[Dixielandjazz] Re: sounds of the twenties

Bill Haesler bhaesler at bigpond.net.au
Fri Sep 23 21:45:50 PDT 2005

 > I keep thinking I read something about Walter Johnson............ having
something to do with the invention of the high hat, but I have no idea
whether I really did read that.........<

Dear Hal,
Your memory isn't too bad at all.
Walter Johnson (born: 1904 - died: 1977) who started playing in 1924 was
with Fletcher Henderson (1929-1934) and is mentioned in the New Grove
Dictionary of Jazz as "sometimes credited with having been the first to use
the hi-hat effectively. His earliest big band recordings certainly provided
rich examples of his simple, metrically accurate, legato hi-hat
accompaniments, which bridged the gap between the choke-cymbal style of the
20s and the swing style of the 30s."
Fletcher Henderson's "Sweet and Hot", "Clarinet Marmalade" (1931), "New King
Porter Stomp" (1932), "Yeah Man/King Porter Stomp" (1933) are cited in the
'Grove' entry, so I have just played them, along with their session-mates.
The high hat is certainly in evidence as he drives the orch.
They should also have mentioned the Henry Allen-Coleman Hawkins and Their
Orchestra sides (21 July 1933) "The River's Takin' Care Of Me/Ain'tcha Got
Music?/Stringin' Along On A Shoestring/Shadows On The Swanee".
(They even use banjo and tuba on several of the tunes!)
Kind regards,


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