[Dixielandjazz] George Lewis - impact
tonypringle at comcast.net
Wed Oct 14 12:32:39 PDT 2009
My first introduction to jazz was when I was about 17 and was through a
friend whose uncle had given him some 78s and he asked me over to
listen. He had The Bunk Victors on English HMV and also some Jelly Roll
Morton Red Hot Peppers. I was bowled over and we just listened to the
stuff for ages.
On the way home I bought a 78 of the Luis Russell Hot 6 with George
Mitchell (still a favourite of mine) and Albert Nicholas - great stuff.
A year or so later I got together with some guys to start a band - our
clarinet player was 16 and sounded just like George on those Victor sides.
Our trombonist used to show up at our practices (most nights of the
week) with boxed 78 sets loaned to him by his uncle. Thus, while trying
to play like the George Lewis band we got to listen to Gerry Mulligan,
Diz and Bird, and all sorts of stuff.
At some point someone brought over an LP of the George Lewis band - what
we used to call the "out of tune session" and I wasn't won over, but at
some point I got my hands on the session by George with Monette Moore
doing the vocal on Burgundy Street Blues - that was it. What a rhythm
section, Kid Howard made it onto my list of favourites.
Over those next few years we had many special events - our first hearing
of the George Lewis Blue Notes, sitting in a booth at Doug Dobells
record store in London listening to Wooden Joe Nicholas, An evening with
a friend at Liverpool University discovering the Luis Russell band with
Red Allen - Pops Foster just blew us away.
It seems to me that many of my friends who discovered this music had
many of the same experiences.
BTW - years ago I went to visit Frank Laidlaw in western Massachusetts
and he played an LP on which he had played cornet. On clarinet and
sounding just like George Lewis was Kenny Davern.
We all find the stuff that we like, but we don't all like the same stuff
- so to speak. I'm not sure where i was going with that last thought. In
the interests of sharing that was how I got into this music.
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