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Jazz News Volume4 No45 0003

Jazz News Volume4 No45 0003

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Page 4
JAZZ NEWS — Saturday, December 24, lnr'0
ONE STEP AHEAD
by Doug. Dobell
J WOULD like to take the opportun-
ity of replying to Dave Davies
letter in last week's issue of your
paper—because I couldn't agree with
him more!
The truth of the matter is that in
the article referred to I was on the
one hand quoted out of context, and
on the other not quoted at all on my
comments on the modern scene.
In view of the article and the opinions
I would appear to hold, I am gratified
that it was one of my own staff who
was interested enough to comment on
them—but I was rather saddened at the
lethargy of the fans who would appear
to ha\e passed it by without a murmur.
It is certainly true that I made the
comment — but it was purely in respect
of the traditional jazz clubs.
However, I hope I will not be mis-
understood again. The fact is that New
Orleans jazz is no longer a living music.
The environments and conditions which
brought about its flowering are long since
passed and young musicians are at second
hand trying to carry on the line — musi-
cians of a different colour, country and
era; and the simple fact is that the cards
are stacked so heavily against them that
they just can't win!
APPRECIATION
I think that the more mature of them
in their hearts probably accept this — it
would be interesting to have Chris Bar-
ber's opinion on this incidentally — but
conversely I'm not knocking or trying to
belittle them. In fact I sincerely believe
that they are doing a line job.
In most cases they are dedicated to the
music they enjoy playing, and most im-
portant they bring to many a teenager
his first appreciation of the music. Digging
a little deeper they discover Morton,
Oliver, Armstrong and the mid-period, not
to mention the living music of today; and
modern jazz is and must be the creative
music of our time.
NURTURED
Here the modern clubs come into their
own. If they had nurtured a jazzman
like Victor Feldman alone they would
have been worthwhile, but there are many
other great British modernists active to-
day; musicians like Tubby, Ronnie, Har-
riott, Ross, Dankworth , Courtley. and
others too numerous to mention. These
fine exponents of Modem jazz are not as
great as the greatest in the States but
here again environment and contact with
American coloured musicians — or rather,
lack of it — is against them-
Were Tubbs and some of the others to
emigrate to the States, I’m quite convinced
that they would veiy soon take their places
alongside the greatest of America's musi-
cians.
Lastly it is not true that I never go
to jazz clubs. I have little time and am
accordingly very selective in my choice;
but you will never keep me away from
the concerts piayed by American musi-
cians. For let’s face it, let's repeat it,
America is the land of jazz and American
musicians will always be one step ahead
There's nothing we can do about
that; and I for one am not complain*
ing.
Forgotten men
by Len Doughty
-
THE GREAT BOB CROSBY Band
of 1935-1942 carried a large comple-
ment of New Orleans musicians, and
Ray Bauduc, who was born in the Cre-
scent City on July 18, 1908, was one
of the chief architects of the band’s
authentically ‘down-home’ style. His
drumming, judged by many to be in
perfect Dixieland style, is good enough
;o deserve a better description than
Dixieland, which today implies some-
thing false and shallow.
Bauduc's career began in 1926 with
loe Venuti's group in New York, al-
though he had played in a small band at
home before leaving high school. He
worked with Ben Pollack and Red Nic-
hols before joining Crosby, after which
he disappeared for a time until he was
heard again with Jimmy Dorsey in the
middle ’fifties. Little or nothing has been
heard of him in recent years.
Bauduc was a drummer who really
listened to the rest of the band. Of
course, with the big Crosby band he
presumably used a score, but when the
jazz off-shoot, the ‘Bobcats’, played their
e\huberant. almost fully improvised ses-
sions, he was always there to provide the
necessary lift and punctuation for the
ensembles and solos. He scored a con-
siderable hit. with bassist Bob Haggart,
in their duet ‘Big noise from Winnetka’
and the follow-up tour-de-force ‘Big
Crash from China".
His use of cowbell and woodblocks
would be regarded as comv today, but
taken in context all his ‘trade-marks’ re-
veal him as a highly imaginative drum-
mer who used all his kit to give the
band a solid and characteristic rhythmic
platform.
His later work with Jimmy Dorsey
showed that he had dropped many of his
mannerisms and concentrated on a more
straightforward pattern of rhythm. He
himself said that "this two-beat stuff is
over-rated".
Over-rated or not. the fact remains
that he did it very well, and his ability
the idiom made him one of the most
individual and interesting of jazz
drummer*
1
It is not so very long ago that
jazz was a term of insult among
schoolteachers.
Now, speaking as a teacher, I can
report a “wind of change” blowing,
in certain quarters at any rate. While
magistrates and city councillors still
pontificate anti-jazzwise, and threaten
to withhold permission for all-night
sessions in town halls (Birmingham
has had a bit of an argument over
th^it this last week) and refer to
members of our leading band (as a
beak once did of Chris Barber’s
band) as “mendicant jazz musicians",
it is with the great interest that I
read the recent pronouncements on
jazz (and skiffle and ‘pop’) by no
less an authority on music than Don-
ald J. Hughes, County Music Ad-
viser to Middlesex Education Com-
mittee.
I quote from, a letter headed
“Standards in Music", printed this
week in a leading educational journal,
the “Schoolmaster”, and signed by
Mr. Hughes, from which one reads.
