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Northern Society For Jazz Study Vol.2 No.15 0010

Northern Society For Jazz Study Vol.2 No.15 0010

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."CHRISTMAS CAROL 19441".. ....A*. ..»Story.

.by..•.••TOM JOHNSON.

or o o o o f



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(Author's Note:- Much has been printed on how, when and where jazz was born, but nobody apparently seems to trouble one iota how jazz fans are born, or are they ? So dear children I talfce unto myself the task of revealing this as yet, closely guarded secret. It must be brief and to make it easy, we'll make it a f ai ry tal G • c <• © ©)

© © .ONCE UPON A turntable, there spun a record called "The Teddy Bears Picnic", such a charming little tune that young Johnny smiled and tapped his gay young feet all over the joint (sorry room),

This was by no means the first time in which Johnny had shown his appreciation of good music, for when quite a baby, Hum and Dad had hailed him as a child prodigy for his ■wonderful touch on the musicbox,

A few years pass and Johnny is on his way to school, interrupting his 8x8 with the strains of "Mairzy Doats" which again shows great talent, but like all great genius, isn't appreciated by the school ‘mam* who happens to bo passing at the time.

More years go by and the princess turns up (you must always have a princess in a fairy tale). '.'Jo find Johnny in a very secluded and romantic background, trying out a 'Frank Sinatra* on the princoss. Yet again his talent is falling on

unappreciative ears, somehow he hasn*t got that swooning effect right, and the princess says -"nark it Johnny, or I'm getting out of 1 ere* ©„c ©

Still more years pass and with them, still more princesses. Johnny's been buying record catalogues and reading up all the dance band news, sticking his ear into the radio and increasing his musical knowledge by knowing all the leaders and crooners 0 Didn* t he come out top in the dance band quiz too ? - sure he did.

Then one day along comes a musical guy who tells Johnny, "you're corny pal", "What you need is some real hot stuff, right in the groove." Johnny didn*t quite get this, but thinks it may mean something anyway so always thirsty for knowledge he persuades this guy to p^ay ever some discs on the subject.

Only a short tine has passed now ana Johnny*s well acquainted with his new friend who shows him around the jazz spots, gives .him pointers on records, tells him who plavs what and how,, gets him in at clubs and axso into a loo 16, of arguments... (continued on^ago

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In the early thirties, at the time of the trombone changes, HENRY ALIEN and REX STEWART changed on one tpt, and IRVING RANDOLPH for JOE THOMAS In the other. In the

reeds, BAILEY returned and newcomers included HILTON JEFFERSON,

HEN WEBSTER (tenor) and CARTER for a short time - WEBSTER superseding HAWKINS, who left once and for all. These first four years resulted In

many outstanding waxings, many too numerous to mention here,

The completion of HAWKINS* stay, cannot go without same notice amidst all this change© After a patchy youth, he had assimilated the position of No,l. tenor player, possessing a technique, drive, and imagination that ivas unsurpassable. He was permanently superseded by SHOO BERRY; ELMER WILLIAMS coming in on 2nd tenor, to make up a regular. four-piece team.

New names at that time were VANCE and ROY ELBRIDBE (tpts.)

ARBELLO, CUFFEE (trmbs.) SID CATLETT (drums) ISRAEL CROSBY (bass) and SIMEON in the reeds. More changes occured the following year with MMETT BERRY (tpt.) BLAKE (clar.) UC1E (gtr.) W.JOHNSON (drums) and B. WYNN (trrnb.) - surely an all me completion of 'star* names, ever assembled before or since in azz.


The remarkable place occupied by HENDERSON in jazz is nearly completed. In the latter years a great deal of his time was spent in CHICA-GO at the 'Grand Terrace*, and eventually the group folded up in 1938.

HENDERSON was the easiest of subjects with which to follow the 'normal* trend of coloured jazz to a climax, but there remains much more to be told.


The avenues opened up by the yery existence of F.H., and pursued by his members next require exploration.

First to make his own way was DON REDMAN in 1928. He took over the lead of a group that came from DETROIT known as McKINNEY*s COTTON PICKERS, It had made its appearance in the DETROIT—OHIO districts in the early 1929s, and REDMAN took over in about its third year in NEW YORK. lHe was ideally equipped with his outstanding arranging-composing talents plus his own alto lead and solo work.

The line-up was along regular lines for the day -