Talking through playing

Talking through playing

Sven Bjerstedt
Sven Bjerstedt

June 30th, 2017, 2:58 pm #1

Salim Washington writes, "[Charles] Mingus claimed to be able to communicate [through his bass playing] actual sentences that were intelligible" (in O'Meally et al., Uptown conversation, 2004, p. 48).

This made me vaguely remember reading somewhere about an early jazz trombonist who got fired from a band for communicating the word "m-----f-----" through his instrument on stage. Could anyone provide the source of this story?

Sven Bjerstedt
Quote
Share

Brad Kay
Brad Kay

June 30th, 2017, 11:13 pm #2

Sven,

THAT'S a new one on me, for sure. But I can imagine it. Cracks me up merely to think of it! The only early trombonist on record who was articulate enough with a mute (there HAD to be a mute involved!), to do what you said is the legendary "Slim" Martin, with Abe Lyman's Orchestra. Trouble is, "Slim" never got fired. But there were thousands of unsung trombone heroes in the '20s...

-Brad K
Quote
Share

Sven Bjerstedt
Sven Bjerstedt

July 1st, 2017, 9:35 am #3

Thanks, Brad,

I must have read (or dreamt?) this long ago – seem to recall that the story was told in first person by the trombonist himself. You're right that it would be a difficult word to render plausibly on a horn. Perhaps the cuss word was another one. As Dan Morgenstern kindly pointed out in another forum, "f--- you" might have been easier to communicate...

Sven
Quote
Share