by the early 1900s, and with various small town bands before moving to New Orleans in 1904, at age 20.
In New Orleans he played with the Imperial, Indiana, Henry Allen senior's Olympia Brass Bands, and Jack Carey's dance band; early in his career he was sometimes known as "Sonny" Celestin. About 1910 he landed a job as leader of the house band at the Tuxedo Dance Hall on North Franklin St. at the edge of Storyville. He kept the name "Tuxedo" for the name of the band after the Dance Hall closed. Dressing the band in tuxedos, the Tuxedo became one of the most popular bands hired for society functions, both black and white. For years Celestin co-led the Tuxedo Band with trombonist William Ridgely. They made their first recordings with the band during the Okeh Records field trip to New Orleans in 1925. Shortly after Ridgely and Celestin had a falling out and for about 5 years led competing "Tuxedo" bands. Celestin's Original Tuxedo Orchestra made an additional series of recordings for Columbia Records through the rest of the 1920s. In addition to the Tuxedo Orchestra, Celestin led the Tuxedo Brass Band, one of the top brass bands in the city. Such notables through the years were trombonist Bill Mathews, pianist Octave Crosby, drummer Christopher Goldston, cornetist Joe Oliver, trumpeter Mutt Carey, clarinetist Alphonse Picou, bassist Ricard Alexis and trumpeter Louis Armstrong played in the Original Tuxedo Orchestra with Celestin.
In 1932 Celestin was forced out of the business by depression economics, working in a shipyard until he got another band together after World War II. The new Tuxedo Brass Band proved tremendously popular and was hailed as a key New Orleans tourist attraction. In 1953, Papa Celestin appeared leading his band in the big-budget travelogue Cinerama Holiday. His band became a regular feature at the Paddock Lounge on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter, and made regular radio broadcasts, television appearance, and more recordings. In 1953 Celestin gave a command performance for President Eisenhower at the White House.
3) Cheek to Cheek, written by Irving Berlin in 1936, for the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film Top Hat (1935). In the film, Astaire sings the song to Rogers as they dance. The song was nominated for the Best Song Academy Award for 1936, which it lost to "Lullaby of Broadway". Astaire's recording of the song in 1935 spent five weeks at number 1 on Your Hit Parade and was named the top song of 1935. Astaire's 1935 recording with the Leo Reisman Orchestra was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2000. The song is probably most famous for its opening lines, "Heaven, I'm in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak..." and quickly became a standard of the Great American Songbook. The lyrics were parodied by Berlin himself in his subsequent song He Ain't Got Rhythm, from the film On the Avenue (1937).
The song, as sung by Astaire, and separately by Ella Fitzgerald (with Louis Armstrong on this link), is featured in the film 'The English Patient', and the version by Glenn Miller in Les Misérables. It is sung by Kenneth Branagh in Love's Labour's Lost. The original Astaire version is also featured in The Green Mile, Rain Man, A.I. Artificial Intelligence and The Purple Rose of Cairo, when Top Hat is being viewed. It can also be heard briefly in the movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps during the evening dinner scene. On June 13, 2013, Paul McCartney sang a few bars of the song with host Stephen Colbert on a special one-hour Colbert Report.
Wednesday 3rd July, 2013
Rags to Riches – An evening with Mike Denham (solo keyboard)
This evening we went to the Shelley Theatre, Boscombe Manor, Shelley Park, Boscombe BH5 1LX, tel. 01202 730010, for the first time. Pianist and raconteur Mike Denham performed a solo concert “Rags to Riches”. Mike took us on a wandering path, starting from the origins of jazz in Joplin ragtime and the blues, moving on via the pianistic fireworks of Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton, visiting the great songs of George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, and arriving, via boogie woogie, with Fats Domino at the birth of rock’n’roll. There were so many great numbers it is hard to pick a few but here goes:
1) Alligator Crawl, composed by Fats Waller and played by him on this link. Waller was one of the most popular performers of his era, finding critical and commercial success in his homeland and in Europe. He was also a prolific songwriter and many songs he wrote or co-wrote are still popular, such as "Honeysuckle Rose", "Ain't Misbehavin'" and "Squeeze Me". Fellow pianist and composer Oscar Levant dubbed Waller "the black Horowitz". Waller composed many novelty tunes in the 1920s and 1930s and sold them for relatively small sums. When the compositions became hits, other songwriters claimed them as their own. Many standards are alternatively and sometimes controversially attributed to Waller. Waller's son Maurice wrote in his 1977 biography of his father, that once he was playing "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" when he heard his father complaining from upstairs and came down and admonished him never to play that song in his hearing, saying that he had to sell that song when he needed some money. He even made a recording of it in 1938 with Adelaide Hall who, coincidentally, had introduced the song to the world (at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York in 1928), in which he played the tune but made fun of the lyrics. Likewise, Maurice noted his father's objections whenever he heard "On the Sunny Side of the Street" played on the radio.
The anonymous sleeve notes on the 1960 RCA (UK) album Handful of Keys state that Waller copyrighted over 400 new songs, many of which co-written with his closest collaborator Andy Razaf. Razaf described his partner as "the soul of melody... a man who made the piano sing... both big in body and in mind... known for his generosity... a bubbling bundle of joy". Gene Sedric, a clarinetist who played with Waller on some of his 1930s recordings, is quoted in these same sleeve notes recalling Waller's recording technique with considerable admiration: "Fats was the most relaxed man I ever saw in a studio, and so he made everybody else relaxed. After a balance had been taken, we'd just need one take to make a side, unless it was a kind of difficult number." Waller played with many performers, from Nat Shilkret (on Victor 21298-A) and Gene Austin to Erskine Tate to Adelaide Hall, but his greatest success came with his own five- or six-piece combo, "Fats Waller and his Rhythm".
His playing once put him at risk of injury. Waller was kidnapped in Chicago leaving a performance in 1926. Four men bundled him into a car and took him to the Hawthorne Inn, owned by Al Capone. Waller was ordered inside the building, and found a party in full swing. Gun to his back, he was pushed towards a piano, and told to play. A terrified Waller realized he was the "surprise guest" at Capone's birthday party, and took comfort that the gangsters did not intend to kill him. According to rumor, Waller played for three days. When he left the Hawthorne Inn, he was very drunk, extremely tired, and had earned thousands of dollars in cash from Capone and other party-goers as tips.
2) Shreveport Stomp, composed by Jelly Roll Morton and played on this link by his Red Hot Peppers. Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe (1890 – 1941) or perhaps LaMenthe, was known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton. Somebody at a jazz gig once asked "why Jelly Roll ?". I replied that 'Penis Morton' just does not have the same ring to it.
Morton is perhaps most notable as jazz's first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential spirit and characteristics when notated. He is also notable for naming and popularizing the "Spanish tinge" (habanera rhythm and tresillo), and for writing many, many, jazz standards, including "Wolverine Blues", "Black Bottom Stomp", and "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say", the latter a tribute to New Orleans personalities from the turn of the 19th century to 20th century.
Reputed for his arrogance and self-promotion as often as recognized in his day for his musical talents, Morton claimed to have invented jazz outright in 1902 — much to the derision of later musicians and critics. The jazz historian, musician, and composer Gunther Schuller says of Morton's "hyperbolic assertions" that there is "no proof to the contrary" and that Morton's "considerable accomplishments in themselves provide reasonable substantiation".
3) St Louis Blues, composed (stolen ?) by W C Handy and made famous by Bessie Smith as on this link. Handy said he had been inspired by a chance meeting with a woman on the streets of St. Louis distraught over her husband's absence, who lamented, "Ma man's got a heart like a rock cast in de sea", a key line of the song. Details of the story vary and it could be a pack of lies. Robert Palmer states that Handy encountered the melody in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1892, when he was out of work. It had numerous one-line verses "and they would sing it all night." At the time of his death in 1958, Handy was earning royalties upwards of US$25,000 annually for the song. The original published sheet music is available online at the United States Library of Congress in a searchable database of African-American music from Brown University.
The form is unusual in that the verses are the now familiar standard twelve-bar blues in 4/4 time with three lines of lyrics, the first two lines repeated, but it also has a 16-bar bridge written in the habanera rhythm, popularly called the "Spanish Tinge", and identified by Handy as tango. While blues became often simple and repetitive in form, "Saint Louis Blues" has multiple complementary and contrasting strains, similar to classic ragtime compositions. Handy said his objective in writing "Saint Louis Blues" was "to combine ragtime syncopation with a real melody in the spiritual tradition." With traditional New Orleans and New Orleans style bands, the tune is one of a handful that includes a set traditional solo. The clarinet solo with a distinctive series of rising partials was first recorded by Larry Shields on the 1921 Original Dixieland Jass Band record. It is not found on any earlier recordings nor published orchestrations of the tune. Shields is often credited with creating this solo; however, alternative claims have been made for other early New Orleans clarinetists, including Emile Barnes.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
John Maddocks' Jazzmen at the St Leonards Hotel
This evening we went to the St Leonards Hotel, Dorset, just for jazz and drinks. We ate at the Elephant Castle where we saw Geoff and Janet from the Verwood Jazz Club.
The John Maddocks Jazzmen (pictured) comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Peter Wilkinson (trumpet, vocals), Tony Farr (trombone), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Peter McCurrie (string bass, tuba), George Skidmore, (banjo, guitar, vocal) and Brian Barker (drums).
Three interesting numbers were:
1) Barataria, presumably written by one or more of the Brunies family and referring to the place just outside New Orleans. It was recorded by the Halfway House Orchestra in 1925, as on this link. Considering what has come to be the normal meaning of a "halfway house," many listeners who are familiar with the lifestyles of the poor and musical could justifiably assume that the Halfway House Orchestra was some kind of entertaining diversion and/or treatment project for recovering addicts with musical talent. While there were New Orleans jazz musicians in the '20s whose carousing could have gotten them stuffed into halfway houses, the one that the orchestra was named after was simply a dancehall located midway between New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain.
This was where Abbie Brunies of the Brunies family dynasty began leading a group that served several different functions, one of which was to back up classic blues vocalist Alberta Hunter on recordings. Beginning in the mid-'20s, the group cut a series of sides under its own name, the majority for Columbia, the themes including the self-loathing of "I Hate Myself for Loving You" as well as an interpretation of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag." The group's main vocalist of note was Johnny Saba. Other members of the Brunies family such as George Brunies and Merritt Brunies also led their own bands.
2) Peter Wilkinson's vocal Ain't Cha Glad, composed by Fats Waller with lyrics by Andy Razaf. The link is to a Jack Teagarden recording with Benny Goodman. It was also recorded by Dinah Washington on the album 'Dinah Washington Sings Fats Waller', later reissued as 'The Fats Waller Songbook'.
3) The Coffee Grinder, claimed as his composition by Sidney Bechet and played by him on this link from 1950. Although I believe he stole the melody from a previous composition, this should not reduce our admiration for one of the true jazz masters. His passion and intensity have never been surpassed. Just listen to his clarinet playing on 'Blue Horizon'.
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Mike Piggott, Nils Solberg and the Bernie Farrenden Quartet at Hoburne Bashley
This afternoon we saw Mike Piggott and Nils Solberg with the Bernie Farrenden Quartet at Hoburne Bashley. This is a combination we have never seen and it worked really well. Our favourites were:
1. Nuages, one of the best-known compositions by Django Reinhardt. He recorded about thirteen versions of the song, which is a jazz standard and a mainstay of the gypsy swing repertoire. English and French lyrics have been added to the originally instrumental piece. The title translates in English as "Clouds"; though the English lyric adaptation is titled "It's the bluest kind of blues". The link is to a recording with Stephane Grappelli.
2. Exactly Like You, composed in 1930 by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields and performed on this link by Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhardt in 1936. Mike played it in the style of Joe Venuti with a section using all four strings on the violin simultaneously.
3. Mike's Strohviolin feature A Kiss to Build a Dream On, composed by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1935. It was recorded by Louis Armstrong in 1951 and performed by Armstrong as well as by Mickey Rooney and William Demarest in the 1951 film 'The Strip', where it was a recurring theme. Another popular recording was made by one of the film's guest-stars, Monica Lewis. In early 1952, the version by Hugo Winterhalter and his Orchestra, with vocalist Johnny Parker, made it to the Pop 20 chart in the United States. Sung by Richard Chamberlain, the song gained considerable exposure due to its being on the 'B' side of his 1962 hit: 'Theme from Dr. Kildare (Three Stars Will Shine Tonight)'. Rod Stewart covered the song in his 2004 album, Stardust: the Great American Songbook 3. However the link is from the CD 'Strohlin' and Stumblin' by Mike Piggott (conventional violin) and Piers Clark (acoustic guitar). Buy it to get the other 12 fantastic tracks !
Friday, June 21, 2013
One Night Of Elvis at the Bournemouth Pavilion
This evening we went to the Bournemouth Pavilion to see Europe’s most successful Elvis Presley tribute artist Lee Memphis King with backing musicians and singers. The most impressive part of the performance was the singing voice, a perfect imitation of the original despite his speaking voice being straight Northern England. Lead guitarist John Pettifer provided a backing fit for Scotty Moore.
The audience was full of wild Presley fans as expected. The most obvious in our part of the auditorium was a 'hen party' who arrived during the interval, filling an otherwise almost empty row. They seemed young to be original fans but they were noisily enthusiastic, getting up and dancing in the aisle towards the end.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Millennium Eagle Band at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening, for the second time, we saw Matt Palmer's Millennium Eagle Jazz Band playing at the Verwood Jazz Club. The band comprises Peter Brown (trumpet, vocals), Matt Palmer (clarinet, alto sax, soprano sax, vocals), Terry Williams (trombone, vocals), Chris Etherington (banjo, vocals), Brian Lawrence (double bass) and Jack Cotterill (drums). Favourite numbers were:
1) Dedicated to Brian Clough, Gatemouth, written by Lil Hardin, possibly collaborating with Louis Armstrong, and recorded by the New Orleans Wanderers as on this link. This was the name under which Lil Hardin recorded with members of Louis Armstrong's Hot Five on a 1926 session for Columbia Records. Armstrong himself was unable to appear since he was under contract to Okeh, although he collaborated with Hardin on three of the four songs. His place was taken by the other great cornet player of the time, George Mitchell. Four further songs were released by the same musicians under the name New Orleans Bootblacks.
The other musicians were Kid Ory on trombone, Johnny St. Cyr on banjo and Johnny Dodds on clarinet. Additionally, an alto sax was included on at least some of the numbers, probably "Stump" (or "Stomp") Evans. The recordings took place in Chicago. The tracks were:
As New Orleans Wanderers (recorded Chicago, July 13, 1926):
"Gate Mouth", "Too Tight", "Perdido Street Blues" and "Papa Dip"
As New Orleans Bootblacks (recorded Chicago, July 14, 1926):
"I Can't Say", "Mixed Salad", "Mad Dog" and "Flat Foot".
The series has been described as "some of the best ensemble jazz ever recorded". Who could disagree with that.
2) Harlem Bound, composed by Freddy Johnson and recorded by Freddy Johnson and His Harlemites, featuring Arthur Briggs, as featured on this link. The musicians are Arthur Briggs, Bobby Jones (tpts); Billy Bumbs, Herb Flemming (tb); Booker Pittman (cl, as); Cle Saddler (as); Roy Butler (as, bar); Alfred Pratt (ts); Freddy Johnson (p, a); Sterling Conaway (g); Juan Fernandez (sb); Billy Taylor (d)
Freddy Johnson (1904 – 1961) was an American jazz pianist and singer who gained popularity in the 1930s playing mostly swing style. He began playing professionally as Florence Mills accompanist, and formed his own band in 1924. In 1925 he worked with Elmer Snowden, and in 1926 he worked with Billy Fowler. He briefly worked with Henri Saparo and Noble Sissle, and then he joined Sam Woodings band and traveled to Europe in June 1928. Wooding and Johnson parted ways in 1929, and Johnson returned to Paris to do solo work. While he was in Paris, he and Arthur Briggs put together the band on this link. Between late 1933 and 1934 Johnson worked with Freddy Taylor's band, and then in February 1934 Johnson left Paris to work in Belgium and The Netherlands. In the mid 30's he made some recordings with the Quintette du Hot Club de France.
While living in Amsterdam, he co-lead a band with Lex Van Spall, and they played regularly at the Negro Palace in a trio with Coleman Hawkins. He later worked at the Negro Palace, and then with Max Woiski in a club called La Cubana, in Amsterdam. He worked at this club until the 11th December 1941, when he was arrested by the Nazis. He was interned in Bavaria from January 1942 until February 1944, when he was repatriated to the US. After returning to the US, he worked with George James, then in 1944 joined Gavin Bushell's band in New York. In the later 40s and early 50s he worked mostly as a piano and voice coach, and also did some solo residencies at Well's New York. He returned to Europe in 1959 with the "Free and Easy" show, and then played for another three weeks in the Netherlands. Soon after he became very ill with cancer, and after staying at a hospital in Copenhagen in autumn 1960, he returned to New York and stayed in St. Barnabas Hospital until his death.
3) Chris Etherington's vocal When that Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam, from Easter Parade, a 1948 American musical film starring Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, featuring music by Irving Berlin, including some of Astaire and Garland's best-known songs, such as "Steppin' Out With My Baby" and "We're a Couple of Swells." It was the most financially successful picture for both Garland and Astaire as well as the highest-grossing musical of the year. The link is to the relevant scene from the film.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Chicago Jazz Aces at the Fishermans Haunt
This evening we went to the Fishermans Haunt in Winkton for a fine fish meal and to see the Chicago Jazz Aces. The band comprised Tony Robinson (trumpet, vocals), Roy Sear (clarinet, tenor sax), Wyn Bowen (trombone), Greg Painter (keyboard), Ron Davidge (drums), Alan Harris (double bass) and Barbara Lorraine (vocals). Guest was Roy Meads (ukelele banjo).
Notable numbers were:
1) Barbara's vocal Can't Afford To Do It, written by Lizzie Douglas, AKA 'Memphis Minnie', singing and playing it on this link. Lizzie was born in 1897 in Algiers, Louisiana, the eldest of 14 children. Her parents Abe and Gertrude Douglas nicknamed her the Kid during her early childhood. At the age of 7 she and her family moved to Walls, Mississippi, which was just south of Memphis. The following year after she moved, she received her first guitar for Christmas. She began to practice and learn how to play both the banjo and the guitar and it was seen that she had a great talent as a musician. When she first began performing she did not use her first name Lizzie, but played under the name Kid Douglas. When she was 13 years old she ran away from her home to live on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. She would play on street corners for most of her teenage years and would eventually go home when she ran out of money. She began to get noticed singing and playing guitar on the street corners. This brought an opportunity for her to tour, travel, and play with the Ringling Brothers Circus. Eventually she came back to Beale Street and got consumed in the blues scene. At the time, women, whiskey, and cocaine were high in demand with the people and places she would be around. She made her money by playing guitar, singing, and prostitution, which was not uncommon at the time. Most of the female performers were prostitutes because of financial desperation. It was said “She received $12 for her services-an outrageous fee for the time.”. She was known as a woman that was very strong and who could take care of herself.
She was married three times; first to Will Weldon sometime in the 1920s, then to Joe McCoy (1929–1934), and finally to Earnest Lawlars (AKA Little Son Joe), in 1939. She and McCoy performed together during their marriage. During this time, a talent scout from Columbia Records discovered her. When she and McCoy went to record in New York, she decided to change her name to Memphis Minnie. During the next few years she and McCoy released many singles and duets. She released the song “Bumble Bee” in 1930, which ended up being one of her favorite songs, and led her to a recording contract with the label Vocalion. Under this label, they continued to produce records for two years, one of them being “I’m Talking About You”, which was one of her more popular songs. They soon decided to leave Vocalion and move to Chicago. She and McCoy introduced country blues to the urban environment and became very well known.
She continued to have success throughout the years recording under many different labels like Decca Records and Chess Records. Some believe her fame was the reason for her divorce with McCoy due to jealousy and resentment towards her. After she remarried to Earnest Lawlars (Little Son Joe) and began recording material with him, she became very well known in the blues industry and ended up being one of the most famous blues performers of all time, competing with both men and women. She continued to record throughout the 50’s, but her health began to become a problem for her. She retired from her musical career and ended up going back to Memphis. he died of a stroke in 1973 and was buried in an unmarked grave at the New Hope Cemetery in Memphis. A headstone paid for by Bonnie Raitt was erected by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund on 13 October 1996 with 35 family members in attendance including her sister, numerous nieces (including Laverne Baker) and nephews. After her death some of her old work began to surface and some of her songs were featured on blues compilations. She was one of the first 20 blues artists that were inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame.
A famous anecdote recounts how, in 1933, when Big Bill Broonzy was very popular in Chicago, a blues contest between him and Minnie took place in a nightclub. As Broonzy tells the story in his autobiography Big Bill Blues, a jury of fellow musicians awarded Minnie the prize of a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of gin for her performance of "Chauffeur Blues" and "Looking the World Over".
2) Bei Mir Bistu Shein, (Yiddish: בײַ מיר ביסטו שיין, "To Me You're Beautiful"), a popular Yiddish song composed by Jacob Jacobs (lyricist) and Sholom Secunda (composer) for a 1932 Yiddish musical, 'I Would If I Could' (in Yiddish, Men Ken Lebn Nor Men Lost Nisht, 'You could live, but they won't let you'), that closed after one season. The score for the song transcribed the Yiddish title as 'Bay mir bistu sheyn'. The original Yiddish version of the song (in C minor) is really a dialogue between two lovers who share lines of the song. The song became famous with English lyrics but retaining the Yiddish title, 'Bei Mir Bistu Shein'. It also appeared with a Germanized title 'Bei Mir Bist Du Schön'. In 1937, Sammy Cahn heard a performance of the song, sung in Yiddish by African American performers Johnnie and George at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. On seeing the response, Cahn got his employer to buy the rights so he (together with Saul Chaplin) could rewrite the song with English language lyrics and rhythms more typical of swing music. Secunda and Jacobs sold the publishing rights to the song for a mere US$30. Cahn then convinced the still unknown Andrews Sisters to perform the song (1937). It became their first major hit, earning them a gold record, the first ever to a female vocal group. The song is performed by Renata Flores in the film The Last Metro. It was also a worldwide hit beyond America. Over time, the song grosed some $3,000,000, with Secunda and Jacobs missing significant royalties. Fortunately, in 1961, the copyright on the song expired, the ownership was reverted to Secunda and Jacobs, and they signed contract with Harms, Inc., securing proper royalties.
There have been several songs with the tune in the Soviet Union. In particular, in 1943, a Russian-language song for the music was produced with satirical anti-Nazi lyrics titled 'Baron Fon Der Pshik' (Барон фон дер Пшик) by Anatoli Fidrovsky, music arrangement by Orest Kandat. Initially it was recorded by the jazz orchestra (director Nikolay Minkh) of the Baltic Fleet Theatre. Later it was included into the repertoire of Leonid Utyosov's jazz orchestra. In Nazi Germany it was also a hit until its Jewish origins were discovered when it was promptly banned.
The link is to Janis Siegel's rendition, as seen in 'Swing Kids'. This is the full, uninterrupted version. Not just a clip from the movie.
3) Greg's solo I've Got The World On A String, a 1932 popular song composed by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by Ted Koehler. It was written for the 1932 Cotton Club Parade, introduced by Cab Calloway and Bing Crosby. It was also recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1953. It reached #14 on Billboard's most played list. Anthony Perkins sang it in the drama Winter Dream, a production of the live anthology TV series, Front Row Center. Céline Dion also performed this song in her Las Vegas show A New Day..., which ran from 2003 until 2007. The link is to a recording by Ella Fitzgerald, crediting its composition to Johnny Burke and Arthur Johnston.
Monday, June 10, 2011
Sunset Café Stompers at the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club
This evening we saw the Sunset Café Stompers (pictured) playing at the Bluebirds Club. The band comprised Steve Grayham (trumpet and vocals), Pete Middleton (trombone), Mike Betts (clarinet, tenor), Mike Denham (keyboard, leader), Pete Ward (double bass), Eddie Edwards (banjo) and Peter Winterhart (drums). Favourite numbers were:
1) Banjo and keyboard duet Avalon, written by Al Jolson, Buddy De Sylva and Vincent Rose. It was introduced by Jolson and interpolated in the musicals Sinbad and Bombo. Jolson's recording rose to number two on the charts in 1921. The song was possibly written by Rose, but Jolson's popularity as a performer allowed him to claim composer co-credit. Originally, only Rose and Jolson were credited, and DeSylva's name was added later. A popular jazz standard, the song has been recorded by many artists, including Cab Calloway (1934), Coleman Hawkins (1935) and Eddie Durham (1936). The Benny Goodman Quartet played the song in their famous 1938 Carnegie Hall concert. The song was included in the biographical films The Jolson Story (1946) and The Benny Goodman Story (1956), and is also being noodled by Sam (Dooley Wilson) at the piano right before he plays As Time Goes By in the movie Casablanca (1942).
The tune's opening melody resembles a part of Giacomo Puccini's aria E lucevan le stelle, from the opera Tosca, but in the major key. Puccini's publishers sued the song's composers in 1921 for use of the melody, and were awarded $25,000 and all subsequent royalties of the song by the court. The link is to Django Reinhardt with Stephane Grappelly.
2) Mike's keyboard solo Russian Rag, written by George Linus Cobb (1886 – 1942), a prolific composer best known for ragtime, including both instrumental compositions and ragtime songs, although he did produce other works including marches and waltzes. Jack Yellen was a frequent lyricist for the songs. Cobb's most famous work is this Russian Rag based (rather loosely) on Rachmaninoff's Prelude in C-sharp minor, Op.3, No.2. This piece was composed after a friend apparently "dared" Cobb to try to make a rag out of the piece at a restaurant. He took the challenge, went to the piano and began to play the rag. To his surprise, Rachmaninoff was sitting at the same restaurant. He walked up to Cobb after he finished playing his rag and said "Nice rag, but you've got the wrong rhythm." The link is to Alex Sandor.
3) Big House Blues, credited to Duke Ellington and Irving Mills. The link is to the Ellington band of 1930.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Panama Hat Jazz Band back at Ye Olde George Inn (YOGI), Christchurch
This evening, we returned to the refurbished barn behind Ye Olde George Inn in Christchurch, Dorset, to see The Panama Hat New Orleans Jazz Band. The band comprised Tony Purse (trumpet, vocals), Tom Pearce (trombone), Ron Agar (clarinet, vocal), Alan Harris (string bass), George Skidmore (banjo, resonator guitar, vocals), and 'Stan the Man' Bowers on drums. Peter Titcomb and Christine Skidmore were guest vocalists. We also had guests on trumpet and clarinet. This was a special celebration because young George has just turned 60.
Notable numbers were:
1) Christine's fine vocal, Out of Nowhere, composed by Johnny Green with lyrics by Edward Heyman. It was first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1931 and became his first number one hit as a solo artist. It has become a jazz standard, with dozens of instrumental and vocal versions by various artists. Tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins's instrumental 1937 version with Benny Carter and Django Reinhardt became very successful, and Hawkins's performance on the song was so intimidating that no tenor saxophone player tried the tune until eight years later, when Don Byas recorded it. Charlie Parker recorded a ballad version in 1947. Al Hirt released a version on his 1961 album, The Greatest Horn in the World. The song's harmonic progression has been used in several later songs, such as Alexander Courage's "Theme from Star Trek", Royce Campbell's "Into Nowhere,"Tadd Dameron's "Casbah", Fats Navarro's "Nostalgia" and Lennie Tristano's "317 East 32nd Street,". There is a fine version by Stan Getz on YouTube but for the link I opted for the 1931 vocal by Ruth Etting, showing off her singing talent to perfection.
