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Dan Gould

Big John Patton Sighting?

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So I attained a new Percy France recording, October 1988 at Flamingo Lounge in Brooklyn. Percy announces musicians at the end of set 1 ... and its "John Patton" on piano, and Wes Anderson on drums. And I am thinking, I'll never know who these two guys are, any google hit will be for Big John, and for Wes Anderson the saxophonist.

Now it's been pointed out that maybe it actually could be Big John on piano?

My thought is "no" because Percy doesn't introduce him as such and there's no special crowd reaction either.  Then again the crowd is not too excited in general.

Does anyone know definitively where Big John would have been in 1988? (Where is Soul Stream aka Mike Flanigan when you need him?)

Maybe someone knows of a John Patton pianist in the late 80s on the NYC scene?

I gotta admit, the thought that this maybe could be Big John on piano with Percy France is pretty exciting.

 

edit to add: there's also the intriguing possibility that Leonard Gaskin brought his Walkman to record this gig, specifically because it was BJP?

Edited by Dan Gould

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Per AMG: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/big-john-patton-mn0000226908/biography

After 1970 Patton quit the scene for a long while, quietly residing in East Orange, NJ. He contributed to vibraphonist Johnny Lytle's Everything Must Change in 1977, recorded his own Soul Connection in 1983 with guitarist Melvin Sparks and visionary trombonist Grachan Moncur III, then cut two albums with guitarist Jimmy Ponder: Mean Streets: No Bridges (1987) and Jump (1988). Big John Patton's comeback began in 1993-1994 with two albums featuring saxophonist John Zorn: Blue Planet Man and Minor Swing.

 

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28 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Per AMG: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/big-john-patton-mn0000226908/biography

After 1970 Patton quit the scene for a long while, quietly residing in East Orange, NJ. He contributed to vibraphonist Johnny Lytle's Everything Must Change in 1977, recorded his own Soul Connection in 1983 with guitarist Melvin Sparks and visionary trombonist Grachan Moncur III, then cut two albums with guitarist Jimmy Ponder: Mean Streets: No Bridges (1987) and Jump (1988). Big John Patton's comeback began in 1993-1994 with two albums featuring saxophonist John Zorn: Blue Planet Man and Minor Swing.

 

Yeah, that would put him on the scene or at least in the metropolitan area. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if he and Percy knew each other in the 60s if both were in NYC or nearby, and Percy often gigging with organists. I just wish I knew what he'd sound like on piano.

So darn intriguing. I found Soul Stream's website hopefully he responds and can also shed light on the possibility.

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Patton was with Lloyd Price for a while, remember. He was musical director as well as pianist. This was in the late 50s, iirc?

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11 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Patton was with Lloyd Price for a while, remember. He was musical director as well as pianist. This was in the late 50s, iirc?

1954-59 if Discogs bio sketch is correct.

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That's a good number of years to be working on a circuit and making connections.

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Patton plays piano on 'Cowbell Boogie' from Blue Note's The Lost Sessions, but I doubt that that track is indicative of his usual piano style.  It's a fun track from a fascinating compilation, though.

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23 minutes ago, Justin V said:

Patton plays piano on 'Cowbell Boogie' from Blue Note's The Lost Sessions, but I doubt that that track is indicative of his usual piano style.  It's a fun track from a fascinating compilation, though.

woh, thank you Justin. Auditioning and this does not sound unlike what I have with Percy. Another clue!

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I looked a bit in that thesis on John Patton

http://andybleaden.blogspot.com/2007/07/thesis-on-john-patton-by-javier.html

but didn't see anything particularly relevant... I did make an unrelated observation though while reading here and there: The Harold Vick tune "Our Miss Brooks" is dedicated to John Patton's wife Ellen Brooks, "a fine pianist and artist" who was originally from Fayetteville NC... Now I just realized that Fayetteville NC is a less obscure place to come from than I thought... but still there's the possibility that she was related to Tina and Bubba who were also from Fayetteville...

in other news, Patton does play keyboard rather than organ on that 1977 Johnny Lytle album

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Thank you Niko. That is a fantastic portrait of BJP, that's for sure. I didn't see anything about Percy but I do know he would have been one of the neighborhood musicians who was around. So not specifically mentioning him doesn't mean they didn't know each other.

I've heard from Soul Stream aka Mike Flanigin and sent him my questions along with a sample. I'll post what he says and in the meantime I should mention that Mike had a new CD out last summer:

http://www.mikeflanigin.com/store/west-texas-blues-cd

There are samples at Amazon, I'm getting a copy for sure.

Edited by Dan Gould

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just to clear up the mystery I started there, I quickly looked throuh the ancestors of both Bubba / Tina Brooks and "Our Miss Brooks" and even though they come from similar parts of North Carolina, their parents and grandparents are distinct so if they are close cousins it's not via the Brooks side of the family...

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3 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

Thank you Niko. That is a fantastic portrait of BJP, that's for sure. I didn't see anything about Percy but I do know he would have been one of the neighborhood musicians who was around. So not specifically mentioning him doesn't mean they didn't know each other.

