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Favorite Pre-Bop Jazz Musicians


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Showing 1-25 of 121 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 15, 2012 1:12:19 PM PDT
CJBx7 says:
I've noticed that most discussions of jazz tend to focus on music from Charlie Parker forwards, but there's not much discussion of the wealth of music that came before. I'd like to hear about your favorite jazz musicians from the beginning up through the 1940's. Some of my favorites -
Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke, Fletcher Henderson, Frankie Trumbauer, Jelly Roll Morton, the New Orleans Rhythm Kings, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Django Reinhardt, Eddie Lang, Adrian Rollini...

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 8:12:55 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 19, 2012 9:01:39 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 8:23:33 AM PDT
There was jazz before Charlie Parker? :)

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 1:42:17 PM PDT
Bud Freeman, Chu Berry, Stuff Smith, Joe Venuti, Pee Wee Russell, Bunny Berrigan.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 1:44:33 PM PDT
Yes, I'm afraid so...contrary to some bebop fanatics, there is "life before and after bebop." HERESY, I realize, but there you have it...

:)

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 2:35:42 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 19, 2012 8:10:38 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 2:47:13 PM PDT
@Bebop Man: Obviously I wasn't referring to you "poisonally" [heh]. I've just known me a few "bop snobs" in my time...one fellow in particular reacted strongly to the knowledge that Art Blakey had recorded with a [gasp!] electric guitarist....it was as if he'd just learned that Blakey was a crosss-dressing spy for the Russians (which of course he wasn't).

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 2:55:53 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 19, 2012 8:10:59 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 2:56:18 PM PDT
THIS was the CD where Blakey played with a [GASP] non-jazz musician...this guy I know acted as if Blakey committed "jazz treason":

Bluesiana Triangle

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 3:46:35 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 16, 2012 3:48:07 PM PDT
Zolar Waka says:
I don't get into a lot of the pre-bop stuff and that period is woefully underrepresented in my collection.

I don't even know if all of these artists are considered pre-bop, but here goes: I have quite a bit of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Clark Terry, Billie Holiday, Stuff Smith, Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, and very little bits of Lester Young, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Pee Wee Russell, Sweets Edison (does Jaws count too?), Roy Eldridge. I also listen to tons of O. Peterson and Ray Brown (they did a lot of small swing stuff in the post-bop era...I guess). Tatum, too, a little bit.

The sad part, of all these artists, the only ones for which I have recordings from them that were actually made in the pre-bop era are Armstrong and Holiday. Maybe small bits of Duke and Basie, too. Sad.

Favorites: Hawkins, Basie, and Carter; mostly for the later stuff.

One of my big problems with pre-1940/1945 recordings is the thin and scratchy sound. I couldn't ever get into things like early Bechet (tried before) or Bix.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 7:14:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 16, 2012 7:16:10 PM PDT
CJBx7 says:
All of the people you listed are definitely pre-bop musicians. It's likely that your recordings show them continuing more or less in that earlier style, although Ellington was always progressive and Coleman Hawkins could bebop with the best of them (he even did a recording with Monk and Coltrane). The others probably were doing what has been referred to as "mainstream jazz", basically a small group style which utilized some of the rhythmic and harmonic innovations of bebop but held on to the arrangements and more symmetrical melodies of swing. This style helped keep them up to date and viable into the 1950s and beyond.

Yes, the recording quality does seem to be a factor in why some people don't get into that era of music. It took me a while to get past that, but in a strange way, it adds to the appeal of it for me. Like stepping into a different world. Thankfully, now they are starting to do better remasters of that era, such as the work of the late John R T Davies. I also have some classic New Orleans and swing that was remastered by the late Robert Parker. His remastering work is somewhat controversial due to its use of echo for ambience and a "stereo" effect. The good thing is that his productions do bring out more of the bass, and I actually like the sound. To each his own.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 7:58:28 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 19, 2012 8:11:37 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 8:17:17 PM PDT
Well, you got Jimmie Rodgers, the Singing Brakeman, backed by Louis Armstrong blowing away in 1928. I'd have to pull my RCA comp Lps on Jimmie Rodgers to pin the song down. EVERYTHING in U.S. popular music seems to run to a nexus point in the mid-1920s jazz sounds. Jazz gave everyone electric guitars....

About the pre-WWII record(ings) was that they were limited to 3:20 on 10" 78s; a long version would get split ("Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar" by Will Bradley, piano by a fave, Freddie Slack). Then you go back to the pre-1924/5 acoustic recordings before the record companies' use of electric microphones (I believe Paul Whiteman was responsible for that, via having the idea pitched through him). Tape in the later 1940s or so really improved the sound reproduction.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 8:18:41 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 19, 2012 8:12:01 PM PDT]

Posted on May 16, 2012 8:29:02 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 20, 2012 1:29:19 AM PDT
Larkenfield says:
LESTER YOUNG, who was a great inspiration to altoist Charlie Parker and to countless tenor players to come during the be-bop era.

Posted on May 16, 2012 9:26:27 PM PDT
@Bebop Guy: Coleman "Hawk/Bean" Hawkins WAS "pre-bop" era, and post-bop, too.

@Son of Flintstone: Check out Emmett Miller, a minstrelsy-era country singer whose 20s recordings were with a jazz "supergroup":
http://allmusic.com/album/minstrel-man-from-georgia-r232717

@Zolar: Long time back, I was that way about "sound quality" -- but ya gotta "psych" yourself: "Would I rather hear GREAT music with just-OK sound or CR*P music with GREAT sound?"

