[Dixielandjazz] My debt to Kenny Ball

ross anderson rossanmjband at iprimus.com.au
Sat Oct 29 15:32:08 PDT 2005

G`day Dick and Bob and list mates,
I certainly agree with Bob !!!
What a terrific story ,
Kenny Ball is one of the great UK bands , along with , Chris Barber , Acker
Bilk , and my favorite , Alex Welsh !!!
Ross Anderson,
NMJB web site address is http://home.iprimus.com.au/rossjazz/

Anderson bass link is http://home.iprimus.com.au/rossjazz/Double_Bass.htm
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Dick Baker" <box2 at twotonbaker.com>
To: <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 8:27 AM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] My debt to Kenny Ball

> Sorry for injecting a purely personal note, but the recent mentions of
> Kenny Ball struck a sympathetic chord in me.  At the start of the 1960s, I
> was a callow high-schooler, steeped in the rock & roll music of the
> 1950s.  But then Kenny Ball's recording of "Midnight in Moscow" crossed
> over the the pop charts and was played on the Top 40 AM stations of the
> day.  I heard it and was intrigued.  I bought the "Midnight in Moscow" LP
> and liked it so much that I went back to the store for another stunning
> Ball LP of 1962, called "It's Trad."  I was hooked; have been ever since.
> But wait, there's more.  The first live trad jazz band I ever heard was
> Leningrad Dixieland Jazz Band, in Leningrad, in 1970, while I was studying
> Russian at LSU (Leningrad State University).  I was stunned to discover
> that they played just like Kenny Ball.  Later I learned why:  Ball was the
> first trad jazz band ever to visit the Soviet Union, in the late
> 1950s.  His visits sparked the formation of a number of bands, most of
> which stayed amateur and unknown in the West (those of Grachev and
> were especially notable), but the Leningraders copied the Kenny Ball sound
> perfectly and played it with great skill.  They were the only professional
> jazz band in the USSR for decades -- but were never allowed to travel to
> the West to strut their stuff, at least not until the relaxations of the
> Glasnost Era.
> You want more?  I'll give you more.  At some point (in the 1980s?), one of
> our local Washington-area bands discovered that I knew all four verses of
> "Midnight in Moscow" in Russian and invited me up to sing it.  As a
> profoundly unmusical nonmusician, I'd never ventured on stage before, but
> gave it my best.  Over the next few months, as friends in that first-night
> audience put bugs in the ears of other local bandleaders, I performed my
> act several more times.  Was this a career in the making?  Finally,
> as I left the stage after one of my command performances, Charlie and
> Bitterli stuck a tape in my hand, explaining that they'd had their machine
> running and figured I'd like a souvenir of my triumph.
> My God, it was awful.  I knew I couldn't sing, but I had *no idea* it was
> that bad.  Mortified, I retired the act.  But I still run through those
> lyrics every once in a while, just in case:
>          Ne slyshny v sadu dazhe shorokhi,
>          Vse zdes' zamerlo do utra.
>          Esli b zali vy, kak mne dorogi,
>          Podmoskovnye vechera . . .
> --
> --------------------------------------------
>    Dick Baker - Falls Church, Virginia, USA
>              box2 at twotonbaker.com
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