Roots of jazz; Chicago: 1920 to 1925
The following tape recorded program is a presentation of the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the ninth in a series on the roots of jazz in the United States. In this program we will hear the music of the negroes in Chicago about the years nine hundred twenty two nineteen twenty five. Day.
Yeah. You're listening to a recording of a group of jazz musicians from New Orleans made in Chicago. Very few recordings of this music are made prior to 1990. For many reason. After World War One the excitement caused by negro music in Chicago prompted several companies to create what used to be known as a race label. A series of recordings sold almost exclusively in the Negro districts of large cities. There were a few small companies recording for the negro tastes as early as 1800. Here are the words of Moses back in his forward to volume number one of the Folkways Records series. During the period 1972 1930 many record companies made and sold for only this negro trade. Among them was Eva Black Swan
and Paramount labels. They usually race labels of the big companies with OK local MBA Victor and deco with a special numbering system just as white and black was recorded also by the now defunct Janae label and the recently revived Brunswick company. This is a Brunswick recording of Louis Armstrong made in 1927.
By 1920 to New Orleans as the city of jazz slips out of focus negroes are moving to the industrial and business centers of the north. And most of the great jazzmen are moving with them. By 1920 there were over 100 9000 negroes living in Chicago. They lived in what became known as Brownsville. Then it was simply called the South Side. It was here where the great Negro innovators of music lived and worked. We've heard the music of Joe Oliver Sidney Vishay and Louis Armstrong. Now let's hear the music of some of the other great instrumentalists who helped to shape the songs of today's music men like Johnny Dodds Jimmie Newman and Omar Simeon on Clara. Johnny S. CNN Money Johnson on banjo and guitar George Mitchell and Tommy Ladd neuron cornets and trumpets. These were not the only great jazz musicians of Chicago for as any number of jazz authorities point out most of them never recorded anything so
their names and talents will lost to posterity. Some of them have made a great effect on those who did record. We don't know though the talent of a musician or of a singer before recording techniques and equipment were developed disappeared. Recordings made it possible to capture the talent of this type as a painting captures the talent of an artist or as the printed page it preserves the artistry of a poet or playwright. The music of jazz could not be written down. It was too personal. It couldn't even be passed on by imitation. It relied too much on the feelings of the musician at the specific time he played a song. They seldom if ever played the same song twice the same way. It was the record which became the canvas of the musician and for the first time in the history of art the genuine original product of the creative mind was available to the masses at low
cost. Even illiteracy did not trammel the ability to appreciate the rendition. This fact alone could go a long way toward explaining why jazz in 60 years had gone through more changes in style and performance than any other art form had managed in centuries. This rapid pace of change has had its effect of an adverse nature also. But that's a topic for another time. On this program we are going to listen to some of the recorded jazz of these early Chicago negroes. First the clarinetists And first among them is Johnny Dodds. Here is what Rex Harris has to say of him. Another native of New Orleans he was schooled by big guy Louis Nelson the father of all the great clarinetist dogs played with the already brown skinned babies and left a tour with Billy Mac's pot Bill show in 1918 returning to New Orleans. He was summoned by King Oliver who wanted a replacement for Jimmy noone when he left
Oliver presumably wrapping up his clarinet in its usual piece of newspaper. He went on to play at the Chicago nightspots chiefly at Kelly's stables and doing a spate of recording. He reached the peak of his abilities when he joined Louis Armstrong for the first hot five in seven records. And even Louis did not overall him. These records electrically recorded bring out the full intense quality of dogs for Bronco using a hard read. There was no subtlety about his attack whether in a high or low register. Nevertheless there is sheer beauty in his choruses in Wild Man Blues but 8 ahead blues once in a while melancholy and many others. At this juncture melancholy is singled out as being one of the most deeply moving passages in jazz recorded history and is one of the most perfect the solos of Johnnies are not to be considered in the same light as solos from. To quote an extreme Benny Goodman In 1935 the listener is aware during a Dodd solo that this is a vital part of a musical whole. On the other hand the goodman solo is an
end in itself around which the remainder of the orchestra supplies the mere padding. And here are those solos from melancholy one in the lower register to open and one in the high register to close.
