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Back to Vol.1 No.2 January 1944

Jazz Junction Jive Vol.1 No.2 January 1944 0017

Jazz Junction Jive Vol.1 No.2 January 1944 0017

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OCTOBER 20th.—An icky was loud in praise of Lu Watters to me to-day, so I played him Bechet’s “ Maple Leaf Rag ” as an antidote. When he said he couldn’t understand it, I explained that Bechet was improvising on a Tibetian scale with Chinese harmonies, the whole adopted as a folk song from the 14th Psalm. He actually had the impudence to laugh at me, but I don’t: care. Hers of no import / he’s never even had a letter printed in the “ Melody Maker.”

NOVEMBER 5th.—Dear Diary, a sensation! Lemmie has given up jazz. He says it died in 1916, so why bother with it? He’s collecting ancient chambers now, and says they have intense emotion plus profound culture. That theory interests me.

DECEMBER 4th.—Hello, Diary. I sold all my records to-day for £\ Is. lid. and three splintered chambers. The pawnshop assures me they are all Ancient Britain period. I’m going out chamber-stalling now, as I hear that a specimen used in Queen Boadicea’s private chariot is for sale in the market. I must beat Lemmie’s collection. And so on and so on ... .

★ ★ ★

It’s up to you!

by •Johnny Howe ★

I was talking to a well-known record executive recently anent the shortage of genuine jazz issues : this is how it went............

“ Why do you issue discs we don’t want when there are so many items on your

shelves we do want? ” . . . “In wartime, we cannot assess the demand for any particular record, anyway our quota is drastcically cut by comparison with pre-war output.” ..." Surely, then, more discretion is called for; avoiding such mistakes as mixing the backings, and issuing records with two different bands? ” I always

thought collectors were happy so long as both sides were good jazz.” . . . “ Oh, no!

Records are usually hied in artist or title order, and records with two different bands are unpopular. This system, too, can create a false demand for an artist: for example Armstrong’s “ Memories of You” backed by a poor Boswell Sisters side. The large sales of this were certainly not due to the latter. Even this year we had to tolerate the Snub Moseley sides if we wanted the backings.” . . . “Yes, but the jazzlovers themselves don’t write and tell us what they want.” . . . “ O.K. Supposing I appeal to them through the columns of ‘ Jazz Junction Jive ’?”...“ A good idea. If there is sufficient response I am sure the record companies will do all they can to satisfy the demand.”

So it’s up to YOU, now. Write immediately to the record companies with a

list of the sides you want issued; or send them to me, at 39, Berkshire Gardens, N.13, and I will forward them. This is the chance of a lifetime; don’t miss it. If you do, you’ll only have yourselves to blame.

28
I may be wrong

by Les Newell

★

For me, jazz has been a source of pleasure and interest for more than ten years, and, despite the wide variety of opinions—some erudite, some reasonable, some just plain crazy—which I have encountered in that time, this music remains a fascinating enigma. Not the, least of its many attractions is the general lack of unanimity among its devotees, and so I shall be more,than surprised if these few lines do not involve me in quite a few lengthy arguments; not to mention disappointed . . .

I am one of those people who believe that too much has been written and talked about jazz already, and the ever increasing army of “ critics,” “ authorities ” and what not'—that vast horde of gnostics who multiply like rabbits and chase around having one helluva good time serving as nigh priests to their beloved arcana—have at last moved me to protest. I may be wrong; but these self-elected experts, who would appear to devote their lives to the study of a recondite art form, have elucidated nothing of importance for me. To start with, they do not stick together; but seem automatically to have drifted into separate groups, representative of white or coloured jazz, old time or modern—as if these elements were mutually exclusive. And they spread their propaganda about with as much noise and as little thought as rival packs of' schoolboys iptent on upholding the alleged supremacy of their respective Houses.

They lose sight of the fact that good, bad and indifferent jazz has been produced right through the years, and it has not been confined to one colour, or any one par ticular school of jazz. Moreover, they have the impudence to decide for us what is good and what is bad; if one of us should be so bold as to disagree he is relegated in a flash to the position of the undersized worm in the H. M. Bateman cartoons ! Surely we like what we like because we like it: not because it conforms to some accepted canon.

These forensic gentlemen, who are trying in vain to be objective about what “ Mike” terms a minor art form, are barking up the wrong tree. Jazz is music in a certain idiom, genre music of a limited aesthetic range and a high emotional content. As such it is, I submit, subjective; and insusceptible to analysis. It is not even of sufficient importance to warrant so much discussion and public investigation. An effect of the transient social mores which produced and conditioned it, it will pass with them.

Against the whole background of music jazz is no more than a drop in the ocean; but I like it—and I do manage to keep it in perspective. While lacking the profundity of a Bach Fugue or the grace of a Mozart Sonata it possesses an earthy vitality