[Dixielandjazz] Young George Shearing

PJ Ladd pj.ladd at btopenworld.com
Tue Dec 9 16:34:16 PST 2003

Chocolate box indeed - phooey !

Hi John,
I have just written a long post to Steve which I intended to go to the list.
Unfortunately I hit the button prematurely and now he alone has the benefit
of my comments.
Mac, the fiddle players name, ran a group in London prewar so it was an
exceedingly `young George` he was talking about.
Mac was directed to the West Country to work during the war as he was a
skilled engineer. Eventually He was invited on stage by Harry Gould and his
Pieces of Eight at a concert in Bath, they knew him from London, and from
then on he had work every night.
Mac had matinee idol looks and could play like crazy. Dancing stopped when
he took a solo. Unfortunately he was a sod to work with, tramped over
everyone elses solos and cut them up but would walk off the stand if anyone
did it to him.
I only knew him in later years, I am sooo young, when legend has it he had
`calmed down` a bit.
I remember being at a pub jam when we had about 20 each of all the rythm
players and nothing else. Mac turned up and I said `Thank Heaven, somebody
who can play a melody line`
`Melody line be f****d` returned Mac, and he walked out.
Mac hated drummers. We got on reasonably well because I favour the brushes
and consequently never `got in his way`. Drummers who `sat in` at our gigs
and were the least bit intrusive got very short shrift.
Mac is now late eighties at least and I took pity on him about 6/7 years ago
because I knew he wasn`t playing at all and I invited him one evening to sit
in with a band I was playing with at the time. He hadn`t changed. Did all
his party pieces, bow under the fiddle with the slack horsehair playing all
chords, a fabulous `Hot Canary`, his solos with the band were still
brilliant but would he get off the stand. Would he hell! The audience loved
him and kept yelling for more and although the band were seething he was not
going to leave until he was ready. We never invited him again, but the
audience at the following weeks gig was up by 25% with people demanding to
know when he was returning.



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