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Larry Kart

Who was Mike Durso?

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Listening to the radio today, I heard this 1927 track  "The New Twister" by The Wolverines (Bix's old band under the leadership of pianist Dick Voynow, with Jimmy McPartland taking Bix's place). The music has IMO a proto-Chicagoans feels (the first McKenzie-Condon sides were shortly to be made). Drummer Vic Moore has nice a "Chicago shuffle" feel going, 17-year-old reedman Maurice Bercov, says Dick Sudhalter in "Lost Chords," had "heard Johnny Dodds and the rest on the South Side but worshipped Frank Teschmacher, emulating his tone, attack, off-center figures ... he wound up recording two months before his idol [did"]. But who the heck was trombonist Mike Durso, who takes the IMO remarkably fluid solo here?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJrOEGBuIs8&list=PLvmRsfqXCMujT8pW2_xHAin7to7V_s9qD&index=1

By contrast, here is the same tune played by Miff Mole and the Molers (with Red Nichols, et al.)  from the same year. Mole's trombone work here is not without its charms, but in terms of swing and continuity, it's day and night, no? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teHEAW1UZSw

The guitarist on the Wolverines track is Dick McPartland, Jimmy's brother. Bercov's contemporary, pianist Tut Soper, described him as an "extremely galling, sarcastic and difficult man."

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Looking for more on Durso, I came across this "moderne" 1928 piece by trumpeter Donald Lindley, "Sliding Around." Jazz it's not, though it's certainly aware of jazz -- those oblique references to "Royal Garden Blues." That's Lindley , b. 1899, in the cap.
 

 

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