Brown: I know who this is, though I haven't actually heard
it before. Unless it's very good imitations so far, it's Pee Wee Russell
Deuchar: It's happy jazz,
isn't it? Real happy.
Brown: It could be Buck
Deuchar: I like that kind
Brown: Is that Marshall
Brown? I don't know enough of his work really to say, but it's a valve,
and with this kind of group it could be him.
South: It's a swinging
recordgoing along nicely.
Brown: (at Bud Freeman
entry) There's no doubt about that.
Deuchar: And this is where
the story really starts!
Brown: I'm looking forward
to hearing him at this Festival, you knowbecause he's a gas.
There's only a few other guys, such as Eddie Miller, who play the
least bit like that.
Deuchar: Ruby Braff?
Brown: He's a much more
fluent player than Wild Bill Davidson, but he's got a lot of similarities
to Wild Bill's playing, I thinkthe way he holds one note. Like
the blue note, for instance. (Russell solo starts). There's no mistaking
Deuchar: You got me, boyI
Brown: Pee Wee Russell!
Deuchar: He always has
been the furthestout player in many ways. You think he's the
guv'nor, do you?
Brown: Well, I do, but
I can see that lots of people wouldn't think that. But they must all
agree that what he plays is absolutely individual. He's influenced
me, but there's a whole school of clarinet players on whom he hasn't
had any influence at all.
South: They're all guys
of the same era, but they must have been recorded quite recently.
Brown: I don't know who
this bass player is, but he can certainly play.
South: This is somewhat
of an indication of how recent it must be.
Deuchar: I'd like to know
who this drummer is.
Tomkins: The sleeve names
him as Marquis Foster, and the bass player as Bill Takas.
Brown: Never heard of
either of them. There's one thing I must say. The whole thing knocked
me outbecause of the individuals involved. But at the end they're
supposed to be playing counterpoint, like they used to in the old
Dixielandbands, and it doesn't really come off as wellbecause
nowadays, with the influences all these guys have had, it doesn't
work. They're playing too many changes to get from one harmony to
another, instead of playing a melodic thing. So it's almost impossible
to play counterpoint, unless it's terribly simplelike the Gerry
Deuchar: Well, that's
only two lines going, isn't it?
Brown: Yes, if they get
more than that it won't work.
Deuchar: Though I don't
know. What about when he had the Sextet, with Brookmeyer, Zoot and
Jon Eardley? I think that was marvellousthe counterpoint they
worked in there.
Deuchar: This is more
or less the same thing in a different vein.
Brown: There's too many
people playing to make it effectivefor me, anyway.
South: It was a fair band,
though. The rhythm section gave the date of it away.
Deuchar: Yes, that was
a very good rhythm section.
South: I remember how
good Sidney Bechet sounded when he did some things with a modern rhythm
section. They gave him a different kind of lift.
"Subject"Joe Harriott Quintet (Joe
Harriottalto, Shake Keanetrumpet, Pat Smythepiano,
Coleridge Goodbass, Bobby Orrdrums). Composed by Joe Harriott.
From "Abstract," Columbia.
South: Crazy intro.
Deuchar: Here we go.
South: Free form, is it?
Deuchar: I like the backing,
but I don't think it'll be a hit!
Tomkins: You won't rush
out and buy it?
Deuchar: I don't think
so. Do we want to hear any more of this?
Brown: It's Joe Harriott,
South: It is Joe, is it?
I thought so. I know Joe pretty well and I know what he's trying to
do. I was with him for two years and he was talking about it then.
But I couldn't see quite how he could formulate itand I still
can't, really, quite honestly. I don't condemn it, because at least
he's trying something.
Tomkins: Would you say
it's not valid as jazz?
Deuchar: You can't say
that, because the guy's sincerely improvising. It's a matter of preference.
You either like it or you don't. I'm afraid I don't like it.
Brown: But it's not a
very logical approach to a sort of innovation. Let's suppose you're
fed up trying to get from one chord to another in the accepted sense…
Deuchar: No, in your accepted
South: Well, there aren't
any accepted chords in this kind of thing.
Brown: No, but let's say
you believe the conventional way is exhaustedthen you have to
think of some kind of new discipline.
South: That's why I couldn't
see eye to eye with Joe about this. I could understand one person
doing itpainting his own picture. But I couldn't see at the
time how you could group five guys together and make them do the same
thing, making a point of playing together.