2) George's vocal, a tribute to Christine's efforts with decorations and cakes, When Somebody Thinks You're Wonderful, written by Harry M. Woods in 1935. The link is to the famous version by Fats Waller from 1936. I wrote about Woods on 31 March 2013, because of 'River, Stay Away From My Door', mentioning another of his songs 'Try A Little Tenderness'. Alone, and with his collaborators, he wrote many other famous songs, including "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover", "The Clouds Will Soon Roll By", "Side by Side", "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again". What a prolific composer !
Saturday, May 25, 2013
Dave Hewett's Condonians at the New Yellow Dog jazz club
This evening, we paid our first visit to the New Yellow Dog jazz club in Eastleigh to see Dave Hewett's Condonians. This great band comprised Dave Hewett (slide and valve trombones), Andy Dickens (trumpet, vocals), Colin Bryant (clarinet, tenor sax), Dave Moorwood (guitar, banjo, vocal), Andy Lawrence (double bass) and our favourite drummer Rod Brown. This is a great band, playing in the Eddie Condon style rather than imitating his band. Some of the numbers are listed below. All the links are to the Condonians, albeit with two different musicians in the band, for which we are grateful to the lovely Sylvia Hewett for posting them on YouTube. We were sad that she did not attend this evening.
1) St James Infirmary, of anonymous origin, though sometimes credited to one Joe Primrose (probably falsely as it is a pseudonym for Irving Mills). Louis Armstrong made it famous in his influential 1928 recording.
2) Mandy, Make Up Your Mind, composition disputed. It could be by George W. Meyer with lyrics by Grant Clarke & Roy Turk or by Arthur Johnston or by Irving Berlin. The last two are known to have collaborated at times.
3) Wolverine Blues, written by Jelly Roll Morton and included in the 2005 Complete Library of Congress Recordings of his work.
We were fascinated by the man sitting next to me who announced that his companion and dance partner was one of his ex-wives. When I commented that she had her hand on his knee, he said "Yes, good isn't it, we sleep together as well." This made me realise that I have led a simple life by comparison.
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
The Big Chris Barber Band at the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne
This evening, we went to the Tivoli to see The Big Chris Barber Band. The current band comprises Chris Barber (trombone, vocals), Bob Hunt (trombone & trumpet), Mike Henry and Peter Rudeforth (trumpets, cornet, flugelhorn), Bert Brandsma (clarinet & tenor sax), Amy Roberts (clarinet, alto & tenor saxes, flute), Richard Exall (clarinet, baritone & alto saxes), Joe Farler (banjo & guitar), Jackie Flavelle (bass), and Gregor Beck (drums). Some of the numbers are listed below with YouTube links to the band, not with the current personnel.
1) Jungle Nights in Harlem, composed by Duke Ellington.
2) Wild Cat Blues, composed by Fats Waller and Clarence Williams and made famous by Sidney Bechet.
3) Petite Fleur, written by Sydney Bechet and the Barber band's greatest hit.
A single man in the coffee shop asked who he was due to see performing this evening ? The elderly women serving said "it's Chris Barber but we know nothing about him." I told Chris about this and he was not at all surprised. I then told him that the first jazz gig to which I took Selina was the 1964 Barber band at the Coronation Hall in Kingston. He remembered it well, a boarded-over swimming pool. When I expressed surprise at him remembering one venue from so many he said,"Well I live in Oxshott so it is local to me".
Sunday, May 19 and Monday, May 20, 2013
Delta Queen, Chattanooga
For our two nights in Chattanooga we stayed on the Delta Queen paddle steamer, moored in the Tennessee river and featuring a fine onboard restaurant. The boss was a woman of Selina's size (small) who tried really hard to please. We had just discussed with her the absurdity of bringing huge amounts of luggage when staying in a cabin, when a big American asked for help with two of the biggest suitcases we have ever seen. Before our eyes she dragged the first one up the steep stairs. The second one fell backwards on top of her, both she and it disappearing down to the lower deck. I rushed down to pick her up but she was on her feet by the time I reached her. I said she should not be doing this as slavery has been abolished. As we left at the end of our stay she gave us both a big hug.
Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11, 2013
Palm Court Jazz Café
Photo: Don Keller
For our second and third nights in New Orleans we followed the advice of Ken Ames and went to Palm Court Jazz Café at 1204 Decatur Street. Great atmosphere, fine wine, good food, real jazz and our dancing was appreciated. Nina, the British owner, former wife of Sammy Rimmington, had her son, Sammy Rimmington II, over for the first time in 21 years. He sat in with the band on clarinet and did well. He was astonished to be told that we have not seen his father play since 1965. At the time we thought he looked very young to be playing with Ken Colyer.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Jazz Muffin at Kermit Ruffin's Speakeasy
This evening, our first in New Orleans, we ignored all personal safety advice from Tim Eyles, and went to Kermit Ruffins's Speakeasy in Tremes at the 'wrong' end of Basin Street. After very tasty chicken legs with butter beans and rice, we were entertained by singer Mikhala Iversen, AKA 'Jazz Muffin', backed by the Gumbeaux Gang.
She saw Selina and I were holding hands so she dedicated a smoochy song to us, 'What a difference a day made'. I tried to tell her that I call this Selina's song and she made me share the reason with the audience from the microphone. One night at the Rutland Arms in Catford with two numbers to go, Selina was complaining she was too tired for any more and wanted to go home. A guy we had never met came to her and said 'will you dance with me'. She leapt up instantly and danced with him, all tiredness forgotten; you can guess the number being played. The one time we saw him again he only wanted to dance with the singer, Eileen Ford.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Nigel Kennedy at the Bournemouth Pavilion
This evening we went to the Bournemouth Pavilion to see Nigel Kennedy performing compositions by Bach, Fats Waller, Dave Brubeck, etc. He was accompanied by three fine musicians from Germany, Poland and Palestine. A snatch of them can can be seen at Fats Waller Meets Nigel Kennedy. Everything they played was superb so the selection below just shows some examples.
1) Czardas, composed by Vittorio Monti (1868-1922), an Italian composer, violinist, and conductor. Monti was born in Naples where he studied violin and composition at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella. His only famous work is his Csárdás, written around 1904 and played by almost every gypsy orchestra. The link is to Nigel playing with a small orchestra.
2) Partita No.2 in D minor, composed by J.S. Bach. The Partitas were written as a set of six harpsichord suites, published from 1726 to 1730 as Clavier-Übung I, and the first of his works to be published under his direction. Unlike the earlier sets of suites, Bach originally intended to publish seven Partitas, advertising in the Spring of 1730 upon the publication of the fifth Partita that the promised collected volume would contain two more such pieces. This intention is further signalled by the spread of keys, which follows a clear structure, B-Flat - c, a - D, G - e, leaving F as the logical conclusion. The Italian Concerto, which is in the key of F and was published in the Clavier-Übung II, likely originated therefore as one of the Partitas before expanding beyond the dictates of the Suite form. The link is to a prom preview by Nigel.
3) Crazy 'Bout My Baby, composed by Fats Waller with lyrics by Alex Hill. The link is to one of Fats' slower versions.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
John Maddocks' Jazzmen at the St Leonards Hotel
This evening we went to the St Leonards Hotel, Dorset, just for jazz after the dining experience last time; noisy, badly-behaved, children next to us.
The John Maddocks Jazzmen (pictured) comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Peter Wilkinson (trumpet, vocals), Tony Farr (trombone), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Graham Wiseman (string bass, sousaphone), George Skidmore, (banjo, guitar, vocals) and Brian Barker (drums).
Two favourite numbers were:
1) Shimmy-sha-wabble, composed by Spencer Williams in 1917. Williams was born in New Orleans and educated at St. Charles University there. He was performing as pianist and singer in Chicago by 1907, and moved to New York City about 1916. After arriving in New York, he co-wrote several songs with Anton Lada of the Louisiana Five. Among those songs was "Basin Street Blues" which would become one of his most popular songs and is still recorded by musicians to this day. Around the time of World War One he co-composed the song "Squeeze Me" with Fats Waller. Williams toured Europe with bands from 1925 to 1928; during this time he wrote for Josephine Baker at the Folies Bergères in Paris. Williams then returned to New York for a few years. In 1932, he moved to Europe for good, living in Sunbury-on-Thames before moving to Stockholm in 1951 where he spent most of the rest of his life. Williams returned to New York shortly before his death in Flushing, New York on July 14, 1965. His numerous hit songs include "Basin Street Blues", "She'll Be Comin Around That Mountain", "I Ain't Got Nobody", "Royal Garden Blues", "Mahogany Hall Stomp", "I've Found a New Baby", "Everybody Loves My Baby", "Shimmy-Sha-Wobble", "Boodle Am Shake", "Tishomingo Blues", "Fireworks", "I Ain't Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jelly Roll", "Arkansas Blues", "Paradise Blues", "When Lights Are Low","Dallas Blues", and "My Man o’ War". Williams was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
To show that this number is also a dance, the link is to the debut performance of Erin Morris and her Ragdolls; Erin Morris (Choreographer & Lion-tamer), Brittany Morton (Costume Mistress & Toe-tapper), Katie Overmyer (Curl-shaker) and Sara Lapan (Smile-maker).
2) Tight Like That, composed by Thomas 'Georgia Tom' Dorsey and Hudson 'Tampa Red' Whittaker, as featured on this link. Georgia Tom was a leading blues pianist who later became the father of black gospel music.
Tampa Red is best known as an accomplished and influential blues guitarist who had a unique single-string slide style. His songwriting and his silky, polished 'bottleneck' technique influenced other leading Chicago blues guitarists. He was born Hudson Woodbridge in Smithville, Georgia, United States. His parents died when he was a child, and he moved to Tampa, Florida, where he was raised by his aunt and grandmother and adopted their surname, Whittaker. He emulated his older brother, Eddie, who played guitar, and he was especially inspired by an old street musician called Piccolo Pete, who first taught him to play blues licks on a guitar. In the 1920s, having already perfected his slide technique, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, and began his career as a musician, adopting the name 'Tampa Red' from his childhood home and light colored skin. His big break was being hired to accompany Ma Rainey and he began recording in 1928 with "It's Tight Like That", in a bawdy and humorous style that became known as "hokum". Early recordings were mostly collaborations with Georgia Tom, recording almost 90 sides, sometimes as "The Hokum Boys" or, with Frankie Jaxon, as "Tampa Red's Hokum Jug Band".
In 1928, Tampa Red became the first black musician to play a National steel-bodied resonator guitar, the loudest and showiest guitar available before amplification, acquiring one in the first year they were available. This allowed him to develop his trademark bottleneck style, playing single string runs, not block chords, which was a precursor to later blues and rock guitar soloing. The National guitar he used was a gold-plated tricone, which was found in Illinois in the 1990s by music-shop owner and guitarist Randy Clemens and later sold to the "Experience Music Project" in Seattle. Tampa Red was known as "The Man With The Gold Guitar", and, into the 1930s, he was billed as "The Guitar Wizard".
His partnership with Georgia Tom ended in 1932, but he remained much in demand as a session musician, working with John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Memphis Minnie, Big Maceo, and many others. In 1934 he signed for Victor Records, remaining on their artist roster until 1953. He formed the Chicago Five, a group of session musicians who created what became known as the Bluebird sound, a precursor of the small group style of later jump blues and rock and roll bands. He was a close friend and associate of Big Bill Broonzy and Big Maceo Merriweather. He enjoyed commercial success and reasonable prosperity, and his home became a centre for the blues community, informally providing rehearsal space, bookings, and lodgings for the flow of musicians who arrived in Chicago from the Mississippi Delta as the commercial potential of blues music grew and agricultural employment in the south diminished.
By the 1940s he was playing electric guitar. In 1942 "Let Me Play With Your Poodle" was a number 4 hit on Billboard's new "Harlem Hit Parade", forerunner of the R&B chart, and his 1949 recording "When Things Go Wrong with You (It Hurts Me Too)", another R&B hit, was covered by Elmore James. He was 'rediscovered' in the late 1950s as part of the blues revival, his final recordings being made in 1960. He became an alcoholic after his wife's death in 1953 and died destitute in Chicago, aged 77.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Golden Eagle Jazz Band at Salisbury Jazz Club
This evening, for the first time since Joe Croll took over its management, we went to the Salisbury Jazz Club at the Livestock Market. Joe has made one very welcome improvement; no queueing outside the door ! Even though we arrived before the new, earlier, opening time of 7 PM, Joe invited us in to sit down.
The jazz was provided by our old friends, the Golden Eagle band, comprising Mike Scroxton (trumpet, vocals), Alan Cresswell (clarinet), Roy Stokes (trombone, vocals), Mike Broad (string bass), Kevin Scott, (banjo, leader, vocals, jokes) and Pete Jackman (drums). Before we sat down, Kevin, Mike S and Roy all kissed Selina; she has so many admirers. Favourite numbers were:
1) Mike's vocal Someday Sweetheart, written by Los Angeles-based musicians John and Reb Spikes in 1919. It was the biggest hit the brothers wrote, and was performed by many recording artists of the period. The first one to record it was blues singer Alberta Hunter. Jelly Roll Morton recorded the song twice, in 1923 and 1926 as on this link. What a great recording band; The Red Hot Peppers. Other artists who have recorded the song include Chet Atkins, Count Basie, Bing Crosby, Kenny Davern, Jimmy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Frankie Laine and Teddy Wilson.
2) Let Me Call You Sweetheart, music by Leo Friedman and lyrics by Beth Slater Whitson. The song was published in 1910 and first recorded by The Peerless Quartet. This recording is available on YouTube but the quality is poor so I opted for Fats Domino instead. The girl who modeled for the original sheet music, as pictured on YouTube, is alleged [according to whom?] to have been Virginia Rappe, the subject of the 1921 Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle scandal. Among the thousands of mainstream appearances of this pop standard are a British advert for mobile phone operator and internet service provider Orange SA, involving a wind-up toy of two figures hugging. The version used in this advert was sung by Oliver Hardy from the 1938 film Swiss Miss, made with his comic partner Stan Laurel. This song was also sung in an episode of Our Gang (the Little Rascals) by Alfalfa Switzer. It was also sung in an episode of Downton Abbey broadcast on ITV1 on 23rd September 2012 and recorded by Bette Midler for the film "The Rose" and the accompanying "The Rose Soundtrack".
3) When somebody thinks you're wonderful, written by Harry M. Woods. The link is to the famous version by Fats Waller from 1936. I wrote about Woods on 31 March 2013, because of 'River, Stay Away From My Door', mentioning another of his songs 'Try A Little Tenderness'. Alone, and with his collaborators, he wrote many other famous songs, including "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover", "The Clouds Will Soon Roll By", "Side by Side", "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "I'll Never Say 'Never Again' Again". What a prolific composer !
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Martin Bennett's Old Green River Band at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening we returned to The Hideaway in Verwood for Duck in an excellent sauce in the restaurant with a great bottle of 2007 Rioja, followed by 3 hours at the Verwood Jazz Club, to see Martin Bennett's Old Green River Band. This jazz/blues band comprised Chez Chesterman (cornet, vocals), John Finch (trombone, vocals), Tony Denton (Clarinet, tenor sax, baritone sax), Martin Bennett (keyboard, vocals), Roscoe Birchmore (string bass), Barry Foley and Stuart Smith (drums). It was great to see our old friend Chez after three years; he seemed pleased to see us too. Favourite numbers were:
1) John's vocal, I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me, a 1926 popular song composed by Jimmy McHugh, with lyrics by Clarence Gaskill. James Francis McHugh (1894 – 1969) was one of the most prolific songwriters from the 1920s to the 1950s, credited with over 500 songs. His songs were recorded by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland (who died only one month after McHugh), Billie Holiday, Adelaide Hall, Nina Simone, Chet Baker, Dinah Washington, June Christy, Peggy Lee, Deanna Durbin, and Ella Fitzgerald.
More than 20 recordings were made of 'I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me' in the sixteen years following its publication. Early recordings included Louis Armstrong (1930), Nat Gonella (1932), Earl Hines (1932), Teddy Wilson (1938), and Ella Fitzgerald (1941).
The link is to a recording by the wonderful Billie Holiday accompanied by the great Lester Young on tenor sax. Nobody ever did it better.
2) Martin's vocal, My Mother's Eyes, written by Abel Baer and L. Wolfe Gilbert. Abel Baer was born in Baltimore, MD on March 16, 1893. He graduated from the College of Physicians and Surgeons and began a career in Dentistry, serving in World War I as a 2nd Lt for the USAAF. It wasn’t until 1920 that he gave up medicine and joined a music publisher as a staff writer. One of the most popular collaborators during the heyday of Tin Pan Alley, Baer collaborated with L. Wolfe Gilbert, Stanley Adams, Cliff Friend, Sam Lewis and Mabel Wayne, among others. His catalog includes such hits as “June Night”, “There Are Such Things”, “My Mother’s Eyes”, “Gee Buy You’re Swell”, “I Miss My Swiss”, “Don’t Wait ’Til the Night Before Christmas”, “Lucky Lindy”, “It’s the Girl”, “Am I To Blame?”, “Mama Loves Papa”, “Blue Hoosier Blues”, “Garden in Granada”, “When the One You Love, Loves You”, “Don’t Wake Me Up, Let Me Dream”, “The Night When Love Was Born”, “Chapel of the Roses”, “Harriet” and “I’m Sitting Pretty.” Moving to Hollywood in 1929, Baer contributed songs to the films Paramount on Parade, True to the Navy and Frozen Justice. He also collaborated on the Broadway scores for Lady Do and Old Bill M.P.
Louis Wolfe Gilbert was born in Odessa, Russia in 1886 and was one of the most prolific lyricists of Tin Pan Alley. Gilbert's notable career began in the late 1900's as a vaudeville entertainer where he toured with John L. Sullivan and later with The Ragtime Octet produced by Albert Decourville. In 1912, Gilbert had his first songwriting success with "Waiting For The Robert E. Lee", a song he co-wrote with Lewis Muir. The song was published that year by F.A. Mills and remains one of the greatest standards of the era. In 1915, Gilbert settled in Hollywood, California writing for films and also participated in the Eddie Cantor radio show. He made many appearances on radio and TV and he was one of the first songwriters to set up an independent publishing firm for the purpose of promoting his own catalog. In 1941, Gilbert was elected as a director of ASCAP, a post he served until 1944. His chief collaborators include Lewis Muir, Mabel Wayne, Abel Baer, Ben Oakland, Jay Gorney, Nat Shilkret, Richard Fall and Anatole Friedland. Highlights from his catalog include "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee", "By Heck", "Down Yonder", "O Katharina", "I Miss My Swiss (My Swiss Miss Misses Me)", "Ramona", "Jeannine, I Dream of Lillac Time", "My Mother's Eyes", "The Right Kind of Man", "Dancing To Save My Soul", "The Peanut Vendor", "I'm on A Diet Of Love", "Green Eyes", Mama Inez", "Marta", "Poor Kid", "Miss Elizabeth Brown" and "Maria My Own".
The link is to the late (and much missed) Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen.
3) Martin's final vocal, Make Me a Pallet on the Floor, a blues/jazz/folk song now considered as a standard. The song's origins are somewhat nebulous and can be traced back to the 19th century. Various versions of the lyrics were first published in 1911 in an academic journal of ethnomusicology. Some sources attribute the modern score to W. C. Handy who later modified into a song known as "Atlanta Blues". An early recording of the song was made in 1928 by Mississippi John Hurt (as "Ain't No Tellin'"). The link is to his later recording with the more usual title.
John Smith Hurt, better known as Mississippi John Hurt (1893-1966) was an American country blues singer and guitarist. Raised in Avalon, Mississippi, Hurt taught himself how to play the guitar around age nine. Singing in a loud whisper, to a melodious finger-picked accompaniment, he began to play local dances and parties while working as a sharecropper. He first recorded for Okeh Records in 1928, but these were commercial failures. Hurt then drifted out of the recording scene, and he continued his work as a farmer. A copy of one of his recordings, "Avalon Blues," was later discovered. The title of which gave the location of his hometown and inspired a growth of interest in Hurt's whereabouts. Tom Hoskins, a blues enthusiast, would be the first to locate Hurt in 1963. He convinced Hurt to relocate to Washington, D.C., where he was recorded by the Library of Congress in 1964. This rediscovery helped further the American folk music revival, which had led to the rediscovery of many other bluesmen of Hurt's era. Hurt entered the same university and coffeehouse concert circuit as his contemporaries, as well as other Delta blues musicians brought out of retirement. As well as playing concerts, he recorded several studio albums for Vanguard Records.
Thursday, February 21st, 2013
Colin Bryant's Hot Rhythm Six at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening we returned to The Hideaway in Verwood for an excellent meal in the restaurant with a great bottle of 2007 Rioja, followed by 3 hours at the Verwood Jazz Club, to see Colin Bryant's Hot Rhythm Six. This fine band comprised Colin Bryant (clarinet, tenor sax, vocals), Dave Leithead (trumpet, vocal), Bob Wilson (trombone, harmonica, vocal), Rex Dorman (string bass), Barry Foley, (banjo, guitar, vocals) and Roy White (drums). Favourite numbers were:
1) Sweet Georgia Brown, written in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard (music) and Kenneth Casey (lyrics). The tune was first recorded in 1925 by bandleader Ben Bernie, resulting in a five-week No. 1 for Ben Bernie and his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra. As Bernie's then nationally famous orchestra did much to popularize the number, Pinkard cut Bernie in for a share of the tune's royalties by giving him a co-writer credit to the song. It is the first song to have a sax solo. It is widely known as the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. The link is to a later version by Stephane Grapelli and Django Reinhardt.
2) Featuring fine harmonica playing by Bob and guitar by Barry, Tin Roof Blues, played on this great link from 1949 by Sidney Bechet's Blue Note Jazzmen, comprisng Sidney Bechet (soprano sax), Wild Bill Davison (cornet), Art Hodes (piano), Walter Page (bass) and Fred Moore (drums). The origin of the composition has caused some controversy. It has been claimed that the tune was based on New Orleans pianist Richard M. Jones's composition "Jazzin' Babies Blues", specifically Joe "King" Oliver's rendition of it. Oliver recorded Jones's tune in June 1923, two months after the New Orleans Rhythm Kings' "Tin Roof Blues" was released, with composition claimed by some of its members. Listeners claimed that the NORK had already been playing the tune several months before recording it. The simple melody which is shared as a strain in "Tin Roof" and "Jazzin' Babies Blues" was known to earlier New Orleans musicians under various titles; the white musicians being more familiar with it under the title "Pee Hole Blues" and the black musicians as "Don't Get Funky 'Cause Your Water's On" or even "Rusty Nail Blues".
3) A duet between Rex and Roy, Big Noise From Winnetka, a spontaneous composition, created at the Blackhawk in Chicago in 1938 by Bob Haggart (bass) and Ray Bauduc (drums), both members of the Bob Crosby band. The link is to a later performance by the composers. This was the first jazz record I ever owned, chosen by me, at the age of eight, from my uncle Stan's huge jazz collection. I still have it.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Gangsters and Flappers night at the Fishermans Haunt
Yesterday, to celebrate the St. Valentines Day Massacre, The Chicago Jazz Aces had a 'Gangsters and Flappers' night at the Fishermans Haunt in Winkton. I went in gangster gear and Selina (pictured) was my moll, her pinstripe dress matching my pinstripe suit and hat. The fishnet stockings/suspenders and slit skirt were irresistible to me. One puritanical woman from the local Conservative Club clique called me a 'filthy old man' for excessive fondling. I take that as a compliment; much better than being told that I am past it. The food and service were both excellent as always; we had the full St Valentine's Day special and drank a bottle of Rioja.
The band comprised Tony Robinson (trumpet, vocals), Roy Sear (clarinet, tenor sax), Wyn Bowen (strombone), Ron Poole (keyboard), Ron Davidge (drums), Alan Harris (double bass) and Barbara Lorraine (vocals). Guest was Roy Meads (ukelele banjo).
Notable numbers were:
1) Barbara's vocal I Wanna be Loved By You, a song written by Herbert Stothart and Harry Ruby, with lyrics by Bert Kalmar, for the 1928 musical "Good Boy". It was chosen as one of the Songs of the Century in a survey made by the RIAA in which 200 people responded (out of 1300 asked). One of Marilyn Monroe's most famous musical performances is her singing it in Billy Wilder's classic farce Some Like It Hot (as in this link) featuring the St Valentines Day Massacre near the beginning.
The song was first performed in late 1928 by Helen Kane, who became known as the 'Boop-Boop-a-Doop Girl' because of her baby-talk, scat-singing tag line to that song. This version was recorded right when Kane's popularity started to reach its peak, and became her signature song. Two years later, a cartoon character named Betty Boop was modeled after Kane. Betty Boop performs this number in the 1980s animated film The Romance of Betty Boop.
The song has also been recorded by Jack Lemmon, Frank Sinatra, Miss Miller and The Chipettes, Rhonda Towns, Rose Murphy, Tina Louise, Verka Serduchka, Patricia Kaas, Sinéad O'Connor, Annette Hanshaw, Shiina Ringo, Paul Manchin and Lorraine Allan (formerly Lorraine Gray).
Actress Rue McClanahan performed humorous rendition of the song while portraying Blanche Devereaux in the popular sitcom The Golden Girls. Actor & Actress Robert Reed & Florence Henderson were singing "I Wanna Be Loved By You" in a 1973 Episode 'Never Too Young' of The Brady Bunch.
2) Our favourite Bix Beiderbecke recording; I'm Coming Virginia, composed by Donald Heywood with lyrics credited to Will Marion Cook. Bix was, like many other musicians of his generation, a fan of the singer/actress Ethel Waters, who recorded the song in 1926 with Will Marion Cook’s Singing Orchestra. However, in her autobiography Waters appears to credit Heywood for both words and music. Its popularity in the jazz fraternity following Waters’ record, and a small group of famous jazz musicians entered the studio in 1927 to record the classic version featured on this link. Led by C-melody saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer, the group was culled from the ranks of the Jean Goldkette Orchestra. The record is essentially a feature for Bix whose beautiful, moody performance (backed with elan by guitarist Eddie Lang) is a perfect glimpse at one of jazz’s most influential and tragic figures. This is the perfect interpretation and just cannot be beaten. Should present-day bands even try ? Ten-and-a-half years later, Bobby Hackett would reprise Bix’s performance as part of Benny Goodman’s groundbreaking Carnegie Hall concert.
3) Barbara's final vocal Someone To Watch over Me, composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin from the musical Oh, Kay! (1926), where it was introduced by Gertrude Lawrence. It has been performed by numerous artists since its debut and is a jazz standard as well as a key work in the Great American Songbook. The 1987 film 'Someone To Watch Over Me', directed by Ridley Scott, takes its title from this song. The soundtrack features three versions of it, two of which were new renditions by Sting and Roberta Flack. The third version used was the 1961 recording by Gene Ammons. A soundtrack album was never issued and so the Roberta Flack performance (produced by Michael Kamen) remains unreleased. Sting included his version as a b-side for the 'Englishman in New York' single, and on the compilation 'At The Movies', released in 1999. This song was made famous to another generation in the 1996 American film 'Mr. Holland's Opus'. Jean Louisa Kelly played the part of Rowena, who sang the song, but a different version sung by Julia Fordham was included on the soundtrack. Asher Book also sings it in the new remake of 'Fame' (2009). It was performed by Julie Andrews in the 1968 Robert Wise film 'Star!' about the life of the actress Gertrude Lawrence.
