Ben Pollack in this week's Riverwalk Jazz.

Ben Pollack in this week's Riverwalk Jazz.

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 24th, 2011, 8:55 pm #1

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 25th, 2011, 2:54 pm #2


In some ot their recordings, it looks to me as if The Hotsy Totsy Gang is basically a smaller contingent of the Ben Pollack's bigger band, sort of a band within the band without Pollack (like the Virginians a band within the Whiteman band but without Whiteman). Compare these. March 15, 1929 Irving Mills and His Hotsy Totsy Gang:

So what was the connection between Irving Mills and Ben Pollack? The main difference in the bands is that Pollack used strings (violin, cello), wereas Mills did not.

Ben's Bad Boys is a clear example of a band within the Pollack band.


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vince giordano
vince giordano

February 25th, 2011, 7:14 pm #3

I think the connection with Pollack and Mills is Mills [as a publisher] would set up recording dates for the Pollack group, most times promoting the tunes Mills was publishing. And with the fact that Pollack was signed to Victor, they had to use those pseudo names on the different labels. Mills did the same for Ellington.

Publishers were important and helpful to many musicians then. The Melrose Company set up many of the Jelly Roll Morton Red Hot Peppers dates recording their songs in the early years. Later, it was Ralph Peer of Southern Music with his works.
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Glenda Childress
Glenda Childress

February 25th, 2011, 8:59 pm #4

In some ot their recordings, it looks to me as if The Hotsy Totsy Gang is basically a smaller contingent of the Ben Pollack's bigger band, sort of a band within the band without Pollack (like the Virginians a band within the Whiteman band but without Whiteman). Compare these. March 15, 1929 Irving Mills and His Hotsy Totsy Gang:

So what was the connection between Irving Mills and Ben Pollack? The main difference in the bands is that Pollack used strings (violin, cello), wereas Mills did not.

Ben's Bad Boys is a clear example of a band within the Pollack band.


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Well, it first depends on how long a "solo" has to be to be a solo and not a break.

Lion indicates that Min Leibrook's solo part in "Copenhagen," recorded May 6, 1924, was 4 + 4. To me, it's closer to two longish repetitive breaks rather than a <em>structured</em> solo. However, it's not the usual break between melodies but part of a four-bar part. So is it a solo or a break?

It would seem, though, that a 4 + 4 part could be a solo if it showed some thoughtful construction outside the usual harmonic or melodic role of the instrument in a given tune.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 25th, 2011, 9:40 pm #5

I think the connection with Pollack and Mills is Mills [as a publisher] would set up recording dates for the Pollack group, most times promoting the tunes Mills was publishing. And with the fact that Pollack was signed to Victor, they had to use those pseudo names on the different labels. Mills did the same for Ellington.

Publishers were important and helpful to many musicians then. The Melrose Company set up many of the Jelly Roll Morton Red Hot Peppers dates recording their songs in the early years. Later, it was Ralph Peer of Southern Music with his works.
Arnold Rothstein, a kingpin in the New York Jewish mafia, appears in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

Rothstein was found, shot in the stomach, at the service entrance of the Park Central Hotel on November 4, 1928. At this time, the Ben Pollack had an engagement in the hotel. Hence his recordings in 1928-1929 under the name "Ben Pollack and His Park Central Hotel Orchestra." The Park Central Hotel opened in June 1927.

Albert



The guy with a mustache in the back row, on the right handside (next to Jack Teagarden" is Vic Moore, drummer with the Wolverines.
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Brad Kay
Brad Kay

February 26th, 2011, 2:25 am #6

Well, it first depends on how long a "solo" has to be to be a solo and not a break.

Lion indicates that Min Leibrook's solo part in "Copenhagen," recorded May 6, 1924, was 4 + 4. To me, it's closer to two longish repetitive breaks rather than a <em>structured</em> solo. However, it's not the usual break between melodies but part of a four-bar part. So is it a solo or a break?

It would seem, though, that a 4 + 4 part could be a solo if it showed some thoughtful construction outside the usual harmonic or melodic role of the instrument in a given tune.
This versatile (tuba / string bass / bass sax - just like Vinny Giordano) musician seems to be the odd man out in the Bix saga. I've never read any anecdotes about him, yet both he and Bix were with the Wolverines in '24 and Whiteman in '28, and Min is on Bix's last records for Victor in 1930. Did Leibrook just silently come and go and not leave an impression on anyone? Bix and he must have been on fairly good terms, to have shared such a track record. The fact of his membership in the Whiteman crew indicates a high level of musicianship.

One of my favorite recorded Wolverines moments comes in the last chorus of "Tia Juana," when Leibrook seems to play his tuba BACKWARDS. It's the tubic equivalent of Michael Jackson's "Moon Walk."

-Brad K
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Ken Bristow
Ken Bristow

February 26th, 2011, 10:14 am #7

In some ot their recordings, it looks to me as if The Hotsy Totsy Gang is basically a smaller contingent of the Ben Pollack's bigger band, sort of a band within the band without Pollack (like the Virginians a band within the Whiteman band but without Whiteman). Compare these. March 15, 1929 Irving Mills and His Hotsy Totsy Gang:

So what was the connection between Irving Mills and Ben Pollack? The main difference in the bands is that Pollack used strings (violin, cello), wereas Mills did not.

Ben's Bad Boys is a clear example of a band within the Pollack band.