Brown: You can'tbecause
these guys are already committed to familiar patternswhatever
they're going to do. And you can hear Joe doing itand especially
the bass player. He's doing a familiar chord sequence. Now all that's
going to happen is that you're going to hear this familiar pattern,
which doesn't fit with another familiar pattern which the other guy's
playing. If you want to do something different, then you have to invent
some new way of playing. And this is something they've neglected to
They've abolished a way of playing in the sense that they don't all
have to follow the same chords. But what actually happens a few split
seconds before you know the bass player is going to play the next
note in the chordal sequence which he's playingyou've got to
think of something else. It's a thing which logically can't work.
I mean, nobody's ever tried improvising with a surreal technique in
nontonal music. Why don't they try that? It's obviously more
difficult to do, because you'd have to abolish all the familiar patterns
you started with. But I'll say thiswhat they're doing, and what
Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane and even Ornette Coleman is doing, proves
one thing. And that is that a whole lot of talented guys have decided
that the type of harmonic improvisation that has been going on for
the last ten years is becoming exhausted.
South: I would like to
say one thing. I know Joe was thinking of this kind of thing before
he heard of Omette Coleman. This is no copy. I can tell you that.
Brown: I'm sure it isn't.
Deuchar: Joe's a very
Brown: And a very good
South: Yes, and in that
respect I keep an open mind about it.
Deuchar: The same goes
for Shake Keane. But I'll tell you whatI thought it was Ornette
and Don Cherry.
Brown: These guys seem
to have simultaneously .and, I think, subconsciously, come to the
same decision. And more and more guys are going to do thisand
experiment in various ways.
South: And sooner or later
something's going to happen.
Deuchar: It's the same
kind of thing as Charlie Parker did twenty years ago. That was a radical
change, wasn't it?
South: The idea in itself
is goodthis idea of each guy painting his own picture and representing
exactly how he feels. You can't get more free than that. Except this
business of combining five guys together and expecting there to be
a psychic thing going on between them, where each guy fits his own
pattern to what's going on. I don't know quite if that's what Joe's
supposed to be doing now.
Brown: Well, this could
South: Yes, with a deep
understanding of each other's playing.
Brown: I disagree with
you, Harry, about this business of freedom. I know that this is called
'free form' and that the banner under which this movement marches
forward is towards more freedom. But I think it's a very limited type
of freedom which is required. It's a freedom from very rigid harmonic
rules which have been laid down. It's not necessarily freedom for
everybody to do exactly as they please.
Tomkins: But they're also
breaking away from time signatures, aren't they?
Brown: Yes, well, they
can't really do thatnot with this setup, anyway.
Deuchar: Only to a very
South: I don't think it's
possible to be so utterly and completely different in one step. I
think you've got to graduate a little before that.
Brown: Well, I think you
could do it in one step. After all, Schoenberg did it in one step.
Deuchar: Oh, but that's
just one manone exception.
Brown: But it proves it
can be done.
South: Remember the criticism
Charlie Parker got when he started. The same people who criticised
him then will now admit that he was right.
Brown: Yes, we're Trads
Deuchar: And when you
compare the first Bird records with Coltrane at the time he played
with Milesit's really grownBird's type of jazz.
South: It's got its own
form of evolution from there. But he was so far in front that to go
anywhere from there you've got to really go some.
Brown: Well, what he did
was to extend harmonies, really apart from what he did rhythmically.
But one of the things he did which everybody latched on to was extending
harmonies. Eventually you come to a point where if you extend them
any further they cease to be really tonal, in the sense that you're
expecting somebody to play 'doh' at the end. So really somebody is
bound to try and do this in a nontonal fashion. And they've
already got people to learn from.
In the same way that Parker had people like Ravel and Debussy to learn
from harmonically, they've got guys like Schoenberg and Gerhard who
have already done this in another sphere.
"Night Rider"Stan Getztenor
with Orchestra; composed and arranged by Eddie Sauter; conducted by
Hershy Kay; with Roy Haynesdrums. From "Focus", Verve.
South: I can't imagine
who it is, but it sounds as if somebody's been listening to Indian
Classical music. It's nothing to do with Eddie Sauter, is it? He's
the only person I can think of who could write strings like that.
Now, wait a minuteStan Getz and Ed Sauter!
