HOT JAZZ: FOR PHILIP LARKIN

The poet and acerbic jazz lover Philip Larkin wrote in ALL WHAT JAZZ (his collected jazz criticism) that he had spent his life waiting for a reissue of the 1932 sides issued under various permutations — mostly THE RHYTHMAKERS — featuring Henry “Red” Allen, Pee Wee Russell, Joe Sullivan, Fats Waller, Frank Froeba, Jack Bland, Eddie Condon, Al Morgan, Pops Foster, Zutty Singleton, Gene Krupa, Jimmy Lord, Happy Caldwell, Tommy Dorsey, and unique vocalizing by Billy Banks (also Chick Bullock and, happily, Allen himself). 

Having referred to this music in a previous post (FINE FIG JAM) I felt duty-bound to explore the web . . . these records have been in and out of circulation for eighty years now, in a variety of forms.  My CD, on the Collector’s Classics label, has the distinct advantage of being taken from original 78s remastered by my hero John R.T. Davies — but it was issued in 1992!  So, in the name of doing public service, I offer two YouTube clips of the RHYTHMAKERS.  Before you fall over in a faint, there’s no motion picture attached.  That may have to wait for the next life, I fear.  What the generous poster, who calls himself “formiggini,” has provided, is a slideshow of the participating musicians and a good transfer from a mint-copy CD.  Larkin, no doubt, would have had scathing things to say about a world where we could no longer hear records without going to the computer, but I worried that there might be someone in my audience who had never ever heard the fiery interplay of BUGLE CALL RAG (which features Allen, Russell, Sullivan, Condon, Bland, Morgan, Krupa, and Banks) and SPIDER CRAWL (Singleton on drums). 

Larkin thought all of jazz had declined from this point.  I can’t quite agree, but it surely is the apex of a particular kind of rare, cherished Hot Music.

BUGLE CALL RAG:

SPIDER CRAWL:

And if anyone needs a scholarly explication of the lyrics, I will happily provide one,

Advertisements

7 responses to “HOT JAZZ: FOR PHILIP LARKIN

  1. Pingback: HOT JAZZ: FOR PHILIP LARKIN

  2. “Spider crawling up the wall to get his ashes hauled…” seems perfectly clear to me!

    Gawd how I love these sides!

    =============
    And if anyone needs a scholarly explication of the lyrics, I will happily provide one,

  3. Michael, what about this CD issue with up-to-date remastering?

    http://www.worldsrecords.com/cgi-bin/storeR.cgi/specific=itemcode&phrase=60100&cart_id=10-28-09.9097

    Cheers–

    Rob

  4. Rob, many thanks for reminding me! That’s a jewel of a set at a splendid price. Everyone should have several copies: the holiday season is a-comin’ in. Don’t be the last on your block!

    In your debt, MS

  5. Yes, IMHO the Retrieval CD reissue is the way to go with this immortal music.

    Regards,
    Agustín

  6. Does anyone have any further info on Jimmy Lord (clarinet). Born 1905 and died 1936. Many references to him re: Dorsey, Kupra etc. He was my grandfather and I know almost nothing about him.

  7. Dear Ms. Moore,
    Here’s what I know — courtesy of page 228 of John Chilton’s WHO’S WHO IN JAZZ:

    “LORD, Jimmy (clarinet /tenor sax)
    Born: Chicago, Illinois c. 1905
    Died: New York City, c. October 1936
    Worked with the Wolverines in Chicago suring the summer of 1925. With Benny Meroff’s Orchestra at Granada Theatre, Chicago, also worked with David Lewinter’s Band at Crystal Ballroom, Chicago. Moved to New York, worked with Willard Robison, did free-lance arranging, also took part in recordings with Billy Banks (1932). Long lay-off from playing due to a lung illness, after recovering sufficiently to form his own band he contracted pneumonia which proved fatal.”

    How does that line up with what you know? If you would like to pursue this more, email me at swingyoucats@gmail.com. and I can suggest a few more possibilities for research.

    Cheers, Michael Steinman

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s