Walter Roesner's band

Walter Roesner's band

Mark Gabrish Conlan
Mark Gabrish Conlan

February 10th, 2018, 5:20 am #1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk2WJ9vgl7A

Interesting band short by Walter Roesner's band in 1928, featuring Jimmy Dorsey, Miff Mole, Jimmy Lytell (a great, underrated clarinet player) and Leo McConville (a surprisingly good hot player for someone whose main reputation was just as a section man). Alas, the YouTube post is in the wrong aspect ratio, making everyone look shorter and squatter than they should, but Dorsey is still easily recognizable and it's a real treat to have footage of Mole (who, like Teagarden, plays very "close to the vest" trombone and avoids the farthest-out slide positions) and Lytell in or close to their primes. I also like the sound of the drummer tearing paper behind Lou Bring's vocal on "Dinah." A link to this was posted in the Forum not long ago but it was fun tracking this down and actually seeing video from the period instead of just the usual YouTube presentation of records of this vintage with quickly thrown-together video portions.
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well wisher
well wisher

February 10th, 2018, 12:40 pm #2

What dreadful things great jazz musicians had to do to make a living.
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John Coffin
John Coffin

February 11th, 2018, 2:47 am #3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk2WJ9vgl7A

Interesting band short by Walter Roesner's band in 1928, featuring Jimmy Dorsey, Miff Mole, Jimmy Lytell (a great, underrated clarinet player) and Leo McConville (a surprisingly good hot player for someone whose main reputation was just as a section man). Alas, the YouTube post is in the wrong aspect ratio, making everyone look shorter and squatter than they should, but Dorsey is still easily recognizable and it's a real treat to have footage of Mole (who, like Teagarden, plays very "close to the vest" trombone and avoids the farthest-out slide positions) and Lytell in or close to their primes. I also like the sound of the drummer tearing paper behind Lou Bring's vocal on "Dinah." A link to this was posted in the Forum not long ago but it was fun tracking this down and actually seeing video from the period instead of just the usual YouTube presentation of records of this vintage with quickly thrown-together video portions.
I've seen snippets of the same film, each cut down to focus on one soloist.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

February 11th, 2018, 4:15 am #4

.... Vic Berton. One of the youtube videos identified the drummer as Berton. This was discussed in

https://jazzlives.wordpress.com/2010/01 ... -stand-up/

Look at the responses.

Albert
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Nick Dellow
Nick Dellow

February 11th, 2018, 11:10 am #5


By the second half of the 1920s, Vic Berton was losing his hair (at the front, on one side, near his parting) as can be seen in the following photograph (probably taken in 1927):-





....whereas the drummer in the Capitolians film has a full head of hair (plus a moustache of course!) and his hair has no parting at all.

However, there is one aspect that favours the drummer being Vic Berton and that is his use of "hot tympani" (otherwise called "tuned tympani", basically a kettle drum with a foot pedal attached to a mechanism to tighten and loosen the drum skin, thus altering its pitch). Berton is said to have invented this system and used it on numerous records, but because it was so hard to play such tympani in tune very few other drummers/percussionists took it up. Seehttps://archive.org/details/02VicBerton :-

"He was also the greatest virtuoso of the 'hot tympani' in all of jazz. Vic could play a conventional drum set in front of him with one hand and tuned tympani behind him with the other hand! The reason it is so difficult to play jazz tympani is that the drums lose pitch throughout the evening and have to be constantly re-tuned. Vic could actually tune the tymps while playing them at the same time."

Note in particular the sentence: "Vic could play a conventional drum set in front of him with one hand and tuned tympani behind him with the other hand!" That seems to be what the drummer in the Capitolians is doing (during Dorsey's solo you get a close-up of the pedal). During Miff Mole's solo you can hear the tuned tympani at work, and it is even more obvious during Jimmy Lytell's clarinet solo.

Though it is said that the tuned tympani system was invented by Berton, the patent was actually granted to the famous Ludwig & Ludwig drum company. See:-


http://rhythmdiscoverycenter.org/online ... ed-tympani


So, did Berton invent it and sell the idea to Ludwig in 1925, or did Ludwig themselves invent it and Berton was just an early and exceptionally good exponent of the system?

Incidentally, a version of the Capitolians film that plays with the correct aspect ratio is available here:-


https://vimeo.com/94394525


There is some distortion on the soundtrack, unfortunately

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John Coffin
John Coffin

February 12th, 2018, 4:40 am #6

I just trusted the attribution on the other version of the clip.

I've certainly seen pictures of Berton, but none that would make me immediately discount the ID for the clip.

It IS odd that the drummer is sort of standing/roaming among his gear and not using a 'set.' I would think that when Berton played 'hot tympany' he would have used a full set and stayed with them as long as he was at it. This drummer seems to use just one, and reaches out for the odd stroke before returning to the rest of his kit.
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