PAUL BARBARIN and SHARKEY BONANO: New Orleans Contrasts
Contemporary recordings in two basic jazz styles
PAUL BARBARIN and His Jazz Band (Side 1): Ernie Cagnolatti (tp) Edward Pierson (tb) Albert Burbank (cl) Lester Santiago (p) Johnny St. Cyr (bj – on #1, 3, 5 only) Richard McLean (b) Paul Barbarin (drs, vcl – on Eh La Bas by Burbank)
January 23 and May 8, 1951
SHARKEY and His Kings of Dixieland (Side 2): Joseph “Sharkey” Bonano (tp) Julian Laine (tb) Harry Shields (cl) Stanley Mendelson (p) “Chick” Martin (tu, b) “Monk” Hazel (drs, mellophone)
New Orleans; October 26 and 30, 1951
1. Eh La Bas (2:59) (traditional)
2. Fidgety Feet (3:11) (LaRocca – Shields – Ragas)
3. Walk Through the Street of the City (2:55) (traditional)
4. Just a Little While to Stay Here (3:18) (traditional)
5. Just a Closer Walk with Thee (3:24) (traditional)
6. Clarinet Marmalade (3:00) (Shields – Ragas)
1. She’s Crying for Me (3:02) (Santo Pecora)
2. Missouri Waltz (3:12) (Shannon – Logan)
3. Land o’ Dream (3:49) (traditional)
4. Indiana (3:04) (Honky –McDonald)
5. Alice blue Gown (4:15) (McCarthy – Tierney)
6. That Peculiar Rag (2:58) (Erdman – Fagan)
New Orleans, as history has it, is where jazz was born. History, in this instance, is somewhat over-simplified but substantially correct. At the very least, it was in that colorful and bustling Louisiana city that the music to be known as "jazz" first took recognizable shape and then burst forth to astound, confuse and delight the rest of the nation and the world.
A good many years have gone by since then, and New Orleans has taken something of a back seat as a jazz center. But they have never stopped playing the music back in its home town. And they have never really been diverted from the original parent styles. As vivid, highly enjoyable proof of these twin facts, take the recent performances that make up this LP, as played by the respective bands of Paul Barbarin and Sharkey Bonano.
If you look at it closely enough, "New Orleans" of course means two separate jazz traditions. They may have sprung from the same roots, may have much in common and often interlock, but the music of the early New Orleans Negroes and that of the white "Dixieland" pioneers were far from identical. Not at all surprisingly, much of the initial distinction between styles has been retained by the musicians who have remained faithful to the early traditions.
PAUL BABARINE is no mere descendant or re-creator of the original New Orleans jazz. He is, rather, a member of the generation that grew up surrounded by the sound of an exciting new music, in the days when the now-legendary figures were men first earning their reputations, when Storyville was a tough district of brothels and saloons where a musician earned a living - not a misty, glamorous memory. Barbarin was born in New Orleans in 1901, and first left that city in 1918 to play with King Oliver in Chicago. He remained in the North almost constantly during the next two decades, spending most of that time with the band led by Luis Russell (with whom Barbarine had played at Tom Anderson's Cafe in Storyville). Russell's was a big band, pretty much in the Fletcher Henderson pre-Swing vein, but it included such New Orleans figures as Red Allen, Pops Foster and Albert Nicholas, and was fronted by Louis Armstrong for quite a while in the '30s. All of which should indicate that Barbarin's heart remained in the right place.
Finally, in 1939, he took himself back home and again became part of the local jazz activity, which, if not exactly flourishing, was enough to keep a man fairly busy playing as he wanted to play. After the mid-1940s, when the traditionalist "Revival" really got rolling, things became rather livelier; and in 1955 Barbarin went on a successful tour as leader of a thoroughly New Orleans-style group.
The music of the Barbarin band heard here can also be described as "thoroughly New Orleans-style." Whether or not this claim could stand up under strictest comparison with the jazz of Barbarin's youth is not really the point. It is clearly music that derives from that source, played by men for whom this is the music, with no possibility of any other alternatives, it demonstrates that, for them, the old style and spirit is still living and completely valid. These veterans (among them is Johnny St. Cyr, a member of Louis Armstrong's historic Hot Five) offer and old Creole tune, three march versions of traditional hymns that recall the days of the street parades, and finally two numbers that can serve as transition to the other side of the New Orleans picture.
For the old jazz standards Clarinet Marmalade and Fidgety Feet actually are, in terms of their origin, identified with white Dixieland jazz. Although they may well stem from earlier sources, both were set down on paper by members if the celebrated Original Dixieland Jazz Band - men who were playing their form of early jazz in the years when young SHARKEY BONANO and others to be heard with him on this LP were growing up in New Orleans. Bonano himself was born in the famous suburb of Milenburg, in 1904m and worked with such dimly remembered (but reputedly excellent) bands as Brownlee's and Johnny Miller's. During the '30s he was best known as a trumpeter and singer in the Louis Armstrong vein, but in more recent years, while sticking close to his New Orleans home base, he has concentrated on hard-driving, bed-rock Dixieland.
Trace this music back to its source, and you find the late-19th century Reliance Brass Band of "Papa" Jack Laine, known as the father of white jazz. His was contemporary with earliest Negro jazz, and undoubtedly drew heavily on it, but he established a quite separate stream of "raggy," syncopated music. The key numbers of both the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings were among the many who began either in a Laine band or under leaders who had played with Laine; and of course it was the influence of those two bands on the white jazzmen of Chicago and New York that shaped all the Dixieland music that followed.
Among Sharkey's colleagues here (and note that they include a younger member of the Laine family) are Monk Hazel, whose experience dates back to such groups as Abbie Brunies' Halfway House band of the early '20s; Harry Shields, brother of the O.D.J.B. clarinettist; and Chink Martin, who played with the N.O.R.K. Their repertoire is the varied sort (a rag, a couple of jazz oldies, some fairly unlikely pop tunes) that can still be heard all along Bourbon Street, played in unabashedly traditional Dixieland fashion.
In this album, then, is to be found much of the basic contrast (and more than a little of the fundamental similarity), clearly expressed in the work of these two groups, each unswervingly faithful to its own version of the roots of jazz.
(These selections were all recorded for Circle, and all originally appeared on that label - excepting only Sharkey's Land o' Dreams and Peculiar Rag, which are issued here for the first time.)
Riverside’s “contemporary Series” includes a number of outstanding 12-inch albums, recorded during the past few years, offering jazz performances in much the same idioms as those featured by the Barbarin and Bonano bands on this LP. Among them are:
JOE SULLIVAN: New Solos by an Old Master (RLP12-202)
RAGTIME! –TONY PARENTI’S Ragtime Band (RLP12-205)
GEORGE LEWIS New Orleans jazz Band and Quartet (RLP12-207)
DEXIELAND in HI-FI – Gene Mayl’s Dixieland Rhythm Kings (RLP12-210)
WILD BILL DAVISON: Sweet and Hot (RLP12-211)
RALPH SUTTON: Piano Styles with George Wettling, drums (RLP12-212)
San Francisco Style: BOB HELM’ Yerba Buena Jazz Band, with Turk Murphy, Bob Scobey, Wally Rose;
BOB HELM’s Riverside Roustabouts (RLP12-213)
CONRAD JANIS: Dixieland jam Session (RLP12-215)
Creole Reeds: SIDNEY BECHET and ALBERT NICHOLAS (RLP12-216)
Notes by Orrin Keepnews.
Cover by Gene Gogerty
Re-mastered 1956, by Reeves Sound Studios
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are produce by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS, INC.
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