The link is to Ella Fitzgerald, who was only 22 when George Gershwin died. However, his brother Ira lived long enough to not only hear Ella record this song, but also to assist with the production of the album from which it came. Recorded in 1959 with arrangements and orchestra conducted by Nelson Riddle, Ella won a Grammy for her 'Ella Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook', one of the great musical compilations in recorded history. After this album had been completed, Ira Gershwin remarked, "I had never known how good our songs were until I heard Ella sing them".
Monday, February 4, 2013
Sussex Jazz Kings at the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club
This evening we saw the Sussex Jazz Kings (pictured) playing at the Bluebirds Club. The band comprised Dave Stradwick (cornet), Len Baldwin (trombone, vocal), Bernard Stutt (clarinet), Peter Clancy (string bass, Sousaphone, vocal), Phil Durell, (banjo) and John Hall (drums). Alan Pickering, usually very critical, declared them a truly great band. Favourite numbers were:
1) The Martinique, written by Wilbur de Paris, trombonist brother of trumpeter Sidney de Paris. The link is to the early Chris Barber Band in 1954.
2) Shim-Me-Sha-Wabble, a dance-song written by Spencer Williams and published in 1917. The link is to Sydney Bechet's Blue Note Jazzmen, probably the 1950 recording with Wild Bill Davison (cornet), Jimmy Archey (trombone), Sidney Bechet (soprano saxophone), Joe Sullivan (piano), Pops Foster (bass) and Slick Jones (drums).
3) Peter Clancy's vocal Do You Know What it Means New Orleans, written by Louis Alter with lyrics by Eddie DeLange. It was first heard in the film 'New Orleans' in 1947, where it was performed by Louis Armstrong and sung by Billie Holiday. The link is to Louis Armstrong playing and singing.
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Sunset Cafe Stompers at the Verwood Jazz Club
This evening, following Geoff's ace salesmanship on a recent flyer, we returned to the Verwood Jazz Club, to see the Sunset Cafe Stompers. The band comprised Mike Denham (keyboard, leader), Steve Graham (trumpet), Mike Betts (clarinet, tenor sax), Pete Middleton (trombone), Pete Ward (string bass), Eddie Edwards, (banjo) and Peter Winterhart (drums). Favourite numbers were:
1) The Fats Domino classic I'm Walking, written by Domino and Dave Bartholomew in 1957. The link is to a digitally remastered version of the record from that year. It was Domino's third release in a row to reach number one on the R&B Best Sellers chart, where it stayed for six weeks. The single also continued his crossover appeal when "I'm Walkin'" peaked at number four on the pop singles chart. Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino Jr. (born 1928) is a Creole pianist and singer-songwriter. He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he still lives. He was rescued by helicopter when his house was destroyed by floods following hurricane Katrina, many fans believing he had died there.
2) Mike Denham's feature accompanied by Peter on Drums, The Original Jelly Roll Blues widely acknowledged as the very first Jazz composition, written by Jelly Roll Morton in 1910 and first published in 1915. The link is to Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers, recorded in 1926 and reissued on a British Rhythm Society label 78 rpm record about 1950. We have it on an EP wwith three other of the greatest of their recordings.
3) Panama composed by William H. Tyers in 1911, originally entitled "Panama, a Characteristic Novelty" and published in 1912. As expected of a jazz standard, it has been played and recorded by a number of jazz legends including the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Sharkey Bonano, Kid Ory, the Eureka Brass Band, Humphrey Lyttelton and many others. The famous trumpet variation commonly played by New Orleans, Louisiana bands and those influenced by the New Orleans style, was reportedly devised by Manuel Manetta who first taught it to his star trumpet pupils Emmett Hardy and Red Allen. The original tango or maxixe rhythm is usually disgarded in favor of 4/4 time, but can still be detected in some versions, such as the early recording by Johnny DeDroit's Band.
Some present-day musicians, e.g. Gerry Brown, Chris Lowe, Tony Robinson, etc. have incorrectly called it 'Panama Rag', which is a ragtime number composed by Charles Seymour in 1904. This lesser-known number was recorded by the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra and was reportedly played by Buddy Bolden when the tune was new, but is rather obscure and far from a standard. Mike Denham says he has tried playing it and it is too boring.
The link is to the Dutch Swing College Band in 2007.
Thursday, December 20, 2012
Tony Robinson's Chicago Jazz Aces at the Fishermans Haunt
This evening, first time at the new venue, we saw Tony Robinson's Chicago Jazz Aces at the Fishermans Haunt in Winkton, replacing the White Buck, where our business is not wanted. I could only count one missing couple from the Buck regulars, everbody else made the transition. The food and service were both excellent; we ate guinea fowl and drank a bottle of Malbec.
The band comprised Tony Robinson (trumpet, vocals), Roy Sear (clarinet, tenor sax), Wyn Bowen (strombone), Ron Poole (keyboard), Ron Davidge (drums), Alan Harris (double bass) and Barbara Lorraine (vocals). Guests were Roy Meads (ukelele banjo), Brian (vocal) and Peter Titcomb (vocal).
Notable numbers were:
1) Barbara's vocal Ain't Nobody's Business, an eight-bar vaudeville blues song that became an early blues standard. It was written in the 1920s by pianist Porter Grainger, who had been Bessie Smith's accompanist, and Everett Robbins. The song was first recorded in October 1922 by Anna Meyer with the Original Memphis Five. Other early versions include Sara Martin (with Fats Waller on piano) (December 1922), Alberta Hunter (February 1923), and Bessie Smith (April 1923 ) as on this link. Porter Grainger's lyrics to the song were copyrighted in 1922, thus they are now in the public domain. 2) The ensemble piece Christopher Columbus , composed by Chu Berry when he played tenor sax and clarinet with Fletcher Henderson's Band, as featured on this link. Leon Brown "Chu" Berry (1908, Wheeling, West Virginia – 1941, Conneaut, Ohio) is best-known as a swing tenor saxophonist. Considering the brevity of Chu's life, and that his recording career spans a mere decade, it is remarkable that his name continues to loom large in the annals of jazz. Had he lived, there is no doubt that he would be ensconced in the jazz pantheon alongside Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young claims Dan Morgenstern, director of the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University. Berry got his much-misspelled moniker (Choo, Chew) from musicians, because he chewed on his mouthpiece or had Fu Manchu facial hair or both says Gary Giddins, jazz historian.
3) Ron Poole's solo Dill Pickles, written in 1906 by Charles Leslie Johnson (1876 - 1950), an American composer of ragtime and popular music. He was born in Kansas City, Kansas, died in Kansas City, Missouri, and lived his entire life in those two cities. He published over 300 songs in his life, nearly 40 of them ragtime compositions. His best selling piece, a sentimental ballad called "Sweet and Low", sold over a million copies. Experts believe that had Johnson lived and worked in New York, he would be included alongside Scott Joplin, James Scott, and Joseph Lamb as one of the greatest ragtime composers. He wrote more than the other three combined and exemplified a greater range of talent, composing waltzes, tangos, cakewalks, marches, novelty pieces, and other types of music popular at that time.
He was born in the Armourdale district of Kansas City, Kansas to James R. and Helen F. Johnson. Clearly a prodigy, he was playing a neighbour’s piano by age six and began studying classical piano, harmony, and music theory a few years later. Although he had classical training, he always preferred the popular music of the day. His musical ability led him to proficiency on other instruments as well: guitar, violin, banjo, and mandolin. As a young man Johnson became involved in the music scene of Kansas City by participating in several local groups. In this environment he wrote his first compositions.
Johnson was married twice, first to Sylvia Hoskins in 1901, and they had a daughter Frances. No one knows how this marriage ended or what happened to Sylvia or Frances. He married his second wife, Eva Otis, in 1926. She remained with him until his death in 1950. Johnson’s career was stable and prolific. He began work in the late 1890s for the J.W. Jenkins and Sons Music Company in Kansas City, Missouri plugging songs and playing piano. Over the next five years Jenkins would publish twelve of Johnson’s songs. Eventually Johnson would compose for many other publishers. By 1907, Johnson had also formed his own publishing company, putting out his own music and those of other local composers. In addition, Johnson began vanity publishing for others, often writing music for the lyrics of others or simply arranging others’ compositions. His closest business partnership was with Fred Forster of the Forster Music Publishing Company. Although Johnson’s career would wax and wane with the economy of the turn of the century, World Wars I and II, and the Depression, Charles always had work and could always respond to the musical climate of America.
At some point in his career Johnson began writing under pseudonyms. He used Raymond Birch the most, penning several of his well-known rags under that name such as "Blue Goose Rag", "Melody Rag", and "Powder Rag". But he also used several others. Under any name, however, Johnson was a significant contributor to the Ragtime Era and to rag music in general. By far the biggest hit of 1906 was Charles’ most successful rag "Dill Pickles". The first rag to sell a million copies was Scott Joplin’s "Maple Leaf Rag"; the second was "Dill Pickles". It has been suggested that by 1906 ragtime was already beginning to wane. After the publication of Dill Pickles there was a revival of interest in ragtime that extended its life by nearly ten more years. This piece of music made use of the “three over four” syncopation that was subsequently copied and used in dozens of rags by other composers. Joplin himself had difficulty getting away from its conventions.
The link is to Chet Atkins version, retitled 'Dill Pickle Rag', which we have on another old vinyl LP from the 1950s.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Ben Waters at Forest Arts
This evening, for the first time, we saw Ben Waters playing at Forest Arts in New Milton with his 12-year-old son Tom on alto sax. A great performance, much appreciated by the audience.
1) A YouTube example of solo Ben is Down The Road Apiece, a boogie-woogie song written by Don Raye. In 1940, it was recorded by the Will Bradley Trio and became a top 10 hit in the closing months of the year. Called "a neat little amalgam of bluesy rhythm and vivid, catchy lyrics," the song was subsequently recorded by a variety of jazz, blues, and rock artists.
2) Tom's feature was One Step Beyond, a tune written by Jamaican ska singer Prince Buster as a B-side for his single "Al Capone". It was made famous by British band Madness (as on this link) who covered it for their debut 1979 album, One Step Beyond..., also named after the song. Although Buster's version was mostly instrumental except for the song title shouted for a few times, the Madness version features a spoken intro by Chas Smash and a barely audible but insistent background chant of "here we go!". The spoken line, "Don't watch that, watch this", in the intro is from another Prince Buster song, "The Scorcher". Also,that line became a trademark during the early promos of MTV, where the video was in heavy rotation.
3) One of the two Fats Domino hits played and sung by Ben was Ain't That A Shame, recorded by Fats Domino (as on this link) and Dave Bartholomew, in Hollywood, California, for Imperial Records and released in 1955. The recording ("Ain't It a Shame") was a hit for Domino, eventually selling a million copies. It reached number 1 on the "Black Singles" chart and 10 on the "Pop Singles" chart. The song is ranked 431 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song gained national fame after being re-recorded by white recording artist Pat Boone. Domino's version soon became more popular, bringing Domino's music to the mass market a half dozen years after his first major recording, "The Fat Man".
Thursday, December 13, 2012
No More Jazz at the White Buck ?
Tonight there was a note from the new manager, Pippa O'Gorman, on every table saying ".............I need to review this before I make a decision about continuing Jazz Night." Does she expect us all to await her gracious decree ?
In our business we too are looking at new markets and customers but, unlike Pippa, we have no intention of upsetting our legacy customers and losing them.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Gerry Brown's Mission Hall Band at the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club
This evening we saw Gerry Brown's Mission Hall Band (pictured) playing at the Bluebirds Club. The band comprised Gerry Brown (trumpet and vocals), Ken Bishop (trombone), Mike Snelling (clarinet, tenor sax), Paul Francis (keyboard), Peter McCurrie (double bass) and Norman Bishop (drums). The usual big audience turned out for this band. Favourite numbers were:
1) Kansas City Man Blues, written by Sidney Bechet and recorded with Clarence Williams Blue Five in 1923. The link is to a 1947 version by Bechet with Bob Wilbur.
2) Magnolia's Wedding Day written by Jimmy McHugh with Lyrics by Dorothy Fields for 'Blackbirds of 1928'. This all black revue was a sensation in its time, featuring Adelaide Hall, Tim Moore, Manton Moreland and Bill Robinson. The big hit song was 'I Can't Give You Anything But Love', McHugh and Fields first hit. The link is to the 1955 Chris Barber band.
3) Mike Snelling's clarinet feature You Don't Know How Much You Can Suffer written in 1939 by Dave Franklin and made famous in jazz circles by clarinetist Jan Morks of the Dutch Swing College Band, as on this link.
Monday, October 8, 2012
The Panama Jazz Kings at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening, for the first time, we saw the Panama Jazz Kings from Devon, playing for the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club at the Bluebirds Club in Longham. The band comprised Gordon Hunt (clarinet, leader), Steve Grayham (trumpet), Tom Whittingham (trombone), Malcolm Harrel (banjo, vocal), Derek Jones (bass) and Pete Winterhart (drums). This is a band very much in the New Orleans ensemble style. Notable numbers that are not often played were:
1) Franklin Street Blues, played on this link by Bunk Johnson's band on a record that credited him with its composition. However, it was written jointly by Louis Dumaine and Eddie Jackson, according to Jackson's grandson. He asks us to look at the site with the music of Louis Dumaine and His Jazzola 8. They recorded it in 1927; 20 years or so before Johnson recorded his version. It was common back then for musicians to claim writers' credit for songs they didn't write but we know the truth now.
2) Stockyard Strut, played on this link by Freddie Keppard and His Jazz Cardinals in 1926. This is Keppard's stunning improvisation on the chords of 'Tiger Rag', itself of unknown parentage.
3) You Can't Be True, Dear, originally written as a German language song, 'Du Kannst Nicht Treu Sein', by composer Hans Otten and lyricist Gerhard Ebeler. English language lyrics and title were written by Hal Cotten. In 1948, Ken Griffin recorded the song, first released as an instrumental and later with vocalist Jerry Wayne dubbing the lyrics. My parents had an instrumental waltz version but I don't remember the name of the band. The link is to Connie Francis, also for nostalgic reasons.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Panama Hat Jazz Band at Ye Olde Starre Inn, Christchurch
This evening, once again, we went to Ye Olde Starre Inn, Purewell, Christchurch, Dorset, where we ate very tender lamb shanks, washed down by a smooth Rioja. We then watched and heard The Panama Hat New Orleans Jazz Band, comprising Tony Purse (trumpet, vocals), Tom Pearse (trombone), Ron Agar (clarinet, tenor sax), Peter McCurrie (string bass), George Skidmore (banjo, guitar, ukelele, vocals), 'Stan the Man' Bowers on drums and guest vocalists Christine Skidmore and Peter Titcomb.
Favourite numbers were:
1) George's guitar and vocal feature, The Old Rugged Cross, written in 1912 by evangelist and song-leader George Bennard (1873-1958). The link is to Monty Sunshine in 1957, the first of his records that I ever heard, recording it on tape from 'Family Favourites'.
2) Christine's first vocal I'd Like To Get You On A Slow Boat To China, a popular song by Frank Loesser, published in 1947. The link is to the first ever recording, by Kay Kyser and His Orchestra with vocalists Harry Babbitt and Gloria Wood.
3) Vocal from guest singer Peter, When You And I Were Young Maggie. The lyrics were written as a poem by the Canadian school teacher George Washington Johnson from Hamilton, Ontario. Margaret 'Maggie' Clark was his pupil. They fell in love and during a period of Maggie's recurring illness, George walked to the edge of the Niagara escarpment, overlooking what is now downtown Hamilton, and composed the poem, presumably imagining them growing old together. It was published in 1864 in a collection of his poems entitled Maple Leaves. They were married in 1864 but Maggie's health deteriorated and she died on May 12, 1865. James Butterfield set the poem to music and it became popular all over the world. George Washington Johnson died in 1917. The schoolhouse where the two lovers met still stands on the escarpment above Hamilton, and a plaque bearing the name of the song has been erected in front of the old building. The link is to Irene Dunne, from 'Unfinished Business' starring Irene and Robert Montgomery. She even manages the tricky notes that defeat most singers.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Absurd Person Singular at the Tivoli in Wimborne
This evening, we saw the Alan Ayckbourn play Absurd Person Singular at the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne Minster.
Set over three successive Christmas Eves, it studies three couples, one climbing the success ladder and the other two sliding down it. We are unsure of the moral here, other than a good wife is essential; alcoholic and/or depressive ones drag one down.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Amy Roberts Band at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening, for the third time, we saw Amy Roberts, this time playing with her own Band at the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club at the Bluebirds Club in Longham. The band comprised Amy Roberts (alto sax, clarinet, flute), Jeff Barnhart (keyboard, vocals), Richard Leach (trombone, vocal), Sandy Suchodolski (bass) and Graham Smith (drums). Anne Barnhart joined the band for three flute duets. Still only in her early twenties, Amy was brilliant on all three instruments. Jeff, over from the USA for a UK tour, is a fine jazz pianist with a good sense of humour. Sandy, even younger than Amy, is a student at the Royal Academy of Music in London. This was probably the best night ever at the Bluebirds. We even bought a Jeff and Anne Barnhart CD. Favourite numbers were:
1) Anne and Amy's flute duet Water from an Ancient Well, composed in 1976 by Abdullah Ibrahim, who can be heard playing piano on this link. Born Adolph Johannes Brand in 1934 in Cape Town, South Africa, and formerly known as Dollar Brand, his music reflects many of the musical influences of his childhood in the multicultural port areas of Cape Town, ranging from traditional African songs to the gospel of the AME Church and ragas, to more modern jazz and other Western styles. Ibrahim is considered the leading figure in the sub-genre Cape jazz. Within jazz, his music particularly reflects the influence of Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington. With his wife, the jazz singer Sathima Bea Benjamin, he is father to the New York underground rapper Jean Grae, as well as to a son, Tsakwe.
2) Jeff's jazzed up version of The Entertainer, one of Scott Joplin's most famous rags, written in 1902. The link is played as written in the true tradition of ragtime. Jeff does not believe in political correctness and applied all his jazz tricks to his version.
3) Creole Love Call, a jazz standard most associated with the Duke Ellington band. Ellington first recorded it in 1927 and was issued a copyright for it as composer the following year. However the main melody appears earlier in the Joe 'King' Oliver composition 'Camp Meeting Blues' which Oliver recorded with his Creole Jazz Band in 1923. Apparently Ellington reedman Rudy Jackson had presented the melody to Ellington claiming it was his own composition. After Ellington's recording came out, Joe Oliver attempted to sue for payment of royalties and composer credit. The lawsuit failed due to problems with Oliver's original paperwork resulting in Oliver not holding a valid copyright. Ellington fired Jackson over the incident, bringing in Barney Bigard as his replacement. The link is to Amy playing with Paul Harrison.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
The Panama Hat Band + Wessex Harmony
This evening we went to the Memorial Hall in our Dorset home of West Moors for the third time for a charity concert. The first half featuredThe Panama Hat New Orleans Jazz Band (pictured). The band comprised Tony Purse (trumpet, vocals), Tom Pearse (trombone), Jim Driscoll (soprano sax, clarinet, vocal), Dave Broomfield (banjo) and 'Stan the Man' Bowers on drums.
Favourite number was Jim's feature with Dave 2:19 Blues, composed by Mamie Desdunes (1879-1911) and played on this link by Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. Jelly Roll Morton introduced his Library of Congress version with the words “Here’s was among the first blues that I’ve ever heard, happened to be a woman, that lived next door to my godmother’s in the Garden District. Her name was Mamie Desdunes. On her right hand, she had her two middle fingers, between her forefingers, cut off, and she played with the three. So she played a blues like this all day long, when she first would get up in the morning.”
The second half featured Wessex Harmony, an all-female barbershop chorus singing in unaccompanied close harmony. They began as the 'Wessex Corn Dollies', the name coming from original member Josie, who we see at 'The White Buck' every Thursday.
Our favourite number was San Francisco Bay Blues, composed by one man band 'Lone Cat' Jesse Fuller as featured on this 1968 link.
Having previously seen an all-male chorus at the same venue, we cannot help thinking "why not a mix of sexes so we get both basses and sopranos ?"
Sunday, July 29, 2012
John Maddocks' Jazzmen at the St Leonards Hotel
This evening we went to the St Leonards Hotel, Dorset (pictured), to see the John Maddocks Jazzmen. The band comprised John Maddocks (clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, vocals), Peter Wilkinson (trumpet, vocals), Tony Farr (trombone), Chris Satterley (keyboard, vocals), Peter McCurrie (string bass, tuba), Dave Broomfield, (banjo, guitar) and Brian Barker (drums).
Favourite numbers were:
1) John's vocal and tenor sax extravaganza Shake Rattle and Roll, a twelve bar blues-form rock and roll song, written in 1954 by Jesse Stone under his assumed songwriting name Charles E. Calhoun. It was originally recorded by Big Joe Turner, and most successfully by Bill Haley & His Comets in 1954, as on this link. The song, in its original incarnation, is highly sexual. Perhaps its most salacious lyric, which was absent from the later Bill Haley rendition, is "I've been holdin' it in, way down underneath / You make me roll my eyes, baby, make me grit my teeth". [It may actually be "Over the hill, way down underneath.] On the recording, Turner slurred the lyric "holdin' it in", since this line may have been considered too risqué for publication. The chorus uses "shake, rattle and roll" to refer to boisterous intercourse, in the same way that the words "rock and roll" was first used by numerous rhythm and blues singers, starting with Trixie Smith's "My Man Rocks Me (With One Steady Roll)" in 1922, and continuing on prominently through the 1940s and 1950s.
Bill Haley & His Comets' cover version of the song (three weeks after Turner's version first topped the R&B charts), featured the following members of the Comets: Johnny Grande (piano), Billy Williamson (steel guitar), Marshall Lytle (bass), and Joey Ambrose (saxophone). It is known that Danny Cedrone, a session musician who frequently worked for Haley, played lead guitar, but there is controversy over who played drums. Music reference books indicate that it was Panama Francis, a noted jazz drummer who worked with Haley's producer, Milt Gabler. However, in a letter written in the early 1980s, Gabler denied this and said the drummer was Billy Gussak. This was Cedrone's final recording session as he died only ten days later. Gabler has explained that he "cleaned up" the lyrics because, "I didn't want any censor with the radio station to bar the record from being played on the air. With NBC a lot of race records wouldn't get played because of the lyrics. So I had to watch that closely".
2) Dead Man Blues, composed by Jelly Roll Morton. The link is to his 1926 Chicago recording with his Red Hot Peppers. What a band (more below) !
3) JM's clarinet featureKansas City Stomp, again composed by 'Mr Jelly'; one of his traditional numbers played in the New Orleans style as on this link. According to Jelly it was nothing to do with Kansas City but named after the Kansas City Saloon in Tijuana Mexico. This band was well rehearsed and disciplined. Jelly was a disciplinarian and would take a whole day to record one tune in those days, however, the musicians were allowed the freedom to express their own personalities, - (as long as they played what Jelly told them to play!) Recorded in Chicago in 1926 this music was ahead of its time. The band included Baby Dodds (dms) and Omer Simeon (clt).
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Elvis Presley tribute at Ferndown
This evening we went to the The Barrington Centre in Ferndown to see Lee Jackson performing 'Elvis, the Early Years'. Lee looks and sounds like Elivs with ace lead guitarist Ron Hulse playing guitar like Scotty Moore and Dean Amos performing the Bill Black double bass part.
It is hard to pick favourite numbers so I will just link to some that are on YouTube.
1. Are You Lonesome Tonight, music by Lou Handman and lyrics by Roy Turk. It was written in 1926, first published in 1927 and most notably revived by Elvis Presley in 1960.
2. All Shook Up, composed by Otis Blackwell and Elvis Presley. The single topped the U.S. Pop chart on April 13, 1957, staying there for eight weeks.
3. Ready Teddy, written by John Marascalco and Robert Blackwell and first made popular by Little Richard in 1956. It has since been covered by Buddy Holly, The Tornados, Elvis Presley, Tony Sheridan and others, making it something of a pop standard.
4. Several numbers on the same link; Blue Suede Shoes, Mystery Train, Heartbreak Hotel, Don't Be Cruel, etc.. 'Blue Suede Shoes' was written and first recorded by Presley's Sun Records stable mate Carl Perkins in 1955 and is considered one of the first rockabilly (rock and roll) records and incorporated elements of blues, country and pop music of the time.
'Mystery Train' was written and recorded by American blues musician Junior Parker in 1953. Considered a blues standard, Parker, billed as "Little Junior's Blue Flames", recorded the song for producer/Sun Records owner Sam Phillips and it was released on the Sun label. A credit later given to Phillips.
'Don't Be Cruel' was written by Otis Blackwell in 1956 and was the first song that Presley's song publishers, Hill and Range, brought to him to record. Blackwell was more than happy to give up 50% of the royalties and a co-writing credit to Presley to ensure that the "hottest new singer around covered it"
Monday, July 9, 2012
Steve Grayham's New Orleans Jazz Band at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening we saw Steve Grayham's New Orleans Jazz Band playing at the Bluebirds Club in Longham. The band comprised Steve Grayham (trumpet, vocals), John Wurr (clarinet, alto sax), Tom Whittingham (trombone), Mike Cox (banjo, vocals), Derek Jones (double bass) and Baby Jools Aldridge (drums). We had seen Steve before but never leading his own band. Unusual numbers were:
1) Mike's vocal, in Creole patois, Creole Song, a traditional New Orleans dance hall favourite that dates back to the 19th century. The link is to a 1944 L.A. recording by Kid Ory's revival band, featuring Kid Ory (tbn), Mutt Carey (tpt), Omer Simeon (clt), Buster Wilson (pno), Bud Scott (gtr), Ed Garland (bass) and Alton Redd (dms).
2) That Teasing Rag, composed in 1912 by Paul Charles Pratt, an American composer, arranger and songwriter of popular music born in Indianapolis. After some music education and still in his teens, he was befriended by Cecil Duane Crabb and May Aufderheide for whom he arranged her Dusty (1908). This impressed May's father to such an extent that he set up the music publishing house of J. H. Aufderheide, Indianapolis, Indiana in which Pratt was eventually made manager of its Chicago operations. He wrote a number of rags, the earliest of which were also published by J. H. Aufderheide. On moving to New York, he collaborated with another Indianapolis friend, one J. Will Callahan to write a number of songs one of their earliest being That Gosh Darn Hiram Tune (1912). In New York he went on to work as an arranger for a number of theatre orchestras. In the 1930's he changed his profession to that of photographer which he continued until his death in Indianapolis. Of his rags Colonial Glide (1914) and Hot-House Rag (1914) have been recorded by Max Morath and Trebor Jay Tichenor respectively. The melody is incorporated in 'The Original Dixieland One Step'.
The link is to the Dene River Jazzmen, at The Harp Hotel, Albrighton, Shropshire, on Sunday, January 15th 2012. Led by Peter Roberts on banjo, the line-up was Chris Carmel on cornet, Rod Williams on clarinet/alto, Dave Braidley on trombone, Keith Prescott on bass and Dave Andrews on drums.
3) A very topical number in this time of floods, River Stay Away From My Door, composed in 1931 by Harry M. Woods with lyrics by Mort Dixon. Woods' most famous compositions were 'I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover', 'Try a Little Tenderness and 'I'll Never Say "Never-Again" Again'. Woods' temperament was in sharp contrast to the songs he wrote. He was reportedly a dangerous and volatile alcoholic. According to legend, Woods once exchanged heated words with a man in a nightclub after consuming a large quantity of alcohol. The argument escalated into a physical fight with Woods pinning the man to the floor while hitting him with his right hand and bashing him in the face with the stump of his fingerless left hand. When police arrived at the club and arrested Woods, a woman entered the club and asked, "Who is that horrible man?" Still seated at the bar, a friend of the songwriter's proudly announced, "That's Harry Woods. He wrote 'Try a Little Tenderness'."
