Friday, January 13, 2012

Daddy-O Daily Jazz Notes Played Improvisationally
From : an interview with Chicago pianist Ramsey Lewis:

In 1953, many members of The Cleffs took off for the Korean War. From what was left of The Cleffs’ rhythm section emerged a trio with 18-year old Mr. Lewis on piano, Eldee Young on bass and Redd Holt on drums. They’d play clubs around Chicago on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

“We’re not The Cleffs!” They came to the realization that the trio needed a new band name. Mr. Lewis recalls, “It was Daddy-O Dailey, an important jazz DJ who had been coming to the club on the south side, Lake Meadows Lounge, and heard us play. He says, ‘You guys are pretty good. You guys should have a record deal.’ Of course we should, but it’s not that easy. He said, ‘Let me see what I can do’ and took us under his wing. He later got us an audition with Chess Records. They liked us, signed a deal, and a few months later, recorded us. They asked, ‘So what’s the name of the group?’ We didn’t have one. Daddy-O said, ‘I want you guys to go home and each one of you write down two or three names and we’ll pick the best.’ We came back with 20 names, The Spiders, The Bugs, and so on. Daddy-O said, ‘Look, it’s a piano trio. The piano is taking the lead most of the time, so let’s call it The Ramsey Lewis Trio.’ And he said, ‘Now, first time out, first album, you’re going to want to have a hook. Nobody knows your name anyway because it’s the first album. We need a hook. The way I see it, guys, you’re gentlemen and you play jazz.’” And that’s how the first albums were named: The Gentlemen of Swing (1956). The second album followed as The Gentlemen of Jazz (1958). It took some time for Daddy-O’s influential airplay to get the records and the trio launched. But succeed, he most certainly did.

Some Great American Guitarists to Dig:
1) Teddy Bunn--a wonder on the acoustic guitar--no one like him since--Teddy died early.

2) Bern Nix--Bern Nix when I knew him briefly I thought was the coolest cat I'd ever met. I had the privilege of doing a gig with Bern many years ago--to me a unique guitar stylist.

3) John Lee Hooker--thought by some American bluesologists to be the greatest blues guitarist to emerge from that legendary crossroads--staying on top for many wonderful long years.

4) Albert Collins--check out where Albert used to strap on his capo.

5) Jesse "The Guitar King" Cohen--Never heard of Jesse? Too bad. He currently lives in Upstate New York and plays with a local band in that area.

6) Roy Buchanan--a White boy born with a sad soul; eventually hanged himself in a jail in Maryland--I think it was Maryland.

7) Eddie "The Dread" Gregg--last time I heard, Eddie was working down in the Miami area.

8) Eric Warren--from New Orleans; blind; an absolute Jimi-Hendrix-in-his-blood whizbang guitar player--last seen at a New Orleans Folk and Jazz Festival several years ago now.

9) Herbie Ellis & Barney Kessell--one from Texas (Herbie), the other from up in the heart of Oklahoma (Barney). Both heard Charlie Christian before the rest of the USA, Barney knowing of Charlie when he was not yet discovered and playing on the radio and in clubs in Oklahoma City. Herbie was a graduate of the North Texas State College School of Music. Both Barney and Herbie were part of the Oscar Peterson Trio, Barney first. Barney gave up the trio because of the traveling and went on to become an A&R man and studio musician in L.A. Then came Herb Ellis...and for the years throughout the 50s up until 1960, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Herb Ellis were the most in-sync and swinging jazz trio in the business. I mean, check out how integrated these guys were (with the passing last year of Herb Ellis and drummer Ed Thigpen, all the most-famous OP Trio members are now deceased). Wow. And swing! Whoo boy could these dudes swing. And Herbie could play his Gibson like it was a set of bongos--check out the Trio's playing on Bags's "Bluesology" from the phony "Oscar Peterson Trio Live at the Concertgebouw" Verve recording--it was proven later to be a live recording in a Los Angeles auditorium, Norman Granz not letting the cat out of the bag until confronted with it much later and then defending it saying OP and the Trio were scheduled to play the Concertgebouw but it had been canceled--but the album was already scheduled--and they had this concert already in the, hey, dig the record and screw where it was recorded. Anyway, it's a great album even if it is a phony in terms of it being OP and the men in Amsterdam at the Concertgebouw.

10) Eddie Durham--the inventor of the electric guitar. Hear how the electric guitar sounded
when it was first invented on some of those Count Basie band early recordings--Eddie was also one of the top jazz/swing arrangers in the biz in the 30s and 4os.
From Arthur Taylor's great jazz book Notes & Tones (Da Capo, 1993):
Excerpt from interview with Johnny Griffin

NOTE: Johnny Griffin
died in France last year. He'd made his final "return to New York City" appearance years before, finally remaining until the end in his adopted France.

From the interview:
AT: What is your reason for living in Europe all these years?

JG: I'm trying to save my life, 'cause it's a cinch that if I had stayed in America, I would be dead by now. I was a stoned zombie when I left.

AT: Can you be more explicit?

JG: I don't have to be more explicit about saving my life. The events that were happening that were happening to me were too much. It was too negative.

AT: What's so positive about European society?

JG: I'm not involved in it, that's what's so positive about it. I'm a tourist. Just look at my passport.

AT: Come on now, Griff.

JG: You're a tourist, too. We're both tourists.... When I came to Europe on that first gig in December of 1962, I was actually coming here to make some bread for my family for Christmas. Instead of staying six or seven weeks like I was supposed to, I stayed three months. I went back for my kid's birthday instead of going to Copenhagen for the next gig. I went from London to New York, and as soon as I got off the plane, I felt like I was doomed. "What am I doing back here?" I just realized how negative everything was.... When I went back to work with the cats, everybody was back to the same thing I grew up with, but I didn't know any better. Everybody is the Great I Am. I am this and you ain't that. It's all me, M-E, and nobody else is anything. It was too much for me. I wanted to get away from it all. That was black, white and indifferent!

They've got all the black musicians on the run. Black musicians all over Europe, running away from America. But that's part of the white power structure that's killing us and our music. Just like they killed it with all that so-called cool school. West Coast jive. They sold us down the line. Took the music out of Harlem and got it in Carnegie Hall and downtown in those joints where you've got to be quiet. The black people split and went back to Harlem, back to the rhythm and blues, so they could have a good time. Then the white power structure just kicked the rest of us out and propagated what they call avant-garde. Those poor boys can't blow their way out of a paper bag musically. But the white power structure said they're geniuses, So-and-so is the natural extension of Charlie Parker. That's what they waited for. As soon as Bird died, everybody turned left, Bird had given them the message. They were so glad to see Bird gone, because he was the truth. I don't mean they all turned left, I mean the critics had a breathing spell so they could finish killing us. Ifit wasn't for the revolution that's taking place, they would probably be writing in fifty years that jazz was all white.
Johnny Griffin telling it like it was and, I'm sorry to say, still is. In going on the most popular Internet jazz sites, most jazz new releases I see on those sites are by White musicians.

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