[Dixielandjazz] RE:Albert clarinets

Tito Martino dixielandjazz@ml.islandnet.com
Sat, 1 Jun 2002 06:17:49 -0300

	Steve Barbone informed:
	<List Mates-

	Lots of clarinetists are convinced the Albert System has a
bigger 	sound than Boehm, <snip>

	Steve Barbone>

List Mates and Steve;

here is again an old posting of mine to the DJML :

<I=B4m proud to spread the news that the Albert system clarinet formerly
owned by Omer Simeon,
probably the last one he used till his last year (1959), is in my hands,
and playing again.   I don=B4t intend to abandon my Buffet (Bohem), has =
big sound too, but as soon as I master the WEIRD fingering again (my
first clarinet was an Albert), I intend to record, in Simeon=B4s style,
some tunes already put on records by Simeon. Do you know Lagniappe,
Grande Boubousse, Qua-ti Blues, Qua-ti Rhythm, St. James Inf., Bill
Bayley, trios with Sammy Price and Zutty on the only recording session
Omer made under his name? I reccomend.
To those interested, here is the story as told by the one who sold it to
me, my friend Stan McDonald, clarinet and sop.sax. extraordinaire,
formerly with the New Black Eagle Jazz Band and now with his own Blue
Horizon Jazz Band:

{Dear Tito,

Correction:  Serial No. is 7003, not 5003. I got this horn from Frank
Laidlaw, about 1979.  Frank played trumpet and clarinet in the Red Onion
Jazz Band, opposite Omer/Wilbur De Paris at Jimmy Ryan's, 52nd Street in
the late '50's.  Frank knew Omer well, and tells this story:

Omer died in '61 or '62, leaving three Albert system clarinets (all
Selmers, I guess, but forgot to ask) which were pawned by Wilbur de
Paris.  (Frank doesn't know what became of Omer's Conn soprano sax,
which he coveted.)  Frank got all three clarinets from the pawnbroker,
then sold one to Al Volmer, another to Michael White, who he thinks paid
about $1,000.  I got the third.  Frank recalls that he traded it to me
for an 18th century Boxwood clarinet.

We have no idea how long this horn was played by Omer, but by the key
wear, one would imagine he played it a lot for a long time; possibly
with Earl Hines before the DeParis Brothers.  He obviously must have
recorded with it.  Of course, Omer had the other clarinets, but he
played Albert System only.  (According to Frank, Albert Nicholas changed
to Boehme system when with King Oliver.)  Will sell Omer's clarinet to
you for $800.  Perhaps too much still, but I will not offer it to anyone
else at this price until I hear from you.  Anyone who sounds so much
like Albert Nicholas deserves this instrument!=20

Best regards,

I=B4m so happy with the reconditioned clarinet.   According to Selmer,
Serial No. 7003 was made around 1929.  It=B4s made of  M=B4Pingo wood =
grenadilla, but real african ebony) and shining silver league keys (we
say Alpaca, 65% silver plus other metals).  The many cracks (5 in the
barrel, 2 in the bell, some almost invisible) just disappeared.  Also
the dent on top of one joint was repaired.  The work cost me about 120
bucks (USDollars) but was worth of -  it=B4s almost like new and WHAT A
SOUND!!!        Very similar to Omer=B4s on the recordings.   I use nr. =
1/2  Rico Royal reed in an old Berg-Larsen clarinet mouthpiece that
belonged formerly (40 years ago) to my friend the great Booker Pittman,
he played soprano and alto with  Lucky Millinder Band, immigrated to
Argentina and later to Brasil after a fight, and made some success in
Rio de Janeiro and S=E3o Paulo where he died about 1973.=20

Except for some minor leakages (new pads) to be fitted soon, the
instrument is in very playable condition; but as I supposed, I am having
a very tough time re-learning the Albert=B4s weird finger positions!   =
playing every monday night at a small Bar with my Quintet, and every
friday night with the complete Band (tuba, banjo, drums+washboard, cl,
trumpet, tb and grand-piano), at a big noisy smoking rocking Beer House.
Some occasional Concerts.   I hope soon will start my own web site (with
help of my son Luis).

Best wishes, from your Brazilian Friend,=20

Tito Martino
cl,as,ss, Tito Martino Jazz Band
S=E3o Paulo  Brazil>

Almost six months  after that posting, I should say I am still
struggling with the WEIRD fingering system.  Getting better...    :-)=20