The link is to a fine recording by Paul Robeson.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Panama Hat Jazz Band at Ye Olde Starre Inn, Christchurch
This evening, for the first time, we went to Ye Olde Starre Inn, Purewell, Christchurch, Dorset, where we ate a fine large cottage pie, washed down by a smooth Chilean Merlot. We then watched and heard The Panama Hat New Orleans Jazz Band, comprising Tony Purse (trumpet, vocals), Tom Pearse (trombone), Jim Driscoll (clarinet, vocals), Alan Harris (string bass), George Skidmore (banjo, vocals), and 'Stan the Man' Bowers on drums. This was a good first night at the Starre that augers well for the future. Our thanks to the hosts, Eddie and Chloe.
Favourite numbers were:
1) George's lovely acoustic blues guitar playing, backing Tony's vocal, Dallas Blues, written by Hart Wand and the first true blues song ever published, (1912). Although written for standard blues tempo (Tempo di Blues. Very slowly), it is often performed as Ragtime or Dixieland. In 1918, Lloyd Garrett added lyrics to reflect the singer's longing for Dallas:
There's a place I know, folks won't pass me by,
Dallas, Texas, that's the town, I cry, oh hear me cry.
And I'm going back, going back to stay there 'til I die, until I die.
No date is found for the actual composition of 'Dallas Blues' but Samuel Charters, who interviewed Wand for his book, The Country Blues (1959), states that Wand took the tune to a piano playing friend, Annabelle Robbins, who arranged the music for him. Charters further states that the title came from one of Wand's father's workmen who remarked that the tune gave him the blues to go back to Dallas. Since Wand's father died in 1909, the actual composition must have predated that.
In any case, within weeks of its publication it was heard the length of the Mississippi River and its influence on all the blues music that followed is well documented.
The link is to WILBUR SWEATMAN'S ORIGINAL JAZZ BAND in 1918, comprising Wilbur Sweatman (cl, dir) William Hicks (tpt), Major Jackson (tb), Dan Parish (pno) and Henry Bowser (dms). This is possibly the first black band ever to record a jazz number.
2) George's banjo feature The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise, lyrics by Gene Lockhart and music (Toronto 1918) by the concert pianist Ernest Seitz, who had conceived the refrain when he was 12. Embarrassed about writing popular music, Seitz used the pseudonym "Raymond Roberts" when the song was first published by Chappell in 1919. More than 100 versions have been recorded. Initially, when the song's hopeful sentiment appealed to post-war North America, it was recorded by both singers and instrumentalists, including Morton Downey, Fritz Kreisler, Ted Lewis, and John Steel. Later, as a popular vehicle for improvisation, it was recorded by many jazz musicians, among them Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Django Reinhardt, Mel Powell, Jess Stacy, and Jack Teagarden. A version made for Capitol in 1951 by guitarists Les Paul and Mary Ford was a million-seller. The Beatles recorded a home version on a Grundig tape recorder, sometime in the late 1950's. The Beatles version featured guitars by Harrison and Lennon and vocals from Paul McCartney. Canadian jazz musicians to record the song include Bert Niosi (1946), Peter Appleyard (1957), Ed Bickert (1979), and Oscar Peterson (1980). A version by doo-wop group the Larks is featured in the 1955 film Rhythm and Blues Revue. Les Paul's version, as on this link, was one of the first electric guitar recordings to feature distortion.
3) Jim's vocal I Can't Give You Anything but Love, composed by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. The song was introduced by Adelaide Hall at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York in January 1928 in Lew Leslie's Blackbird Revue, which opened on Broadway later that year as the highly successful Blackbirds of 1928 (518 performances), wherein it was performed by Adelaide Hall, Aida Ward, and Willard McLean. Some controversy surrounds the song's authorship. Andy Razaf's biographer Harry Singer offers circumstantial evidence that suggests Fats Waller might have sold the melody to McHugh in 1926 and that the lyrics were by Andy Razaf. Alternatively, Philip Furia has pointed out that Fields' verse is almost identical to the end of the second verse of Lorenz Hart's and Richard Rodgers' song 'Where's That Rainbow?' from Peggy-Ann, the 1926 musical comedy with book by Fields' brother Herbert and produced by their father Lew. The link is to an unusual but typical version by Billie Holiday.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Brian White's Magna Jazz Band at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening we saw Brian White's Magna Jazz Band playing at the Bluebirds Club in Longham. The band comprised Ken Reece (cornet, trumpet), Brian White (clarinet, vocals), John Howlett (trombone), Graham Barton (keyboard), Vic Pitt (double bass) and Graham Smith (drums). This great band includes many of our old friends from our days in Surrey. Favourite numbers were:
1) Alice Blue Gown, composed by Harry Tierney with lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, from the musical 'Irene' based on a play by James Montgomery 'Irene O'Dare'. The link is to Muggsy Spanier & His Ragtimers from 1944. Few bands play it now.
2) Graham Barton's unannounced solo; Pine Top's Boogie Woogie, composed by Clarence 'Pine Top' Smith, his nickname arising from his liking for climbing trees as a child. In 1920 he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as an entertainer before touring as a singer and comedian as well as a pianist. For a time he worked as accompanist for blues singer Ma Rainey and Butterbeans and Susie. In 1928 he moved, with his wife and young son, to Chicago, Illinois to record. For a time he, Albert Ammons, and Meade Lux Lewis lived in the same rooming house. That year he recorded this number, as on the link, one of the first boogie woogie style recordings to make a hit, and which cemented the name for the style. Pine Top talks over the recording, telling how to dance to the number. He said he originated the number at a house-rent party in St. Louis, Missouri. Smith was the first ever to direct "the girl with the red dress on" to "not move a peg" until told to "shake that thing" and "mess around". Smith was scheduled to make another recording session for Vocalion in 1929, but died from a gunshot wound in a dance-hall fight in Chicago the day before the session. Sources differ as to whether he was the intended recipient of the bullet. "I saw Pinetop spit blood" was the famous headline in Down Beat magazine. No photographs of Smith are known to exist.
3) The requested duet between Vic Pitt and Graham Smith Big Noise From Winnetka, a spontaneous composition, created at the Blackhawk in Chicago in 1938 by Bob Haggart (bass) and Ray Bauduc (drums), both members of the Bob Crosby band. The link is to a later performance by the composers. This was the first jazz record I ever owned, chosen by me from my uncle's huge collection. I still have it.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Tony Robinson's Chicago Jazz Aces; 40s Night at the White Buck
This evening, once again, we saw Tony Robinson's Chicago Jazz Aces at the White Buck Hotel at Burley in the New Forest, this time celebrating D-Day with a 1940s night.
The band comprised Tony Robinson (trumpet, vocals), Roy Sear (clarinet, tenor sax, baritone sax), Wyn Bowen (slide and valve trombones), Dave Lewen (keyboard), Ron Davidge (drums), Alan Harris (double bass) and Barbara Lorraine (vocals).
The picture shows two of the regulars dressed for the occasion, Josie in merchant navy uniform and Eric in RAF gear. We wore the nearest clothes we have to 1940s styles. Selina received several compliments on her unusually sober style. One was rather spoilt by including the words "sensibly dressed tonight". Selina has never been known to say "can I dress sensibly" before a jazz evening out. After a day at work in warm trousers, she is much more likely to say "sexy clothes tonight ?" Shortest dress next week perhaps.
Notable numbers from the 40s were:
1) A medley that included Little Brown Jug, American Patrol and Chatanooga Choo Choo. All the links are to Glenn Miller and his Orchestra.
2) In The Mood, a number 1 hit recorded by American bandleader Glenn Miller as on this link. Joe Garland and Andy Razaf arranged "In the Mood" in 1937-1939 using a previously existing main theme composed by Glenn Miller before the start of the 1930s. Miller's "In the Mood" did not top the charts until 1940 and one year later was featured in the movie Sun Valley Serenade.
3) Barbara's vocal White Cliffs of Dover, a popular World War II song made famous by Vera Lynn with her 1942 recording as on this link. Written in 1941 by Walter Kent and Nat Burton, the song was also among the most popular Second World War tunes. It was written before America had joined World War II, to uplift the spirits of the Allies at a time when Nazi Germany had conquered much of Europe's area and was bombing Britain. The song was written at a time when British and German aircraft had been fighting over the cliffs of Dover in the Battle of Britain: the song's lyrics looked toward a time when the war would be over and peace would rule over the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, Britain's de facto border with the European mainland.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Panama Hat Jazz Band at Ye Olde George Inn (YOGI), Christchurch
This evening, for the last time due to management change, we went to Ye Olde George Inn in Christchurch, Dorset, to see The Panama Hat New Orleans Jazz Band. The band comprised Tony Purse (trumpet, vocals), Alan Pickering (trombone), Jim Driscoll (clarinet, vocal), Alan Harris (string bass), Dave Broomfield (banjo), and 'Stan the Man' Bowers on drums. The evening featured female vocalist Jo Collison with her daughter Jackie Leefrom Australia (pictured together). This was a great night for the finish at YOGI, with the two guest musicians blending perfectly with the regulars.
Favourite numbers were:
1) Jo Collison's vocal Trouble In Mind, the famous eight-bar (or maybe 16 bar) blues written by Richard Marigny Jones (1892 – 1945). He was a jazz pianist, composer, band leader, and record producer. Numerous songs bear his name as author. Jones grew up in New Orleans suffering from a stiff leg and walking with a limp; fellow musicians gave him the nickname 'Richard My Knee Jones' as a pun on his middle name. In his youth he played alto horn in brass bands. His main instrument, however, became the piano. By 1908 he was playing in Storyville, the red-light district of New Orleans. A few years later, he often led a small band which sometimes included Joe Oliver. Jones also worked in the bands of John Robichaux, Armand J. Piron, and Papa Celestin. In 1918 Jones moved to Chicago, where he worked as Chicago manager for publisher Clarence Williams. Jones began recording in 1923, making gramophone records as a piano soloist, accompanist to vocalists and with his bands The Jazz Wizards and The Chicago Cosmopolitans. He recorded for Gennett, OKeh, Victor, and Paramount Records in the 1920s. He also worked for OKeh Records as Chicago supervisor of the company's 'Race' (African-American) Records for most of the decade. In the 1930s he played a similar role for Decca.
'Trouble in Mind' was recorded in 1924 by singer Thelma La Vizzo with Jones providing the piano accompaniment. The song became an early blues standard, with versions by Bertha 'Chippie' Hill with Louis Armstrong on cornet and Jones on piano (1926), Georgia White (1936), Victoria Spivey (as Jane Lucas, 1936) and Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys (1936). Later, it was a Billboard R&B chart hit for Dinah Washington (1952) and Nina Simone (1961). In many versions, several new verses are added. However, the standard opening is universal:
Trouble in mind, I’m blue (the word blue MUST be a 'blue' note)
But I won’t be blue always
'Cos the sun's gonna shine in my back door someday
The link is to Sister Rosetta Tharpe at Alexandra Road station at the junction of Alexandra Road South and Mauldeth Road West in Cholton Cum Hardy, a little town near Manchester, England, UK). For a gospel singer, she sure is a fine blues guitarist !
2) Jo and Jackie performing a great duet, Jackie singing an octave higher than Jo, Bei Mir Bist Du Schön, (Yiddish: בײַ מיר ביסטו שיין, "To Me You're Beautiful"), a popular Yiddish song composed by Jacob Jacobs (lyricist) and Sholom Secunda (composer) for a 1932 Yiddish musical, 'I Would If I Could' (in Yiddish, Men Ken Lebn Nor Men Lost Nisht, 'You could live, but they won't let you'), that closed after one season. The score for the song transcribed the Yiddish title as 'Bay mir bistu sheyn'. The original Yiddish version of the song (in C minor) is really a dialogue between two lovers who share lines of the song. The song became famous with English lyrics but retaining the Yiddish title, 'Bei Mir Bistu Shein'. It also appeared with a Germanized title 'Bei Mir Bist Du Schön'. In 1937, Sammy Cahn heard a performance of the song, sung in Yiddish by African American performers Johnnie and George at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. On seeing the response, Cahn got his employer to buy the rights so he (together with Saul Chaplin) could rewrite the song with English language lyrics and rhythms more typical of swing music. Secunda and Jacobs sold the publishing rights to the song for a mere US$30. Cahn then convinced the still unknown Andrews Sisters to perform the song (1937). It became their first major hit, earning them a gold record, the first ever to a female vocal group. The song is performed by Renata Flores in the film The Last Metro. It was also a worldwide hit beyond America. Over time, the song grosed some $3,000,000, with Secunda and Jacobs missing significant royalties. Fortunately, in 1961, the copyright on the song expired, the ownership was reverted to Secunda and Jacobs, and they signed contract with Harms, Inc., securing proper royalties.
There have been several songs with the tune in the Soviet Union. In particular, in 1943, a Russian-language song for the music was produced with satirical anti-Nazi lyrics titled 'Baron Fon Der Pshik' (Барон фон дер Пшик) by Anatoli Fidrovsky, music arrangement by Orest Kandat. Initially it was recorded by the jazz orchestra (director Nikolay Minkh) of the Baltic Fleet Theatre. Later it was included into the repertoire of Leonid Utyosov's jazz orchestra. In Nazi Germany it was also a hit until its Jewish origins were discovered when it was promptly banned.
The link is to Janis Siegel's rendition, as seen in 'Swing Kids'. This is the full, uninterrupted version. Not just a clip from the movie.
3) Jim's great feature for clarinet and vocal 2:19 Blues, originally entitled by Jelly Roll Morton 'Mamie's Blues' although he claimed to have learnt it rather than originated it. The title was changed by George Lewis. The link is to a wonderful version by Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet.
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Welshpool & Llanfair Railway
Today we used the Narrow Gauge Steam Railway to travel from Llanfair Caereinion to the town of Welshpool. The picture shows the steam locomotives that pulled our train; 'Countess' (green) going out and 'Joan' (red) for the return journey. The countryside was beautiful and we had lunch with good company at the 'Royal Oak' in Welshpool.
The railway enthusiasts on the way out thought this was one of the best lines they have tried. They particularly like the way they can stand on an open platform with the locomotive almost within touching distance, breathing in the smoke.
Friday, May 25, 2012
Lake Vyrnwy, Wales
Today we arrived at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel in Wales. The pictures show the beautiful views from our room and from the terrace. The real experience cannot be captured in a photograph; this is the finest view in the UK.
Food in the AA one rosette restaurant is superb and the choice of wines is endless. A 2005 vintage from the Lebanon was particularly fine.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Lynton, North Devon
Today we stayed at the Lynton Cottage Hotel and enjoyed the view as pictured. Food and wine at the AA 2 rosette restaurant were as good as one would expect. We also undertook a nostalgia drive around all the places we used to visit in the 1970s with a child (now 42 and recently married). Most were substantially unchanged, Ilfracombe and Lee Bay being the exceptions.
Monday, June 6, 2012
Mike Barry's Frisco Six at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening we saw Mike Barry's Frisco Six playing at the Bluebirds Club in Longham. The band comprised Mike Barry (trumpet, vocals), John Lee (clarinet, tenor sax), Michael Holt (trombone, vocals), Peter Gregory (banjo, guitar), Roger Kirby (double bass) and Graham Collicott (drums). Tonight this fine band played mostly New Orleans and Dixieland numbers but also some that are not played so often, such as:
1) Brown Skin Girl, a calypso composed by King Radio (Real name Norman Span). The number is played on this link by a band that includes Sonny Rollins, himself of caribbean origin.
2) Lulu's Back in Town, composed by Harry Warren with lyrics by Al Dubin. The link is to Fats Waller from 1935.
3) A regular favourite, sung by Mike Holt with fine guitar backing by Peter Gregory Am I Blue, written by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke in 1929. It was a big hit that year for Ethel Waters in the 1929 film 'On with the Show'. The link is to the most memorable scene from the 1984 film 'The Cotton Club'. with Diane Lane singing and Richard Gere playing trumpet. I don't understand why Ms Lane was so criticised for her role; watch the full clip to decide for yourself.
Monday, April 2, 2012
Bill Phelan's Muskrat Ramblers at the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club
This evening, for the second time, we saw Bill Phelan's Muskrat Ramblers playing at the Bluebirds Club. The band comprised Bill Phelan (trumpet), Mike Melton (trumpet), Graham Wiseman (trombone), Alan Cresswell (clarinet), Johnny McCallum (banjo, guitar, vocals), Vic Pitt (double bass) and Paul Warrman (drums). Pete Tamplin (keyboard) joined the band for a few numbers.
Favourite numbers were:
1) Working Man Blues, written by Joe 'King' Oliver as featured on this link. We like the 1950's Dutch Swing College Version with the slow introduction.
2) Crazy 'bout the Way I Ride written by Kid Ory. The link is to an interesting 1945 recording with Wooden Joe Nicholas (tpt), Albert Burbank (clt), Jim Robinson (tbn), Lawrence Marrero (bjo), Austin Young (bass) and Josiah 'Cie' Frazier (dms).
3) Pete Tamplin with Johnny McCallum on guitar and vocal Please Don't Talk about me When I'm Gone, written by Sam H. Stept with lyrics by Sidney Clare. Original publication also credited singer Bee Palmer as co-composer. The song was published in 1930. The chorus uses virtually the same chord sequence as the 1925 composition 'Has Anybody Seen My Gal?'. The link is to the greatest of all jazz singers, Billie Holiday. This song is also sung by Norma Shearer's character Mary Haines in the 1939 film The Women as a joke when she leaves her girl friends alone at tea while she takes a call from her philandering husband Stephen Haines.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Laurie Chescoe's Reunion Band at the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club
This evening we went to see the Laurie Chescoe's Reunion Band at the Bluebirds Club in Longham.
The band comprised; Duncan Hemscott (clarinet, tenor sax), Lord Arsenal (trumpet, vocals), Dave Hewett (trombone, baritone horn), Hugh Crozier (keyboard), Jim Douglas (guitar, banjo), Pete Skivington (bass guitar) and Laurie Chescoe (drums).
This is a great band with some fine musicians, two of whom (Dave and Pete) we know well. Arsenal is a funny front man who we had never seen before.
Favourite numbers were:
1) Hugh's solo Jump Steady Blues, written by Clarence 'Pine Top' Smith as featured on this link. He was born in Troy, Alabama and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his nickname as a child from his liking for climbing trees. In 1920 he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as an entertainer before touring on the T. O. B. A. vaudeville circuit, performing as a singer and comedian as well as a pianist. For a time he worked as accompanist for blues singer Ma Rainey and Butterbeans and Susie. In 1928 he moved, with his wife and young son, to Chicago, Illinois to record. For a time he, Albert Ammons, and Meade Lux Lewis lived in the same rooming house. On 29 December 1928 he recorded his influential "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie," one of the first "boogie woogie" style recordings to make a hit, and which cemented the name for the style. Pine Top talks over the recording, telling how to dance to the number. He said he originated the number at a house-rent party in St. Louis, Missouri. Smith was the first ever to direct "the girl with the red dress on" to "not move a peg" until told to "shake that thing" and "mess around". Smith died from a gunshot wound in a dance-hall fight in Chicago. Sources differ as to whether he was the intended recipient of the bullet. "I saw Pinetop spit blood" was the famous headline in Down Beat magazine. No photographs of Smith are known to exist.
2) Great tenor sax by Duncan on Oh Marie, composed by Eduardo di Capua (1865 – 1917). The link is a fine version by Louis Prima. Together with the poet Giovanni Capurro, di Capua also wrote the song 'O Sole Mio'.
3) Jim and Pete's duet Cherokee, written in 1938 by Ray Noble as featured on this link. Raymond Stanley Noble (1903-78) was born at 1 Montpelier Terrace in the Montpelier area of Brighton. A blue plaque on the house commemorates him. Noble studied at the Royal Academy of Music and became leader of the HMV Records studio band in 1929. The band, known as the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, featured members of many of the top hotel orchestras of the day. The most popular vocalist with Noble's studio band was Al Bowlly. The Bowlly/Noble recordings with the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra on HMV achieved popularity in the United States, and Noblee moved to New York City in 1933. Union bans prevented Noble from taking British musicians to America so he arranged for Glenn Miller to recruit American musicians. Glenn Miller played the trombone in the Ray Noble orchestra which performed Glenn Miller's composition "Dese Dem Dose" as part of the medley "Dese Dem Dose/An Hour Ago This Minute/Solitude" during a performance at the Rainbow Room in 1935. The American Ray Noble band had a successful run at the Rainbow Room in New York City with Bowlly as principal vocalist. Bowlly returned to England but Noble continued to lead bands in America, moving into an acting career portraying a stereotypical upper-class English idiot. His last major successes as a bandleader came with Buddy Clark in the late 1940s. He retired to Santa Barbara, California, where he lived in the 1970s. In March 1978 he flew to London for treatment of cancer, where he died.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Excelsior Vintage Jazz Band at the Bluebirds Club
This evening we went to see the Excelsior Vintage jazz band at the Bluebirds Club in Longham.
The band comprised; Ron Rumbol (clarinet, alto sax, leader), Cuff Billet (trumpet, vocals), John Wiseman (trombone), Doug Kennedy (banjo), Ray Goold (double bass) and Dave Evens (drums).
Cuff was deputising for Jim Holmes who is ill. It is a pity that the audience was smaller than usual and we were the only couple dancing.
Favourite numbers were:
1) Cuff's blues vocal If You See Me Coming, written by Teddy Bunn and Mezz Mezzrow as featured on this link. The band is the Mezzrow/Ladnier Quintet, comprising Mezz Mezzrow (clt), Tommy Ladnier (tpt), Teddy Bunn (gtr, vocal), Pops Foster (bass sax), and Manzie Johnson (dms).
2) You Took Advantage of Me, a 1928 popular song composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Lorenz Hart for the musical Present Arms (1928), where it was introduced by Joyce Barbour and Busby Berkeley as the characters Edna Stevens and Douglas Atwel. THe link is to the Paul Whiteman Orchestra from 1928, comprising Henry Busse, Charles Margulis, Eddie Pinder (tp); Bix Beiderbecke (c); Boyce Cullen, Wilbur Hall, Bill Rank, Jack Fulton (tb); Frank Trumbauer, Chester Hazlett, Irving Friedman, Charles Strickfaden, Rube Crozier, Roy Maier (reeds); Kurt Dieterle, Mischa Russell, Matty Malneck, Mario Perry, John Bouman, Charles Gaylord (vln); Roy Bargy, Lennie Hayton (p); Mike Pingitore (bj); Mike Trafficante (sb); Min Leibrook (tu/bsx); George Marsh (dm); Bing Crosby, Austin Young, Jack Fulton, Charles Gaylord (voc).
I always say that Selina took advantage of me in 1962 by saying she had black stockings in her bag.
3) Maria Elena, a 1932 popular song written by Lorenzo Barcelata (Spanish words and music). The song was dedicated to María Elena, the wife of Mexican President Emilio Portes Gil. An instrumental version of the song was used as the background theme of the 1935 film Bordertown, starring Paul Muni and Bette Davis, in 1935. The next year the words and music were used in the Mexican film María Elena. The song was a hit in 1941 for the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra with Bob Eberly doing the vocals. An instrumental version was recorded in 1958 and released in the United States in 1962 by Natalico and Antenor Lima, better known as Los Indios Tabajaras. This popular revival hit made No.5 on the UK singles chart. Selina brought this to us as part of her musical dowry and it is featured on this link.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
'Design For Living' at Salisbury Playhouse
This evening, to celebrate our 46th anniversary, we went to the Salisbury Playhouse to see a performance of 'Design For Living' by Noel Coward. We began with dinner at the nearby Thai Orchid; tasty food and excellent service.
The play was classic Coward. He was ahead of his time in that there was no doubt when sex had taken place and there was even a hint of homosexuality. Gilda, played by Marianne Oldham, progressed effortlessly from Bohemian in dressing gown over petticoat to New York socialite in a beautiful backless evening dress.
All told, a great evening out.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
1940's night at the White Buck
This evening we went to the White Buck Hotel at Burley in the New Forest for a 1940s style dinner and entertainment. For our starters we both had spam fritters and I chose rabbit and bacon pie for the main course. For afters we both had treacle sponge. Ah, the sheer nostalgia of it.
Lorraine, the singer, dressed in the clothes of the period (see picture), as did many of the audience. Several of the men, including Eric, were in US military uniform. When I accused Eric of wanting to have his wicked way with our British women he agreed wholeheartedly.
The music was from the big band era, including many old wartime favourites. The dancing was very professional, putting our efforts to shame. However, we were given a bottle of wine as a prize for being the first 'outsiders' to get up and dance.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Dart Valley Stompers at the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club
This evening, for the fifth time, we saw the Dart Valley Stompers, playing at the Bluebirds Club. This great band comprised Jeremy Huggett (leader, clarinet, tenor sax, soprano sax, vocals), Graham Trevarton (trumpet, cornet, vocals), John Whitlock (banjo, guitar, jokes), Tony Mann (double bass) and Ron Berry (drums). The venue was packed, evidence of the popularity of this band. They are good !
As John Whitlock started one of his jokes, a woman at the front called out "That's Disgusting." From then on she heckled him at every opportunity until he called down to her man "She's good, can we borrow her for other gigs ?"
Notable numbers were:
1) I'm Walkin', written by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. Fats is featured on this link with a fine tenor sax player. The 1957 single was Fats Domino's third release in a row to reach number one in the R&B Best Sellers chart, where it stayed for six weeks. The single also continued Fats Domino's crossover appeal when it peaked at number four on the pop singles chart.
Antoine Dominique "Fats" Domino, Jr. was born in 1928 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Creole was his first language. He lives there still and survived Hurricane Katrina when his house was flooded and he was rescued by helicopter.
2) Dream a Little Dream of Me music by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt and lyrics by Gus Kahn. The link is to the famous Cass Elliott (Mama Cass) recording with the Mamas and the Papas.
3) Bye Bye Blues, written by Fred Hamm, Dave Bennett, Bert Lown, and Chauncey Gray and published in 1930. The link is to Les Paul and Mary Ford, a version we have on CD.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Since I last reported on DVDs from LoveFilm we have viewed two or more per week. My favourite since Shogun was The Mother, starring Anne Reid and Daniel Craig. I must admit that my initial reasons for this choice were my liking for the young man, older woman, genre plus the prospect of James Bond pleasuring one of Victoria Wood's dinner ladies ! The film exceeded my expectations.
Anne Reid (Coronation St, Dinner Ladies) gives a fine performance in the leading role, making her character completely convincing. She was nominated for 6 best actress awards and won just one of them. I would have given her all 6.
She turned down a part in 'Calendar Girls' for this role. Tough decision; I think not.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Jazzsounds at the Belvedere, Bournemouth
This evening we went to Manfred's Bar at The Belvedere Hotel in Bournemouth, where we ate an excellent meal of roast turkey, drank a bottle of Syrah and listened to Jazzsounds.
The trio (pictured), comprised Pat Neil (keyboard), Brian Mursell (stick bass) and Terry Squires (guitar, vocal). Guest guitarist was Stuart. Male guest vocalists were Cliff, Steve, Brian and Tony (Banks). Female guest vocalist was Pat.
