The Duke

The Duke

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

April 29th, 2009, 11:43 am #1

Today is the 110th annniversary of the birthday of Duke Ellington.

If you are in new York City, there will be a tribute in a couple of hours.

http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayRelea ... 978&EDATE=

NEW YORK, April 27 /PRNewswire/ --

CELEBRATION: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has declared April 29 Duke
Ellington Day in honor of the 110th anniversary of the
jazz legend's birth. To commemorate his life, The
Islands Of The Bahamas are sponsoring a special run of
the last surviving 1939 'A' Train, made famous by Duke
Ellington's signature tune Take the A Train.

WHAT: Paul Ellington, members of the Duke Ellington Orchestra
and musicians from Music Under New York (MUNY) will
perform the iconic song on the mezzanine at 125th Street
and St. Nicholas. All musicians will then board and
perform on the historic train as it travels out to JFK
in regular service.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 29, 2009
10 a.m. Remarks and performance by Paul
Ellington, The Duke Ellington
Orchestra and musicians from MUNY
11 a.m. sharp All Aboard! 'A' Train departs 125th
Street, making express stops
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. The 'A' Train runs in revenue
service and is open to the public

WHERE: 125th Street and St. Nicholas 'A' Train (IND) Subway
Station

WHO: Paul Mercer Ellington and The Duke Ellington Orchestra
Musicians from Music Under New York
Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington
Maurice Hines, stage, screen and television performer
Stanley Kay, friend of Duke Ellington
Joel Iskowitz, artist of the Duke Ellington Quarter
released by the U.S. Mint
Bahamas musicians and VIPs
JetBlue Airways crew members


RIP, Duke.

Albert

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David Logue
David Logue

April 29th, 2009, 11:58 am #2

Happy birthday, Duke!

Duke Ellington is my favorite big band artist.

So, Albert, what are some of the Bix connections?

I think, if my memory hasn't failed, that the Evans and Evans book mentions Bix hanging out with some of Ellington's (or maybe it was Fletcher Henderson's) band.

Also, I think Ellington has a brief Bix anecdote in "Music is My Mistress".
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 29th, 2009, 2:31 pm #3

From "Music Is My Mistress" by Edward Kennedy Ellington, 1973



p. 103


The Palais Royal does not sound right. Whiteman played there, but before Bix joined him.

p.128.
In the City's public square [The City of Jazz, an allegoric place] you find statues of heroes. Some are of those who built the walls, like Buddy Bolden and King Oliver. They appear to have been sculptured in bars, after hours joints, and houses of ill-repute. Some are of those who fought to save the city, like Fletcher Henderson and Paul Whiteman, and they are identified with the world of ballroom palaces. Some are of those who went down swinging, like Bix Beiderbecke and Chick Webb, and who were decorated posthumously for heroic performances above and beyond the call of duty.

p. 415
The story of jazz is a long list of great names, rather like those lists of kings and queens and presidents in history books. Divided up by instruments instead of countries, you can trace how the crown was passed down-and sometimes usurped. On trumpet, for example, the order might run something like this: Buddy Bolden, Joe Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Cootie Williams, Roy Elridge, Ray Nance, Dizzie Gillespie, Clark Terry, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis

p. 417
The New Orleans men dominated Chicago, and there they inspired such well-known white musicians as Bix Beiderbecke and Muggsy Spanier, both cornet players; the clarinetists Benny Goodman, Frank Teschmacher, and Mezz Mezzrow; Bud Freeman, the tenor saxophonists; and the drummers Dave Tough, George Wettling and Gene Krupa.


I dont remember Evans and Evans mentioning the Duke. In Sudhalter and Evans, we can read the following account,

On one [such] occasion, Rank and Murray joined them [Bix and Richard Turner] for a drunken odyssey uptown to the Cotton Club, where they all sat in with Duke Ellingtons Orchestra.

Albert
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Julio Remersaro
Julio Remersaro

April 29th, 2009, 6:27 pm #4

Duke admired Bix and its vehicle was Rex Stewart, with tunes like "Kissin´my Baby Good Night" or "Boy Meet Horn", and Paul Whiteman too; remember "The Mistery Song", for example, that was discussed recently in this forum.
Listen Eastwood Lane´s "Sea Burial", recorded by Whiteman, and tell me if it does not sound like Duke, twenty or thirty years later?
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 29th, 2009, 8:52 pm #5

Rex Stewart in Downbeat, April 20, 1967. (See bixbeiderbecke.com/rex1.jpg Courtesy of Frank)

In my book, Bix was a once-in-a-million artist. I doubt it if what he played will ever be surpassed on the trumpet. He was one of the all-time giants and I feel that his gifts remain today as unsullied and strikingly refreshing as when he lived.

Jazz Masters of the Thirties contains a reprint of the Downbeat article.

Rex Stewart in Boy Meets Horn, Published in 1990 from Stewarts manuscript written before his death, on Sep 7, 1967.

It has occurred to me that if one were to chronicle musicians as they give pedigrees to race horses, you might conclude that Benny Goodman owed a lot to Thornton Blue and Jimmy Dorsey might give a vote of thanks to Benny Carter. Bix Beiderbecke stemmed from Joe Smith, with overtones of Red Nichols. In going through a line of succession, it is not my intention to denigrate any of the above gentlemen, only to comment on who influenced whom. I have freely admitted how much Louis was responsible for what I became.