Here Again in other words of Rex Horace excelling in solo work with Louis as he did Johnny Dodds was no less an integral part of the ensemble Potato Head and weary blues are wonderful examples. And here is the opening ensemble chorus from Potato Head blues.
When the people who know jazz discuss Johnny Dines they invariably begin comparisons with another second generation New Orleans great clarinetist Jimmy Newman. Here are the words of Barry Ulanov in his book A History of jazz in America. Last of the clarinet masters of the first two decades of the 20th century and possibly the best is Jimi known born on a farm outside New Orleans. He came to his instrument later than Bush a but early enough at the age of 15 to develop a considerable skill by 1913 when he was 19 years old his teachers were Sydney Bushay and the teal brothers all of whom he replaced in different bands as he came up playing age and they moved around in and out of New Orleans. It was in the tuxedo band for a while and played with Richard M. Jones a few clothes he played with I'm on Pier owns polite orchestra in the war years of 1917 and 18 when storey building closed down. But earlier he had got his full playing experience in that quarter with the band's already mentioned with Kid Ory with his own band and Franco days cabaret where
he shared leadership with Korn at his buddy Pettit. He toured briefly with the original Creoles and was one of the first to be important a warning on the INS to settle in Chicago where he joined King Oliver in one thousand eighteen. Freddie kept it briefly in 1919 and then Doc Cooke streamlined orchestra in the fall of 1926 Jimmy took his own band into the apex club in this year a club of some social distinction. Well there he made six records with Earl Hines on piano Joe post and on alto saxophone Bud Scott on banjo and Johnny wells on drums. Technically these are Chicago records. They were made there. They used to call them musicians. They include saxophone unheard of in New Orleans. Actually these records are among the best presentations of the abiding procedures and playing atmosphere of New Orleans jazz without any brass. The clarinet and out of combination with a decisive rhythm section beat behind it leads bright ensemble figures such as apex blues.
I know that you know four or five times and Monday date and here is new news solo in four or five times. There are. Other critics agree that noone was amongst the greatest of our 19 20 jazz men
and here are the words of Rex Harris in his book Jazz Newman was always an intense individual list and while never departing from the true spirit of New Orleans and his ability to play his part in an ensemble it was never the driving instrumentalists the DOT's was. Johnny really blew his clarinet. Noone seems to coax the notes out deriving the full delicate beauty from the tonal variations of which the instrument is capable. The complete technician he shows a fluidity and prodigious ability for variation upon the melodic line which has never been equalled even by dogs where dogs played with passionate intensity. Known played with the grace and lightness almost feminine quality reminding us forcibly of the clarinets original role in the three part counterpoint of the traditional front line. The female voice above the tenor and bass and in Mr. Harris's opinion one of Jimmy Noons greatest solos is heard on this recording of the blues
jump the rabbit.
The third and last of the great clarinetists to come out of the New Orleans exodus was almost simian a student of Lorenzo Tio and influenced by both Newman and dogs. He seemed to capture the tone of one and the warmth the feeling of the other. He made his best recordings with a group called the red hot peppers and which was led by an old acquaintance of you who have followed this series Jelly Roll Morton almost to me and is a highly underrated jazz man of that period. Competition was great for him. He arrived in Chicago a little too late and he buried himself in large orchestras too frequently. But with Morton he made music that will eventually bring his name into the lists of greats. Here is his solo on a record we'll hear more from later in this program. It's called Black Bottom stop.
Who won. Who won and. In other programs we've mentioned the careers of most of the great luminaries of jazz cornet and trumpet playing. But there are two men whose work in Chicago was caught on records and they were both top flight musicians. The first of these was Tommy Ladd Mia who was born near New Orleans in 1900 and lived 39 years. He moved to Chicago in 1918 and by 19 22 was considered second only to Louis Armstrong. He had the same sense of control and relaxation and he hit every note with a precision. Here is a recording of the homily syncopated is with Tommy lend me a job doing a wonderful muted trumps of trumpet solo. But just after the solo is a very
rich low register one by Jimmy Newman on clarinet. Let's listen to both of them.