1) The Way You Look Tonight, featured in the film Swing Time, originally performed by Fred Astaire as on this link. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936. The song was sung to Ginger Rogers as Penelope "Penny" Carroll by Astaire's character of John "Lucky" Garnett while Penny was busy washing her hair in an adjacent room, and feeling anything but beautiful at the time. The song was written by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Fields later remarked, "The first time Jerry played that melody for me I went out and started to cry. The release absolutely killed me. I couldn't stop, it was so beautiful." Nobody writes songs as good as this now.
2) Cliff's vocal Just One of Those Things, written by Cole Porter for the 1935 musical 'Jubilee'. The song was later featured in two Doris Day musical films, Lullaby of Broadway (1951) and Young at Heart (1954). We have a great recording of it as an instrumental by Sidney Bechet. However, as it was sung tonight, the link is to a vocal; the wonderful Diana Krall demonstrating both her voice and her keyboard skills. We might not be producing any songwriters but new musicians are still coming along.
3) Tony Banks' vocal The Shadow of Your Smile, composed by Johnny Mandel with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster. The song was introduced in the 1965 film The Sandpiper, with a trumpet solo by Jack Sheldon and later became a minor hit for Tony Bennett (Johnny Mandel arranged and conducted his version as well). It won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. The link is to the late Blossom Dearie, for whom this was a classic recording.
Wednesday, December 9, 2011
Panama Hat Jazz Band at Ye Olde George Inn (YOGI), Christchurch
This evening, after 'curry night' at the Elephant & Castle, we went to Ye Olde George Inn in Christchurch, Dorset (pictured) to see The Panama Hat New Orleans Jazz Band. The band comprised Tony Purse (trumpet, vocals), Tom Pearse (trombone), Jim Driscoll (clarinet, vocal), Alan Harris (string bass), George Skidmore (banjo, guitar, vocals), and 'Stan the Man' Bowers on drums. Guests were; Jo Collison (vocals), Christine Skidmore (vocal), Peter Titcomb (vocals) and Ron Ager (clarinet).
Notable numbers were:
1) Jo's wonderful bluesy vocal C C Rider, traditional in origin, plagiarised by W C Handy and first recorded by Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey in 1924. The song uses mostly traditional blues lyrics to tell the story of an unfaithful lover, commonly called an easy rider: "See See rider, see what you have done", making a play on the word see and the sound of easy. Any mention of W C Handy reminds me of 'Lobachevsky' by Tom Lehrer; "Plagiarise, let no-one else's work evade your eyes, so don't shade your eyes but plagiarise, plagiarise, plagiarise - but remember please; always to call it research". The link is to a previous performance by Jo of this number at the same venue with Selina and I sitting in the front row. I am still horrified at how old I look from behind.
2) George's vocal feature, Margie, also known as 'My Little Margie, was composed in collaboration by vaudeville performer and pianist Con Conrad and ragtime pianist J. Russel Robinson, a member of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Lyrics were written by Benny Davis, a vaudeville performer and songwriter. The song was introduced by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1920 in a medley paired with "Singin' the Blues". The song was published in 1920 and was named after the five-year-old daughter of singer and songwriter Eddie Cantor. Cantor is credited with popularizing the song with his 1921 recording that stayed at the top of the pop charts for five weeks. The song has appeared in the movies Stella Dallas (1937), Margie (1946) and The Eddie Cantor Story (1953). The link is to a great recording by the Frankie Trumbauer band, featuring Bix Beiderbecke.[
3) George's lovely acoustic blues guitar playing, backing Tony's vocal, Dallas Blues, written by Hart Wand and the first true blues song ever published, (1912). Although written for standard blues tempo (Tempo di Blues. Very slowly), it is often performed as Ragtime or Dixieland. In 1918, Lloyd Garrett added lyrics to reflect the singer's longing for Dallas:
There's a place I know, folks won't pass me by,
Dallas, Texas, that's the town, I cry, oh hear me cry.
And I'm going back, going back to stay there 'til I die, until I die.
No date is found for the actual composition of 'Dallas Blues' but Samuel Charters, who interviewed Wand for his book, The Country Blues (1959), states that Wand took the tune to a piano playing friend, Annabelle Robbins, who arranged the music for him. Charters further states that the title came one of Wand's father's workmen who remarked that the tune gave him the blues to go back to Dallas. Since Wand's father died in 1909, the actual composition must have predated that.
In any case, within weeks of its publication it was heard the length of the Mississippi River and its influence on all the blues music that followed is well documented.
The link is to WILBUR SWEATMAN'S ORIGINAL JAZZ BAND in 1918, comprising Wilbur Sweatman (cl, dir) William Hicks (tpt), Major Jackson (tb), Dan Parish (pno) and Henry Bowser (dms). This is possibly the first black band ever to record a jazz number.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Jazzsounds at the Belvedere, Bournemouth
This evening we went to Manfred's Bar at The Belvedere Hotel in Bournemouth, where we ate a bar meal and then saw Jazzsounds.
The trio comprised Pat Neil (keyboard), Brian Mursell (stick bass) and Tony Newton (tenor sax, alto sax). There were also four guest vocalists, Pauline, Pat, Tom and Frank.
1) Pauline's vocal Cry Me a River, written by Arthur Hamilton and first published in 1953. The song's first release and most famous recording was by actress/singer Julie London in 1955. A sultry performance of the song by London in the 1956 film 'The Girl Can't Help It' helped to make it a million-selling blockbuster. The link is to the relevant scene from the film, which I watched alone at the Imperial Cinema in Canning Town. Ah, the nostalgia of it.
2) Samba de Uma Nota Só, AKA 'One Note Samba' composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim with Portuguese lyrics by Newton Mendonça. The English lyrics were written by Jobim. The song title refers to the main melody line, which at first consists of a long series of notes of a single tone played in a bossa nova rhythm.
Guitarist Charlie Byrd was invited to travel and play in Brazil during a cultural goodwill tour sponsored by the Kennedy administration in 1961. He was completely enamoured by the music, and when he returned, he headed straight for the recording studio to make the now classic Jazz Samba. Collaborating with Stan Getz on tenor sax and backed by a band that included Gene Byrd (bass, guitar), Keter Betts (bass), and Buddy Deppenschmidt and Bill Reichenbach (drums), Byrd forged a new and brilliant sound. American record companies were to churn out hundreds of watered bossa-pop albums that have since given the style its lounge-addled image, but this album stands as a tribute to the vitality and adaptability of jazz. It is featured on this link.
For Byrd without Getz, buy 'Latin Impressions' on the Riverside label. It features a wide range of music from Central and South America.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Buddy Holly night at the White Buck
This evening we went to the White Buck Hotel at Burley in the New Forest for a USA style dinner with Buddy Holly tribute from Alan Becks. We enjoyed the evening enormously, dancing more than ever before and with my voice becoming hoarse from singing along to all those great numbers from the 1950s.
The first half was all Buddy Holly numbers, including:
1) Maybe Baby, written by Buddy Holly and Norman Petty, who ran the recording studio in Clovis New Mexico. It reached 17th in the US charts but 4th in the UK charts. The link is to an Alan Becks demo.
2) Peggy Sue, written by Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Norman Petty. It was originally performed, recorded and released as a single by Buddy Holly in early July of 1957. The Crickets are not mentioned on the single but both Joe B. Mauldin (string bass) and Jerry Allison (drums) are known to be featured on the recording. The song was also released on Buddy Holly's self-titled 1958 album. The song is ranked 194 on the Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song was originally called "Cindy Lou", and was named for Buddy's niece, the daughter of his sister Pat Holley Kaiter. The title was later changed to "Peggy Sue" in reference to Crickets drummer Jerry Allison's girlfriend (and future wife), Peggy Sue Gerron, with whom he had recently had a temporary breakup. Appropriately, Allison played a prominent role in the production of the song, playing paradiddles on the drums throughout the song, the drums' sound rhythmically fading in and out as a result of real-time engineering techniques by the producer, Norman Petty. Many music critics regard this as Holly's all-time best recording. The song went to no. 3 on the Billboard Top 100 chart in 1957. The song is currently ranked as the 100th greatest song of all time, as well as the third best song of 1957, by Acclaimed Music. Initially only Allison and Petty were listed as the song's authors but at Allison's insistence, Holly was credited as a co-writer after his death. The link is to a live performance by Holly, Maudlin and Allison.
3) Mailman bring me no more blues, the only Buddy Holly number played tonight that we don't have on disc. The original was recorded April 8th, 1957 at the Norman Petty Studios with Buddy, Jerry, Joe B. and Vi Petty on Piano. It was partly written by Bob Thiele (nom de plume as Stanley Clayton). This was the flip side of 'Words of Love', also performed this evening.
The second half comprised various rock and roll numbers, including:
4) Summertime Blues, written in the late 1950s by Eddie Cochran and his manager Jerry Capehart. Originally a single B-side, it was released in August 1958 and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 18 on the UK Singles Chart. It has been covered by many artists, including being a number-one hit for country music artist, Alan Jackson, and a notable hit for The Who. The link is to another Alan Becks demo.
5) Please Don't Tease, a UK number-one single of 1960 by Cliff Richard and The Shadows, seen live on this link. The single also reached the no. 1 spot in India, Holland, New Zealand, Norway and Thailand selling 1.6 million worldwide. In 1978 Cliff re-recorded the song in a contemporary arrangement and released it as the B-side of 'Please remember me'.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Jazzsounds at the Belvedere, Bournemouth
This evening we went to Manfred's Bar at The Belvedere Hotel in Bournemouth, where we ate an excellent meal of roast turkey, drank a bottle of Syrah and listened to Jazzsounds.
The trio (pictured), comprised Pat Neil (keyboard), Brian Mursell (stick bass) and Terry Squires (guitar, vocal). Male guest vocalist was Steve and female guest vocalists were Pauline and Pat.
1) What Difference A Day Makes, originally written in 1934 as Cuando Vuelva A Tu Lado ("When I Return To Your Side") in Spanish by Mexican composer María Méndez Grever (María Grever). English lyrics were written by Stanley Adams and it was played by Harry Roy & his Orchestra. The most successful early recording, in 1934, was by the Dorsey Brothers. Dinah Washington won a Grammy Award in 1959 for Best Rhythm and Blues Performance with this song and is featured on this link.
I call this Selina's tune from one night at the Rutland Arms in Catford. She was asking to go home because she was so tired when a guy called Richard, then unknown to us, asked her to dance with him. Tiredness forgotten, she got up and they danced well together to this very number.
2) Little Linda, presumably written by Spyro Gyra as featured on this link. This is an American jazz fusion band, originally formed in the mid-1970s in Buffalo, New York, USA. With over 25 albums released and 10 million copies sold, they are among the most prolific as well as commercially successful groups of the genre. Among their most successful hit singles are "Shaker Song" and "Morning Dance", which received significant play on popular music radio stations, and are still frequently heard nearly 30 years later on jazz and easy listening stations. Their music, which has been influential in the development of smooth jazz and combines jazz with elements of R&B, funk and pop music. Although generally considered to be more "jazz" than "smooth", Spyro Gyra has been praised for their skilled instrumentalists and for their live performances, which average about 100 per year. With the exception of alto saxophonist, songwriter and founding bandleader Jay Beckenstein and keyboardist Tom Schuman, the personnel has changed over time, as well as between the studio and the live stage. Today, guitarist Julio Fernandez is also in his third decade with the band. The band's latest album A Foreign Affair, released on September 13, 2011 to generally great reviews, is a "throwback" to the early Spyro Gyra releases with strong global music content and occasionally using guest vocalists.
3) Lullaby of Birdland, composed by George Shearing, who plays it on this link. The title refers to Charlie "Bird" Parker and the Birdland jazz club named after him. Born in Battersea, London, Shearing was the youngest of nine children. He was born blind to working class parents; his father delivered coal and his mother cleaned trains in the evening. He started to learn piano at the age of three and began formal training at Linden Lodge School for the Blind, where he spent four years. Though offered several scholarships, Shearing opted to perform at a local pub, the Mason's Arms in Lambeth, for "25 bob a week" playing piano and accordion. He even joined an all-blind band during that time and was influenced by the albums of Teddy Wilson and Fats Waller. He made his first BBC radio appearance during this time after befriending Leonard Feather, with whom he started recording in 1937. In 1940, Shearing joined Harry Parry's popular band and contributed to the comeback of Stéphane Grappelli. Shearing won seven consecutive Melody Maker polls during this time. Around that time he was also a member of George Evans's Saxes 'n' Sevens band.
This is a very nostalgic number for me. When I left home at the age of 17 and lived in digs, I was usually alone in the evenings and once a week would go to the cinema in Thornton Heath. While waiting for the performance to start, 'Lullaby of Birdland' was one of the tunes always played. It was a while before I discovered that this version was from the LP 'Chet Atkins Workshop', leading me to become a life-long Atkins fan.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Over the last few days we have been watching the four DVDs (from LoveFilm) of the 1980 TV series Shogun, from the novel by James Clavell. A superb, gripping series which we strongly recommend. It simplifies the original plot for the benefit of TV audiences, which accounts for its popularity. However, if you want to fully understand it then you must read the book.
Richard Chamberlain recovers from his Dr Kildare image to give a superb lead performance. Toshiro Mifune is a great Lord Toronaga. However, my favourite acting performance is by Damien Thomas as Jesuit priest Father Alvito. I found him utterly convincing, both when kindly and when menacing.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
'Persuasion' at Salisbury Playhouse
This evening we went to the Salisbury Playhouse to see a performance of 'Persuasion' from the Jane Austen novel. We began with dinner at the nearby Thai Orchid, tasty food and excellent service.
The play was typical Jane Austen. All her plots are basically very simple, yet she manages to embroider them and stretch them into something much bigger. The casting and acting were both very good and we enjoyed the evening.
Friday, November 11, 2011
'Midnight in Paris' at the Rex Cinema in Wareham
This evening we missed Salisbury Jazz Club as I had a bad cold. Instead we went to the Rex Cinema in Wareham to see the latest Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris. Woody's films vary from appalling to excellent and this one is in the latter category. The IMBD description is "A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better." However, this gives no hint that the story involves time travel to the past to see life in the 1920s and 1890s. Our hero has to choose between :
Marriage to his sexy fianceé, Inez, living in Malibu
Living in present-day Paris without her
Living in 1920's Paris, seeing Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, Josephine Baker, etc.
Living in the 1890s with the beautiful Adriana.
All I can say is that he is a lucky man to have such choices.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
The Reader; Lust, Caution
This weekend we watched two DVDs borrowed from LoveFilm, both favourites from the winter of 2008-09.
The first was The Reader. This film deserves all the accolades and would have won a few more Oscars if they were awarded on merit. Kate Winslet gives a sensational Oscar-winning performance, the part starting at around her current age and finishing 30 years later. The 18 year old David Kross from Germany is also excellent as the young Michael Berg. Ralph Fiennes has a much less meaty role as the older Michael Berg. The story is serious and thought-provoking with some harrowing scenes. There is also quite a lot of very convincing sex. We strongly recommend this film to all serious cinema enthusiasts.
The second DVD was Lust, Caution. This is a truly great film by Ang Lee, with a believable plot that keeps the suspense going to the very end. Wei Tang is a fine young actress, switching effortlessly from poor innocent student with no make-up and baggy clothes to the painted seductress in beautiful Silk Cheongsams. The sex (and there is plenty of it) is very hot and features a wide range of positions. Don't miss it !
I have to ask myself why the majority of great cinema is now composed of foreign language films: 'Tell No-one', 'The Lives of Others', 'Lust, Caution', etc. I suppose that Hollywood is just catering for the mass audience, AKA the great unwashed.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Spirit of New Orleans Band at the Bluebirds Club
This evening we went to see The Spirit of New Orleans jazz band at the Bluebirds Club in Longham.
The band comprised; Alan Pickering (trombone, baritone horn, tuba), Tim Eyles (trumpet, vocals), Tony Newton (clarinet, tenor sax, alto sax), Doug Kennedy (banjo), Stuart Gledhill (5-string double bass) and John Nuttall (drums).
After Tim Eyles comments about Laura's white trousers last week, Selina wore her size 8 white trouser suit (pictured). Tim made many comments to the microphone and some signs to me while we were dancing. The funniest was when he signalled that I should raise my hand from Selina's bum so he could see it more clearly.
Favourite numbers were:
1) Canal Street Blues, written by Joe 'King' Oliver as featured on this link. Canal Street borders the French Quarter of New Orleans and is wider and more open than the inner streets. I stayed there once while at a business meeting; everyone else stayed at the airport hotel that provided the meeting rooms.
2) I Wish I could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate, written by Clarence Williams and Armand Piron, and published in 1915. It is variously believed to be based on a bawdy tune by Louis Armstrong (about Kate Townsend, a murdered brothel madam) or transcribed from a version performed by Anna Jones and Fats Waller. The lyrics of the song are narrated first person by Kate's sister, who sings about Kate's impressive dancing skill and her wish to be able to emulate it. She laments that she's not quite "up to date", but believes that dancing like Sister Kate will rectify this, and she will be able to impress "all the boys in the neighborhood" like her sister. The link is to a Clip from 'Wabash Avenue' featuring Betty Grable; don't ignore this one.
3) Chimes Blues, written by Joe 'King' Oliver in 1923 so the link is to his band, including Louis Armstrong. As tonight's band had no piano, the chimes were played by the front line in the style of the Chris Barber band. Alan's euphonium works well as the bottom note.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Jazzsounds at the Belvedere, Bournemouth
This evening we went to Manfred's Bar at The Belvedere Hotel in Bournemouth, where we ate a bar meal and then saw Jazzsounds. The menu was very limited again, sad after the good 'special' last week.
The trio comprised Mark Tuggs (guitar), Brian Mursell (stick bass) and Simon Gorelick (drums). There were three guests, Tony Newton (tenor sax), Ron Spang (bass) and Tom Dyer (vocal). This is our favourite Jazzsounds quartet, including the tenor sax. This time, permitted by the small audience, the picture is taken from the front so that nobody is obscured by a cymbal.
Notable numbers were:
1) Barney's Blues, written by Barney Kessel (1923 – 2004) who performs it on this link from 1954. He was an American jazz guitarist born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA and was a member of many prominent jazz groups as well as a "first call" guitarist for studio, film, and television recording sessions. Kessel was a member of the group of session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew. He began his career as a teenager touring with local dance bands before moving on to bands such as that led by Chico Marx. He quickly established himself as a key post-Charlie Christian jazz guitarist. In 1944 he participated in the film 'Jammin' the Blues', which featured Lester Young, and in 1947 he recorded with Charlie Parker's New Stars on the 'Relaxin' at Camarillo' session for Dial Records. He is featured on the compilation Charlie Parker on Dial. He was rated the no. 1 guitarist in Esquire, Down Beat, and Playboy magazine polls between 1947 and 1960.
Barney Kessel is known for his innovative work in the guitar trio setting. In the 1950s, he made a series of albums called The Poll Winners with Ray Brown on bass and Shelly Manne on drums. He was also the prominent guitarist on Julie London's definitive recording of 'Cry Me a River'. Also from the '50s, his three Kessel Plays Standards volumes contain some of his most polished work.
Kessel was also a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio with Ray Brown for a year, leaving in 1953. The guitar chair was called the hardest gig in show business since Peterson often liked to play at breakneck tempos. Herb Ellis took over from Kessel. Kessel also played with Sonny Rollins in the late '50s and can be heard on the Sonny Rollins and the Contemporary Leaders album on songs like 'How High the Moon'.
A 'first call' guitarist at Columbia Pictures, during the 1960s Kessel became one of the most in-demand session guitarists in America, and is considered a key member of the group of first-call session musicians now usually known as The Wrecking Crew. In this capacity he played on hundreds of famous pop recordings including albums and singles by Phil Spector, The Beach Boys, The Monkees and many others. He appeared in an acting part playing a jazz guitarist named 'Barney' in one episode of the Perry Mason TV show. He also wrote and arranged the source music, including a jazz version of 'Here Comes the Bride', provided by the jazz combo that figured in the story.
2) Favela, written by Jobim. The link is to a beautiful Stan Getz recording that claims to include Jobim and Luis Bonfa in the band. Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim (1927 – 1994), also known as Tom Jobim, was a Brazilian songwriter, composer, arranger, singer, and pianist/guitarist. He was a primary force behind the creation of the bossa nova style, and his songs have been performed by many singers and instrumentalists within Brazil and internationally. Widely known as the composer of 'The Girl from Ipanema' (Garota de Ipanema), one of the most recorded songs of all times, Jobim has left a large number of songs that are today included in the standard Jazz and Pop repertoires.
Jobim's musical roots were planted firmly in the work of Pixinguinha, the legendary musician and composer who began modern Brazilian music in the 1930s. Among his teachers were Lúcia Branco, and, from 1941 on, Hans-Joachim Koellreutter. Jobim was also influenced by the French composers Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel, by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, and by jazz. Among many themes, his lyrics talked about love, self discovery, betrayal, joy and especially about the birds and natural wonders of Brazil, like the "Mata Atlântica" forest, characters of Brazilian folklore like Matita Pereira (Saci Pererê), and his home city of Rio de Janeiro.
Jobim became prominent in Brazil when he teamed up with poet and diplomat Vinícius de Moraes to write the music for the play Orfeu de Conceição (1956). The most popular song from the show was "Se Todos Fossem Iguais a Você" ("Someone to Light Up My Life"). Later, when the play was turned into a film, producer Sacha Gordine did not want to use any of the existing music from the play. Gordine asked de Moraes and Jobim for a new score for the film Black Orpheus (1959). Moraes was at the time away in Montevideo, Uruguay, working for the Itamaraty (the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and so he and Jobim were only able to write three songs, primarily over the telephone ("A Felicidade", "Frevo",and "O Nosso Amor"). This collaboration proved successful, and Vinicius went on to pen the lyrics to some of Jobim's most popular songs.
A key event in making Jobim's music known in the English speaking world was his collaboration with the American jazz saxophonist Stan Getz, João Gilberto and Gilberto's wife at the time, Astrud Gilberto, which resulted in two albums, Getz/Gilberto (1963) and Getz/Gilberto Vol. 2 (1964). The release of Getz/Gilberto created a bossa nova craze in the United States, and subsequently internationally. Getz had previously recorded Jazz Samba with Charlie Byrd (1962), and Jazz Samba Encore! with Luiz Bonfá (1964). Jobim wrote many of the songs on Getz/Gilberto, which became one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time, and turned Astrud Gilberto, who sang on "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Corcovado", into an international sensation.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Gentleman Jim McIntosh's Jazzaholics at Salisbury Jazz Club
This evening, for the third time, we went to the Salisbury Jazz Club at the Livestock Market. For our previous two visits the female dancers' clothing was dominated by white trousers but tonight was completely different. One woman was even showing almost as much leg as Selina, who was amused by my attempts to dance close enough for a direct comparison. Four fine legs on display at once was almost too much for me !
The jazz was provided by Gentleman Jim McIntosh's Jazzaholics (darkly pictured). The band comprised Denny Ilett (trumpet, vocals), Mike Pointon (trumbone, vocals), Duncan Hemstock (clarinet, tenor sax), Annie Hawkins (double bass), Baby Jools (drums) and Jim McIntosh (banjo).
Favourite numbers were:
1) Mike's great vocal Shake It Baby, about which I know nothing. The link is to a fine recording under this name by Blind Boy Fuller (born Fulton Allen) (1907 – 1941), an American blues guitarist and vocalist. He was one of the most popular of the recorded Piedmont blues artists with rural Black Americans, a group that also included Blind Blake, Josh White, and Buddy Moss. Fulton Allen was born in Wadesboro, North Carolina to Calvin Allen and Mary Jane Walker. He was one of a family of 10 children, but after his mother's death he moved with his father to Rockingham. As a boy he learned to play the guitar and also learned from older singers the field hollers, country rags, and traditional songs and blues popular in poor, rural areas. He married Cora Allen young and worked as a labourer, but began to lose his eyesight in his mid-teens. According to researcher Bruce Bastin, "While he was living in Rockingham he began to have trouble with his eyes. He went to see a doctor in Charlotte who allegedly told him that he had ulcers behind his eyes, the original damage having been caused by some form of snow-blindness." However, there is an alternative story that he was blinded by an ex-girlfriend who threw chemicals in his face. By 1928 he was completely blind and turned to whatever employment he could find as a singer and entertainer, often playing in the streets. By studying the records of country blues players like Blind Blake and the "live" playing of Gary Davis, Allen became a formidable guitarist, and played on street corners and at house parties in Winston-Salem, NC, Danville, VA, and then Durham, North Carolina. In Durham, playing around the tobacco warehouses, he developed a local following which included guitarists Floyd Council and Richard Trice, as well as harmonica player Saunders Terrell, better known as Sonny Terry, and washboard player/guitarist George Washington. In 1935, Burlington record store manager and talent scout James Baxter Long secured him a recording session with the American Recording Company (ARC). Allen, Davis and Washington recorded several tracks in New York City, including the traditional "Rag, Mama, Rag". To promote the material, Long decided to rename Allen as "Blind Boy Fuller", and also named Washington 'Bull City Red'.
Over the next five years Fuller made over 120 sides, and his recordings appeared on several labels. His style of singing was rough and direct, and his lyrics explicit and uninhibited as he drew from every aspect of his experience as an underprivileged, blind Black person on the streets—pawnshops, jailhouses, sickness, death—with an honesty that lacked sentimentality. Although he was not sophisticated, his artistry as a folk singer lay in the honesty and integrity of his self-expression. His songs contained desire, love, jealousy, disappointment, menace and humor. In April 1936, Fuller recorded ten solo performances, and also recorded with guitarist Floyd Council. The following year, after auditioning for J. Mayo Williams, he recorded for the Decca label, but then reverted to ARC. Later in 1937, he made his first recordings with Sonny Terry. In 1938 Fuller, who was described as having a fiery temper, was imprisoned for shooting a pistol at his wife, wounding her in the leg, causing him to miss out on John Hammond's "From Spirituals to Swing" concert in NYC that year. While Fuller was eventually released, it was Sonny Terry who went in his stead, the beginning of a long "folk music" career. Fuller's last two recording sessions took place in New York City during 1940.
Fuller's repertoire included a number of popular double entendre "hokum" songs such as "I Want Some Of Your Pie", "Truckin' My Blues Away" (the origin of the phrase "keep on truckin'"), and "Get Your Yas Yas Out" (adapted as "Get Your Ya-Yas Out" for the origin of a later Rolling Stones album title), together with the autobiographical "Big House Bound" dedicated to his time spent in jail. Though much of his material was culled from traditional folk and blues numbers, he possessed a formidable finger-picking guitar style on a steel National resonator guitar. He was criticised by some as a derivative musician, but his ability to fuse together elements of other traditional and contemporary songs and reformulate them into his own performances, attracted a broad audience. He was an expressive vocalist and a masterful guitar player, best remembered for his uptempo ragtime hits including "Step It Up and Go". At the same time he was capable of deeper material, and his versions of "Lost Lover Blues", "Rattlesnakin' Daddy" and "Mamie" are as deep as most Delta blues. Because of his popularity, he may have been overexposed on records, yet most of his songs remained close to tradition and much of his repertoire and style is kept alive by other Piedmont artists to this day.
