Heebie Jeebies and Humpty Dumpty Redux.

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

August 26th, 2018, 12:11 am #1

Nick writes:

You may recall this string of posts about the Red Heads' "Heebie Jeebies" (on Pathe):-

[url=http:// heebie-jeebies-and-humpty-dumpty-t5899.html#p37560]heebie-jeebies-and-humpty-dumpty-t5899.html#p37560[/url]

As it happens, the connection between the cornet break on "Heebie Jeebies" and the theme used in "Humpty Dumpty" was known about way back in the mid-1930s. I will explain: I have just come across an article in a 1947 issue of a British magazine entitled "Jazz Music" in which the clarinettist Jim Moynahan talks about Brad Gowans and, specifically, about the Red Head's "Heebie Jeebies". Moynahan played the record to a little crowd of French critics and collectors assembled in the house of Henri Bernard in Paris in the mid 1930s. After playing the record, Moynahan told the group of listeners :-

"This date was one Nichols invited Gowans along on, but Brad spent the night in a chair in somebody's hotel room and showed up late - with his cornet in a paper bag because the mouthpiece had become jammed. He was too late to make the entire number - they had already rehearsed it without him - but Nichols, perhaps because Jimmy Dorsey kept after him, finally consented to let Gowans take a break in the last chorus."
  The crowd was interested. They made Bernard play the break over several times, demanding to know what sort of instrument it was; it certainly didn't sound like a trumpet.
  "It's a cornet," I said, "a little short model like Bix used to play before he came to New York. Brad was going to play a longer break (I hummed it to them) but Nichols made him cut it. Now I want you to look at this next record, note the composer's name, and mark what happened."
  The record was Trumbauer's version of Humpty Dumpty, a number by Fud Livingston. Henri put it on, started the phonograph. At the first notes of the theme the men's eyes lighted up. It was the same - the fragment of musical geometry which had been Gowan's tiny contribution to the first record was here embellished, glorified into a lovely tone-poem! The composer's contribution was unmistakable, but so, too, was his debt."

A bit of info about Brad Gowans: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brad_Gowans

Brad Gowan's New York Nine



Henri Bernard was involved in the first edition of

Hot discography.
Author: Charles Delaunay; Hugues Panassié; Lucienne Panassié; Henri Bernard; Ian Munro Smyth
Publisher: Paris, Hot jazz, 1936.