@BebopMan again: As to Le Avante-Garde, try: Ornette Coleman (especially his '50s stuff); Bill Frisell; Andrew Hill (a "son" of Monk); Eric Dolphy (esp. his recordings with Booker Little & Mal Waldron); Roy Nathanson; Roswell Rudd; David S. Ware...will try to think of more, me tired now.

Posted on May 16, 2012 10:13:34 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
@Bebop Guy:

In delving into the mysteries of what is now considered avant garde (I think)....I'd also mention Anthony Braxton, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Richard Muhal Abrams, etc. Ornette and Cecil Taylor are two of the most prominent "leaders" of free jazz but, as you've said, it didn't just happen one day.....it evolved. And a lot of respected musicians in NY who'd heard about Ornette and went to see him left shaking their heads and muttering something about him "jiving us".....and that was coming from people considered quite open minded. When I first heard a free jazz solo by Archie Shepp, I wondered too if he was "kidding". Later, I'd find myself tearing up when I heard those same honks coming from the instrument and relating to it as "pure emotion". Some people like Tom Waits (or Ornette Coleman) and others prefer Britney Spears (or Kenny G.). It's personal.

ed.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 10:37:14 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 19, 2012 8:12:34 PM PDT]

Posted on May 16, 2012 10:40:24 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 16, 2012 10:40:52 PM PDT
Mr. Dill: re: "And a lot of respected musicians in NY who'd heard about Ornette and went to see him left shaking their heads and muttering something about him "jiving us".....and that was coming from people considered quite open minded."

Fyi: Classical conductor Leonard Bernstein attended at least one (maybe more) of the 1950s Ornette's NY 4tet performances and RAVED (positively) about what he'd heard! Lenny B was also an early champion of the Beatles, too.

In reply to an earlier post on May 16, 2012 11:43:05 PM PDT
E. Dill says:
Shemp-Masta-Flash:

It doesn't surprise me about Bernstein. I remember, quite early on in the 60's, seeing him on tv discussing (defending) rock.

My memory is that one of those people who, at least initally, was critical of Ornette, was Mingus. That surprised me. Initially, I always take such criticism as snobbery, like WE know what is RIGHT and you're breaking the rules that are in place to protect the music. Actually, now I always think of such criticisms as fear. Like, can I DO that? If THAT'S the new thing, am I screwed?

ed.

Posted on May 17, 2012 5:44:08 AM PDT
CJBx7 says:
I didn't mean to impose a category on the musicians in question, just to generate a discussion about musicians who originated before bebop came on the scene (about 1944/1945). I included Hawkins in it because his work actually dates back to the 1920's with Fletcher Henderson's orchestra. I just wanted to have this discussion since so much jazz coverage nowadays tends to focus on bebop and everything after, with less coverage of swing and maybe even the faintest, cursory acknowledgements of the work of the early New Orleans musicians and famous 1920's musicians (outside of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington).

Here's a question for your consideration: Why do you think that is?

Posted on May 17, 2012 6:03:24 AM PDT
Hmmmm.... Benny Moten and leading into Count Basie. Ellington pre-WWII. Andy Kirk & the 12 Clouds of Joy. Red Nichols & His Five Pennies. Bix Biederbecke & the Wolverines. Benny Goodman. Will Bradley & His Orchestra, though the pop (euphemism) cartoons the sound, that infernal cutesy we're-really-not-THAT-kind-of-jazz feeling--more into Freddie Slack. Cab Calloway. Fats Waller. Louis Jordan.

Why? I suppose the "pop" feeling of the earlier stuff, at least the more sophisticated urban swing. There seemed to be a kind of culture "war" between jazz (as in: wrong side of the tracks, the "them" factor) and pop, along the lines of BMI (jazz and minority tastes, niche music markets) and ASCAP (NY pop publishing disseminated through Broadway theater and what seemed like courting the suggestion of high-brow tastes while churning out ditties for the masses).

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 7:32:48 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2012 7:33:16 AM PDT
CJBx7 says:
That's interesting, I never knew that about BMI and ASCAP publishing. I'll have to look into that more.

I personally think it has something to do with the status that jazz has now attained as a serious musical form, as opposed to its original function as dance music. Certainly the bebop era marked the beginning of this divide. Curiously enough, though, Charlie Parker didn't regard his music as jazz, ironic in view of the fact that what he and fellow bebop-era musicians created laid the groundwork for modern jazz.

I wonder, though, if the establishment of jazz criticism views the earlier music as antiquated and irrelevant. For instance, in mainstream jazz publications like Down Beat and JazzTimes, I haven't seen any coverage (or very little) of Dixieland/trad jazz, or of gypsy jazz, although they do speak occasionally about swing.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2012 7:43:34 AM PDT
You ought to read up on the BMI vs. ASCAP feud. ASCAP was snooty and artsy, by invitation only. No ASCAP, no songwriting/publishing clearances for low-life crap like hillbilly, blues, jazz, etc.... (I'm overplaying my language here for dramatic effect) BMI was set up on the late '30s/early '40s to counter that issue. I'm typing this from memory, so please make allowances.

Posted on May 17, 2012 7:51:38 AM PDT
Oh, the Jimmie Rodgers song, 1928. "Blue Yodel #9" also known as "Standing on the Corner." With Louis Armstrong & Earl "Fatha" Hines.
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This discussion

Discussion in:  Jazz forum
Participants:  23
Total posts:  121
Initial post:  May 15, 2012
Latest post:  Jan 14, 2013

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