Do you feel that the contents of these two excerpts (about Bix) are contradictory? I welcome comments. Do you agree that Jimmy Dorsey owes a debt of gratitude to Benny Carter?What about Benny Goodman to Thornton Blue?

Albert
Last edited by ahaim on April 30th, 2009, 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Linda
Linda

April 30th, 2009, 3:57 am #6

I think that if Rex Stewart wants to make an analogy between horse pedigrees and jazz musicians it would be more appropriate to link Benny Goodman with Jimmy Noone than Thornton Blue. As to horse pedigrees I would bring up the famous California thoroughbred horse Swaps who won the Kentucky Derby in the 1950's and was United States Horse of the year in 1956 as an example. His pedigree might be he was a descendant or related to Triple Crown Winner War Admiral and the great Man O' War. With jazz musicians a pedigree might be 2 musicians with a common teacher. In that case both Benny Goodman and Jimmy Noone studied clarinet with the well known white concert clarinetist Franz Schoepp. In the book "A Trumpet Around The Corner:The Story of New Orleans Jazz" by Samuel Charters on page 169 it mentions both Goodman and Noone being students of Schoepp and " Writers have noted the similarities in the playing of Noone and Benny Goodman, but the influence may have come from Schoepp who was also Goodman's teacher.
So if Rex Stewart is talking about pedigrees I could see how Goodman and Noone having the same teacher could lead to a conclusion that Goodman might owe something to Noone.
Rex Stewart states this: "In going through a line of succession, it is not my intention to denigrate any of the above gentlemen, only to comment on who influenced whom. "
I just don't understand how Thornton Blue could have influenced Benny Goodman. I looked up his bio in Chilton's Who's Who of Jazz to see if he had ever played in Chicago during Goodman's formative years there but there is nothing in his bio mentioning he ever played in Chicago. I recognize his name from the territory band recordings of Charlie Creath and Dewey Jackson's Peacock Orchestra. I have heard these recordings on lp and his clarinet playing sounds nothing like Benny Goodman's recordings from the 1920's. I also know Thornton Blue recorded with the Missourians, and Luis Russell and then Cab Calloway in New York. But this was in 1929 and 1930 and 1931. If Goodman who was in New York then also heard Thornton Blue don't see how he could have been any influence on Goodman whose style was formed by then.
If I had to name an influence on Goodman by aural identification I would name Frank Teschmacher. Many of Goodman's solos I have heard in 1920's recordings sound like Teschmacher and I think show an influence of Teschmacher.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 30th, 2009, 12:31 pm #7

.... perhaps exhibiting some similarities in their playing is interesting. However, it seems that Stewart did not mean this kind of pedigree. He wrote, "a line of succession," the verb "stemmed," and the phrase "who influenced whom." Therefore, I would interpret Stewart's analysis as pertaining to a line of descent where the second musician is influenced by the first musician. Thus, Stewart is saying that Bix stemmed (originated in) from Joe Smith [and Red Nichols], Jimmy Dorsey derives from Benny Carter, and Benny Goodman follows Thornton Blue.

I agree with you that there is little, if any, support for Stewart's contention that Benny Goodman's style derives from Thornton Blue's.

Opinions about the other two "lines of succession," Bix's and Jimmy Dorsey's?

And what about the two statements by Stewart, "Bix was a once-in-a-million artist" and "Bix Beiderbecke stemmed from Joe Smith, with overtones of Red Nichols"? Are these statements consistent with each other? If Bix was a "once-in-a-million artist," doesn't this mean that he was unique, a "one and only" artist? And if Bix was unique, unprecedented, would he have a lineage?

Albert
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Emrah Erken
Emrah Erken

April 30th, 2009, 5:05 pm #8

In the movie "The Cotton Club" from 1984, the character of Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) plays the solo part of Bix's "Singin' The Blues". The mobster Dutch Schultz gives Dixie the order to play "that Bix Beiderbecke, tune, the one I like" and Dixie plays the solo.

According to Wikipedia, the character of Dixie Dwyer is loosely based on Bix Beiderbecke, right down to the alliterative name, and everyone simply calling him "Dix." I would say very loosely based on Bix although I love this movie very much.

According to imdb.com, Richard Gere plays the cornet solos himself and in my opinion, he's doing it pretty well!

Also in the movie, he gets the occasion to play as a white musician in Cotton Club.

I think that the movie "The Cotton Club" is a very good movie about the Roaring Twenties with exceptional good and genuinely played music. Besides that, Diane Lane never looked better than in this movie.
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Emrah Erken
Emrah Erken

April 30th, 2009, 9:05 pm #10

Jamaica has indeed very good eyes. I had not seen that detail watching the movie a few months ago for the second time. I had watched it in the movies when it came out. I was 15 then...

I agree with you that the plot of the movie is not very strong but I liked it very much because of the way they made it and of course because of Diane Lane. And Richard Gere plays extremely well for a Hollywood actor.

Emrah
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