[Dixielandjazz] The Melody Maker

Bill Gunter jazzboard at hotmail.com
Mon Dec 29 18:11:28 PST 2003

Hi all,

TBW504 at aol.com quoted "The Melody Maker" as saying (in regard to Jelly Roll 
Morton and his Red Hot Peppers in january, '27):

----> start clip

"No one
can say that the musicians are not wonderful performers. Nevertheless, we 
treated to an exhibition of blues and jazz, not as it is today, but as it 
six years ago. The fact that this is about the best record to have come
across for Charleston dancing, owing to the hot rhythm behind it, certainly 
excuse the fact that it is crude in organization and poor amusement to 

----> end clip

Thanks to TBW504 at aol and espeically thanks to Tony Davis and his sharp eye 
in finding that "Big Band" reference in the Feb. '26 issue of Melody Maker.  
Tony was fortunate enough to have been in a position to come across a 
complete set of bound Melody Maker magazines which he immediately snapped up 
and placed in his personal library in Oxfordshire.

And I have been fortunate enough to have visited Judy and Tony's home 
several times where I have spent a number of hours pouring though the 

It's rather interesting to see the attitudinal change in The Melody Maker 
over the years 1926 - to around 1935.

MM, in its earlier days, regarded the early jazz of such notables as Morton 
and Armstrong as "negro" music which it considered crude and lacking in 
refinement. MM did (it seemed to me) admit the music was hot although the 
music was not up to the standard of the "syncopated" music of the English 

Three or four years later, the MM began to recognize the quality of the new 
music coming from America and began referring to it in more respectful and 
appreciative tones.

I was born in '27 and a trip through those early editions was a real romp 
back in time for me.

By the way, my own first memories of "popular music" go back to around '35 
or '36 when the Big Bands (oops, I mean Orchestras) were taking over the 
airwaves.  I was too young to recall Paul Whitman except for a few 
recordings I found in my parents collection. My musical heros were Harry 
James and Glenn Miller. I listened to those older records of my mom and 
dad's and thought that Whitman and the "dixieland" tunes I heard were 
somewhat quaint, even ancient.  About the only place I actually heard that 
sort of music being played was in the sound tracks of animated cartoons 
which always accompanied the feature films at the local movie houses.

It wasn't until I heard the Spike Jones and Red Ingle recordings in the 
early 40's (during the war - remember "In Der Fuhrer's Face"?) that I began 
my own appreciation of jazz with its raucus and humorous interpretations.

It's a shame MM wasn't in existance through the '40s. I'd have loved to read 
what they might have said regarding The City Slickers.

I think I may have been born fifteen or twenty years too late.

On the other hand, I have been fortunate enough to witness the birth and 
flowering of Rap!

Respectfully submitted,

Bill "Hey, come back here!" Gunter
jazzboard at hotmail.com

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