2) Duncan's featured performance, High Society, originally a march copyrighted in April 1901 by Porter Steele, which has become a traditional jazz standard. The piccolo obligato is not found in Steele's first version of the song; it appears to originate in an orchestration by Robert Recker from later in 1901. In New Orleans, Louisiana, Alphonse Picou adapted the piccolo part into a clarinet variation, sometimes considered one of the earliest documented jazz solos. The Picou variations became standard in New Orleans jazz (unusual in a form that values improvization); many traditional jazz clarinetists from the generation just after Picou until today will copy or do a close paraphrase of Picou's solo, sometimes followed by their own improvisations on a second chorus. Picou himself recorded it a number of times in his later life, including recordings with Kid Rena Papa Celestin and on film. The first couple of bars were frequently quoted by Charlie Parker in his improvisations.
The tune was recorded as a march by Charles A. Prince's Band in 1911. The first jazz recording of it made by King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band in 1923, with Johnny Dodds on clarinet as on this link. Apparently unaware that the tune had previously been copyrighted, Gennett Records filed a copyright on the tune as a Joe Oliver original. In the 1920s Walter Melrose added words to it (which are never performed) and republished it, as he did to a number of jazz numbers in order to claim a larger share of the royalties.
3) I'll be with You in Apple Blossom Time, written by Albert Von Tilzer and lyricist Neville Fleeson, and copyrighted in 1920. The song has been recorded by numerous artists including Artie Shaw (1937), Harry James, The Andrews Sisters (US no. 5, 1941), Vera Lynn, Nat King Cole, Jo Stafford (1946), Anne Shelton, Chet Atkins, Louis Prima, Tab Hunter (US no. 31, 1959), Rosemary June (UK no. 14, 1959), Ray Conniff, The Bachelors, Wayne Newton (US no. 52, 1965), and Barry Manilow.
The link is to Harry James & His Orchestra with Helen Forrest.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
'Way Upstream' at Salisbury Playhouse
This evening we went to the Salisbury Playhouse to see a performance of Alan Ayckbourn's play 'Way Upstream'. We began with dinner at the nearby Thai Orchid, tasty food and excellent service.
For this brand-new production, the auditorium of the Playhouse had been re-configured, with the stage filled with a huge water tank and a 20ft river boat! Keith and his business partner, Alistair, hire a boat to take their wives, June and Emma, on a river holiday together. What could be nicer? And indeed all is idyllic – except that Alistair and Emma know nothing about sailing, and Keith and June are having marital difficulties. Plus, daily visits from Keith’s secretary Mrs Hatfield bring worrying updates on the ever-worsening situation at his factory, where the work-force is threatening to go on strike. And then Vince, a suave and experienced boating expert, comes onboard, trailed by his friend Fleur, and the stage is set for a nautical farce – or should that be a spot of piracy ? Great play, even some surprise nudity at the end.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Jazzsounds at the Belvedere, Bournemouth
This evening we went to Manfred's Bar at The Belvedere Hotel in Bournemouth, where we ate duck leg in cherry sauce (good to see the 'specials' back) and then saw Jazzsounds.
The quartet comprised Rob Koral (guitar), Alan (double bass), Ron Davidge (drums) and Zoe Schwartz (vocals). This is a departure from normal, having a vocal in every number, and it worked well.
Favourite numbers were:
1) That Old Feeling, written by Sammy Fain with lyrics by Lew Brown and published in 1937. The song first appeared in the 1938 film 'Vogues'. It was immediately a hit in a version recorded by Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm Orchestra. In 1952 it was included in the Susan Hayward film 'With a Song in My Heart' where Jane Froman sang it in a dubbing for Hayward. Patti Page, as well as Frankie Laine and Buck Clayton, had hit versions of the song in 1955. Frank Sinatra had a hit with the song in 1960. The title of the song was given to a film in 1997, starring Bette Midler and Dennis Farina, where it was performed by Patrick Williams and by Louis Armstrong and Oscar Peterson. The link is to the wonderful Mary Ford / Les Paul version from the 1950s, which we have on CD.
2) An upbeat latin version of As Time Goes By, written by Herman Hupfeld for the 1931 Broadway musical 'Everybody's Welcome', where it was sung by Frances Williams. It was recorded that year by several artists, including Rudy Vallee. The song was re-introduced in 1942 in the film Casablanca (as in this link), sung by Dooley Wilson accompanied by pianist Elliot Carpenter and heard throughout the film as a leitmotif. Wilson was unable to record a single of the song at the time due to a musicians' strike, leading the studio to re-issue Vallee's 1931 recording and giving Vallee a number one hit in 1942. The song's famous opening line, "You must remember this...", is actually the start of the song's chorus as it was originally written and performed. Wilson did not sing the preceding verse in Casablanca, however, and most subsequent recordings have followed the film's lead in omitting it, leading to its being virtually unknown to most listeners. In addition to the American Film Institute including it as number two in their list of the 100 best songs in film, National Public Radio included it in their NPR 100, the 1999 list of the most important American musical works of the 20th century as compiled by their music editors.
Herman Hupfeld lived his whole life in Montclair, New Jersey and spent many hours at a watering hole built in 1922 on Valley Road which was then part of Upper Montclair, now the Valley Regency. This location, previously known as the Robin Hood Inn, is the location where Hupfeld spent many hours at their piano and wrote several of his songs. A plaque located at the Valley Regency Catering Facility on Valley Road in Clifton, New Jersey commemorates the writing of the song by Hupfeld. Although the building was extensively renovated in 2000-2003, the owners, seeing the value of the plaque, retained it and left it where it was, on the second floor of the facility.
3) Besame Mucho, a Spanish language song written in 1940 by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez when she was fifteen. According to Velázquez herself, she wrote this song even though she had never been kissed yet at the time, and kissing as she heard was considered a sin. She was inspired by the piano piece 'Quejas, o la Maja y el Ruiseñor' from the 1911 suite Goyescas by Spanish composer Enrique Granados, which he later also included as Aria of the Nightingale in his 1916 opera of the same name. An English language version of the song was written by Sunny Skylar. The lyrics are different from the direct English translation of the original, but retain the Spanish Bésame mucho. The song is also known by translated names such as 'Kiss Me Much', 'Kiss Me a Lot', 'Kiss Me Again and Again, 'Embrasse-Moi', 'Stale Ma Bozkavaj', 'Suutele minua' and 'Szeretlek én'.
Emilio Tuero was the first to record the song, but the Lucho Gatica version made the song famous. Josephine Baker recorded a song of the same title and tune, but with different lyrics. However, the link is to a recent Diana Krall recording in Spanish, with some great pictures of her.
The evening started badly, with a large crowd of noisy Welsh golfers dominating the bar. We were VERY pleased when they left, although this delayed the start of the music by ten minutes. I hope their abandoned wives have lovers to entertain them while their awful husbands are away making a nuisance of themselves !
Saturday, September 3, 2011
'Sarah's Key' at the Poole Lighthouse cinema
This evening we went to the cinema at Poole's Lighthouse Arts Centre. This time we saw Sarah's Key, described by IMDB as "In modern-day Paris, a journalist (Kristin Scott Thomas) finds her life becoming entwined with a young girl whose family was torn apart during the notorious Vel' d'Hiv Roundup in 1942."
This is a serious, thought-provoking, film that looks back at France's recent history and makes us deeply shocked. A good film like this will not appear at mainstream cinemas, nor on television, so we are very glad that cinema's like the lighthouse give us the opportunity to see such films.
Unfortunately, it would not be Poole without some logistical problem; we always ask ourselves "what this time ?"
We use the car park behind the Lighthouse and are very careful because of the confusion between contract and public parking. I made sure there was no contract parking because it was Saturday and avoided the 'out' barriers and the 'season ticket' barrier. The one I chose to use produced no response to pressing the green button. The barrier was already raised so I, nervously, drove through it and parked, assuming that there had been a system failure. On returning to the car, I removed a Penalty Charge Notice from the windscreen and drove off, baffled as to how this could happen as, even if a ticket had been provided, I would have kept it to pay the charge in the payment machine. Later, it occurred to me that Poole Council might have changed this car park to 'pay-and-display'. If that is the case, we have not been notified by the Lighthouse, nor by any obvious sign.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Spirit of New Orleans Band at the Bluebirds Club
This evening we went to see The Spirit of New Orleans jazz band at the Bluebirds Club in Longham (pictured).
The band comprised; Alan Pickering (trombone, euphonium, vocal), Tim Eyles (trumpet, vocals), Bernie Murtha (alto sax, clarinet, vocals), Doug Kennedy (Banjo), Stuart Gledhill (5-string double bass) and Steve Keats (drums). Guest vocalist was Peter Titcomb. Favourite numbers included:
1) Alan's great vocal rendition of Good Morning Blues, which I believed was written by Leadbelly, who performs it on this link. Alan uses different (politically incorrect) words, e.g.
Got a woman down river, mean as mean can be
She used rat poison, just to sweeten my tea
I'm going down the river, with my razor and my guns
I'm gonna cut her if she stands still, I'm gonna shoot her if she runs.
2) Tim and Bernie's attempt at Salty Dog, which I believe emanates from a folk song in the public domain. At the words "I Show My Knees To Who I Please", Tim pointed at Selina. The link is to one of the versions by Fiona Duncan; not the one with the Clyde Valley Stompers but one recommended by trombonist Dave Hewett. I quote Dave; "Good as this recording [Clyde Valley] is, I have to tell you that it does not hold a candle to her best version of "Salty Dog" with Forrie Cairns and The Clansmen. Forrie, her then husband, was a good friend of mine, as was Fiona herself. I played with them both back in the distant 1960s."
We sat with the delightful proprietor of Abigail's in Corfe Mullen. Go there to hire ladies hats and mens suits.
Monday, August 8, 2010
'The Lives of Others'
No jazz tonight so we will watch yesterday's recording of Das Leben der Anderen, translated as 'The Lives of Others'.
In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the Stasi, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives. We recommend this film to anyone interested in serious cinema.
IMDB quotes Henry Porter in The Guardian as writing "Why are the grown-up films all French ?". The answer is that they are not, this is from Germany. Let us re-phrase the question; "Why are all the American films either childish and/or horrific ?" We have given up on mainstream cinema because there is no longer anything for us.
Friday, August 5, 2011
'Dream On' DVDs
This evening we started to watch Seasons 1 and 2 of Dream On the USA television series from 1900-96, which we have bought on DVD. IMDB describes it as follows :
Cult adult comedy about dreamer Martin Tupper, whose life is full of colourful characters. Divorced with a growing teenage son, still friends with his ex-wife, and constantly looking for dates, but without a clue how to relate to women. Working as a book editor, with a ditsy, headstrong secretary, who cramps his style as often as helping him. The series is crammed full of hundreds of clips from all manner of old films, used as metaphors for Martin's reactions (hence the title); and it is renowned for its use of sexual references, plus, in its early seasons, occasional swearing and numerous scenes of nudity.
This is television at its best, winning 11 awards in its time. As one might expect, British television only aired it so late that the following here was minimal. Have the UK networks made a valid estimate of their audiences ? Are they really interested only in the trash that is fed to them seven nights a week ? It would be nice if we could have some quality comedy for adult viewers. The freeview digital channels provide endless repeats of 'Friends' but never 'Seinfeld' or 'Dream On'.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Panama Hat Jazz Band at Ye Olde George Inn (YOGI), Christchurch
This evening, for the fourth time, we went to Ye Olde George Inn in Christchurch, Dorset, to see The Panama Hat New Orleans Jazz Band (pictured). The band comprised Tony Purse (trumpet, vocals), Tom Pearse (trombone), Jim Driscoll (clarinet, vocal), Alan Harris (string bass), George Skidmore (banjo, vocal), and 'Stan the Man' Bowers on drums. The evening featured female vocalist Jo Collison.
Favourite numbers were:
1) George's vocal, involving masturbatory references to all the other band members, Tight Like That, composed by Thomas 'Georgia Tom' Dorsey and Hudson 'Tampa Red' Whittaker, playing and singing it on this link. Tampa Red is best known as an accomplished and influential blues guitarist who had a unique single-string slide style. His songwriting and his silky, polished 'bottleneck' technique influenced other leading Chicago blues guitarists. Georgia Tom was a leading blues pianist who later became the father of black gospel music.
2) Marching Through Georgia, written by Henry Clay Work at the end of the American Civil War in 1865. It refers to U.S. Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman's March to the Sea late in the previous year. Because of its lively melody, the song became widely popular with Union Army veterans after the war. Ironically, General Sherman himself came to despise it, in part because it was played at almost every public appearance that he attended. Outside of the Southern United States, it had a universal appeal: Japanese troops sang it as they entered Port Arthur, the British Army sang it in India, and an English town thought the tune was appropriate to welcome southern American troops in World War II. The link is to Acker Bilk's Paramount Jazz Band in the 1950s.
We arrived early, eating dinner at YOGI. This gave us time to talk to René, Irene and Lionel first. René raised the subject of when and where Selina and I first met, which was in the refectory at Kingston College of Technology in 1962. I explained my fetish for black stockings on lovely legs like hers, thinking I stood no chance. When she responded that she had a pair in her bag upstairs, I knew I was in with a chance after all !
Irene and Lionel told us about their Brussels trip, following the advice we had relayed from our son Adam to visit Bar Delirium. They loved it.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Misuse of the English language
I know that I am a grumpy old man but I am irritated every day of my life by one or more of the following. I accept that most are due to US influence. The exceptions are just stupidity on the part of we Brits.
Smart (meaning intelligent rather than well-dressed)
Dumb (meaning stupid, not unable to speak)
Gay (meaning homosexual, not cheerful)
Wicked (origin Boston, Mass, meaning very or great, not evil)
Cool (meaning great, not laid-back)
Accessibility (meaning to the disabled, yet not specifying it)
Bling (Jamaican, defined in the urban dictionary as "Any shiny thing that distracts morons such as rappers")
Bandwidth (when not meaning frequency range between the 3dB points)
Alternate (when alternative is really meant)
Signage (meaning signs)
Subway (meaning underground railway, not pedestrian underpass)
Blow (meaning suck as in blow job)
Table (meaning shelve as in "we wish to table our motion")
Tee-shirt (when the garment is sleeveless)
Pump (meaning some sort of shoe, not a pressuriser)
Cookie (meaning biscuit or something lurking in my web browser)
Product (meaning a service, no production being involved)
Candy (meaning sweets)
Buggy (meaning pushchair)
Shock absorber or shock (meaning damper)
Gas (meaning petroleum spirit not gas)
Inverter (meaning variable frequency drive, rather than DC-AC converter)
Slut (meaning loose woman - a 'slag', rather than one who is slovenly, i.e. untidy and/or unwashed and/or badly dressed)
Public (when meaning private, as in public school or privatising a public body and calling it a public company); cannot blame the USA for this one
Geranium (meaning pelargonium not geranium)
Adding 'up' or 'off' at the end of a perfectly adequate word (e.g. closed up, sealed off, rose up)
Pronouncing Router as 'Rowter' when 'Rooter' is meant. We have both at Ampair Energy Ltd; very confusing
Pronouncing lingerie as 'lonzheree' rather than 'lanzheree'
Not being allowed to say rubber when I mean eraser not condom
Friday, July 15, 2011
Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen, Regent Centre, Christchurch
This evening we went to The Regent Centre in Christchurch, Dorset, to see Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen. The band comprised Kenny Ball (cornet, vocals, pictured), John Bennett (trombone), Andy Cooper (clarinet, vocal), Bill Coleman (string bass), Hugh Ledigo (baby grand piano), John Gibson (drums) and, a welcome surprise, one of our favourite trumpeters, Peter Rudeforth. The house was full, a tribute to the pulling power of this band.
Favourite numbers were :
1) The rhythm section feature, Toccata, based on Toccata in D Minor, generally credited to Johann Sebastian Bach and probably the most famous work in the organ repertoire. The attribution of the piece to Bach is doubtful and has been challenged since the 1980s by a number of scholars. The hyperlink is to a live performance by the electric group SKY.
2) The best of the Ball hits, Sukiyaki, originally 'Ue o Muite Arukō' (上を向いて歩こう?, literally "[I] shall walk looking up"), a Japanese-language song composed by Hachidai Nakamura with lyrics by Rokusuke Ei. It was performed by Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto. The link is to the early Kenny Ball band.
3) Peter and Bill's feature, Take the A Train, a jazz standard by Billy Strayhorn that was the signature tune of the Duke Ellington orchestra. It is arguably the most famous of the many compositions to emerge from the collaboration of Ellington and Strayhorn. The link is to a rare 1943 performance by the Ellington band with vocal by Betty Roche.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Jazzsounds at the Belvedere, Bournemouth
This evening we went to Manfred's Bar at The Belvedere Hotel in Bournemouth, where we ate an excellent bar meal of roast beef with the usual bottle of Syrah. We were joined by Peter Walters for Jazzsounds (pictured).
Highlight of the evening was Gillian (pictured), singing in her sultry, sexy, style :
1) Gazing into the eyes of Peter and me individually, I'm In The Mood For Love, written by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields in 1935. It was introduced by Frances Langford in the movie Every Night at Eight released that year. The song was featured in the 1936 Our Gang (Little Rascals) short The Pinch Singer, sung by Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer. The link is to Doris Day; no date provided.
2) Ain't Misbehaving, a 1929 song written by Thomas 'Fats' Waller and Harry Brooks with lyrics by Andy Razaf. Waller recorded the original version that year for Victor Records and later performed the song in the 1943 film Stormy Weather. The link is to Anita O'Day with the Nat 'King' Cole Trio around 1945.
Monday, July 4, 2011
We have just returned from holiday, staying at the Estalagem Abrigo da Montanha just up the road from Monchique to the highest peak in the Algarve. The first pictures show the hotel and the view from our window.
Following is a picture of Selina in Monchique centre on the final day, wearing two essential garments bought in Portugal: 1) Sombrero to keep sun off face 2) Long-sleeved pure cotton blouse, normally worn without the jacket (only used for travelling from and to the UK).
The mountain roads in the Monchique district are superb; very twisty, well-surfaced and mostly devoid of traffic. As soon as one crosses the local boundaries, the surface deteriorates, sometimes to coarse rock chips.
The worst experience was when we suffered a flat tyre in the full glare of the mid-day sun in shadeless Portimao. Max. temperature that day was 44 deg.C. To make matters worse, we had a Fiat Punto, reviving memories of wheel changing on Selina's Fiats. Instead of studs on which one just drops the wheel, there are threaded holes into which one inserts perfectly-aligned bolts. This requires repeated minute adjustments to the jack and ripping at least one of the plastic wheel trim holes in order to see the thread in the hub. The designer should spend the rest of his life changing Fiat wheels in extreme weather conditions.
We found a superb restaurant, Jardim-das-Oliveiras, near the hotel where we ate specialities such as Kid and Wild Boar, cooked slowly all day in a wood-fired oven. The house wine was excellent and came in a litre carafe. To finish there was a complementary Medronho, the local brandy, distilled from the fruits of the strawberry tree. I rarely feel as if I have been drinking but I did after that.
The flowers are beautiful in June; even the weeds. This is a picture of the equivalent to our white convulvulus, which spreads like wildfire everywhere.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Mike Barry's Fervent Six at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening we saw Mike Barry's Fervent Six playing at the Bluebirds Club in Longham. The band comprised Mike Barry (trumpet, vocals), our favourite reedsman Goff Dubber (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, vocal), Michael Holt (trombone, vocals), Peter Gregory (banjo, guitar, vocals), Roger Kirby (double bass) and Graham Collicott (drums). This is a fine band, supposedly playing West Coast style but actually ranging much further than that, including many unusual numbers such as:
1) Little Rock Getaway, composed by Joe Sullivan and published in 1934. Joe was a great Irish-American jazz pianist and composer whose career ultimately suffered from his excessive drinking. There is a story concerning his poor performance due to drink when recording with Sidney Bechet. Not one to tolerate such behaviour, Bechet pulled out a knife and chased Sullivan out of the studio. The link is to the famous Les Paul version that we have on CD. He pioneered the use of the multiple recording technique to create this unforgettable sound. The number is played on this link by Les Paul in 1950. We first heard this recording in the '50s but only obtained it on CD in January 2009.
2) San Francisco Bay Blues, composed by one man band 'Lone Cat' Jesse Fuller as featured on this 1968 link.
3) Brown Skin Girl, about which I know nothing. The link is to TOMMY McCLENNAN (1939) Delta Blues Guitar Legend.
We particularly liked Peter Gregory's acoustic guitar style, such as when backing Goff on 'Lotus Bud' and 'Petite Fleur'. It was also good to see Graham, one of our favourite drummers, again. We first saw him shortly after our return to jazz in 2004, depping with Bob Dwyer. There was a long gap before seeing him regularly at the Cricketers in Horsell Birch. Young Jill, who sat with us in the final days there, was in the audience this evening. She was the most supportive of our stand against the pub for noisy parties in the jazz area (scroll down to posts from 9/12/08 and 16/1/09).
Saturday, May 14, 2011
This evening, for the first time together, we visited Beaulieu, at the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. The short trip there from our home in Dorset involved driving right across the forest, passing through some lovely scenery in glorious sunshine.
Highlight of the visit was the Motor Museum, home to the earliest motor cars through to stars of racing and entertainment. Selina was much taken with the De Dion Bouton because it is pictured on her coffee mat at work. I was fascinated by a Mk1 Ford Zephyr on sale outside the museum. How has it avoided rusting away to nothing ? Such a model was my first motor car, a 1953 version that I bought in 1963 for £80. It achieved 30 miles in 30 minutes from Wanstead to Southend carrying 6 lads, set fastest time on a rally section (with girlfriend Selina as navigator) and suffered brake fade over Hard Knott pass (with same girlfriend).
We also took the monorail ride, during which the sky clouded over, making it too cold for exposure up high. Lunch was at the Pru Leith 'Brabazon' restaurant; OK but over-hyped and over-priced. Finally we visited the 'World of Top Gear', seeing the actual victims of the team's childish pranks. I would have liked to see the various caravans that have been justifiably destroyed in the name of motoring but nothing remains of them.
Friday, April 29, 2011
For the first time in 30 years we have just bought a brand-new car (pictured). From 1961 to 1976 we worked our way up from rust bucket to brand new cars, three in succession. In 1982, I made the mistake of opting for a company car rather than the equivalent extra salary, forgetting that it could not last for ever. When I was made redundant in 1992, we had to start all over again with no job, little money and no car to trade. Since then we have worked our way through four used cars with decreasing miles on the clock until we have returned to the land of the extravagant.
Why choose a Mazda 2 ? It was world car of the year when launched in 2008 and is loosely related to the very successful Ford Fiesta, both made at the Mazda factory in Thailand. Both have a fine record for reliability. The Mazda is much lighter (and cheaper and prettier) than the Fiesta, which, if they had the same engine, would make it faster and more economical. It is impossible to compare engines, the Ford offering a bewidering choice. We opted for the lowest power, lowest cost, Mazda engine.
Compared with our previous Suzuki Ignis Sport, the new car is much quieter (it is higher geared) and rides much better. Despite this, it handles really well round the twisty Dorset lanes and we never notice the relative lack of power. We are hoping for lower fuel consumption and longer range; filling up every few days had become a bore.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Antique Six at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening we saw The Antique Six at the Bluebirds club. The band (pictured) comprised Tony Davis (trumpet, Vocal), Richard Leach (trombone, vocal, leader), Chris Pearce (clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax, soprano sax), Clinton Sedgley (guitar, banjo), Ian Parry (double bass) and Graham Smith (drums). This was the third time we have seen this fine band, although we know Ian Parry from his drumming and guitar playing with the Excel Jazzmen and the Apex Jazz Band. Tony Davis, guest trumpeter, we know from his work with Judy Eames, present in the audience. Reducing favourite numbers to just three:
1) Trombone / guitar feature Out of Nowhere, composed by Johnny Green with lyrics by Edward Heyman. It was first recorded by Bing Crosby in 1931 and became his first number one hit as a solo artist. The link is to Stan Getz.
2) The World is Waiting For The Sunrise, lyrics by Gene Lockhart and music (Toronto 1918) by the concert pianist Ernest Seitz, who had conceived the refrain when he was 12. Embarrassed about writing popular music, Seitz used the pseudonym "Raymond Roberts" when the song was first published by Chappell in 1919. The link is to Les Paul and Mary Ford.
3) Trumpet / guitar feature, with Tony vocalising, Blue Turning Grey, composed by Fats Waller (music) and Andy Razaf (lyrics), the link being to Louis Armstrong's famous version.
This fine band is on its final tour so we might never see them again; sad.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Brian White / Alan Gresty Ragtimers & The Piccadilly Dance Orchestra
This evening we visited Poole's Lighthouse Arts Centre to see two great bands; The Brian White / Alan Gresty Ragtimers, followed by The Piccadilly Dance Orchestra, led by .
The Ragtimers comprised Alan Gresty (cornet), Brian White (clarinet), Geoff Cole (trombone, vocal), Martin Wheatley (guitar, banjo), Colin Miller (drums), Vic Pitt (double bass) and Goff Dubber (tenor and soprano saxophones). Brian, Geoff and Goff all recognised us from the stage; we were in the front row. They played mostly Bix Beiderbecke numbers, of which notable examples were:
1) At The Jazz Band Ball, written by Nick La Rocca and Larry Shields. The link is to tonight's band at a previous gig with slightly different personnel.
2) Our favourite Beiderbecke number I'm Coming Virginia, composed by Will Marion Cook & Donald Heywood. The link is to the famous recording by Bix, with wonderful support from Eddie Lang on guitar. This is the perfect interpretation and just cannot be beaten.
3) No connection with Bix; Brian and Goff's feature 'The Blues and Jung', composed by Brian, inspired by the Sidney Bechet / Mezz Mezzrow number 'The Blues and Freud'. I could not find a link to either number.
The Piccadilly Dance Orchestra ws led by founder, musical director, singer and pianist on one number, Michael Law. The female vocalist was the sweet-voiced Tracy Stewart-Fry and we noticed Martin Litton on piano and Martin Wheatley on banjo and guitar. Notable numbers for which I have found links to this band are as follows:
1) Happy Feet, an old swing standard recorded by Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra.
2) My Hat's On The Side of My Head, composed in 1933 by Claude Hurlburt with lyrics by Harry M. Woods. It was made famous by Al Bowlly, a favourite of my maternal grandmother.
3) Brighter Than The Sun, written by Ray Noble and Anona Winn, who I remember from the radio quiz game 'Twenty Questions' (showing my age).
I ate the Lighthouse Cafe special for the third time; Bubble and Squeak topped with Bacon, Egg and Hollandaise Sauce. I must like it !
Selina was unable to walk far in her long Spanish boots car so we were fortunate to find the car park at the rear of the Lighthouse open to the public as we arrived before 18:30.
A continued grumble is the lack of advertising from the Lighthouse; we were fortunate to spot the gig in 'The Jazz Guide' under Thursdays / Dorset / ragtimers.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
'The Social Network' at the Poole Lighthouse cinema
This evening, for the third time, we went to the cinema at Poole's Lighthouse Arts Centre. This time we saw The Social Network, a film about the beginnings of Facebook. It is a well-made film with good actors; we just could not understand it. Perhaps the problem is wider than that; we don't understand the Facebook business model. Is it just about advertising ? Do some people read advertisments unintentionally ? We welcome responses from anyone who has the answers.
Before anyone asks; no, we cannot avoid television advertising entirely but we always mute the sound and yes, we are a grumpy old couple.
Because the film started around 18:00, the Lighthouse restaurant closes at 19:30 and the chef at our local pub leaves at 21:00, we had to find a convenient eating-place. We chose The Real China, a buffet-style Chinese Restaurant just over the road in Poole. It has received some bad reviews but it was just what we needed; quick, close, no booking and a huge choice of dishes. To obtain really good value for money you need to eat a lot (which we did not) but we won't quibble about that.