Deuchar: I'm the proud
possessor of this record. I think it's great.
South: The whole thing
is a wonderful accomplishment the blending of the strings with
Brown: I think there's
a whole lot of guys who could write string parts like that. But they
wouldn't have the advantage of having Stan Getz on it.
South: I don't think there's
a lot of people who could do as good a job as Stan Getz did on that.
Brown: I don't think there's
anybody. I think he's a genius.
South: And can you name
anybody who could write strings like that? I can't think of anybody.
Deuchar: Ralph Burns.
Brown: Yes, he's one,
and I think Nelson Riddle could, too.
South: Oh, I don't think
his string writing is up to that. Not at all.
Deuchar: No, nor do I.
South: What Nelson Riddle
does he does very well, but he's not that kind of string writer.
Brown: Well, I think he
is. He did a thing with the Hollywood String Quartet, an accompaniment
to a very unpopular Sinatra LP, "Close To You."
Brown: That was far better
than he usually does for the block strings.
South: Well, I haven't
heard that, so I can't say.
Deuchar: Oh, that's greatyes.
Brown: And a lot of classical
composers could do it, too.
South: But not with the
rhythmic feel. They could write the stringsclassical writers
usually excel at that. But to get it matching with the tenor like
that is another matter.
Deuchar: It's very hard
to write rhythmic things for strings without it sounding a bit ricky.
South: Like those things
Johnny Richards did with Dizzy they were good, but they weren't
half as good as that.
Brown: Mind you, I think
you're halfway there if you've got Stan Getz. He comes in at all the
right places with something that is right emotionally for that part
Deuchar: Another track
I like very much is "I'm LateI'm Late." But the whole
record is marvellous.
"Johnny"Annie Ross with Tony K&rsey
Trio (Gordon Beckpiano, Brian Brocklehurstbass, Tony Kinseydrums).
Words by Christopher Logue. Music by Tony Rinsey. From "Loguerhythms,"
Brown: Annie Ross.
Deuchar: I saw Annie do
this at the Establishment the other night.
Brown: Yes, so did I.
Deuchar: She's great,
Brown: What an act!
South: Is this from the
Brown: Yes. I don't like
them as much as the rest of the stuff she does.
Deuchar: How did you like
the Trio behind Annie?
Brown: Very good. They've
got a hard job to do.
South: Is this Gordon
doing the backing here?
Deuchar: Yes, that's right.
Brown: Maybe nobody will
agree with me, but I don't think the lyrics of the song are in the
same class as the presentation. Christopher Logue may be a great poet.
A lot of people say he is, but I don't know enough about poetry to
discuss it. But as a songwriter I think he's got a long way to go.
The best in the fieldlike Cole Porter and Larry Hartcould
have done a whole lot better, and made it fit the voice. Annie Ross
is one of the few people who could sing this at all. Personally I
dislike it. I prefer the subtleties of a Cole Porter lyric. I mean,
Cole Porter's put over things like this. Although it's got a 'message'
it's done in a lighthearted way. Cole Porter, dealing with subjects
which admittedly weren't as cataclysmic as this one, was able to do
it far better.
South: But how do you
compare, say, Oscar Brown,
Junior with people like Porter. You can't really compare them. It's
a different kind of world, isn't it?
Brown: For me the best
bits of that programme are the normal songs. I enjoy, technically,
listening to the other things, because, as I say, I don't think there's
anybody could do that except Annie Ross. A great artist in the ballad
field like Peggy Leeshe couldn't put over a song like that.
It wouldn't sound right. And, anyway, I doubt if she'd do it. She
knows too much of her own way of singing. Annie Ross is one of the
few people who could make that sound goodand I don't see why
she should have to. It's excellent music and very well played. But
not being helped by the lyric. It's like trying to make a song swing
in German. You can sing Wagner.
Deuchar: The performance
was excellent. I really like Annie's singing. I think she's one of
the very few people who can sing with a jazz feel. You can count them
on one hand, I'd say.
Brown: Somebody was telling
me they were going to lessons from Richard Rodney Bennett, the composerand
he uses her records as an example of singing intervals, because a
lot of those she sings are so difficult and unnatural.
"To Rigmor"Joe Newman Quintet (Joe
Newman trumpet, Frank Fostertenor, Tommy Flanaganpiano,
Eddie Jonesbass, Billy Englishdrums). Composed by Joe
Newman. From "Good 'N' Groovy," Fontuna.
