This biography of Sidney Catlett comes directly from http://www.jazzandroots.com/big-sid-catlett.html. I credit the original site — the “Jazz and Roots Club” found in Shrewsbury, England (I presume) so that readers know I am reporting rather than inventing.
Big Sid Catlett, was one of the large battery the swing era and one of the few who crossed stylistic boundaries smoothly without loss of quality would suffer. Born in Indiana and learned to play the piano as a child before the school band will pass to the battery.
He began his career in Chicago in the late twenties before moving to New York at the time of the Great Depression. His first serious contact with jazz came when he worked for Benny Carter’s orchestra in 1932. From that experience, he found work easily and well spent by the best swing bands of the time between most notably those of Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson.
Possessor of a light rhythm and full of swing, was able to adapt their style to each soloist who accompanied him. He was admired in his time by the general public who flocked to the ballrooms and dress, elegant, classic and fun at the same time, helped him be the focus of attention among the young. As a musician he felt at ease in any situation and in any format and was one of the first battery of swing who played with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
It is remarkable in its contribution to the combos that organized the great clarinetist, Benny Goodman and his final year career before he died following a heart attack, was with “All Star” by Louis Armstrong where he spent his last years in the odor of popularity.
Now I understand much more than I did. The reason for Sidney’s wondrous inventiveness was his large battery (more volts, more swing). And he never lost quality while crossing stylistic boundaries (are those crossings rather like going through Customs at the border or more like passing through the metal detector at the airport?). Finally — there’s something in the air. A scent, light, elusive, entrancing. Not Chanel; not fresh hot coffee; not the scent of new-mown hay: no! It’s the odor of popularity.
I’m always glad to see that anyone’s paying attention to my heroes, but word-for-word translation has its limits.
Posted in It's A Mystery, Jazz Titans, Jazz Worth Reading, Pay Attention!, Swing You Cats!
Tagged Benny Goodman, Big Sid Catlett, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, jazz blog, Jazz Lives, Louis Armstrong, Michael Steinman, nonsense, odor of popularity, proofreading, Shrewsbury, Sidney Catlett, syntax, translation
For those of you who have felt deprived . . .
I just received an email of the innocently self-promoting kind from a jazz artist who shall remain nameless. The email invited me to a performance by this musician at what was described as “New York’s longest running jazz club.”
At moments like this, I regret even more than ever that I am not skilled at drawing. Imagine! A jazz club, unutterably lengthened from the front entrance to the stage, moving more quickly than Roger Bannister, suitably attired in shorts and running shoes. Oh, the mind reels! And proofreading — obviously a skill with the same currency as ornamental napkin-folding.
Posted in Awful Sad, It's A Mystery, Jazz Worth Reading, Pay Attention!
Tagged jazz blog, jazz club, Jazz Lives, jazz manglish, Manglish, Michael Steinman, New York City, proofreading, Roger Bannister