I've heard from Soul Stream aka Mike Flanigin and sent him my questions along with a sample. I'll post what he says and in the meantime I should mention that Mike had a new CD out last summer:

http://www.mikeflanigin.com/store/west-texas-blues-cd

There are samples at Amazon, I'm getting a copy for sure.

Oh my, he's offering it in reel-to-reel and 8 track!

IMG_0732.JPG

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And cassette!

IMG_9510.jpg

PLUS:

PhotoRoom_20200904_141221.JPG

How long will it be before the roadside awakes from it's slumber?

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One of our own. And then some. Except that he’s been doing something useful instead of rabbitting with us. Im in for the CASSETTE. 

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Mike's first recording also included all of those different formats back in 2013 ... but back to the subject:

MR FLANIGIN SAYS IT IS BJP!!!

"I can hear his voice, doing his grunt/singing at times when he’s playing his solo.  He did this all the time when I was with him practicing in his house.  I know that voice."

He also says that folks called him John Patton around him, sounds like "Big John" was more for record covers and such. So that's pretty solid evidence for me. (Full disclosure, Mike also mentioned that Patton sounds like he's struggling a bit with his right hand, which had been injured changing a tire, but according to that piece on Andy Bleaden's blog that took place at least a couple of years after this gig. Could the friend have it wrong?

Nevertheless the grunt/singing he IDs makes Mike's judgement solid to me.

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Mike is such a nice guy. Met him when Sam Rivers came to the Elephant Room in Austin and he sat for a while with my wife and I at a table. That was a wonderful night.

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5 hours ago, Niko said:

just to clear up the mystery I started there, I quickly looked throuh the ancestors of both Bubba / Tina Brooks and "Our Miss Brooks" and even though they come from similar parts of North Carolina, their parents and grandparents are distinct so if they are close cousins it's not via the Brooks side of the family...

Interesting - where did you look this up?

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1 hour ago, bertrand said:

Interesting - where did you look this up?

familysearch.org it's quite amazing what you can find out in a few minutes on your couch from thousands of miles away...

here is a summary of what I found about Our Miss Brooks

Ellen Davene Brooks, born 8 March 1937, and John Eugene Patton, born 12 July 1935 married 11 Jan 1964.

Ellen Davene Brooks (and twin sister Evelyne mentioned in the liner notes to Pattons Oh Baby) born in Cross Creek to Roscoe Conklin Brooks

Roscoe Conklin Brooks (b 1907 d 1990) was the son of Ellis Walter Brooks (*1881) and Delvie Mitchell (*1888), they married 1 Sept 1906, Ellis died 4 Oct 1941, was a Teacher, born 2 October 1880 in Woodsdale, Person County NC, his parents: Alex Brooks & Mary E Woods

and about the saxophone playing Brooks brothers:

Tina Brooks (Harold Floyd, born 7 June 1932), son of David W Brooks

Parents of Bubba/Tina Brooks:
father David W Brooks, born in Robeson County (Red Springs, North Carolina), age at Bubba's birth 29 (= born ca 1893),  mother Cornelia McAlister b Fayetteville 1894, Address: 908 Robeson Street

Grandparents: William H Brooks (* Dec 1853 in NC, parents already born in NC) & Christian Brooks in Red Springs NC

 

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14 minutes ago, Hardbopjazz said:

I posted a recording on my Facebook group of Percy France from the mid 1980s. The pianist on that date is Cliff Smalls.  Great if it is John Patton on your recording, Dan. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/327260927975997

Tom,

Where did you find this? Is there anything else from this?

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I got it from a collector. That's all there is.  

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1 hour ago, Hardbopjazz said:

I got it from a collector. That's all there is.  

That's all there is, and That's All is the tune.

Actually, I know that's all there is because ... the source is me. I put it up on youtube.  Your collector took it from there, and added his own imaginary information - he's guessing/assuming its NYC and I actually gave a more specific time frame - early 80s. That's all (ha ha) I'm at liberty to say.

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3 hours ago, Hardbopjazz said:

I posted a recording on my Facebook group of Percy France from the mid 1980s. The pianist on that date is Cliff Smalls.  Great if it is John Patton on your recording, Dan. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/327260927975997

I know this is a thread about BJP, but Cliff Smalls was a fine pianist, by the way.  I really like his only solo recordings on the Master Jazz Mosaic and an Oliver Jackson trio date on Black and Blue.

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2 hours ago, Dan Gould said:

That's all there is, and That's All is the tune.

Actually, I know that's all there is because ... the source is me. I put it up on youtube.  Your collector took it from there, and added his own imaginary information - he's guessing/assuming its NYC and I actually gave a more specific time frame - early 80s. That's all (ha ha) I'm at liberty to say.

Really?  That SOB. 

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8 hours ago, Justin V said:

I know this is a thread about BJP, but Cliff Smalls was a fine pianist, by the way.  I really like his only solo recordings on the Master Jazz Mosaic and an Oliver Jackson trio date on Black and Blue.

Justin are you aware of the Le Quartet recording on Black & Blue? That was done with Percy France but as a featured guest. He plays on about 1/2 of the cuts and the rest are the trio.  If you do vinyl used copies are around, if you are CD only I'd recommend CD Japan, it came out for the very first time on CD last August. Very decent sound transfer.

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