Deuchar: This tenor has
got to be Paul Gonsalves. No, wait a minute.
Brown: It sounds like
Tony Coe to me, but it's ridiculous.
South: No, I can't place
it at all.
Deuchar: I don't think
I've ever heard anybody play the trumpet like that in this country.
South: Whoever it is can
play very well.
Brown: I knowit's
South: That sounds like
Hank Jones on pianoeither him or somebody very near to his concept.
Deuchar: Tommy Flanagan,
maybehe's definitely from that school.
Brown: I don't think I've
ever heard any of these guys before.
South: It's the light
fingeringthe melodic style.
Deuchar: Junior Mance
is another one. It stems from Hank Jones, this kind of playingbeautiful
control. I don't know who this trumpet player is, but he's very good.
I like him very much.
South: He's got a very
academic, full range.
Deuchar: He knows his
Brown: He's obviously
influenced very heavily by Miles.
South: It could be one
of a few guys, as far as I'm concerned. Until I hear him play on an
uptempo or something and heard the phrasing he usually plays,
I can't tell.
Brown: It's hard, because
that's a ballad and he's playing it straight.
Deuchar: It wouldn't be
Carmell Jones, would it?
South: Not Lee Morgan,
by any chance?
Tomkins: You may be surprised
to know that it was Joe Newman.
Brown: Good Lord! You
got me there. I'd never have suspected.
Deuchar: Who was the tenor
Tomkins: Frank Foster.
And it was Tommy Flanagan on piano.
South: Lovely. It was
Brown: You were right
about the trumpet player. He has got a good range.
South: You could tell
by the way he pitches.
Deuchar: I would have
hit it, I think, if you'd played an 'up' one by him.
Brown: Anyway, own up,
that was in disguise, wasn't it? That was not the Joe Newman we know.
The only thing you could have told that from was the tone, and there's
a whole lot of players with good tone nowadays.
South: It was obviously
a good trumpet player. There was no doubt about that.
Deuchar: That was a fair
"Molasses"Woody Herman and
the Fourth Herd (featuringin solo orderSal Nisticotenor,
Bill Chase tenor, Woody Hermanclarinet). Composed by Joe
Newman. From "Woody Herman1963," Philips.
South: I don't recognise
who it is, but I like it. It's hard to identify a thing like this.
Brown: (at clarinet entry)
South: Ah yesof
coursehere he comes.
Brown: I was waiting for
that to turn up. I thought: "It must be."
Deuchar: Were you, really?
Oh, good on you, mate. I never recognised it.
Brown: This must be his
new band. I haven't heard it before. It swings, doesn't it?
South: Is this "the
greatest one yet"? It's full of new, young guys?
Tomkins: Yes, it was recorded
just a few months ago.
Brown: In a way, this
reminds me of the things he did before the First Herd, when he had
"The Band That Plays The Blues." Tommy Peterson's screaming
trumpet bits were emotionally like that, though different in actual
Deuchar: The tenor player
was good, wasn't he?
South: Yes, he's obviously
been having a good listen to Bird.
Brown: It's like a Basie
arrangment, isn't it?
Tomkins: Well, there might
be a reason for that. Joe Newman wrote it.
Deuchar: Joe Newman wrote
Brown: Well, they play
Deuchar: They do, too.
It's a fair band, all right.
Brown: Somebody ought
to get on to Harold Davisonget this lot across.
South: Yesas soon
Brown: How does he do
it? What is ittwenty years? And never a bad band.
Tomkins: He must have
a nose for talent.
Deuchar: He must have.
He always manages it.
South: He had the first
real big modem band, even before Dizzy had his.
Brown: Well, before that
he had a good band when he took over from Isham Jones. He had Joe
Bishop in that band, who was one of the first unusual playershe
played flugelhom. And look at all the great musicians who have passed
through his various bands.
Deuchar: This is a tremendous
band he's got now. The trumpet player I admire very much, though I
think Clark Terry does that better. I liked the tenor, toohe
gets a big, beefy sound.
Brown: This record has
just come out, has it?
South: "The Swingin'est
Herd Ever," eh?
Deuchar: Where can I buy
Copyright ©1963 Les Tomkins.
All Rights Reserved