. . we only offer the middle-
class, academic and intellectual
conception of music as some-
thing written down and perform-
ed from copy. The popular
tradition continues in jazz, skiffle
and ‘‘pop". Teachers should
learn something about this tradi-
tion.”
We often hear of the serious,
adult attitude to jazz music as some-
thing found only in U.S.A.
I congratulate Mr. Donald J.
Hughe« on his action.
LES PAGE
Ì
::
JAZZ NEWS — Saturday, December 24, 1960
Ta$e 5
MUGGSY
by
David Sessions
THE stranglehold that the “New Orleans” style of jazz has
on the British jazz-loving public today means that the
modern man of music has an uphill struggle for survival
while his traditional, but his more broadminded brother,
who refuses to conform to the rigid, soul-clogging
pattern of the George Lewis style, finds that his work is
written off as “that tired old dixieland stuff!” and is
suffered only because the mysic makes for easy dancing.
In America the reverse applies, a musician must be as
modern as tomorrow or he’s a dead man; Lewis, Ory and
even old Pops himself have to tour extensively to reach
appreciative audiences.
Some of our senior jazz critics have been doing fine work in
extolling the virtues of the men whose talents lie between the
two exlremes of the jazz spectrum, but in choosing sidemen
from the bands of the 30\s and 40’s they have brought to the foie
only one jazzman of real character — Vic Dickenson-
In the search for lost talent one man, who stands head and
shoulders above the rest, appears to have been overlooked,
due partly perhaps to his self inflicted exile to California in
recent years.
‘MUGGSY’ SPANIER has been blowing a hot horn profes-
sionally for 40 of his 54 years, having received his baptism
at the age of 14, in Elmer Schoebel’s 20th Century Band, with
whom he played from 8-30 p-rn- to 4-30 a-m- every night for
$25 a week. I wonder what our M.IJ. would have said about
that!
Schooling at the feet of King Oliver, Tommy Ladnier and
Louis has resulted in one of the closest approaches a white man
has come to the essentially hot negro trumpet style: while
as an artist with the plunger mute he knows no peer today-
Born of an Irish mother and a French father, on the north
side of Chicago, Muggs grew up with the musicians who were
later to be collectively referred to as the '‘Chicagoans'’-, He
was also keen on entering the medical profession but the
pull of jazz proved too strong- That he had absorbed his
jazz well even then is illustrated by Mezz Mezz?ow’s description
of the recording of “There’ll Be Some Changes Made”
by the Chicago Rhythm Kings in April 1928-
Frank Teschemacher came in on the 29th bar using a Noone
phrase which Jimmy used to finish; this so derailed Muggs
that he did not finish the last two bars thinking there would
be a re-take- When he found that everyone was happy
and the engineers signalled O-K- he made to throw his horn out
of the window which, incidentally, was closed- Fortunately
he was restrained in time!
With the Charlie Straight band in the mid-20’s Muggs used
to play from 1 a-m- to 6 a-m: and Bix Beidcrbecke, who
finished at 1 a-m-, would oflen stay behind to duet- Bix badlv
wanted to record a trumpet duet with Muggs with only piano
accompaniment but died before the chance arose-
Strangely enough, the late great Bunny Bcrigan had a
similar idea* but be also died before they could get together
in the recording studio- Bobby Hackett has approached
him too with a view to their recording together and.
although not unduly superstitious, Muggs was a little worried
to hear that Bobby hasn't been too well receatl*!
After spells with Ted Lewis, Ben Pollack. Bob Crosby and his
own big band and a survival from a near-fatal perforated ulcer,
Muggs returned to his first love ,the small free-wheeling
groups, when he moved in with the gang that centred at Nick's
Restaurant in the mid-forties- The nominal leader of the clan
was Eddie Condon and at this time members of the Condon
clique were doing well in the national jazz polls and
the regular Condon broadcasts were really ail-star affcirs-
It was in April of 1950 that Muggs first went to San
Francisco only to emerge for a tour later in the year, that
took him up to Toronto in Canada- That his born had lost
none of its fire and potency was proved at a night club there;
in the middle of ‘ Dippermouth Blues” an aged Scotsman
leapt to his feet and shouted “Get me ma bagpipes''! The Scots
always did have an car for good jazz-
By the end of 1950 Muggs was back in sunny California where
he spent nvany periods during the next 10 >cars. While
at ihe Hangover Club in San Francisco the Sadlers Wells
ballet dropped in, and after hearing Muggs tear oft a frantic
chorus, Moira Shearer was moved to ask “Don't you find
ballet dull?” Actually Muggsy is a great lover of the baiiet and
particularly admires Moira Shearer.
The lost two or three years of the 50's were spent
in the Earl Hines Band at the Hangover ;’.nd
the band also included Darnell Howard on clarinet- It
seems a pity that such talent had to be wasted mainl; on
“tired business men' but apparently they were the onl\ people
who could afford to spend much time at the club!
By this time the name of Muggsy Spanier was little more
than a legend in the big cities of America and the rest of the
world and he decided to strike out once «tore- In late 1959
he was due to open with his own band at the Roundtable
in New York but illness struck again and he could not make llic
opening- However a successful tour of Canada with his own
band followed and then a European tour in the Spring of
1960, backed by various groups of the local natives-
Upon his return to California he was again stricken b> illness
but soon recovered sufficiently to hit the road once more-
Fame is a transient thing but in this age of the little mail
we should not lightly pass by men of the stature of Francis
Joseph Julien "Muggsy” Spanier.