Lad Nia played with the great Sidney Bush a in the New Orleans foot warmers aggregation in the early 30s and he died in 1939 all the phrase born in New Orleans has recurred with almost monotonous regularity throughout it is only transparently correct to speak of a Chicago school or a New York school of jazz musicians. But they were all either weaned in New Orleans or were directly influenced by musicians of that city. Even in this latter category there are very few great names which spring to mind. And while the following final biographical sketch is of a musician who acquired the New Orleans style it must not be taken as typical of many. In fact George Mitchell born in 1909 can be regarded as an exception which proves the rule. He was born in Louisville Kentucky birthplace of mead luxe LEWIS The Pianist Jimmy Harrison the trombonist and Lionel Hampton and assorted list which should disperse any theories on the
possibility of there being a Louisville school of jazz. Though it has been emphasized already the point is worth reiterating. Jazz is a folk music. It is music from the heart not from the mind. Therefore jazz movements and jazz performances will come from individuals or groups who have assimilated the same mental approach to music and not from people who have merely played in the sort of places which are supposed to be conducive to the playing of jazz. George Mitchell's style is the simplicity and directness of the New Orleans style. He made his best recordings with the Jelly Roll Morton red hot peppers. But the red hot peppers also had one of the plan is in that little appreciated HOF of a jazz group devoted to rhythm. Johnny Singh see it played the banjo. Here is what Barry Ulanov says about him. Two men used with special distinction. The horn or tortoise shell plectrum to pluck banjo and guitar strings in New Orleans jazz. Johnny St. Cyr and Bud Scott St. Cyr is the redoubtable rhythm man who kept such a fine
beat going for Jelly Roll Morton is red hot peppers and Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Seven. He proved them as Allen rose and Billy Bauer did later with Benny Goodman and what he Herman that the plectrum beat is fundamental to what jazz rhythm section for sound or even as an accent and to draw the other rhythm instruments together. The red hot peppers also had a trombone and just as the trombone says tune it together with its long pulsing sobs that staccato punch of the trumpet and the liquid movement of the clarinet. So the trombone player with the Red Pepper has knit together the entire history of New Orleans jazz from Buddy Bolden until today. He played with them a lot. He played with Buddy Bolden Joe Oliver Sidney Busch a Armstrong dogsbody big guy bunk Johnson Jelly Roll Morton almost Simeon big guy Louis Nelson Jimmy noone George Lewis and must carry his name was Kid Ory and he played with them all. And Max Jones says Henri was never a virtue or so but he was an
equal as a band player. Not too happy and long solos. He makes more out of a break than almost anyone and enriches the music's bass harmonies adding to the rhythmic strength when needed and now we get back to George Mitchell trumpeter from Louisville. We hear a recording made in one thousand twenty six by Jelly Roll Morton and his red hot peppers and we hear Mitchell on cone at Kid Ory on trombone almost simian on clarinet and Johnny sincere on banjo and he takes a solo Jelly Roll Morton on piano and the song is called Black Bottom stop and the other was. The was on someone who was in the. Band.
OK. This is the music of Louis Armstrong. This is the big voice of the 1920s in Chicago but he was not alone. There were many others of his race and we've heard some of them on this program. This was the sound of Chicago in the 1920s.
- Roots of jazz
- Chicago: 1920 to 1925
- Producing Organization
- Iowa State University
- WOI (Radio station : Ames, Iowa)
- Contributing Organization
- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- This program focuses on the period in Chicago from 1920 to 1925 when jazz particularly thrived.
- Series Description
- Music-documentary series in 26 parts, covering various aspects of jazz.
- Broadcast Date
- Jazz--Illinois--Chicago--History and criticism.
- Media type
Director: Cleary, Norman
Engineer: Vogel, Dick
Host: Chotzinoff, Samuel, 1889-1964
Performer: Noone, Jimmie, 1895-1944
Performer: Dodds, Johnny, 1892-1940
Performer: Simeon, Omer, 1902-1959
Producing Organization: Iowa State University
Producing Organization: WOI (Radio station : Ames, Iowa)
Speaker: Geesy, Ray
Writer: Cleary, Norman
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-24-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Roots of jazz; Chicago: 1920 to 1925,” 1956-08-26, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 3, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-hd7nt80g.
- MLA: “Roots of jazz; Chicago: 1920 to 1925.” 1956-08-26. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 3, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-hd7nt80g>.
- APA: Roots of jazz; Chicago: 1920 to 1925. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-hd7nt80g