Friday, September 11, 2009

Weekending: Bob's beats

This week's edition is all music-related, some items more far-fetchedly so than others.

On Locust St.
First, I've neglected Locust St (last featured back here), so have missed some of the juicy-looking mp3s. One of the features of this wonderful blog's series on the music of the 20th century is putting in place some of the jigsaw pieces of how American forms of intercultural conviviality sometimes under cover of darkness, sometimes in apparently corporate industrialised settings, created extraordinary world-changing moments of creativity. My own main interest there is in soul music and black/Jewish relations, and I've (in a much more pedstrian way than Locust St) told bits of that story in my posts on Ellie Greenwich, Jerry Wexler and Estelle. The 1921 installment, for example, tells the story of Sam Lanin:
Jimmy Durante, remembered today as a TV personality and the narrator of Frosty the Snowman, began as a jazz pianist. Durante was of the first generation of musicians to make a living out of playing jazz, in part by shuttling between NYC studios, playing the same piece three times in a day for three different labels.

Much of this hustle was due to the Russian-born bandleader Sam Lanin, who had become the intermediary between record labels and the growing pool of studio jazz players. So if a label wanted someone to record a new Broadway hit, they would call Lanin, who would quickly throw together a studio group and get the track cut in a couple days. And he'd being doing the same thing for another label at the same time.

So a session player like Durante was working in dozens of "jazz groups" simultaneously. Take the sextet "Lanin's Southern Serenaders," which featured Durante on piano and Phil Napoleon on trumpet, and "Ladd's Black Aces," which was pretty much the same group. Both Lanin's and Ladd's groups cut the exact same tracks, in nearly identical versions, within a few days in August 1921 for a series of different labels.
The rest
Finally

Tonight I'm planning to go to the Sydenham Blues Club, which I think is at the Golden Lion, to see the great Earl Green and the Right Time.

And, to finish, here's the great Charles Mingus, courtesy of South London-based Soulblending.


*= Hat tip Jogo.

2 comments:

Martin Meenagh said...

wow. well done on the mingus....

ModernityBlog said...

Bob,

You should get a slot on radio 1/2/World Service for your musical deliberations, you're like an antifascist version of John Peel!

I never understand them, but I am sure they are fascinating :)