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BFT 140 - Moldy Fig Stomp Revealed


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Thanks to all who listened, either just in this section or all sections.


1. Dewey Jackson's Peacock Orchestra - "Going to Town"; St. Louis, June 21, 1926. The band includes Dewey Jackson and Albert Snaer on trumpet, Willie Humphrey on clarinet and tenor sax, Pops Foster on tuba, and Floyd Campbell on drums and vocals. This nice little St. Louis band (with several New Orleanians) recorded three sides for Brunswick/Vocalion; a fourth side was a Floyd Cambell vocal accompanied only by piano and trumpet. I like Dewey's bluesy trumpet, but I really like Willie Humphey's searing clarinet. I edited out Campbell speaking the name of the tune at the end. The presence of Louisianans Snaer, Humphrey, and Foster is explained by the fact that this band played on the steamboats that ran between New Orleans and St. Louis. It's available on the Timeless Traditional anthology Jazz in Saint Louis 1924-1927.


2. Tim Laughlin - "Blues for Faz" from The Isle of Orleans (Gentilly); New Orleans, December, 2002. Tim Laughlin - clarinet; Tom McDermott - piano; Frankie Lynne - banjo; Matt Perrine - bass; Hal Smith - drums. The track has not one, but three of my favorite living Crescent City musicians - Laughlin, McDermott and Perrine. Laughlin's beautiful playing represents a clarinet style handed down from Leon Roppolo, who influenced Irving Fazola (honored here), who influenced Pete Fountain, Laughlin's mentor. The Isle of Orleans is unusual in that it's a traditional jazz album composed of all original pieces. Laughlin said, "If I'm going to play obscure music, it might as well be my own."


3. McKinney's Cotton Pickers - "Zonky"; NYC; February 3, 1930. Band includes John Nesbitt, trumpet and arranger; Don Redman - alto sax; Prince Robinson - tenor sax; Dave Wilborn - banjo and vocal. The great pioneering big band with the unfortunate name. The most swinging banjo/tuba rhythm section ever, probably. Solos are by Nesbitt and Robinson. I wanted to include this partly because Brew Moore learned this tune from the late jazz historian Dick Allen, when he lived in the apartment above Dick in New Orleans. Dick told me that Brew often asked to hear this one; see track one of the Straight No Chaser section. This is available on lots of reissues; I took it from the excellent one-disc survey of the Cotton Pickers on RCA/Bluebird, The Band Don Redman Built.


4. Kid Howard - "Bogalusa Strut" from Kid Howard at the San Jacinto Hall (GHB); New Orleans; August 2, 1963. Kid Avery Howard - trumpet; Jim Robinson - trombone; George Lewis - clarinet; Creole George Guesnon - banjo; Alcide "Slow Drag" Pavageau - bass; Cie Frazier - drums. This CD amazes me because it shows how subtle and intricate New Orleans collective improvisation had become by the middle of the 20th century. Almost every chorus here has a different texture, a different balance between instruments. One chorus might be and equal three-part conversation; the next might be a clarinet/trombone duet with the trumpet commenting; the trumpet might clearly have the lead in the next.


5. Jimmy McPartland - "The World is Waiting for the Sunrise"; Chicago; October 11, 1939; Jimmy McPartland - cornet; Bud Jacobson - clarinet; Boyce Brown - alto sax; Floyd Bean - piano; Dick McPartland - guitar; Jim Lanigan - bass; Hank Isaacs - drums; Just great Chicago jazz, but Boyce Brown is something special, and I wanted to include him. This is probably available on a CD, but I took it from and MCA LP twofer, Shades of Bix.


6. Willie Humphrey - "China Boy" from the LP New Orleans Clarinet (Smoky Mary); New Orleans; May, 1974. Willie Humphrey - clarinet; Sing Miller - piano; Frank Demond - banjo; James Prevost - bass; Betty Carter (not that one) - washboard. Willie is one of my favorites, and remained creative into his 90s - although as he aged the listener had to accept more eccentricities in terms of sound and execution. The imagination was present until the end, though. Nobody much liked the needlessly archaic rhythm section here, and neither do I, but I think Humphrey's playing is very exciting. He was probably at his peak in the early 1960s - check out his playing on the Eureka Brass Band's Atlantic album. This track was reissued on a Humphrey CD on the Mardi Gras label.


Edited by jeffcrom
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Great selection, Jeff. I really enjoyed these. It got me listening to that "Jazz in Saint Louis" CD, which had been sitting forgotten in my collection. I'll definitely pick up the Kid Howard at Jacinto Hall disc and will look for the McPartland and Humphrey on CD, too.

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