JOSH DUFFEE / CHAUNCEY MOREHOUSE: Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers, March 23, 2011

JAZZ LIVES readers know Josh Duffee — or have been depriving themselves of a great pleasure if they don’t. 

Here he is, bespectacled, serious, dapper, and swinging hard — off to the right behind a minimalist drum kit.  (Who needs more?)  I caught this at the 2010 Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival:

Now you can see this young fellow is a wonderful drummer: he’s in there, as they used to say.  His friends are Andy Schumm, cornet; Paul Munnery, trombone; Norman Field (becoming Tesch, wonderfully), clarinet; Jeff Barnhart, piano; Jacob Ullberger, banjo; Frans Sjostrom, bass sax. 

But Josh also shines when he’s not moving around or making one object come into contact with another, rhythmically.  He is a great natural scholar of the music — without academic pretensions or hauteur — and one of his subjects is the masterful and under-celebrated Chauncey Morehouse, a thoughtful force of nature. 

I saw Mr. Morehouse at either the 1974 or 1975 New York Jazz Repertory concert tributes to Bix . . . he wailed!  I also tape-recorded the concert and know where the tapes are . . . but no longer have a reel-to-reel recorder.  Any suggestions?

Here’s Chauncey, featured at his tuned N’Goma drums as a member of the 1938 Saturday Night Swing Club radio program.  On film!  With Leith Stevens directing the house band, Paul Douglas as master of ceremonies, and some people named Bobby Hackett, Pee Wee Russell, Georg Brunis, and Eddie Condon joining in for the closing “jam session” on THE DIPSY DOODLE:

So I will be at Rugers this coming Wednesday, March 23.  You come, too!  It’s free and worth the trip.  And (just as an aside) I won’t be videotaping Josh’s two-hour presentation to put on JAZZ LIVES — for a variety of reasons, none of them ominous.  So you should take the bus, the train, or even drive to Rutgers.  My experiences with Josh — as a percussionist, thinker, and generous person — are all the evidence I need.


Jazz Research Roundtable

The Institute of Jazz Studies
Department of Visual and Performing Arts
Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Rutgers – Newark

Since 1995, IJS has hosted its monthly Jazz Research Roundtable meetings, which have become a prestigious forum for scholars, musicians, and students engaged in all facets of jazz research.  Noted authors, such as Gary Giddins, Stanley Crouch, and Richard Sudhalter have previewed their works, as have several filmmakers.  Musicians who have shared their life stories include trumpeter Joe Wilder, pianist Richard Wyands, guitarists Remo Palmier and Lawrence Lucie, trombonist Grachan Moncur III, and drummer/jazz historian Kenny Washington.

All programs are free and open to the public, and take place Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Dana Room, 4th floor, John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers University, 185 University Ave., Newark, NJ.  Refreshments will be served.

For further information, please call (973) 353-5595.
Financial support for the Roundtable is provided by the Rosalind & Alfred Berger Foundation.

Institute of Jazz Studies
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
John Cotton Dana Library
185 University Ave.
Newark NJ USA 07102
Tel: (973) 353-5595
Fax: (973) 353-5944


3 responses to “JOSH DUFFEE / CHAUNCEY MOREHOUSE: Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers, March 23, 2011

  1. FWIW Deparment – Chauncey Morehouse took the first brush solo on records, on the Georgians “Land of Cotton Blues” recorded September 6, 1923.

  2. Wow! How fascinating — and how deeply CM has been ignored by the Official Jazz Chroniclers. Josh will change all that. Thank you, Chris!

    The Tapes, that is, of the 1974/75 concert re Chancey M…someone get hold of them NOW.
    They may have already disintegrated (magnetically that is) And surely there are loads of people with reel to reels floating about, but beware…
    There’s 15″per a half, three & three quarters (and even one and seven eights!) ips speeds, and that can be in mono, stereo (called half track) or quarter track (ie 4 tracks, plays stereo both ways) So you have to match the tapes to the right format. As this was a concert its pretty certain that it would have been recorded at either seven and a half, or most likely fifteen ips, (could even have been 30 with upmarket studio machines, but the running time per tape (even 10″ reels) is woefully short on normal thickness tape ( ie not thin”long play”)
    I had all this problems recently, whilst sorting out my Nighthawks 122 track, 5 album release with some recordings going back to the mid 1960s. To get over the disintegration problem (somewhat) we had to sync re-record (overdub) using two track format even though most of these tapes, the pre ’72 ones, were in mono. We found that sometimes , even though it was in mono, the very act of using a two track machine allowed you to get at the best part of the two track, in the patches where the breakdown was occurring. One then put (ie the left track) onto both the left and right tracks when over dubbing. I used my three machines (Revox B77, Teak 1000, B&O 2000 de luxe) to extract everything, but what a nightmare keeping the “playback” heads clean. Some of the oldest tapes were shedding crap onto the heads at an unbelievable rate… beware, keep loads of bottles of head cleaner and swab sticks. I’m sure the Might of America can handle this “Hi tec” challenge!
    (If not contact little ole England, and we’d be delighted to help)
    Good luck to whoever! (I’d be pleased to hear how you are getting on)
    One benefit of these “resussitated” tracks is that they sound unbelievably vintage, like a genuine 1920s recording. Anyone want to hear a sample of one of these (Oliver, Keppard or early white band jazz & dance styles) please contact me.You never know, you might end up demanding the whole set!
    (No, not you Michael, you’ve already got them!)
    Carl Spencer
    Spencer’s Nighthawks Orch

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