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Northern Society For Jazz Study Vol.3 No.17 0006

Northern Society For Jazz Study Vol.3 No.17 0006

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and wrote and waxed many PINE TOP spit blood, and his head

items put out on Voci After lay in a pool as it oused out" - he

four years he left to tour again, was fatally wounded. His session

in and around CLEVELAND where he with WILLIAMS was to have been on

eventually settled in 1935. Deoca the morrow... For one so young (25)

recalled him from a part retirement in 1938, and despite ill health and poor financial straits he still plays in that district a little. His left hand boogie pattern is one which, has been usod considerably of late. His versatility can be gathered when Chimes, drags rags, shouts,

the loss of his unique artistry was irrecoverable. He was the pioneer of what is now called BOOGIE WOOGIE his original eight to the bar bass hand, being 1310 basis of most -patterns today. His sensitive and captivating style - on the few wax-ings - such as "Jump Steady", "I’m Sober Now" - servo to illustrate

digc8?d{Si03ntFeSiteisE!:Lns- his genius.

During his ’apprenticeship*

in CHICAGO when YANCEY was his main

interest, SMITH came to know three

other students of JIMMY’s. They

wore all taxi-drivers by profession

working for the Silver Taxicab Co.


AMMONS shared the rooms in the

next block to YANCEY, and the third

HONEY HILL was a constant companion

t>f theirs. It’s said they all

i i ^ ., ,, learnt to play by fingering the

early honky-tonk pianists tnerc, , , j -u • •»

, , * . . s keys depressed by a pianola. By

and on tho road once more, his , f , . . , . ■ „ * *

■ . . j. . *,, , , constant practise m between fares

meeting with COW COW in Pittsburgh .. r ,

° t, "the three soon became quite pro-

occured. Due to COW COW* s connec-«. . , A ,

Lions with WILLIAMS at Doooa/’PIIE f optors an

'DP cut eight sides for the Too. ln

u iooq * n • •,* .TOP in the same housouola,

abol in 1928. Iho following March ,rUMW, . ,9

.. v. i j 4. ^ -p - j , , . YANCEY* s pupils had somo

a doconu date was fixed, but tragedy intervened. Appearing ac the

Bruns.issues) are found in his repertoirg.

During his touring, COW COW mot up with the legendary CLARENCE ’PINE TOP* SMITH. Ho too hailed from Alabama, but was somo ton years younger. He also toured vaudeville*doing a *Bert Williams* act as an extra, (arrive c' in Chicago in tho mid twenties^ -is style was influenced by tho

rousing sessions.

Elks Club - a ginmill - a fight

"Parted, and as the crowd surged

• forwards to tho scene,

enARENCE was pushed along in

:• .’ont. Just at that moment, a

combatant whipped out a gun and • irad at the ceiling, but a

allot wont wide and struck PINE

LEWIS (b-1905 Louisville), had spent most of his life in the Windy City, since 1925, having taken up blues piano in 1921. In 1927 he waxed his now famous "Honky Tonk Train Blues" followed by "Yancey’s Special", for Pana., with other solos on celeste and

VCP. An observer says - "I saw g blues singing accs. before 1929«

^ j J.OIUC came

into the hands of collector JOHN HAMMOND who was so impressed that he set out to find the unknown creator of this masterpiece. In vain did he search until 1936, when he eventually tracked him down, working as a car washer. Like YANCEY h© had done little playing for same time,, but when HAMMOND played the piece over to him,LEWIS immediately picked the strains He was brought to New York and introduced with ALBERT AMMONS in the "Spirituals to Swing« concert subsequently going on to Cafe 5 Society, almost as a permanency.

A long--step from the days of prohibition playing... He has since recorded "Honky Tonk" five times, one. is said to have improvised without letting up the flow cf ideas, for over half-an-hour „

OLIVER is said to have influenced him in the early days.

Today, LEWIS has developed fast western blues piano into an entirely new form.^ Numerous bass figures, from walking-bass and' Texas roll" recent Californian accents, have* come with equal ease. His recordings for Victor, Parlo. Solo Art, blue bote, VOCb> ^ reoently ^

exclusive contract he has signed with ASCH, have also included blues whistling, and blues on the harpsi— chord. Such treatments as the

Pla?ing A Ch°™" School of Rhythm", and "SelfPortrait" etc., are creations years ahead in oontempore jazz, in a trend,


oi standard appreciation* AMMONS in turn was a more ’primitive* exponent, of melodic percussion. Bie incisive power and attack he uses also makes him an ideal *band* player, as his recordings with his BOOGIE WOOGIE BOYS (1936) - issued on E.Bruns bear out* Two years older thar LEWIS, he played CHICAGO Clubs spasmodically until 1934. T.ilro LEWIS he went to NEW YORK witti HAMMOND, and has been connected with »LUX* at Cafo Society almost ever since. He has many waxings to his credit in solo capacity on Blue Note, Solo ,irt, besides duets and trios with LEWIS and PETE JOHNSON respectively.

HONEY HILL on the other hand has lapsed into obscurity. He recorded in 1938 for Voc.. since when little has been * heard of him. instead, the trio of BW pianists is now completed by PETE JOHNSON: a *Kancy* player, who came to NEW YORK at the same time as tho above two. About the same age, he came to Cjjj^ago with JOE TURNER — blues singer.

His versatility is shown when, rags N.O. blues and fast blues all come alike to him» With AMMONS & LEWIS he waxod Boogie Woogio Prayor" (E.P.) an oxcellont comparison cf styles. JOHNSON has also made zsany sides supporting TÜRNER.