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The earliest example I can find is on Joe Oliver's Dixie Syncopators recording of Snag It (No. 2).
Recorded on 17th September 1926.
A twelve bar tuba solo played by Bert Cobb.
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vince giordano
vince giordano

February 26th, 2011, 4:59 pm #8

This versatile (tuba / string bass / bass sax - just like Vinny Giordano) musician seems to be the odd man out in the Bix saga. I've never read any anecdotes about him, yet both he and Bix were with the Wolverines in '24 and Whiteman in '28, and Min is on Bix's last records for Victor in 1930. Did Leibrook just silently come and go and not leave an impression on anyone? Bix and he must have been on fairly good terms, to have shared such a track record. The fact of his membership in the Whiteman crew indicates a high level of musicianship.

One of my favorite recorded Wolverines moments comes in the last chorus of "Tia Juana," when Leibrook seems to play his tuba BACKWARDS. It's the tubic equivalent of Michael Jackson's "Moon Walk."

-Brad K
Thanx for the comparison to Min, Brad. He's one of my idols: I sometimes will sign a jazz series badge as "Vin Leibrook." Most people don't "get it"

Anyhoo...

I think Min was on Bix's first and last record dates [and many others in between].

I've seen pictures of him with bass and tuba with Eddie Duchin's early 30s band and somewhere I saw a faint copy of his death certificate. He died young and in California.

With more old newspapers and magazines going digital these days, maybe we will find out more about Min.

One of my dreams is trying to convince Downbeat to scan all their magazines and sell them on DVD [like the New Yorker did]. There's TONS of early jazz material [text and photos] in those 1930s issues. It would be a monumental jazz resource ! Libraries, researchers and others would by this !

Also, I'm told that Variety has been scanned...but it is very expensive. Ok,...who knows someone that is using this service and be our research "mole" ??
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 26th, 2011, 5:35 pm #9

This versatile (tuba / string bass / bass sax - just like Vinny Giordano) musician seems to be the odd man out in the Bix saga. I've never read any anecdotes about him, yet both he and Bix were with the Wolverines in '24 and Whiteman in '28, and Min is on Bix's last records for Victor in 1930. Did Leibrook just silently come and go and not leave an impression on anyone? Bix and he must have been on fairly good terms, to have shared such a track record. The fact of his membership in the Whiteman crew indicates a high level of musicianship.

One of my favorite recorded Wolverines moments comes in the last chorus of "Tia Juana," when Leibrook seems to play his tuba BACKWARDS. It's the tubic equivalent of Michael Jackson's "Moon Walk."

-Brad K
You ask: <em>Did Leibrook just silently come and go and not leave an impression on anyone?</em>

Hakan Anderson suggested a possible reason in http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/message/1105198367

<em>"One guy that must have been very close to Bix was Min Leibrook. Not only because they played together on Bix first and last recording, but also because they played and travelled together in Wolverines, Jean Goldkettes orchestra and Paul Whitemans orchestra.

From what I have seen in the Bix biographies there is no quote or interview by Min Leibrook. One reason is of course that he also died as a young man on June 8:th 1943 in LA (born on Jan 1:st 1903)." </em>

I agree. Evans did not start his Bix research until 1950, By the Leibrook, had died. This is from Downbeat, Jul 1, 1943.



An early article about Leibrook.



From the 1910 US census

Surname Given Name Age Sex Race Birthplace State County
LEIBROOK GEORGE F 41 M W OH OH BUTLER

This is Min's father. George was a carpenter. In the original census sheet George's family is given as wife 37, one son 17, one daughter 15, one daughter 13, and one son 7. The names are difficult to decipher (I am looking at the original handwritten census). The wife was Alice, and I cannot tell the names of the first three children. Fortunately, the fourth is clearly legible, Wilford F.

Albert

PS I agree with Vince. It would be great to have searchable Downbeat. Also "Orchestra World."

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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 26th, 2011, 7:09 pm #10

Thanx for the comparison to Min, Brad. He's one of my idols: I sometimes will sign a jazz series badge as "Vin Leibrook." Most people don't "get it"

Anyhoo...

I think Min was on Bix's first and last record dates [and many others in between].

I've seen pictures of him with bass and tuba with Eddie Duchin's early 30s band and somewhere I saw a faint copy of his death certificate. He died young and in California.

With more old newspapers and magazines going digital these days, maybe we will find out more about Min.

One of my dreams is trying to convince Downbeat to scan all their magazines and sell them on DVD [like the New Yorker did]. There's TONS of early jazz material [text and photos] in those 1930s issues. It would be a monumental jazz resource ! Libraries, researchers and others would by this !

Also, I'm told that Variety has been scanned...but it is very expensive. Ok,...who knows someone that is using this service and be our research "mole" ??
From the Hamilton Journal and Daily News, June 9, 1943.





Bix and Min knew each other before they were together in the Wolverines. According to Vic Moore (Swing Music, March 1936), Vic Moore, George Johnson, Min Leibrook and Bix played around Chicago before 1923 in a "vague sort of semi-pro group we called the Ten Foot Band."

Frank v on Min, from http://www.network54.com/Forum/27140/me ... 115851874/

<em>This mood to me seems to be reflected in his bass (or, indeed, sousaphone) playing on the Wolverines records: very agile, dynamic, humorous, and at times downright wild. For instance, in Tia Juana, (especially during Bix's solo) he plays a swinging Steve Brown-ish lines full of syncopation, and what he does at ca. 2.30 defies description - a sort of reversal of the beat. In other recordings of the faster numbers (Oh Baby, Big Boy etc.) as well on the Sioux City Six sides, he plays this kind of syncopation a lot. It doesn't always work that well (possibly because we don't hear all details due to the acoustic recording process) - but it's certainly never boring, and he definitely had a certain something other bass players didn't have. Come to think of it, part of the Wolverines' success may have been their well-oiled rhythm section - they must have been just great to dance to.
</em>
Albert
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