Daily Archives: August 8, 2009

BETWEEN THE SHEETS

Yesterday the Beloved and I visited what we call “Mrs. Rodgers’ Book Barn,” although its official name is “Rodgers Book Barn” — a fine old-fashioned used bookstore (467 Rodman Road, Hillsadle, New York, 518-325-3610).  Mrs. Rodgers herself is a pleasure to talk to and deal with.  The Beloved ended up with four or five new gardening books . . . but her clever eye had spotted a stack of sheet music, and Mrs. Rodgers, seeing me clutch my purchases ardently, told me that more awited in the barn. 

Aside from the one late-Thirties ringer (which you will spot easily) this is a hot collection circa 1931, with photos of musicians and bandleaders I had not seen before.  The original owner or owners had an ear for lively pop music. 

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I had never seen the music for this song before and was dismayed to find it has a truly uninspired verse, but any song made immortal by Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, and Django Reinhardt in 1937 and later by Dick Sudhalter and Marty Grosz is worth celebrating.

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Signs of the times — the reverse of one of the music sheets (which, in other cases, show the industry at a crossroads, with ads for music, phonograph records, and piano rolls — anything to keep people from sitting in front of their radios and listening for free).

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In her sweet little Alice Blue gown — a pretty waltz before the jazz players got to it!

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I never heard of Walter Doyle, but was captivated by this because of the hot recording by Rube Bloom and his Bayou Boys in 1930 — and a hot performance of the song done by Spats Langham at, you guessed it, Whitley Bay.  It’s one of those period songs that threatens to terrify the listener.  Is it the Ur-text for OL’ MAN MOSE, I wonder?

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In honor of Bix, Whiteman, and that Movietone News clip (1928).

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One of my heroes, looking skeptically off into the distance.  (I gather there’s never been a biography written of Cliff Edwards?)

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Nice publicity still of Bing — although I have never heard him sing this song.

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Then again, I never heard Gene Krupa sing this one, either.

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A lively cover for a hot Twenties tune — again, in my memory because of Spats Langham’s performance.

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I bought this one for the cherubic Whiteman portrait.  All of the sheet music I’ve encountered here and on other vacations tends to wander far from its original source (some sheets were originally purchased in Missouri, one in a Maine music store that billed itself TEMPLE OF MUSIC) but this song must have been well-loved here or elsewhere, if the number of copies unearthed here is any indication.  “Why Wyoming?” I ask myself, with no particular hopes of an insightful answer.

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This is a real oddity — a 1913 folio of original compositions.  At first, I thought it was music for those pianists who improvised to fit what they saw onscreen (the big love scene, the terrible storm) but now I think it’s something even more subversive: music implicitly connected with those pictures and perhaps the fantasy of being the pianist in the pit . . . to make Junior put down his bat and ball and practice that piano. 

Only diehard jazz fanciers will understand why I got terribly excited about the last two sheets, below:

Lorna plus Sheets 013I know that that portrait finds Husk O’Hare perhaps a little past his fame as a bandleader in whose organization hot players could find work, but I’d never seen a picture of him.

Lorna plus Sheets 006I knew Pollack was famous, and that this 1929 engagement brought him fame, but I never expected to see him on the cover of this sheet music.  Of course, in an ideal world, Jack Teagarden’s picture would replace Pollack’s, but you can’t have everything. 

And (speaking of crass commerce) these pieces of irreplaceable jazz ephemera cost less than an entree at the local Mexican restaurant, so I am in the unusual position of being rich in possessions and positively thrifty at the same time — thanks to the unknown Benefactors and gracious Mrs. Rodgers.

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HOT JAZZ TRIO, July 11, 2009

The name is simple, accurate, not the slightest bit hyperbolic.  They’re a compact, thrifty jazz orchestra, getting the maximum of variety and orchestral scope — not to mention a plunging swing on hot tunes, a delicate depth on slow ones — out of this apparently-improbable combination of instruments.  Bent Persson plays trumpet, cornet, occasionally Eb alto horn (at Whitley Bay, he borrowed a valve trombone from Mike Durham); Frans Sjostrom is majestic yet mobile on the bass sax; Jacob Ullberger holds it all together on banjo and guitar.  Sadly, their schedules keep them from playing together: Frans said that they have sessions like this only once a year, so I was delighted to be able to capture this one on video.  But they did record an extraordinarily fine CD on Gosta Hagglof’s Kenneth label under this title: look for it wherever better books and records are sold!

The critical viewer might catch a fluffed note or a missed cue — but I have chosen to post their entire hour-long set because this group gets together to play so infrequently.  And I think that the without-a-net quality of these performances makes them irreplaceable. 

Their Whitley Bay program alternated between Jelly Roll Morton, early Ellington, and Bix — to great effect.  Here they are on KANSAS CITY STOMPS, summoning up a seven or eight piece band.  I didn’t miss any of the Red Hot Peppers in this version:

Early Ellington followed, the pretty but moving BLACK BEAUTY:

Bix was all around us, so the Hot Jazz Trio took off on SOMEBODY STOLE MY GAL:

Sidney Bechet’s pretty SOUTHERN SUNSET (WHEN THE SUN SETS DOWN SOUTH):

Bix and Company again (as well as Eddie Condon) on Hoagy Carmichael’s RIVERBOAT SHUFFLE:

Their adaptation of Frank Trumbauer’s take on JAPANESE SANDMAN:

PEE WEE’S BLUES featured Frans and Jacob, while Bent rested his lip for a few minutes:

STEAMBOAT STOMP, complete with whistle, returned to the world of Jelly Roll Morton, with the Hot Jazz Trio becoming a whole roomful of Red Hot Peppers:

On DUSK, they magically evoked the 1940-1 Ellington band, with Bent picking up a valve trombone he had borrowed from Mike Durham for the occasion:

MOVE OVER returned to an earlier Ellington Era:

CLARINET MARMALADE for Bix, Tram, and Lang:

Finally, a jubilant BLACK BOTTOM STOMP to conclude the hour:

Is it hot in here ot is it just the Trio?