Monday, February 21, 2011
John Howlett's Copper Rail Six at the Durley Dean Hotel
This evening, for the firstd time, we saw John Howlett's Copper Rail Six's Copper Rail Six (pictured left) playing at the Bournemouth Trad Jazz Club in the Durley Dean Hotel. The band comprised John Howlett (trombone, vocals), Brian White (clarinet, vocal), Alan Bateman (trompet, vocals), Tony Pitt (banjo), Vic Pitt (double bass) and Graham Smith (drums). The feature numbers were:
1) Brian's beautiful feature with the rhythm section, Babette, about which I know nothing. Kid Ory's daughter was named Babette but I doubt if there is a connection. The link is to the Jack Hylton Orchestra in 1925.
2) John's classic feature with the rhythm section, Dark Eyes, (Russian: Очи чёрные, Ochi chyornye; English translation: Black Eyes; French translation: Les yeux noirs) is a Russian song. The lyrics were written by a Ukrainian poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka. The words were subsequently set to Florian Hermann's Valse Hommage (in an arrangement by S. Gerdel') and published as a romance on 7 March 1884. The link is to Quinn Bachand (guitar), Nelson Moneo (violin) & Oliver Moneo (accordion) at Daniel Lapp's Joy of Life Concert, April 6, 2007. Wonderful to see such young musicians playing great gypsy jazz.
3) Vic and Graham (pictured right) duetting for Big Noise From Winnetka, a spontaneous composition, created at the Blackhawk in Chicago in 1938 by Bob Haggart (bass) and Ray Bauduc (drums), both members of the Bob Crosby band. The link is to a later performance by the composers. This was the first jazz record I ever owned, chosen by me from my uncle's huge collection. I still have it.
It was good to talk to Brian again having not seen him since we lived in Guildford and saw his Magna Jazz Band every Thursday evening. John also remembered us although he was confused by our presence in Dorset.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
'The Constant Wife' at Salisbury Playhouse
This evening, for our 45th wedding anniversary, we went to the Salisbury Playhouse to see a performance of Somerset Maugham's aptly-named play 'The Constant Wife'. We began with dinner in the posh restaurant, which was much more enjoyable than last time, due to better food and service. The play was even better than last time, with a great plot based on attitudes to marital infidelity in the 1920s. The picture is of Maggie Steed, playing the mother, who received rave reviews for her performance. We thought the actors were all equally good, with never a moment of hesitation throughout.
Maugham wrote this play as his marriage to Syrie was coming to an end. One wonders if there was any connection, yet the play is much more sympathetic to the wife than to the adulterous husband.
Saturday, February 13, 2011
We have started to work cronologically through our old VHS video recordings of Woody Allen films. The first three, all with Diane Keaton, are probably the best:
1972: Play It Again Sam, a great Casablanca spoof.
1973: Sleeper, a pure farce, loosely based on H.G. Wells 'The Sleeper Awakes'.
1977: Annie Hall, the clever, witty, film that deservedly won four Oscars, including best actress for Diane Keaton who was playing herself, even wearing her own fashion-leading clothes (pictured).
One question on the IMDB Woody Allen forum is "If I am new to his films, where should I start." The majority advice is 'Annie Hall' to which we agree.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Martin Litton's Red Hot Peppers & The Charleston Chasers
This evening we visited Poole's Lighthouse Arts Centre to see two great bands; Martin Litton's Red Hot Peppers, followed by The Charleston Chasers, led by Debbie Arthurs.
The Peppers comprised Martin Litton (piano, pictured), Paul Lacey (tpt), Keith Nichols (forsaking his piano for trombone), Martin Wheatley (guitar, banjo), Nick Ward (drums), Malcolm Sked (double bass, sousaphone) and James Evans and Trevor Whiting (clarinets, saxophones). They played mostly Jelly Roll Morton numbers, of which notable examples were:
1) Milenburg Joys, named, and mispelt, after the town of Milneburg on the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana. It was named for landowner / developer Alexander Milne. The link is to tonight's band at a previous gig with slightly different personnel.
2) Martin's feature with drums only Perfect Rag, AKA 'Sporting House Rag'. The link is to a 1924 recording by Mr Jelly Lord himself.
3) James Evans's feature with piano and drums only Sidewalk Blues, one of the greatest recordings by the original Red Hot Peppers. The link is to that 1924 Chicago recording.
The Charleston Chasers comprised Debbie Arthurs (percussion, vocals), Ruth Ross (trumpet, vocal), Andy Woon (trumpet), Andy Flaxman (trombone), Zoltan Sagi (tenor sax, clarinet), Tony Carter (alto sax, clarinet), Nick White (alto sax, clarinet), Martin Litton (piano), Martin Wheatley (guitar, banjo, vocals) and Malcolm Sked (double bass, sousaphone). They played a wide selection of numbers, mostly well-known but with a few we had never heard before. All the band are fine musicians but we must single out Debbie's singing for particular praise; she has a beautiful clear voice. Links are to Debbie's bands, not necessarily this one and not numbers that were played this evening:
1) Naughty Man, played by the Charleston Chasers at Whitley Bay.
2) Am I Blue, again at Whitley Bay but with a smaller band.
3) Walking My Baby Back Home, Debbie Arthurs' Sweet Rhythm at the 2005 Bude Festival.
We ate at the Lighthouse for the first time; the Bubble and Squeak topped with Bacon, Egg and Hollandaise Sauce was certainly far better and much more interesting than the general ambience.
It was fortunate that Selina was back to walking well; car parking was worse than last time, involving too much foot slogging up and down stairs and through a revolting underpass. Audiences should not be expected to be fit and well in order to attend.
Another grumble is the lack of advertising from the Lighthouse; we could easily have missed this great evening.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Save our forests
Our new government, of which we expected so much, plans to sell off our forests, at least those in England. I have signed the petition at 38 degrees and contributed to its funds. I have also written to the Prime Minister's Office pointing out that private owners will certainly fence off against public access and will ignore any 'right to roam legislation'. All history shows that landowners obey only those laws that suit them. I also noted the risk of a 'forest-owner' being discovered as a contributor to party funds.
The picture shows the Place of my birth, High Beech in Epping Forest. We now live close to the New Forest, where we go every Thursday evening for dinner and jazz. Perhaps their unusual ownership might save them. However, the thought of any forest being owned by rich scum and/or big business, to the exclusion of us, the present owners, is just too horrific to contemplate. I implore all our readers to fight against it.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
This morning Selina passed out, fell and hit her head on a stone slab. She was unconscious for about 10 seconds with her eyes wide open. I momentarily thought she was dead. When her head was still bleeding in the afternoon, I took her to the Accident and Emergency (A & E) department at Poole General Hospital. Waiting time for admission was minimal and tests were undertaken promptly. As these involved undressing it was fortunate that she was wearing matching black underwear with her black tights and long black boots. All went well until the wait began for blood test results to come back from the lab. When the time reached 20:00 we could stand no more and Selina discharged herself.
We had already complained to both Bournemouth and Poole hospitals plus NHS Dorset about the appalling blood testing service in the area. We never thought it could be as bad for internal requests. The nursing staff said it was just a computer problem on that day; results normally come back in about one hour ! Remember this is an emergency department; a patient could be dead within an hour. Compare this with Royal Surrey Hospital where Selina was once admitted to A & E; blood test results were back in 10 minutes !
Friday, January 07, 2011
Tiger Tim's Ragamuffins at the Verwood Hub
This evening we saw Tiger Tim's Ragamuffins at The Hub in Verwood, Dorset. This great jazz quartet comprised Tim Eyles (trumpet, vocals, jokes), Clive Burton (trombone), Ken Ames (guitar, banjo) and Pete Maxfield (double bass). They are all fine musicians and it was particularly good to hear Ken and Clive again after a long break for us. Every number was good so we will just list some that we don't often hear in this area:
1. My Little Suede Shoes, composed by Charlie Parker, and played on this link by the Blue Morning Quintet.
2. Seven Golden Daffodils, composed by Lee Hays and Fran Moseley. The link is to a fine vocal by the late Lonnie Donegan.
3. Electric Chair Blues, possibly written by Bessie Smith but performed on this link by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1928 with very different words.
We were recognised us as soon as we entered the room and given a warm welcome by the musicians and by Clive's wife, Jan. She was amazed that Selina's hair is no longer short. I pointed out that it has been much, much, longer. The 'Hub' was a new experience for the band although not for us. We like the table arrangement and the food & drink with the music. The audience is always very different from those we normally meet; rather polite and restrained. Not what we are used to !
Friday, December 10, 2010
Elvis Presley night at the White Buck
This evening we went to the White Buck Hotel at Burley in the New Forest for a USA style dinner with an Elvis Presley impersonator Lou Jordan singing for us. He is a real showman, building up a terrific rapport with the audience. The first picture shows him in his white outfit and the second in blue with me. This was immediately after he had tricked me into singing, solo and unaccompanied, my own request You're a Heartbreaker. This was a first for me and I aim to make it the last. The song was composed by Jack Sallee and the link is to the 1954 Presley version with Scotty Moore (guitar), Bill Black (double bass) and D J Fontana (drums). My version was inferior.
Favourite numbers by the real singer were:
1) Lawdy Miss Clawdy, an 8-bar blues with a rolicking piano backup, words written by Lloyd Price, using a melody adapted from the older Junker Blues (Champion Jack Dupree, 1941). The link is to Lloyd Price in 1952.
2) Sung by Lou to Selina on his knees The Girl Of My Best Friend, written by Beverly Ross and Sam Bobrick. The link is to Elvis in 1960.
3) Bridge Over Troubled Water, composed by Paul Simon in 1969 and recorded by Presley in 1970 as on this link.
Selina's tight (size 8) white trouser suit was much appreciated, as was her svelte figure. Michael, a tall slim builder with long blonde hair, danced with her, lifting her high in the air with ease. They looked great together; I doubt if I looked as good dancing with Michael's lovely sister, Carol. Michael mentioned that I was obviously very proud of Selina; definitely true !
Saturday, November 6, 2010
The Blue Devils at the Layard Theatre, Canford Magna
For our first visit to the (hard to find) Layard Theatre in Canford Magna this evening we saw Keith Nichol's Blue Devils (pictured with some different musicians) playing a programme dominated by Duke Ellington numbers. This is a great band, featuring some of the finest jazz musicians in the country. No Ben Cummings tonight but we still had a great band; Keith Nichols (baby grand piano, vocals), Richard Pite (drums), Martin Wheatley (banjo, guitar), Tony Fisher (trumpet), Nathan Bray (trumpet), Alastair Allan (trombone,vocals), Robert Fowler (tenor sax, clarinet), Mark Crooks (alto sax, clarinet), Bob ? (baritone sax, alto sax, clarinet) and Jerome ? (double bass).
Favourite numbers were:
1) I'm Crazy 'Bout My Baby, composed by Fats Waller with lyrics by Alex Hill. The link is to the Blue Devils with some different personnel.
2) Creole Love Call, most associated with the Duke Ellington band. Ellington first recorded it in 1927 and was issued a copyright for it as composer the following year. However the main melody appears earlier in the Joe "King" Oliver composition "Camp Meeting Blues" which Oliver recorded with his Creole Jazz Band in 1923. Apparently Ellington reedman Rudy Jackson had presented the melody to Ellington claiming it was his own composition. After Ellington's recording came out, Joe Oliver attempted to sue for payment of royalties and composer credit. The lawsuit failed due to problems with Oliver's original paperwork resulting in Oliver not holding a valid copyright. Ellington fired Jackson over the incident, bringing in Barney Bigard as his replacement.. The link is to the Blue Devils with more different personnel.
3) Nathan's feature Singing The Blues, written by Sam M. Lewis, Joe Young, Con Conrad and J. Russel Robinson. The link is to the famous Bix Beiderbecke / Frankie Trumbauer version from 1927. Was this Bix's greatest recording or was it 'I'm Coming Virginia' ?. I vote for the latter but it is close.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
'It Happened One Night' at the Rex Cinema in Wareham
This evening, for the third Saturday in succession, we went to the Rex Cinema in Wareham for one of the Purbeck Film Festival series of classic / worthy films. We went to see It Happened One Night, (1934) the first of the 'screwball comedies' and the first to use a moving camera on a crane. The picture shows a classic moment when Clark Gable begins to undress in front of Claudette Colbert, exposing bare flesh under his shirt. This started the fashion for not wearing a vest, causing unrest among vest manufacturers.
It was said the neither Gable nor Colbert liked the film; being on loan to then lowly Columbia as punishment for different misdemeanours. However, both won Oscars for it; Gable giving his to a child who admired it. The child returned the Oscar to the Gable family after Clark's death.
The film also won oscars for best film, best director (Frank Capra) and best writing, adaptation. Seeing it today, one notices witty dialogue, skilled acting and much social comment. One wonders who was the socialist on the team.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Tony Pitt's All Stars at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening we saw Tony Pitt's All Stars, playing at the Durley Dean Hotel. The band (pictured) comprised Alan Bateman (trumpet), Dave Hewett (trombone), Adrian Cox (clarinet, vocals), Tony Pitt (banjo), Andy Lawrence (double bass) and T J Johnson (drums, Vocals). Favourites were:
1) T J's vocal Old Fashioned Love, written by Cecil Mack and James P. Johnson for the show Runnin' Wild. The link is to the wonderful Bechet / Mezzrow version. Sidney remains my favourite clarinet / soprano player of all time. I know he was a bad man but we can't have everything.
2) Adrian's feature St. Philip Street Breakdown, written by George Lewis when he lived in that street. The link is to Brian Carrick playing it on George's old metal clarinet.
3) Dave's feature Dark Eyes (Russian: Очи чёрные, Ochi chyornye; English translation: Black Eyes; French translation: Les yeux noirs), a Russian song. The lyrics were written by a Ukrainian poet and writer Yevhen Hrebinka. The first publication of the poem was in Literaturnaya gazeta on 17 January 1843. The words were subsequently set to Florian Hermann's Valse Hommage (in an arrangement by S. Gerdel') and published as a romance on 7 March 1884. The link is to Django Reinhardt.
This is a great band; well worth seeing if you ever get the chance.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
'L'Armée du Crime' at the Rex Cinema in Wareham
This evening, for the second time, we went to the Rex Cinema in Wareham for one of the Purbeck Film Festival series of classic / worthy films. We went to see L'Armée du Crime, an attempt at introducing realism into the well-trodden French Resistance genre. This is a harrowing tale of defiance and suffering; the torture scenes being very realistic. The title is based on a propoganda poster depicting the resistance group as criminals; actually making heroes of them. The cinema had a copy of the very poster for us all to see and touch. We recommend this film to any film buff who is not too squeamish.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
'Tamara Drewe' at the Rex Cinema in Wareham
This evening, for the first time, we went to the Rex Cinema in Wareham. This is a fine old cinema dating back to 1920. It is now among the few cinemas in the UK where one can drink a glass of wine or beer whilst watching the film ! We went to see the film Tamara Drewe, particularly interesting to us because the location is a Dorset village. I liked it but Selina was not so keen; perhaps it is more a man's film as it features a fair amount of sex with georgeous women (Gemma Arterton and Josie Taylor).
Monday, October 4, 2010
Graeme Hewitt's High Society Jazz Band at the Bournemouth Jazz Club
This evening we saw Graeme Hewitt's High Society Jazz Band, playing at the Durley Dean Hotel. The band (pictured) comprised Denny Ilett (trumpet, Vocal), Micky Cook (trombone, vocal), Graeme Hewitt (clarinet, vocals), Dave Moorwood (banjo, guitar), Mike Bennett (double bass), Perry Lockyer (keyboard) and Steve Watling (drums). Favourites were:
1) Trogs Blues, presumably written by Wally Fawkes, the Trog cartoonist, as featured on this link.
2) Careless love, a traditional song of obscure origins. The link is to Madeleine Peyroux. Tonight's version was notable for the guitar playing of Dave Moorwood.
Selina was kissed by Mike (twice) and by Denny, complaining about their spiky beards on each occasion.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
The Bootleg Shadows at the Tivoli in Wimborne
This evening, for the first time, we saw The Bootleg Shadows at the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne Minster.
The band comprises Mark Burton (lead guitar), Keith Smith (rhythm guitar, vocals), Tony Cole (bass guitar), Tony Bayliss (keybords) and Steve Green (drums). Browse the three examples below (prior to Keith joining the band) to hear the uncanny resemblance to Hank Marvin and Co.
1) Apache, written by Jerry Lordan, recorded by The Shadows in June 1960 and topping the UK singles chart for five weeks.
2) Wonderful Land; another Jerry Lordan composition released as a single by The Shadows in 1962. It stayed at number 1 in the UK for more weeks than any other single during the whole of the 1960s.
3) The Savage; from the film 'The Young Ones'.
Our other favourites from the concert were: 4) Nivram, composed by the Shadows and played by them on this link. A nice jazzy number.
5) Cavetina, composed by Stanley Myers and AKA theme from 'The Deer Hunter'. The link is to the Shadows again.
6) Don't Cry For Me Argentina, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Tim Rice for 'Evita'. The link is to the original version by Julie Covington.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The Panama Hat Band + Southern Union Chorus
This evening we went to the Memorial Hall in our Dorset home of West Moors for the second time for a charity concert called America. The first half featuredThe Panama Hat Jazz Band (pictured). This is a standard 6-piece trad line-up of trumpet, trombone, clarinet, banjo, double bass and drums (Stan the man), criticised by at least two people recently. We liked them.
The second half featured The Southern Union Chorus, a barbershop chorus singing in unaccompanied close harmony. They sang old songs and hits from the sixties. Our favourite numbers were:
1) Hello Mary Lou, composed by Gene Pitney but made famous by Rick Nelson as on this link.
2) Always Look On The Bright Side of Life , written by Eric Idle and originally featured in the 1979 film 'Monty Python's Life of Brian' as in this link.
3) St Louis Blues, composed by W C Handy and made famous by Bessie Smith as on this link.
We had a moment of excitement on arrival. We went to sit in the front row but were told by a woman that all the seats were reserved. I protested and she slapped my hand. In response we sat on two of the seats for the evening. She is probably a Christian; she certainly needs to learn to treat others with respect.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
'Inception' at the Bournemouth Odeon
This evening, for the first time, we went to the Bournemouth Odeon to see the film Inception, which received the highest praise we have ever seen from IMDB's amateur critics. The basic idea, entering the dreams of others down to 5 levels of depth, is not new. I remember as a teenager being enthralled by the Dennis Wheatley novel Strange Conflict, which explored the idea rather well for its time.
Does this film enhance or extend the idea ? I am afraid not. It is typical Hollywood mass audience fodder, featuring the standard formula of car chases, guns galore and dual female love interest. We cannot recommend this film.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
'Partir' (leaving) at the Poole Lighthouse cinema
For the final cinema session at Poole's Lighthouse Arts Centre this evening we saw Partir, translated as 'Leaving'. This French film starred Kristin Scott-Thomas, the first time we have seen her in a leading role. She did not disappoint, displaying a range of emotions in a very convincing manner. The storyline, married woman with everything falls for handyman and risks losing all, is not new but this takes it to extremes. Making the obvious comparisons with Lady Chatterley and Anna Karenina; this film was much more believable than either. We recommend it to anyone interested in serious cinema.
IMDB quotes Henry Porter in The Guardian as writing "Why are the grown-up films all French ?". The answer is that they are not, there have been excellent films from Germany and China recently. Let us re-phrase the question; "Why are all the American films childish and/or horrific ?" We have given up on mainstream cinema because there is no longer anything for us.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Marty Wilde at The Pier, Bournemouth
This evening we went to the Bournemouth Pier Theatre to see Marty Wilde and the Wildcats perform songs from the 1950s and early 60s. In the first half the Wildcats performed without Marty, all but the drummer singing at some time. Our favourite number from this set was Be Bop A Lula, composed by Gene Vincent, who performs it on this link. Note the great guitar backing by the greatest rock guitarist of all time, Cliff Gallup. He sounds even better on Race With The Devil.
For the second set the Wildcats were joined by Marty, who looks incredibly young for his 71 (he says 72) years. He performed numerous songs, including his big hits:
Donna, written and originally sung by Ritchie Valens;
Danny, written by Ben Weisman with lyrics by Fred Wise and recorded for the film King Creole but eventually eliminated. I remember listening to it on the juke box in a cafe in Plaistow as a teenager;
Bad Boy, Marty's own composition
Teenager in Love, written by Doc Pomus with Mort Shuman and originally sung by Dion and the Belmonts.
However, our favourite was Apron Strings, written by Aaron Schroeder with George David Weiss and first recorded publicly by Cliff Richard, although Elvis Presley had already made a home recording not intended for release.
A great evening of nostalgia that had us all singing along.
Friday, July 3, 2010
The Elephant & Castle, West Moors
This evening we visited our local pub, the Elephant and Castle, for live music; a singer-guitarist. We led the dancing (again) with Selina showing off her new hair style and her shortest dress, not pictured here as this is not primarily an 'adult' site. She might wear it again on Monday; is the Bournemouth Jazz Club ready for it ?
A young man, previously unknown to us, asked her to dance and proceeded to hold her VERY close. Her told her that he did not have a woman of his own. Does it follow that he has to share mine ?
Toni, who was our favourite member of staff until she left, returned as a customer, looking great. We had a chat and a hug; more of that please Toni !
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The Purbeck Big Band
This evening we went to the Memorial Hall in our Dorset home of West Moors for the first time to see The Purbeck Big Band (pictured). The band, which has been performing for 40 years, comprises four saxophones, four trumpets, three trombones, piano, guitar, double bass and drums plus young male and female vocalists. We were particularly impressed with John Costello on tenor sax. Our favourite numbers were:
1) Autumn Leaves, composed by Joseph Kosma with English words by Johnny Mercer and played on this link by guitarist Manuel Granada.
2) Jumping at the Woodside, composed by Count Basie. The link is to the Count Basie band.
3) St Louis Blues March, played on this link by the Glenn Miler Orchestra.
4) Tanya Lonergan's vocal Cry Me a River, written by Arthur Hamilton and first published in 1953. The song's first release and most famous recording was by actress/singer Julie London in 1955. A sultry performance of the song by London in the 1956 film The Girl Can't Help It helped to make it a million-selling blockbuster. The link is to the relevant scene from the film.
5) Midnight In Moscow, originally created as "Leningradskie Vechera" ("Leningrad Nights") by composer Vasily Solovyov-Sedoy and poet Mikhail Matusovsky in 1955. It was jazzed up as Midnight In Moscow by Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen as on this link.
6) Sing, Sing, Sing, composed by Louis Prima in 1935 and most famously played by the Benny Goodman Orchestra, particularly in the 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert as featured on this link. Note the very original Jess Stacey piano section in the middle.
We were delighted that our first visit to our local village hall went so well. We are sure to return.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Last Night at the G & D
This evening we went to the George & Dragon in Thames Ditton to see the John Barnes quartet (pictured), comprising John Barnes (baritone sax, alto sax, clarinet), Alan Dandy (keyboard), Mick Durell (bass guitar) and Don Cook (drums). The one guest was John Lang (trombone). Our favourite numbers were:
1) Open Country, composed by Bob Brookmeyer. The link is to BBS Kobe University jazz music club graduation concert.
2) Skylark, composed by Hoagy Carmichael with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The link is to Aylon Samouha playing solo fingerstyle guitar.
3) Alan and Mick's duet, Triste,composed by Antonis Carlos (Tom) Jobim and played on this link by Dmitri Koval, Jon Coleman, and Dave O'Brien.
We announced that this was our last night at the G & D due to move to Dorset. The band had been expecting this but not all of the audience. Shirley, who we have been seeing at various jazz gigs for years was very surprised.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Magna Jazz (last time for us)
This evening, for the last time due to move to Dorset we saw Brian White's Magna jazz band (pictured) at The Manor in Old Malden.
The line-up was the now standard one, Ken Reece playing an old short cornet and a newer longer one. Our favourite numbers were:
1) My request, a number that Brian dislikes, for no good reason, Close Your Eyes, composed in 1933 by Bernice Petkere and sung superbly on this link by Doris Day.
2) I've Got a Feeling I'm Falling, music by Fats Waller and Harry Link and lyrics by Billy Rose, published in 1929. It is played on this link by Fats as the first part of a medley.
3) Alan Dandy's solo feature, the recently popular Shreveport Stomp, composed by Jelly Roll Morton and played on this link by his Red Hot Peppers.
All the band and many of the audience said goodbye to us at the end, several saying it won't be the same without us. It was quite touching.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
This evening we went to the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne (pictured badly) to see Showaddywaddy. At least two of the band were from the original 1973 line-up; Dave Bartram (vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboard) and Romeo Challenger (drums). Pictures all seem to carry a copyright warning. It was a great evening combining covers of 1950s rock numbers with the band's own hits from the seventies.
Our favourites were:
1. Blue Moon words and music by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934 but the link is to the 1961 hit version by the Marcels that Showaddywaddy cover.
2. Whole Lotta Woman, words and music by Marvin Rainwater, who performs it on this link.
3. Summertime Blues, written in the late 1950s by Eddie Cochran and his manager Jerry Capehart. Eddie performs it on this link.
4. Pretty Little Angel Eyes, written by Curtis Lee and performed on this link by Showaddywaddy in 1978.
5. Under The Moon Of Love, again written by Curtis Lee and performed on this link by Showaddywaddy in 1976.
Dave Bartram really works the audience, calling for participation, inviting questions and strolling down the aisles shaking and kissing hands.
We had a double seat in the balcony, like a small sofa, encouraging lots of kissing and cuddling.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Magna Jazz at the Manor in Old Malden
This evening we saw Brian White's Magna jazz band at The Manor in Old Malden (pictured).
Selina, in white teenage-style mini-skirt, received a warm welcome from four lads young enough to be her grandchildren. They obviously appreciated her loveliness; one was hanging out horizontally from the doorway, hanging on by one hand.
Our favourite numbers were as follows:
1. Creole Love Call, most associated with the Duke Ellington band. Ellington first recorded it in 1927 and was issued a copyright for it as composer the following year. However the main melody appears earlier in the Joe "King" Oliver composition "Camp Meeting Blues" which Oliver recorded with his Creole Jazz Band in 1923. Apparently Ellington reedman Rudy Jackson had presented the melody to Ellington claiming it was his own composition. The link is to a fine recording by Andor's Jazz band in 2006.
2. There'll be Some Changes Made, written by Benton Overstreet with lyrics by Billy Higgins. This link is to the Chicago Rhythm Kings but I prefer the 1950s Dutch Swing College version with its slow introduction.
3. Goose Pimples, written by Henderson and Trent. This link just has to be to the Bix Beiderbecke version.
4. Alan Dandy's solo feature Lady be Good From the 1924 show 'Lady Be Good' by George and Ira Gershwin. The link is to a wonderful version by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli.
During the interval we heard the sad news that Brian Hicks had died. He was always so kind to us, cooking us dinner, inviting us to his birthday parties, taking us to Guildford clubs and introducing us to the Musical Museum. Classic Brian was when he once arrived at the Cricketers in Horsell with a bag full of examples of his hobby, 'adult' photography. We were at a table full of men but Brian handed the bag to Selina. The men all watched her flick through the pics, wondering what she would say. She finished, passed them to the man on her left and uttered the unforgettable "I've got a better body than her !"
Monday, March 22, 2010
Road fuel prices
We have a surge of e-mail messages asking for support for action against rising fuel prices. I would just like to say that low prices have restricted surveying for new sources of crude oil. The fleets of seismic survey vessels have been idle at the dock side, wasting millions of pounds. This is not good for the world's future. We are now seeing some activity from our position as suppliers to that business.
