[Dixielandjazz] Miff Mole

Stephen G Barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 29 08:49:24 PDT 2009

On Aug 29, 2009, at 3:44 AM, Bill Haesler wrote:
> Dear Steve,
> My pleasure.
> As you state, there are two different recordings involved almost a  
> year apart.
> Miff Mole and His Little Molers.
> Red Nichols (c) Miff Mole (tb) Pee Wee Russell (cl) Adrian Rollini  
> (bsx) Arthur Schutt (p) Dick McDonough (bj) Carl Kress (g) Vic  
> Berton (d)
> Recorded for Okeh. New York, August 30, 1927
>    http://www.redhotjazz.com/Mmm.html
> Red Nichols and His Five Pennies.
> Red Nichols (c) Leo McConville, Mannie Klein (t) Miff Mole (tb)  
> Dudley Fosdick (mel) Fud Livingston (cl,ts) Joe Venuti (vln) Arthur  
> Schutt (p) Eddie Lang (g) Art Miller (b) Chauncey Morehouse (d)
> Recorded for Brunswick. New York, May 31, 1928.
>    http://www.redhotjazz.com/rn5p.html
> Unfortunately, Rhapsody does not cater for us aliens and, oddly, the  
> Amazon mp3 'clip' clips the relevant introduction.
> Now, for those non-US residents who may be interested, compare  
> versions both from the above two links. Happy listening
> And this may be my last opportunity to disagree with your claim  
> (repeated on 23 August) that George Brunies influenced  Miff Mole:
> "The Brunies influence is evident on Mole's Tin Roof Blues solo in  
> 1923. A virtual copy of an earlier Brunies solo on the same tune as  
> a list mate pointed out." [That was me.]
> Nonsense.   <grin>
> As I tried to point out on 16 August, most of the contemporary  
> versions of "Tin Roof Blues" were cover versions of the NORK  
> original version. All the trombone players copied the Brunies' solo,  
> as it was part of the tune.
> I would be prepared to bet that the Melrose Bros. Music Co. Inc.  
> stock sheet music included it.
> [Audrey Van Dyke? Vince Giordano?].
> I believe that you have, unfortunately, picked the wrong tune to  
> prove your point.
> I also doubt that in 1923 Miff Mole would have known who George  
> Brunies was.
> However, Brunies would most certainly have been listening to the  
> numerous 1922 Original Memphis Five and Cotton Pickers records with  
> the great Miff Mole.
> Very kind regards,
> Bill (ducking for cover to escape an irate Jack Mitchell).

Dear Bill:

Thanks for the links. Both versions are wonderful, but that 16 note  
break on the Moler version is a gem.

Yes, I would agree that the Brunies solo on Tin  Roof Blues may have  
been written out as part of the tune. Similarly to the Picou solo on  
High Society. However, given Mole's improv skills (like 16 note  
Dixieland One Step) he could have easily disregarded an obligato.

However, I strongly (but respectfully) disagree that Mole would not  
have known who Brunies was. IMO, the Original Memphis 5 was very much  
what we would today, call a cover band. I would think every jazz  
musician would have heard the NORK version of Tin Roof shortly after  
it was recorded. It became a VERY popular tune. I think in the early  
20s, all the white jazz musos were listening intently to NORK as well  
as ODJB and OM5. And as you say above, most of the contemporary  
versions of Tin Roof, were "cover' versions.

IMO, OM5 covered Tin Roof Blues immediately, as did, for example,   
Johnny Sylvester's Original Indiana Five, with trombonist Charlie  
Panelli reproducing the Brunies solo. And as did the "New Orleans Jazz  
Band"  with Sidney Arodin thought to be on clarinet. IMO, they would  
have all listened to NORK, who recorded the tune first before they  
'covered" it. I'd bet the farm that Mole listened intently to Brunies  
on that version as well as every think else Brunies recorded.

Phil Napoleon, OM5 leader, said often that they listened to ODJB, but  
chose to play tunes that ODJB did not. And so they went after the  
popular tunes of the day like "Down Among The Sheltering Palm" etc.  
According to Richard Sudhalter, page 108, "Lost Chords", the OM5 also  
"regularly covered specialty numbers written or popularized by other  
bands. Their 'Tim Roof Blues' (1923), is rhythmically crisper than  
NORK's own version and works interesting variations in the ensemble  
melody statement . . ."

In light of the above, I think Mole not only knew darn well who  
Brunies was, but also who Edwards was, and was influenced by both,  
just as he was later in life by the more relaxed legato style of Jack  
Teagarden. Having been a Miff Mole fan for almost 60 years, I believe  
I hear those influences in his early and later playing.

Steve Barbone

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