[Dixielandjazz] Two Emmetts

TBW504 at aol.com TBW504 at aol.com
Sat May 1 05:53:57 PDT 2010

In addition to Emmett Berry, another musician with the name "Emmett" was  
the reputedly great player:
HARDY, Emmett Louis     Cornet
1903, Jun 12:  Gretna, LA     1925, Jun 16
A Dixieland prodigy who  died young. Started on piano and guitar, switching 
to cornet when he was twelve.  Emmett's father, Harry Hardy, played tuba in 
a local band and his mother was an  amateur pianist. His grandfather, 
Dennis Kennedy, was a gifted fiddler from  Ireland. (An uncle, R. Emmett Kennedy, 
was mentioned by Roy Carew as a collector  of Negro songs and spirituals, 
who heard and subsequently arranged a complete  blues, "Honey Baby" that went 
back to at least the early part of the century.)  According to his friend, 
Monk Hazel, Emmett had lessons from Fess Manetta in  nearby Algiers. He also 
had lessons with the bandleader Professor Paoletti.  Toured from Chicago 
with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. He was said to have  influenced Bix 
Beiderbecke. In New Orleans he played mainly with the Norman  Brownlee Orchestra 
where he was replaced by Johnny Wiggs. In 1921 he was in  Chicago in a 
quintet, also including Leon Roppolo supporting the notorious  singer Beatrice 
"Bee" Palmer. (Bee was known as the "Shimmy Queen" whose  lascivious dance 
routine got her banned from time to time.) Emmett returned to  Gretna from 
Chicago and worked in a foundry in Algiers during the day whilst  playing with 
local bands at night which exacerbated his tuberculosis and no  doubt 
contributed to his dreadfully early demise. However, the immediate cause  of death 
was peritonitis following an appendectomy; although his health had been  
severely weakened due to tuberculosis. Martha Boswell (of the Boswell Sisters)  
was his lifelong sweetheart, and she had a monument erected to his memory in  
1934 at a spot down river in Pointe à la Hache. He never recorded 
commercially,  but a home recording on an Edison cylinder was said to have been made 
with  Norman Brownlee, Bill Eastwood and Oscar Moncour. However, like the 
Bolden  cylinder it has never surfaced. Martha Boswell:  "Emmett was to music 
what  Shelley was to poetry." Bix: When Emmett died, Bix sent a letter to 
Emmett's  mother saying in part "Emmett was the greatest musician I have ever 
heard." Ben  Pollack: "Emmett was greater than Bix." Paul Mares: "Emmett was 
even more sure  of himself than Bix. He had more ideas and played with a 
push and drive that Bix  never attained." Monk Hazel: "Emmett preferred 
playing in tough keys like B  natural, F sharp, C sharp, D flat and E natural, 
using all those keys on one  tune and making his modulations into and out of 
choruses." (Quotes from an  article by J. Lee Anderson in a 1992 issue of The 
Mississippi Rag.) 
Brian Wood "The Song for Me"

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