Also many rural petrol stations are closing because the profit margins are so low. This is a problem for those people in the most need, those for whom there is no alternative form of transport.
Conversely, the high tax on road fuel is dragging our economy down. I believe the government should compensate by ending the wasteful, inefficient, ineffective, vehicle excise duty.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Jazz at the G & D
This evening we went to the George & Dragon in Thames Ditton to see the John Barnes quartet, comprising John Barnes (baritone sax, alto sax, clarinet), Alan Dandy (keyboard), Mick Durell (bass guitar) and Don Cook (drums). The only guest was John Lang (trombone). Our favourite numbers were:
1) Secret Love, composed in 1953 by Sammy Fain with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster for the musical 'Calamity Jane', where it was sung by Doris Day. The link is to the later Kathy Kirby hit.
2) Alan Dandy's first solo feature Autumn Leaves, composed by Joseph Kosma with English words by Johnny Mercer and played on this link by guitarist Manuel Granada. Alan wove in some Chopin and a snatch of 'Suicide is Painless', the M.A.S.H theme
3) John's vocal You're a Sweetheart, from the 1937 musical of that name, where it was sung by Alica Faye as on this link. The composer was Jimmy McHugh.
4) Alan Dandy's second solo feature, Stratford Hunch AKA Chicago Breakdown, composed by Jelly Roll Morton. The link is to a Louis Armstrong. recording.
Two well-endowed young blonde women sat alongside us at the beginning of the evening. One complimented Selina on her legs and figure, shown off by a white teenage-style mini-skirt. She then asked Selina's age, a request that was refused. After some thought she estimated 48; the greatest compliment of all time !
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Joscho Stephan Trio at the Forest Arts Centre
This evening we visited the Forest Arts Centre in Old Milton, Hampshire, for 'Gypsy Swing' by the Joscho Stephan Trio. This fine trio comprises Joscho (lead guitar), his father Günter (rhythm guitar) and Max Schaaf (double bass). Joscho is a wonderful guitarist, playing mostly in the Django Reinhardt style but with some Chet Atkins finger style thrown in when it suits. Every number was great so we will just provide a few examples, with links to performances on YouTube.
1) Django's Tiger, composed by Django Reinhardt.
2) Mr Sandman, written by Pat Ballard in 1954 and first recorded in that year by The Chordettes.
3) Rondo Alla Turka, from the third movement of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11 in A major, K 331.
4) Bossa Dorado, composed by Dorado Schmitt.
Anyone who likes jazz guitar should get along to see these guys; they are just brilliant !
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Buddy Holly tribute at Ferndown
This evening we went to the The Barrington Centre in Ferndown to see Marc Robinson and the Counterfeit Crickets. Marc looks and sounds like Buddy with ace lead guitarist Adrian playing the original backings brilliantly. There was also a Billy Fury tribute singer.
It is hard to pick favourite numbers as they were all equally good. The one that I am still humming is Blue Days, Black Nights, Buddy's first published recording. We have it on a cassette tape of early recordings that I bought in Phoenix, Arizona and played over and over all the way to the Grand Canyon and Back.
If Marc or any of the band should read this, why not perform:
Listen to Me
Words of Love.
Saturday, February 06, 2010
The Lonnie Donegan Band with Peter Donegan
This evening we went to the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne to see Peter Donegan performing with the Lonnie Donegan Band, comprising Paul Henry (Lead Guitar), Chris Hunt (Drums), Sticky Wicket (Percussion) and Eddie Masters (Bass). Peter sang and played keyboard, Acoustic Guitar, Banjo, Harmonica and Mandolin. It was a great evening combining old 1950s skiffle numbers with Peter's own compositions.
My favourite was the blues number Rocks in my Bed perfomed on this link by Lonnie Johnson. Paul Henry played superbly in a more modern blues style, drawing applause from the audience.
Selina preferred Mule Skinner Blues, the link being to an early Lonnie Donegan version with Denny Wright on guitar.
The Tivoli is a beautiful old theatre from 1936, lovingly restored after being closed for many years. Tonight's audience were almost entirely of an age for whom the 1950s were full of great musical memories. They sang along whenever invited, requested numbers (unsuccessfully) and one even asked Peter to confirm that his guitar was a Martin.
We will surely visit the Tivoli again; but will we get another opportunity to see the Lonnie Donegan Band ?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Parcel Force again
I have e-mailed Peter Mandelson and Pat McFadden as follows:
Having just suffered yet another disastrous delivery via Parcel Force, might I suggest a plan that meets the need for private investment in the postal system without enraging MPs and the public.
Sell Parcel Force to the private sector and retain the rest of Royal Mail in public ownership.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
Top Gear repeats
People ask us what do we do when we are at home Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Selina's friends were horrified to hear we watch Top Gear repeats on the Dave channel. Our favourite episodes are those where caravans are destroyed, e.g. by dropping from a great height or by fire (see picture). Yes, we know these are stunts but who ever thought Top Gear was anything but lots of fun.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Les Paul and Mary Ford
After twice watching the television programme celebrating Les Paul's 90th birthday (he is now 92) we searched the HMV site and bought the Very Best Of Les Paul & Mary Ford.
It has now arrived and is delightful. It includes Mary singing, in her beautiful voice, tracks such as:
'How High The Moon', by Morgan Lewis with lyrics by Nancy Hamilton and first featured in the 1940 Broadway revue Two for the Show;
'The World is Waiting For the Sunrise', by Ernest Seitz (pseudonym Raymond Roberts) with lyrics by Gene Lockhart and first published in 1919;
'Vaya Con Dios', by Larry Russell, Inez James, and Buddy Pepper, and published in 1953.
The wonderful Les Paul instrumentals include:
'Little Rock Get Away', by Joe Sullivan with lyrics by Carl Sigman (1938);
'Mammy's Boogie', a Paul original boogie-woogie guitar version of 'Mammy's Little Baby Loves Shortening Bread' originally written by James Whitcomb Riley in 1900;
'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles', Jaan Kenbrovin (James Kendis, James Brockman and Nat Vincent) with lyrics by John William Kellette (1919) and now the West Ham football anthem, originally referring to Billy J. 'Bubbles' Murray who played for the local Park School and resembled the boy in the famous Bubbles painting by Millais used in a Pears soap commercial of the time.
Browse the Very Best Of Les Paul & Mary Ford for a listing of all 25 tracks.
Pop music from the 1950's is still alive and well. Don't expect the same to be said of today's pop music in 50 years time.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Our Views on 'mobs'; The Cricketers, Surbiton Station, etc.
Following my post 'Is This Goodbye to The Cricketers' in Horsell Birch I have received two e-mail messages from other customers of this pub. One was very supportive of our firm stand against a venue that gives priority to a large noisy party over its regular Monday jazz fans. The other says that we are wrong and should apologise to the staff.
Let us state our position beyond any misunderstanding:
1) Making excessive noise while musicians are performing is insulting to them and is hurtful to those who wish to listen.
2) Those who do it are selfish, thoughtless, people who care nothing for others; they share this characteristic with burglars, thieves, drug addicts, hooligans, etc. who care nothing for the affect of their actions.
3) Large parties and other large groups (e.g. Surbiton commuters) automatically become a mob with the above characteristics so they should be isolated from other people.
4) If a business does not accept the above responsibility because of the nature of its premises and/or because it wants the instant surge of income, then that is its right.
5) Equally, it is our right to withdraw our custom from that business, be it a pub, a railway station or anywhere else; we offer no apology for this and will continue such action whenever appropriate, publicising it as widely as possible.
6) We do not accept Christmas, Birthday, large family or rush-hour as excuses for mob behaviour.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Surbiton Railway Station
I have just noticed, somewhat belatedly, that Surbiton scooped the title of Rail Station of the Year at the 2005 London Transport Awards. The Royal Borough of Kingston and South West Trains were presented the award in recognition of a programme of improvements carried out at Surbiton Station during 2004 to enhance accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians.
There was a period when I used Surbiton Station for trips to London. I had to stop because I could not stand the selfish mob behaviour from the regulars. The stairs were divided in two with a narrow section reserved for those coming down to catch the train when the majority were those leaving the train. Having most of the stairs available was not enough for the mob; they had to use it all, risking injury to any frail person coming down. I just cannot understand the minds of such people. Were they human beings once but lost all humanity through commuting to London by rail every day ? I tried battering them with my brief case as I came down but I was so heavily outnumbered that mob rule won and I just gave up on Surbiton for rail travel.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Road vs Rail
We have been reading messages from those who extol the virtues of rail travel in place of the motor car. Clearly to use the car is grossly irresponsible of us so we should research other options. Firstly, let us be clear that working from home is best and this should be encouraged with local telecottages. However, it is not always possible to work like this, particularly those of us who work with heavy equipment.
Our 21 mile journey to Park Farm by car most weekdays takes an average 40 minutes in a car that averages 46 miles per gallon. There are no traffic jams. We carry a desktop computer in the car on Monday and Friday. To get there by public transport we will:
Buy a laptop computer (even though we don't need any more computers)
Wait at local the bus stop in all weathers for a bus that might be late or not arrive
Take the bus to the rail station on the other side of Guildford
Take the train to Wokingham
Then train or bus from Wokingham to Bracknell
Finally a brisk, healthy, 20-30 minute walk from Bracknell station to Park Farm in all weathers.
I estimate 2-3 hours so 4-6 hours of each day would be spent travelling, an increase of between 2 hours 40 minutes and 4 hours 40 minutes. Clearly the best use of time and energy. We should be fit and ready for a hard days work after this journey.
We go out at least 3 nights a week to pubs with live jazz. Berrylands Hotel is next to Berrylands railway station so let us start there. Only the slow trains to Hampton Court stop there, not the Guildford trains, but we must not be discouraged. Neither must we be put off by the difficulty of returning from Guildford station, 3 miles away, after the buses have ceased to run. A taxi is a car so that is out; we will just have to walk.
Selina, my wife, likes to get out of her unfeminine work gear when we go out and show off her fabulous legs in mini-skirts and high heels. We have to think of a way of avoiding hypothermia on the exposed high-level platform at Berrylands Station. The jazz club has no facilities for hanging outdoor clothes but perhaps we could pile them in the corner with the instrument cases. There are no changing facilities but I am sure the randy old men won't mind Selina changing in front of them.
Having succeeded with the Berrylands we must consider the Europa and the George and Dragon. By an amazing coincidence the nearest stations are also on the Hampton Court line so we will become accustomed to travelling up to Waterloo from Guildford than back to the venue. We will also be accustomed to the 3 mile walk back home so the 2 mile walk to the Europa from Hampton Court station will seem easy.
Obviously we will need to leave work early to allow for the extra evening travel time. We also have to manage with less sleep after arriving home so late. Oh, I forgot; we will be taking 4-6 hours to travel to work and back on public transport. We will have to be absent from work on jazz days. Perhaps we could work on Saturday and Sunday to make up the lost time. Oh dear, Sunday is a Jazz night; there are not enough days in the week.
Happy New Year to the rabid train fanatics.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Aldi demolished our pub
German discount supermarket chain Aldi has now demolished the 'Green Man', a public house since the 16th Century and possibly before, in Burpham, Guildford, where we live. For many months the old pub has been left in an unsightly state, with no roof tiles, presumably to wear down local resistance. We appeal to all Burpham residents to oppose any planning application from this evil company and to make it clear that we will never spend money in any Aldi retail outlet, anywhere, ever. We are British and will never surrender to German efforts to destroy our culture and take money from us in return.
Another aspect is the effect another supermarket would have on the local environment. The 'Green Man' roundabout cannot cope with existing traffic levels; just imagine the impact of all the shoppers driving to and from that very spot. If plans for flats above the shop were to be approved then we would have even more traffic plus the problem of resident and visitor parking. Aldi is not wanted here.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Goodbye to the Cricketers ?
For the last few years we have been eating, drinking and enjoying jazz at The Cricketers in Horsell Birch almost every Monday evening. We spend about 2000-2500 pounds per year and we attract others to join us at our table, two of whom now eat there regularly. Yesterday evening was ruined by an excessively large party making the inevitable deafening noise, with no care for other customers or for the musicians. We cancelled the table for next week because it is clear the same will happen again and that its regulars are not the priority customers for this pub.
The pub manager's business plan (if there is one) is deeply flawed. He can fill the side area every Monday with jazz fans so it is counter-productive to put large one-off parties there. He has the front area and the snug empty on Mondays so that is where the extra customers should be seated. If he has to split them between tables then that is all to the good, as the two end groups on a long table cannot communicate and it is very difficult for the middle back customers to get up to relieve themselves.
The band was the 'Famous Four' comprising Chris Lowe (trombone), Richard White (bass sax), Martin Wheatley (acoustic guitar) and, new to us, young Ben Cummings (trumpet, vocal). We would have liked to hear Ben from our table as he sounded good when we danced close to the band.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Personal involvement in a company
It occurs to me that personal involvement is what makes it good to work with or for the vast majority of companies, i.e. the small ones. Directors with no personal involvement are those that cream off huge salaries and bonuses regardless of company performance. They care only about their own wealth and care nothing for their employees, suppliers or even for their shareholders.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Windsor for Selina's birthday
To celebrate Selina's birthday today (I am not allowed to say which one) we went to Windsor for much of the day. This involved kissing and cuddling in every place we visited; so I too enjoyed her birthday. We had lunch in 'The Crooked House', then toured Windsor Castle, as pictured. We spent the rest of the afternoon in shops, coffee bars and a pub before having dinner at a new Chinese Restaurant, two doors away from the Royal Theatre. 13.50 pounds buys as much as you can eat, far more than we wanted. The alcohol license was still to be granted so we were each given a free glass of wine.
At the theatre we saw the Agatha Christie play 'And Then There Were None', advertised as following closely the original novel. It was certainly gripping, with a typically devious plot.
One warning to visitors to Windsor: DO NOT use the car park immediately behind the theatre or any other privately owned car park. They use a clamping company but do not pay them. Result is over-enthusiastic clamping to make as much money as possible, see Windsor forum. We actually witnessed this happening.
Ideally we, the car-driving electoral majority, should have our own political party, pledged to re-introduce hanging, drawing and quartering for clamper scum, thus discouraging any others. As this will not happen, the only alternative is to starve the private car parks of funds by NEVER EVER using them. If the local authority car parks are all full, PLEASE DRIVE AWAY from Windsor and post to the forum explaining why you spent no money in the town.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Selina's advice to young men contemplating marriage
I am a very lucky man, still very happily married after 42 years (see picture). Many men tell me how lucky I am to have such a lovely wife. I have just asked Selina what advice she would give to a young man contemplating marriage. Her answer was "Don't do it !"
Let me expand on this by saying that, in the likely event of marital breakdown, the odds are now so stacked against the husband that he will always emerge the loser. Even a pre-nuptial agreement appears to mean little in the UK. The politicians have gone so far to seek the female vote that the law discourages men from marriage. I have said in a previous post that the law also discourages the employment of women of child-bearing age. All this bias in favour of women is self-defeating.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Size of UK Enterprises
I cannot find a statistic for the number of really large organisations but even the FTSE 250 includes many that are not huge. I conclude that there are a few hundred at most, compared with millions of businesses in total (7 million ?). The percentage is therefore around 0.003 %
This disparity will increase as large companies shrink or disappear and many more small enterprises start up.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Grumpy Old Misogynist
Experiences this week are driving me towards the woman-hating camp.
When I tell a woman that an ex-wife who denies an ex-husband access to his child is evil, I expect some measure of agreement. Instead I get irrelevant arguments that men are evil in different ways.
When I say that the laws on maternity leave are making it too risky for small businesses (i.e. the vast majority) to employ women of child-bearing age except through agencies, I expect some sympathy for that view. I do not get it.
Must I conclude that women in general (and this does not include Selina) believe that they can inflict extreme cruelty just because they are vindictive or ruin a business just because they are selfish ?
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Files of the Inquisition
Unusually this week we have watched television 3 nights in succession; the programme, on the UK TV History channel, was called 'Files of the Inquisition'. It is amazing to think that this abomination continued from 1233 to 1834. Even more amazing is that modern catholics show no shame or remorse. I realise that they were brainwashed as children but, in later life, do they never consider that they might belong to an evil institution ?
Monday, April 21, 2008
Panama Cafe Orchestra with John Lawes
This evening we saw the Panama Cafe Orchestra at the Cricketers in Horsell Birch, Woking. The band comprised Dave Lowe (cornet, vocals), Richard White (washboard, cymbal, vocals), Chris Lowe (trombone), John Lawes (clarinet, vocals), Chris Houslander (sousaphone) and Dave Griffiths (banjo).
The pictures show the full band and Dave Griffiths wearing his latest beauty aid, flanked by the great John Lawes and our friend Tony in the forground. Our favourite numbers were:
Hoagy Carmichael's 'New Orleans';
Bix Beiderbecke's 'Davenport Blues';
Jelly Roll Morton's 'Kansas City Stomp';
Kid Ory's 'Savoy Blues';
and, best of all, John's vocal 'Sugar', which he sang looking at Selina (my sugar) as we danced.
At our table were; Alan 'Mr Sherry' Roper (who sounds just like my mother, describing Indian and Chinese food as 'foreign muck'), Brian Hicks (planning to pay a jazz band to perform for him yet refusing to pay entrance fees to gigs) and Rustom Patel (getting ready to display his classic Rolls and Fire Engine at various shows).
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Aldi; not wanted here, go back to Germany
German discount supermarket chain Aldi has now had the roof tiles removed from the 'Green Man', a public house since the 16th Century and possibly before, in Burpham, Guildford, where we live. For many months the old pub has been boarded up in an unsightly fashion, presumably to wear down local resistance. Now they are pushing us further by making the building look even worse. Let me tell you again you evil Aldi Germans and your equally evil British quislings that the people of Burpham hate you !
This is a marginal political area so expect no support from local politicians.
To the staff of Aldi, I point out that you are working for an evil German Company and should be ashamed. To existing Aldi customers, I ask you to consider the alternatives for your shopping rather than provide income for such a rotten German organisation.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I have often moaned about transport companies on this weblog but now Parcel Force has proved worse than even my expectations:
1) delivery took far too long
2) an attempt was made to collect import VAT from our customer, despite the fact that I had already paid by credit card
3) the relevant depot refuses to provide any receipt for this payment
4) I can only get a breakdown into VAT and other charges verbally over the telephone, no documentation is available.
The award pictured would appear to be worthless.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Brian Hicks' 70th with Rance's Rocking Chair Band
On Saturday evening we went to Brian's 70th birthday party at Guildfords 'Aggi' club. We presented him with an appropriate card, depicting his old pastime of drumming and his present passion of photography. It was called 'Drummers Get All The Luck' and showed drumming on a naked woman's body. We thank trombonist Dave Hewett for producing the card.
Brian had hired Rance's Rocking Chair Band, led by Dave Rance (cornet, mellophone and vocals). The picture is from an earlier appearance at the Cricks. This band is well worth seeing for its mix of humour and steady flow of jazz, hardly pausing to draw breath. The line-up is unusual in having both guitar and banjo playing together. Both musicians played guitar for a beautiful rendering of 'I Can't get Started'. Our other favourite was 'Big Noise From Winnetka' featuring some fine string bass playing.
Thanks Brian for a great evening.
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Gatsby Jazz Band at the Wych Elm
On Saturday evening we went to The Wych Elm in Elm Road, Kingston Upon Thames, for the monthly performance by the Gatsby Jazz Band. Mike Adamson was back as full-time leader and banjo player with the standard musicians forming the rest of the band. Our favourite numbers were 'Breeze', sung by trombonist Bob Dwyer, and one of the band's regulars;'King of the Swingers', with trumpeter Alan Jenkins singing in fine Louis Prima voice.
The pub was quiet at first and even at peak there was room for dancing; not just us this time. Mike commented that he likes to see the bottoms wobbling.
Selina was called 'leggy girl' by another woman (Joyce); the picture shows why !
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Al Fresco Indoor 4 with Eileen Ford
On Saturday Evening we went, for the first time, to the Rutland Sports and Social Club, the home of jazz in Catford since the demise of the Rutland Arms. The band was the Al Fresco Indoor 4 with Eileen Ford, nearly all new to us. The musicians were Eileen Ford (vocals), Ernie Reid (cornet, clarinet), Steve Howlett (clarinet, alto sax), Nick Singer (G banjo, tenor banjo, guitar) and Paul Busby (sousaphone). We enjoyed Eileen's singing so much that we bought her CD, which includes her fine version of 'Hold Me' as performed yesterday. I only wish it included her equally fine 'Blue Moon'. Unlike some bad-tempered female jazz singers she seems a genuinely friendly person, sitting with us briefly during the interval. The rest of the band provided good support plus instrumental numbers and individual vocals from Ernie, Steve and Nick, who plays an interesting-looking Django Reinhart style guitar. We saw him once at the Rutland Arms last summer (2006).
The only other person we recognised from the Rutland Arms was Richard, who once danced with Selina there. Last night he only danced with Eileen !
Monday, April 02, 2007
Urban Gin House with Ivor Elliott and Leslie Dyos
On Sunday evening we went to The Europa in East Molesey to see the Urban Gin House jazz band. This time it was a sextet comprising Alan Brock (trumpet), Ivor Elliott (Tenor Sax, pictured), Leslie Dyos (trombone), Andrew Clancy (keyboard), Mike Bennett (string bass) and Eddie Kettle (drums). The guests from the audience were too numerous to mention. Colin Lewry (keyboard) played during the breaks. Our favourite numbers were 'Blue and Sentimental', 'Bill Coleman's Blues' and 'Lover Come Back to Me', all with fine tenor playing by Ivor. We wish he played at the Europa more often as he enhances the band enormously. The way he plays soft and smooth then excitingly jazzy is just magic.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Magna Jazz Band; feauring Pete Towndrow and Alan Dandy
On Thursday evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel in Surbiton to see and hear Brian White's Magna Jazz Band. The band, normal line-up yesterday, is so good that one of the audience comes from Bedford. Brian White suggested that I would know how to spell pedant when I pointed out that they played Hindustan with 3 key changes and not 4 as he had stated. He meant 4 different keys. It reminds me of junior school and all those excercises that show N telegraph poles have N-1 spaces between them.
He did agree that a blues does not have to be 12 bars in structure when they played the 8 bar 'Far Away Blues'. However, our favourites number was Pete Towndrow's cornet feature 'Davenport Blues' with only Alan Dandy in support on keyboard. I have said before that the best Bix Beiderbecke numbers are impossible to play better than the originals but this is not one of Bix's best, at least not on our 3 recordings of it.
Friday, February 23, 2007
Magna Jazz Band with Dick Charlesworth, Dave Hewett and Johnny McCallum
On Thursday evening we went to the Berrylands Hotel in Surbiton, to see and hear The Magna jazz band. The three excellent deputies (pictured) were Dick Charlesworth (clarinet and tenor sax), Dave Hewett (slide trombone and baritone horn) and Johnny McCallum (guitar). In the absence of Brian White, the band was led by Pete Towndrow who not only plays great cornet and trumpet but has a good jazz voice. His vocal on 'Smiles' brought a standing ovation from the audience. Other highlights were 'Some of these days' from Dave, Dick's vocal on 'Save the bones for Henry Jones' and my request for 'Samba de Una Nota So' featuring Pete on cornet with Rex Bennet providing the latin beat on drums. This is the second track from my 1960's Charlie Byrd record for which my request has been granted. The trick is to ask when Pete is in charge.
The other picture is of Sylvia Hewett, a regular reader of this weblog, to show she looks better than she imagines.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Steve Lane's Red Hot Peppers at Catford
On Saturday evening we saw Steve Lane's Red Hot Peppers at The Rutland Arms in Catford, South-east London. The pub is a good jazz venue; comfortable seats, good range of real ales, wine available in 125 ml glasses and a baby grand piano. The musicians I liked best were Peter Bennetto (clarinet, alto sax), Grahame Humphreys (trombone) and Pam Heagren (vocals). Pam sat next to me when not singing so I heard her speaking voice first. Her singing voice came as quite a surprise; deep and rich in true jazz style. My favourite number was 'Streamline Train' a fast blues that could so easily have been in the early repertoire of Elvis Presley in his Sun Records days. Steve Lane is not very good with audio equipment so I had to set up the radio mike for Pam to use. We never discovered how to switch off the 'reverb'.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The evil of Pay and Display car parks
The counter arguments were:
1) Is it not the same everywhere so we just have to accept it.
Ans. No and I don't. There is at least one pay on exit car park in Guildford and weight of public opinion forced the hospital to change too.
2) Pay on exit requires an automatic barrier.
Ans. No problem, they work fine and investment is soon recovered as the car park becomes more popular.
3) Those that live in the town centre want to discourage visitors by all possible means.
Ans. Then the town will die and become a less pleasant place to live.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup
Yesterday we posted a package to a customer with the address 'Be Bop a Lula'. The older members of staff began musing about the probability that this is an ageing fan of Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps. I still have some of their recordings, including the first Race With the Devil, memorable for the highly original guitar playing of Cliff Gallup who inspired the young Jeff Beck. I could never catch the mumbled words on the record but the advent of the WWW reveals all.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Dick Charlesworth, Alan Dandy, Peter Morgan & Don Cook
On Tuesday evening we saw Dick Charlesworth playing clarinet and tenor sax with some vocals at the George & Dragon in Thames Ditton. He was accompanied by three of our favourite jazz musicians; Alan Dandy (keyboard), Peter Morgan (string bass) and Don Cook (drums). Peter and Don indulged in their specialities; Peter bowing and strumming the bass while humming in the Slam Stewart style and Don using the drumsticks on every fixture and fitting in the pub. We sat further back from the band this time reducing the exposure to cigarette smoke. Highlight for me was 'A Hundred years from Today' featuring tenor sax. I reject Dicks' description of it as dreary; it was beautiful !
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Complaint to IEE Engineering Management
The argument attributed to Fitzgerald is that employees won't work as hard if they know the company is to be sold. This suggests the answer to this problem is to 'tell them as you serve them their redundancy notices'? Does he think that employers have no responsibility to their workers ? Does he think employees work hardest for an employer who cannot be trusted to behave honourably ?
I have asked IEE Engineering Management to print an apology for these remarks as they could encourage IEE members to ignore statutory regulations.
Saturday, April 03, 2004
Nigerian 419 scams
I LIKE TO WORRY SHEEP
A STUNT TOO FAR
(starring Klench Mychiques - Stuntman Extraordinaire)
But they are all pretty good.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Transport and the Environment
The greens and environmentalists want us to give up our cars and nothing else will do. I have news for them; we won't and we are the largest electoral group in the country so governments beware. Those are the facts.
Tinkering with public transport will never solve the problems of crowded roads at rush hours and school times but no passengers for transport to earn money during the rest of the day. The rush hours solution is simple enough; no office worker needs to travel to work every day. They can work at home or in local 'telecottages' where workers from different employers gather together to share equipment, facilities, high speed communications and social exchange. We need a government that is bold enough to 'pump prime' the feeble-brained big employers to accept this, using some strong carrot and stick.
I arranged for an attractive, intelligent, well-spoken woman from DEC to present this case to a Transport 2000 meeting. A row of scruffy men, who seemed to form some sort of environmental weirdo clique, tried to argue that this approach would never work. Eventually one of the speakers on their side of the argument admitted that his London-based company had its typing pool in Northern Ireland and this worked perfectly well. QED.
I wish I had such a solution to the school run :-(
Any ideas on persuading mothers (to do anything) ?
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